Brett Lebda, that’s who.

Sad Lebda is Sad

Well, that was odd.

On July 7, 2010, former Red Wing defenseman Brett Lebda was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs to a two-year deal worth an astronomical $2.9M (or, if you prefer, 45% of an Ericsson annually). Almost immediately, and by fans not in Toronto, the deal was panned as one of the worst in recent memory. It brought about Jeff Finger-level LOLs. It wasn’t Brett Lebda’s fault — he took what was offered, just like you and I would.

Just a few days shy of a year later, having already fallen out of favor in Toronto and essentially becoming their expensive version of Jakub Kindl, he was traded to Nashville with Robert Slaney, a guy that split last season between the AHL and ECHL, for very useful former Predator Cory Franson and the concussed Matthew Lombardi. Again, not Brett Lebda’s fault — he was relied upon to be something that he wasn’t capable of being and couldn’t live up to extraordinary expectations.

39 days later, and without even having a jersey number assigned to him in Music City, he was bought out and was again in search of employment. Per the CBA, the Predators will pay him 2/3 of his remaining salary over the next two years. Which means he’ll get nearly a million dollars NOT to play in Nashville, no matter what kind of contract he signs with another team — or, even, another league. That’s not Brett Lebda’s fault, either — he wasn’t even given a chance to redeem himself or prove his detractors wrong.

It may be chic to make fun of Brett Lebda, and point out all of the boneheaded things he’s done in six NHL seasons. Such as:

:: ‘Memba when Brett Lebda went -3 in a game that his team won 9-3?

:: ‘Memba when Brett Lebda got in his only NHL fight… and was given a misconduct for not having his jersey tied down?

:: ‘Memba when Brett Lebda got lit up and interviewed a sportscaster whose name he couldn’t remember?

:: ‘Memba when Brett Lebda scored his only goal of the season, and that’s all that was needed to yank Alex Auld?

:: ‘Memba when Brett Lebda gathered his bestest bros and ate Lucky Charms…like a boss?

:: ‘Memba when Brett Lebda was a speedy 5-foot-9 Midwesterner born in 1982 who played collegiate hockey, went undrafted and was forced to look to other industries for employment? Oh wait, sorry.

And maybe that’s why I’ve always had a soft spot for Brett Lebda. For me, personally, he was “one of us” that made it. His hard work and hockey skill allowed him to beat the odds and avoid becoming a shoe salesman. Or an accountant.

Or a casting director.

The fact is, he’s accomplished more in 400+ NHL games than 99% of us could ever dream. And all he needed was a chance.

Like so many of us, he toiled in a suburban Michigan high school and made sacrifices so that he could spend as much time as possible on the ice. He stayed semi-local, and chose to play hockey and go to school in Indiana, at the venerable Notre Dame, despite only a handful of NHLers coming from the program. He played all four seasons for the Irish after not having been drafted in 2000. Or 2001. Or ever.

It wasn’t until after graduation in 2004 that the Detroit Red Wings offered him a shot as a free agent. The rest, as they say, is history.

He earned a contract, turned pro and joined the Griffins (since the lockout wouldn’t allow him to hop directly to the Red Wings). When NHL hockey resumed in 2005-06, guess who found himself on the opening night roster for his once-hometown Detroit Red Wings? Brett Lebda, that’s who.

Guess who scored a goal in his first NHL game — the first NHL game in over a year. Brett Lebda did.

Guess who helped pick up the slack following a terrifying incident with fellow blueliner Jiri Fischer. Brett Lebda did.

Guess who was trusted enough to play in all of the post-season games in his rookie year? Brett Lebda was.

Guess who had the chance to be mentored by childhood hero Chris Chelios? Brett Lebda.

Guess who has more Stanley Cup rings on his hand than Marcel Dionne, Gilbert Perrault, Jean Ratelle, Brad Park, Pat LaFontaine, and Mike Gartner combined? Brett Lebda, that’s who.

While that last one might be a tad unfair because Brett Lebda is by no means a better hockey player than those fine gentlemen, it’s important to remember he’s not nearly as bad as it’s become trendy to pretend he is. Was he overpaid when he jumped north of the border? Yeah, probably. But imagine being Brett Lebda… or me… or any of us who had an eerily similar upbringing. Would you jump at the chance to play for another Original Six team and get a hefty paycheck for the privilege? You bet your ass you would.

So here’s hoping Mr. Lebda lands on his feet, if for no other reason than to continue to give us speedy 5-foot-9 Midwesterners a little bit of hope as we stare at the walls of our cubicles or offices or audition rooms daydreaming we’re at morning skate. The closest I ever got to beginning a list of accolades like his was an invitation to attend Toronto St. Michael’s Majors camp in 1997 when they came back from quasi-extinction (an invitation I didn’t take because I was terrified) and a modest (at best) collegiate stat line that features more penalty minutes than goals scored. Brett Lebda is one of us that made good and plugged away until it happened and that, friends, deserves our respect.

Predators to buy out Lebda

So, wait... that black rubber thing I have to keep OUT of the net? Oh, you Canadians...

Former Red Wing Brett Lebda has been placed on unconditional waivers with the intention of a buyout coming from his new team, the Nashville Predators. Lebda hasn’t suited up yet for the Preds, who was acquired from the Maple Leafs in exchange for Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson.

Lebda would have been entering the second year of a two-year, $2.9M deal he signed with Toronto last summer, which sparked one of my all-time favorite tweets, courtesy of The Chief:

Jesus, Toronto. Don’t you have Center Ice?

The Stanley Cup-winning defenseman fell out of favor in Toronto nearly immediately. The massive Toronto fan base originally lauded the Brian Burke signing (even though they like to pretend now that they didn’t), as Lebda was an experienced blueliner who knows what it takes to compete for a championship. However, he found himself in healthy scratch territory, and only suited up in 41 games for the Maple Leafs — his lowest total ever in the NHL, including his rookie season with Detroit.

There’s some confusion as to whether or not the Predators are allowed to buy a player out, since they’ve entered into club-elected salary arbitration with Shea Weber, but another Predators blogger seems pretty sure that this has been in the cards since the trade. Somehow I doubt anyone at the NHLPA will kick up much fuss for Brett Lebda, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. If the buyout is allowed to proceed, he’ll be available to any team that could use his services — with the Predators paying him just under a million dollars spread out over the next two seasons. The team would then carry cap hits of $516,667 and $466,667 in each of the next two seasons.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

An Issue of Commitment

(Ed. note: I’m well aware that this isn’t directly related to the Red Wings, but you’ll just have to deal with it. Also, I’m back from my self-imposed blogging hiatus. Buckle up. -C)

There’s a good chance that a fair number of you out there reading this right now probably don’t really have a strong opinion going one way or another on NCAA hockey. Frankly, that’s not surprising. College hockey has always been one of those sports that’s seen as “niche” and “regionalized,” much in the way the NHL was viewed coming out of the disastrous lockout that cost fans and players alike a full season of hockey. Contributing to the misunderstanding is the fact that “major” conference names like “Big 10” or “Big East” don’t exist in the ranks of the college game. Monikers like “CCHA” and “WCHA” may mean something to those who regularly follow their squads, but winning a Central Collegiate Hockey Championship doesn’t hold weight on paper when the other major sports find themselves competing for Big Ten Championships with mega-rivalries in the vein of Michigan and Ohio State. UM vs. OSU hockey is just another Saturday night in December, while Michigan and Miami (OH) is the series that has all of the meaning. It’s like being transported to a strange galaxy where nobody cares about conventional tradition and the meaningless becomes meaningful.

Over the past few years, though, it’s seemed as if college hockey was beginning to inch itself more towards the limelight of relevancy, finally emerging from the dark cave of indifference. The first step came all the way back in 2001 when Michigan and Michigan State took to the ice for an outdoor hockey game, eventually throwing the doors open for ideas like the NHL’s Winter Classic and Canada’s Heritage Classic. Nine years later, the largest football stadium in America hosted a hockey game and it looked like college hockey was ready and poised to take yet another step forward. With momentum moving in the right direction, a number of traditional power programs in the game decided to finally come together under the Big Ten banner, forming a six team conference that would finally share the name and rivalries of their football and basketball counterparts, as well as a lucrative network contract and shared branding. While not everyone was pleased with this outcome, it was inevitable for the game once Penn State was granted a Division 1 program and it was needed in raising awareness of college hockey as a whole. Branding is key, and the Big Ten is a brand that almost everyone college sports fan across the country understands. I’m sure that there are plenty of folks out there that don’t agree with this assessment, and their reasons are probably pretty valid. I’m not here to debate those opinions, though.

I’m writing because college hockey has a problem. In the midst of all kinds of excitement and progress across the game, there’s a new trend that is quickly becoming disturbing and troublesome for programs across the entire college hockey landscape: the CHL and the idea of honoring a commitment.

Before you get all ‘OH NO YOU DIDN’T” on me here, let me be clear and say that this is no kind of indictment against the CHL and the product they offer. Personally, I enjoy watching a number of teams from the leagues they are attached too, and I think the hockey is exciting and entertaining. There’s a place for the CHL just like there’s a place for the NCAA. The problem is that these kids don’t seem to understand what a commitment to a team means when it comes to their NCAA allegiances, and the trend of committing to a university just to backtrack and speed off to the CHL is becoming a growing problem for NCAA institutions across the country. This week alone, three top prospects who were “solid” commitments to Universities decided to flip the script and head off to the CHL. Do they have the right to do that? Sure. But for the teams that now find themselves down a player with only a couple of months before the start of a season, what recompense is in store for them? What are they entitled to after a prospect decides that the CHL is a better fit?

Right now, it doesn’t really matter. The NCAA has a game on it’s hands that just isn’t equipped to stack up to the premier junior league in North America, and they know it. When top prospects hit the draft board every spring, major junior players dominate the proceedings. Sure, there’s plenty of talent in the NCAA pool, but the network is nowhere near as vast and well-connected as what the CHL puts out. More teams, more fans, more talent: the CHL experience appears to be the better tool to future NHL success both on paper and in practice. Yet there’s still so much talent and competition within the college ranks, but more and more players are walking away from it, simply because they can.

That must change. Yes, there are all kinds of issues with amateurism and contracts and what-not, but without a formal and binding signing policy (similar to college football), NCAA hockey will continue to watch recruits commit and de-commit in an effort to get to the NHL as fast as possible. Without attaching some measure of gravity to these commitments, they’ll be nothing more than a loose agreement that can be broken at any time, as opposed to an iron-clad guarantee of attendance and participation. I understand that you can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do, but why not make it clear from the beginning that the moment you commit to a University, you are bound to be a part of that organization just as you would if you signed a contract with any other team. If you want to break that commitment? OK, but you’re going to sit out a year of juniors in order to do it. Will this ever happen? Doubt it. Would it steer some kids away from college hockey? It’s likely. But in the interests of preserving the roster sanctity of the teams within the NCAA, something must be done to firm up the gooey mess that is currently the commitment process and that could potentially cost the NCAA some higher-level talent. That’s the cost of doing business in a market that is all about getting kids to the next level. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, and you can’t guarantee stability with a slew of 18-20 year old kids making decisions on a whim. If you want stability for your clubs, it’s time to take a stand NCAA. With change imminent across the college hockey landscape, now is the time to raise the issue and now is the time to do something about it. Otherwise, college hockey runs the risk of being the eggs in the CHL omelet.

Hold the Canadian Bacon, please.

TPL Summer Programming

With last week’s loss behind us, and many of us beginning the grieving period, now is as good a time as any to discuss some of the events and plans we have in motion at The Production Line. Unfortunately, Whitney Houston has been retired and Major League references will have to wait a few more months, but we’re sure that we can keep the Wings community busy and occupied with some fun — and maybe some debauchery, which you all know we’re good for around here.

We’ve been teasing it since the new year, and now it’s time to get down to business. For the last four months, we’ve been compiling the best nickname submissions that followed the themes we set out the mornings of game days. We got some absolutely hilarious submissions (as if there was any doubt), and there are 33 suggestions that have moved onto this stage. As a reminder, the winning submission will get a TPL shirt of their choosing.

The voting will take place on TPL’s Facebook page, so if you’re not already a fan — drop what you’re doing and click “Like” right now. Later this week, I’ll drop the first 8 (which I’ve randomized using some randomizing software that I’ve just learned exists) into a “Facebook Question” — allowing you to vote for your favorites. This will happen four times, and the top two vote-getters from each grouping will move onto the Finals.

The Top 8 will be displayed one more time, and the top choice will be the lucky winner of the TPL shirt!

Once again, we’re joining forces with our brethren at Winging it in Motown. @JJfromKansas and I have been discussing an idea that I absolutely stole from him following his asking of the Twitter community very casually whether or not they’d like Mike Modano to return.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have profiles for each of the impending free agents with any pertinent details that will help you decide whether or not you’d like to see them return — and for what price — and then you’ll have a chance to say your peace. We’ll be setting up a voting site, where you’ll be able to anonymously selected “YES” or “NO” and we’ll re-visit the data so you can see what the community is thinking.

In addition, we’ll explore some of the players that could replace each of the potential departures — whether it’s an internal promotion… or signing other teams’ free agents.

Building off of the earlier prospects preview I did, we’ll have parts II and III for you prior to the Draft so that you’ll know a little bit about a handful of guys that could fall onto Detroit’s radar in the lower portion of the first round.

(and of course) TP:60
The podcast WILL run during the summer — though not weekly. We’ll likely make it a bi-weekly affair, starting as early as this week with your favorite bloggers and guests from around Hockeytown. We’re working on something kind of big right now, so stay tuned… here’s hoping we get to share some good news on this front ASAP.

MLX Ice Hockey Skates Review

There's nothing better than a clean sheet of ice...

There are legions of hockey players and fans that spend hours agonizing over their stick choices, their curves, the way they tape their socks, and — of course — their skates. They spend a ton of time researching and studying brands and their subtle differences, making sure every little thing is just right and to their tastes.

I am not one of those guys.

I never was. If playing in a cowboy hat with a tree branch meant I got to stay on the ice for another three minutes — well — I’d do it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a kick-ass pair of skates, or a nifty new stick. I just never put a whole lot of thought into things like that.

That’s why when MLX approached me, via our good friend Matt Saler, not only was I excited to put something so special like their ice hockey skates on my feet, I was a tiny bit nervous because while I know what I like (in the Eye Doctor test — Number 1 or Number 2 — kind of way), I wanted to make sure I took advantage of this incredible opportunity and gave a review that everyone — from players to equipment geeks — could learn from.

That’s why I enlisted the help of some friends before taking to the ice. I know a ton of hockey players (obviously) — some are now NHLers, others are beginners. I’ve made friends with lots of gear monkeys and folks who know brands inside and out. I asked everyone to send me a few things they’d like to know about skates before committing to buying a pair, and I hope that I’m able to deliver an honest and helpful synopsis of a pretty nifty pair of hockey skates.

From my first interaction with MLX, all the way up to today, my experience has been nothing short of awesome. They took the time to explain what they were hoping for and spent a lot of time getting my measurements just right. The sizes don’t necessarily work like your shoes or most other skate brands — and after measuring the length and width of my foot, it was determined that MLX would have to build a custom size for me, because (apparently) I have wide feet. That certainly explains the fits I’ve had in the past (more on that later), and it was pretty awesome to know that MLX cared about the feet that are going into their skates. It’s apparent when you pull the skates out of the box that their built to protect as well as perform, and I was anxious to put the steel onto ice to test that theory.

After you receive your skates, the very first thing you should do is head to MLX’s site and check out the various set-up videos. They’re extremely helpful in answering questions about the baking process to the fitting, and everything in between. I’m very impressed with how complete their tutorials are, and I used every single one of those videos to make sure I got the most out of the process as possible.

Despite playing at a fairly high level for a bunch of years, I never had a pair of skates that needed to be baked in an oven for the best fit. I always wanted to give it a try, and part of that is because I have oddly shaped feet — likely the result of various traumas suffered in the line of duty. Before the skates are in the oven, they’re a bit stiff, like any pair of skates would be, but eight minutes on each side really did wonders for loosening them up and making it easy to slide your foot into them.

When the skates come out of the oven, try real hard not to touch the eyelets, because whoa baby are they toasty. Once the insole was back in place and my foot was in, I tied the skates as I would if I were to hop over the boards and sat in them until they cooled off. They go back to being stiff again, but now they’re stiff in the shape of my foot, which is pretty darn neat. You can see on the inside where my foot needs a little more than it does in other places, and that my wide ankles carved themselves out a little home in the impressive padding. After the baking process, I’ve never had a pair of skates that fit half as well as the MLX skates do. I prefer to wear socks under my skates, but I know not everyone does — so I threw them on without socks, just to get a feel for the interior. They’re soft, yet strong, and the insole feels great — more like an orthotic insert than a traditional hockey boot.

So far, the pair of MLXs are batting 1.000 and all that was left were some tweaks and taking a twirl on a clean sheet.

One of my favorite features of the skates is the ability spin the tongue out of the boot completely. It allows access to the toe portion of the boot, where you can insert toe caps (which come in two sizes, are included in the MLX box, and are pictured below). I’ve broken nine different toes (a total of eleven breaks), and it usually wasn’t from the impact of a puck on the front of a skate — it was my toe slamming into the inside of the boot. Although I had skates that fit well, there are always instances where you jostle around a bit, and whether you’ve run into the boards or blocked a shot with your piggies, your foot’s going to jiggle. I can’t emphasize how wonderful it was having something soft at that part of the foot, as opposed to steel and molded plastic, just in case my toes went a-courtin’ with the front of the boot.

Before my junior season in college, I broke my ankle. And since then, it’s been a struggle to properly support it. Generally, I would wrap my laces around my ankle (which I still do, if I can) and then tape the hell out of it. Even still, I have a hard time stopping in that direction, because my ankle didn’t heal properly and it folds over internally, even if the boot is strong and doing its part. With the MLX boots, I liked having a high boot, and at no point did my ankle feel weak. I still can’t hockey stop in that direction, but that’s because I have damaged ligaments, and in no way is it an indictment on this particularly set of skates.

I was lucky enough to be given access to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ practice facility, the Coal Street Complex, on Easter Sunday. The building was just about empty and I could take about an hour to play around, shoot some pucks, and test the corners (also, crash into the boards while I got used to the feel of new skates, without having 400 children laugh at me).

Playing in college, I carved out a niche for myself — I’m not at all a big guy, so playing an overly physical game wasn’t going to end well. Instead, I took advantage of the skills that I did have — speed and agility — to contribute however I could: winning races to pucks, forechecking the hell out of the opposition, and making their lives miserable all over the ice in 45-second bursts to give our top lines a breather. I’m pretty quick coming around corners, and not losing any speed as I rounded the net was how I was able to make up any ground in case someone got by me. Not only does MLX have  Mario Lemieux’s name attached to the brand, but they’ve been designed by Olympic speed skater David Cruickshank. If anyone knows anything about taking speed into a corner and coming out with just as much, it’s someone like him.

True to expectations, the skates were unbelievably fast. I don’t know the physics involved (and would prefer not to know, to be honest), but I felt a hair faster in these skates than my old pairs. In fact, I brought all three pairs of hockey skates I own so that I could swap in and out and feel the difference. Without naming brands, I will say that the MLX blades were a heck of a lot faster than one pair, and a touch faster than the other. I was able to make really tight turns, and there was even more snow in the hockey stop shower (for the flashy types… you know, like me). One thing that I didn’t like about the blade was how little it gives when you move laterally. It’s absolutely possible that they weren’t sharpened as nicely as I’d like them to be, but when I stepped side to side (as opposed to gliding along the blade), it was easy to get caught in the ice and take a header. Perhaps they were too sharp — I’ll let you know next time.

At no point did my ankles or toes hurt — two areas of concern for feet that have been through a bit too much. But after fifteen or twenty minutes of all-out skating, my arches were killing me. Now, I’m hoping that has something to do with having to break in the skates and that perhaps over time, I’ll be able to dig away at the insole, but man it was unpleasant. When I was skating — even skating hard — it didn’t bother me at all. It was when I came to a complete stop and was standing still or even sitting. I’m sure it’ll take some time to break that part of the skate in, but in the interest of full disclosure, the arches of my feet were on fire until I was able to untie the boots and take a break.

The only other thing that I prefer about my existing pair of skates, as opposed to the MLX skates, is the length of the blade. The pair I wore when I played in college has a slightly shorter steel blade, maybe an inch, and I found it easier to balance myself on those than on the slightly longer blades of the MLX (and a second personal pair I brought along). Obviously, that’s preferentially, and I’m sure I would get used to the longer blade if I wore them more often than the shorter bladed skates, but if we’re talking straight out of the box preference — I like a shorter blade.

My push off was impressive — there was a little more spring in my step than I get out of other boots, and I was able to take my quick strides without having to adjust for changes in the feel. In short, they’re a very fast set of skates. If I had one lap in which to take a run at Darren Helm’s footspeed, I’d pick the MLXs, no contest. If I had to play a game tomorrow night, without the ability to change in between period, I’d stick with my tried and true pair for now, until I know I can break past the painful arches.

Something that’s very cool about the MLX Skates is all the customization one could do with their skates. For instance, the skates come with a torque wrench for loosening (or removing) the blade, and re-aligning it to your preference. If you’d like to move the blades to the outside of the foot, you can. If you’d like them to be angled to the instep, you can do that, too. It’s pretty cool, and I’d love to learn how to gauge the best position of the blade for my stride, but I decided I’d give the first test run the factory “setting” and make adjustments from there. I’ll very likely play with the blades and see what feels different about the different settings as I keep trying them out.

First and foremost, I’m eternally grateful to MLX Skates for the opportunity to give these skates a test run. Huge thanks to Jason Jarecki of the Coal Street Ice Complex and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for giving me a fresh sheet to work with and for maintaining such an amazing facility for the community and the organization. Incredible hockey brains and equipment studs Brad Boswell, Mike Serven, and George Malik for their helpful input and insight. The beautiful and talented Andrea Janov for taking some awesome photos.

DISCLAIMER: We received a complimentary pair of MLX skates in exchange for a review on The Production Line.

MLX Preview

Good morning, Red Wings Nation!

I was recently reached out to by the folks at MLX, who asked me to give a pair of their skates a test run. Considering my background, it doesn’t take a whole lot of arm-twisting to get me on the ice again, and to try out new equipment. MLX has sent me a pair of skates to test, review, and keep — so in the coming weeks, you’ll see a product review of some mean skates.

Olympic speed skater David Cruikshank founded MLX just ten years ago, and built these skates to perform on sprints and tight corners — which were essentially the only two things that kept me in college hockey, so I’m beyond psyched to give the skates a twirl and see how they hold up compared to the three million other pairs of skates I’ve worn in the twenty years of competitive hockey I’m lucky to have played. With names like Mario Lemieux and Dustin Byfuglien attached to the brand, it’s hard to argue pedigree. With names like Jared Aulin and B.J. Crombeen, it’s easy to see that youth is being served.

The skates retail for $799 (but the website offers reduce prices), which is no small sum, but pro gear ain’t cheap and it usually only takes a few seconds to realize what sets it apart from the stuff your local pro shop has falling off the rack.

Keep your eyes peeled for the review, which will have photos and maybe even some video. It’s been just about ten years since I had my time trials in college, but I’m curious to see what my lap time is at 29 years old, and I plan on bringing three pairs of skates to see how MLX measures up to brands I’ve been wearing for decades. I’ve never had a pair of skates that I had to bake to ensure a good fit, so I’m beyond excited to make that happen in these new MLXs.

Detroit News: Think Twice Before Hating the ‘Tuzz

Just a quick hitter this morning, as Team TPL is in the midst of packing up the bags and getting ready to head to Motown for H2H2.

First, let me say that if you didn’t read Disch’s piece on Todd Bertuzzi yesterday, do yourself a favor and get on it. I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment in the piece, which should come as no surprise to any of you given my Protuzzi stance since Day 1.

Once you’ve finished, do yourself another favor and hurry over to the Detroit News and check out the special piece they have about Bertuzzi’s interaction with a young man who suffers from cerebral palsy. It’s quite touching and shows a side of the ‘Tuzz that many of us have hoped existed ever since #44 showed up in Detroit. I’m not saying it justifies what happened with Steve Moore or anything like that. All I’m saying is that all those assclowns who boo Bertuzzi for no other reason than their own ignorance need to take a second, shut the hell up and get some perspective when it comes to Todd Bertuzzi, the person.

Enjoy: For one young man in Canada, Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi is the best

Film Review: HorseCop

The Latinas love it.

Once in a lifetime — if we’re lucky — a film comes along that changes the way we look at ourselves, not to mention the way we view cinema forever.

Our parents had The Godfather. Their parents had Gone with the Wind. Their parents had… well, I dunno… some weird Edison newsreel, I suppose.

We, friends, have HorseCop. And Jurassic Park. But mostly HorseCop.

In his insanely brilliant follow-up to Machete, director Robert Rodriguez gave us chills, thrills, and quite a few spills from the new most famous horse in the world (suck on that, Seabiscuit). It’s a dark romantic mocku-dramedy rife with car chases, gun fights, naked women, broken bones, mace (the badass medieval weapon, not the pansy spray), and features a suave leading man as he sexes his way to all the bad guys, bringing an end to dog-fighting, illegal trafficking, and global warming in one fell swoop.

Just another Thursday for Officer Cop. Officer Horse Cop.

If you can saunter into HorseCop and come out the same man or woman two hours later, you’re clearly some sort of demon person and you aren’t welcome here anymore. Put Xanadu back on and crawl into your lonely, dark, lonely darkroom. Alone.

If you think you’re man (or woman) enough for HorseCop, buckle your seat belt, grab your sack (or ovaries) and hit the next showtime.

Bring lube. You’re going to need it.


The year is 2024. Oh, I didn’t mention it’s the future? Well it is.

An impossibly handsome and independently wealthy young man decides that his sexual prowess could be used for good, instead of just gooooood and quickly rises through the ranks within the Fuckyeah America Police Department. His once-partner has gone rogue — now a kingpin himself — and Officer Cop must learn to work with a new partner.

While Officer Cop is no stranger to sowing his oats, he’s going to have to contend with a new type of oats… the kind his teeth-kicking, fire-breathing, death-bringing mildly-retarded thoroughbred partner has tucked in his cheek.

Can they work together? Will each be jealous of the other’s manhood? Will Office Horse ever learn to love again after losing his filly (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) to a 33-story drop off of Frost Bank Tower (the tallest non-residential building in Austin and first sky-scraper to be begun following September 11th)?

Much of the tension between the partners stems from Officer Horse’s loss, since Officer Cop pulls no punches letting his equine counterpart know exactly how he felt about her looks (“She looked like a fucking horse, bro.”)


Surefire Future Hollywood Walk of Famer Robert Discher is two parts Lorenzo Lamas, three parts Chuck Norris, and one part Daryl Hall — but that’s the part that counts most…ladies. Officer HorseCop is a man’s man — a flying bear in a world of sharp-toothed birds, big enough for Willa and two Duffs. When he’s not personally ending world hunger or building roofs over the homeless with nothing but his two hands and a couple nails, he’s precariously juggling the women who love him: a number so high that mere mortals can’t fathom. It even has its own symbol. It kind of looks like Prince’s old name. But sexier.

The squeeze we see most often on-screen is ably played by Vanessa Hudgens, who has been quoted as saying that she “can’t even look Zac anymore” after sharing only a few testosterone-fueled moments in Discher’s trailer rehearsing lines. Which is odd considering she has a grand total of zero lines, aside from moans and sounds of painful desperation.

Fresh off of his breakthrough role on television, Equine McYzerman is nothing short of Oscar fodder. If he’s overlooked during awards season, it’d be a crime akin to every woman on the planet losing to Erin Brockovich’s cans in 2001. Don’t make the same mistake twice, Academy. If ever an animal has deserved attention for one’s performance, it’s this. McYzerman has recently checked into rehab, amid reports of “dehydration,” but has said he’d be honored to reprieve the role, should anyone be alive long enough to make an awesome enough sequel: “That’ll show that little bitch Toto who’s the boss…”

In a stellar turn as the good cop gone bad, is the legendary Bruce Campbell, whose notably lines all include the word “Boomstick” — only with a thick, poorly-done Scottish accent that no one seems to understand, even on-screen for some reason. Brilliant cameos from “Smooth” Billy Dee Williams, Jimmy Smits, Christopher Lambert, Jeff Daniels, and Verne Troyer — NO I KNOW! I thought he was dead, too — only increase the starpower of an unruly cast of misfits, sexpots, and once-demi-gods.


All of the Latinas streaming out of the theatre said that they were no longer wearing their panties — but they weren’t sure how that happened. As they stumbled into the lobby, many of them smoking cigarettes lit with the smoldering embers of what remains of their undergarments, they seemed to have a sort of euphoric confusion about them. A handful even stopped by the local convenience store to buy a pregnancy test, convinced that they were now carrying an immaculately conceived lovechild, which is now beginning an eight-month process (yeah, the baby’s that awesome) of perfecting its bicep curls while slowing building its awesome and quickly growing sideburns.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this movie saved our marriage,” said John and Jane Q. Lonelysheets, a long-married couple from parts unknown. “All I know is we were stuck in a rut, banging our head against the metaphorical brick wall until we saw HorseCop and now we have to rush home to create several thousand babies.”

A ten minute sandwich-making montage really hit home with Madison native Zachary MacRostie. “I’d lost all faith in humanity’s ability to make a good sandwich,” MacRostie would later say, “and then I saw HorseCop and I knew all would be well in the morning. I mean to think… Officer Horse Cop uses the same kind of mustard I do? I cried for an hour.”


Big thanks to @stevieroxelle for the art design, which is simply breathtaking in its beauty. Another big thanks to @bradonweb for helping with character development.

See it now. NOW!

Wow, Lilja’s agent kinda sounds like a wanker

“I’ll be damned… long pants.”

Would you trust someone named Todd Diamond?

The answer is no, of course you wouldn’t because you’re not a cartoon character living in the 40’s. And you’d have several reasons to be skeptical of his every word – not that you’d hear most of his words while trying to follow the red card on 37th Street.

I’m not at all a fan of copying chunks of articles and interjecting my own thoughts in between, but there’s some magic to be made, so sit tight for a minute. Late Tuesday, Ansar Khan reports that it’s unlikely Andreas Lilja will be re-signed by the Red Wings. Not really Earth-shattering news, since we all half-expected it. It’s the details that contain a bevy of gems, unearthed under the Sea of Reject:

“Detroit hasn’t made any effort to sign him or talk to us,” Diamond said. “If they want to go in another direction, it’s their prerogative. There are plenty of other teams.”

Strong words. I was surprised to read such a thing — that’s a Maple Leafs thing to do, not a Red Wings thing to do. Oh, but wait a second.

“I made them an offer a month ago, and haven’t heard back from them.”

Kenny Holland says “say what, Diamond, you lying slut?” Diamond then launches into what we like to call a compliment sandwhich:

“He enjoyed his time (in Detroit),” Diamond said. “It was a great situation. He had plenty of friends on the team. The organization treated him well, especially when he had the concussion. They gave him all the time he needed. It’s a first-class organization. That’s why it doesn’t bother me they didn’t call.”

Boom. Nice thing to say…nice thing to say…nice thing to say…nice thing to say…nice thing to say… TOTAL FRAKKING, JAILSEXING LIE. Call me cynical, but I tend to believe Mr. Holland in this, as opposed to some Darryl. The madness continues:

“He’s looking for more than eight minutes a game,” Diamond said. “He knows his role. He doesn’t pretend to be anything he isn’t. He’d prefer to play 12 to 15 minutes a night.”

This line is followed immediately by…

Lilja averaged 14:08 in 20 games this past season. 

Nothing but net. So congratulations, Todd Diamond, you seem like someone I’d like very much to kick in the shins. And presumably you’re related to Screech, which is an automatic disqualification from life. I’ve grown to like Andreas Lilja, but if these are the characters he’s surrounding himself with, I wish him the best of luck logging 12 to 15 minutes in Atlanta, where he’ll back into the obscurity he enjoyed with Los Angeles and Florida.


Welcome to Trade Deadline Day! It’s like Christmas. But in March. Like Christmas, sometimes you get awesome gifts. Other times, you get Cory Cross. Them’s the breaks. 
TRADES COMPLETED BEFORE MARCH 3RD [actual NHL roster players only]:
Atlanta acquires Evgeny Artyukhin from Anaheim for Nathan Oystrick and a Conditional Pick

Chicago acquires Nick Boynton from Anaheim for Future Considerations

Nashville acquires Denis Grebeshkov from Edmonton for a 2nd Round Pick

Ottawa acquires Andy Sutton from the Islanders for a 2nd Round Pick

Pittsburgh acquires Jordan Leopold from Florida for a 2nd Round Pick
Pittsburgh acquires Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto for Luca Caputi and Martin Skoula