Monthly Archives: November 2013

NHL Pulse: Goaltending so far…

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The NHL season is a quarter of the way over, and after a weird, couple of months, we probably know less about our favorite teams than we thought we did back in September. Aside from the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks being their usual selves, everything else just doesn’t seem right. Who’d have thought the Colorado Avalanche would have more points than crazy Patrick Roy outbursts at this point in the season? Who could’ve seen Jaromir Jagr, at age 41, leading his team in scoring with 18 points while on the verge of breaking some records? What about the rise and fall of the New York Islanders, a promising young team in October to a mediocre one in November? On the flip side, you now have a Flyers team who is all of a sudden looking like a contender again. Ah, sports, am I right? You love it, you hate it, you want to throw a rabid chainsaw-wielding monkey at it, but at the end of the day, you love it. Another thing you gotta love about sports is how in any given season, there’s always a chance for new stars to shine, and so far in this young NHL season, a few unfamiliar names in goal have been shining the brightest.

Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

Former Ottawa Senator Ben Bishop has been a Godsend for the Tampa Bay Lightning this year. Once the understudy to Craig Anderson in Ottawa, Bishop was picked up by the Bolts late last year and has been giving them the solid goaltending the team needed ever since. With Stamkos recently placed on the IR, Bishop might be seeing more pucks, but that shouldn’t be a problem thanks to his 13 – 3 – 1 record, 2.20 goals-against average, and .926 save percentage.

Ben Scrivens, LA Kings

Ben Scrivens

Jonathan Quick, the Stanley Cup-winning goaltender for the LA Kings, was placed on the IR after suffering a groin muscle injury on November 12. Although his numbers up to that point were average at best, Quick was/is still a talented goaltender who is arguably the backbone of that team, especially during their Cup run in 2012. This past summer, the Kings ceded former backup Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and they received back up Ben Scrivens in return, which was a good (albeit strange given their previous goaltender’s performance last season) move for the Leafs but not so much for the Kings. Up to that point, Scrivens had only started 32 games total over two seasons, with a record of 11 – 14 – 2. Since filling in for Quick Scrivens has been sharp, shutting out the Devils and the Rangers back-to-back at the end of an east coast road trip, and owning a .927 save percentage and 1.37 goals-against average for the season. The LA Kings in turn haven’t missed a beat and are now 4 – 0 – 2 with Scrivens between the pipes.

Marek Mazanec, Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators were certainly dealt a rough hand after learning on October 22nd that their star goaltender Pekka Rinne was diagnosed with an infection in his hip. As of today, the Predators still don’t know when he will be back, as Rinne is reportedly still on crutches. The team first tried to fill the Rinne-shaped hole with Carter Hutton, but he wasn’t able to step up, sporting a 3.39 GAA. So, the team gave the rookie Marek Mazanec from Czechoslovakia a go, and so far, he seems to be the calming medicine the Preds needed. He’s been pretty solid so far: 3 – 1 in his last four starts, and he hasn’t allowed more than two goals in either of them. Manzanec now has a 2.32 GAA with a .929 save percentage. Perhaps the kid is onto something.

Cam Talbot, New York Rangers

Let’s face it: the New York Rangers were an awful hockey team at the beginning of the year. Their offensive woes continued over from last season, a normal solid defense was porous and error-prone, and even King Henrik himself was ordinary at best. While the Rangers certainly had legitimate excuses (i.e. new coach, new system, and a long-ass road trip against the NHL’s top teams in the west to begin the season), something just wasn’t right. Lundqvist had to sit out a few games with an undisclosed injury, and during that time, rookie Cam Talbot had to keep the king’s throne warm. During his first 6 starts in the NHL, the “Goal-buster” Talbot has been everything the Rangers could ask for (and more): 5 – 1 with a 1.32 goals-against average and .949 SV%. Not only that, but he was the first Rangers goaltender to shutout the Canadiens in Montreal since Ed Giacomin in February of 1967. Oh, and he recorded another shutout in his next start in Nashville on Saturday. Keep Cam and Talbot On, New York.

Sunday Drink Special: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

by Katherine Milsop

Chocolate stout cupcakes don’t fall under the category of drinks, per say, but sweet, boozy goodness is most assuredly baked into every bite. Really, every bite. There’s booze in the cake, the chocolate filling and the buttercream frosting.

Courtesy of Deb Perelman’s delicious food blog, Smitten Kitchen, these Irish Car Bomb cupcakes are heavenly and well worth the time and effort.

Stout of choice:

Guiness

Whiskey of choice:

Jura

A butter-stout soup, to be mixed with the cocoa powder when melted.

Naked cupcakes, cooling:

photo 3

An apple corer guts them perfectly:

photo 5

The result:

Irish Car Bomb Cupcake

Cheers!

Blood Red Shoes announce new song scavenger hunt

by Jeff Yerger

So, you don’t want to pay for new music? Fine, well British rockers Blood Red Shoes are at least going to make you work for it.

On their website, the duo announced a worldwide scavenger hunt starting December 1st for 10 QR codes (guess I’ll have to re-download that app I deleted) hidden within to-be-announced cities. Once these codes have been found, a new Blood Red Shoes song will be revealed and presumably, a new album will be announced.

But wait, there’s more! The first person to find the code in each city will win two free tickets for life to any Blood Red Shoes show (say wha?!). That’s pretty sweet freakin’ deal, especially since they’re fantastic live.

I gotta hand it to Blood Red Shoes. This is a pretty unique marketing campaign in a business that’s just starting to think outside of the box with pre-release promotion (see: Daft Punk, Arcade Fire, Kanye West). I hope this works out for the band, and I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open.

Here’s the full announcement:

On December 1st we’ll hide 10 different QR codes in 10 cities across the world. Each QR code is a key which will unlock part of our new song, and the song will only be revealed once all 10 codes have been found. The first person to find the code in each city will win TWO FREE TICKETS FOR LIFE to any BRS club show, and your facebook name and photo will show up on the front of our website to prove you got there first.

Keep your eyes peeled over the next few days as we reveal all the cities, then on December 1st we’ll release a set of clues, and it’s over to you….

More info here: http://www.bloodredshoes.co.uk/faq.html

The 5 Don’ts of Going to a Concert

Sign at a She and Him concert

Sign at a She and Him concert

by Jeff Yerger

Hey kids! Are you going to a concert? Will it be an arena show or are you going to see your favorite band play a small-ish venue? Raise your hand if this will be your first concert experience…one…two…t…too many to count. Ha! Well then, today’s your lucky day. I’m here to tell you all about the unwritten rules of going to a concert or show that’ll make your experience and everyone else’s around you enjoyable.

For those of you who HAVE been to a show before, listen up, because you’ve probably been doing it wrong. Like Fred Durst once said, it’s my way or the highway, so get those notebooks out and start take… what’s that?… who’s Fred Durst?… well, he was this guy who… he’s kinda like a… err… uh… never mind.

Let’s get on with the show. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll be able to rock out… the right way! Here are the “5 Don’ts of Going to a Concert”

Don’t take videos or pictures
My sister and I recently went to see Paramore and Metric play at Madison Square Garden; she wanted to see Paramore and I wanted to see Metric, so it worked out perfectly… oh, who am I kidding, I wanted to see Paramore too. Stop looking at me like that. Anyway, we get to our seats and Metric is ripping through “Help I’m Alive,” when suddenly the gaggle of girls decided it was the perfect time to send a Snapchat selfie to their preteen boyfriends. They then proceed to leave the flash on and retake the selfie, oh I don’t know, maybe, 20 TIMES!! Like OMG, RLY? Are you kidding me?

This is rule number one for a reason, folks. Technology is wonderful and amazing, but don’t abuse this privilege. Want to take one picture of the band playing? Fine, totally cool. I’m a big believer of having a memento for your experience at a show, whether it’s a ticket stub or a picture to record the memory, so one picture is fine with me. However, take another picture and you’ve just crossed the border into Jerksville, and you’re now the mayor.

And don’t even think about taking a video! When was the last time you watched a video you took at a show and thought, “Wow, that video came out well.” Guess what Steven Spielberg, they never do. So, you wasted 4 minutes of your time recording a video that later comes out like it was filmed by someone who drank WAY too much caffeine, and sounds like a tuba being played by a monkey underwater. Enough with the videos! Not only do your videos suck, but as you film, the people around you who might’ve actually come to the show to ENJOY the music, have to look around your stupid phone or iPad(!) to see the band.

Don’t text while standing front row or near the band. Actually, just don’t text at all.
This goes hand in hand with rule number one, but I’m not sure which one bothers me more. At a Fratellis show a few weeks ago, I saw a kid not two feet away from Jon Fratelli, staring down at his phone like a mindless zombie. Come on, dude. Here is a band, playing the crap out of the music they poured their blood, sweat, and tears into, just for YOU, and you’re looking down at your phone, not even giving the band an ounce attention. Unless Batman himself is at the other end of that text message asking you to save Gotham, go stand in the back and let the real fans gather at the front of the stage. Better yet, turn off your damn phone. Your bros can wait.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs also politely request no phone usage

Yeah Yeah Yeahs politely request no phone usage

Don’t shout out song requests unless prompted by band
You may think you’re helping or being funny, but you’re not. I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of this a few times before (put a couple beers in me, and I’ll write your whole setlist), but I’ve been working on stopping this habit. Unless the band asks the audience to shout out requests, don’t be a jerk and keep your song choices to yourself. Yes, the whole crowd at a Kings of Leon show wants to hear “Sex on Fire,” but maybe the band doesn’t want to play that until a little later in the set…or not tonight at all…or never again. Just let the songs come to you, maaan.

The problem is that this has been going on for decades, and we as audiences have seemed to accept this as part of the concert experience (thanks, “Freebird”). People will even yell out the names of old band members during shows. Do you know how much it must’ve pissed off Genesis every time they heard someone yell out “Where’s Peter Gabriel?” or “Bring back Gabriel!” at their shows (for the record, this was only uncalled for until Invisible Touch, which at that point, something had to be said)?

Don’t be that guy, people. I once was that guy, but not anymore. Be the change!

Don’t simply expect people to move out of your way just because you’re shorter than they are
Short people of the world, listen up. I’m sorry I’m taller than you, I really am, but guess what: I have just as much right as you do so see a band play. If I happen to park my bony behind in front of you, just ask me nicely if you could stand in front of me and odds are I’ll oblige. Just don’t simply expect me to move out of the way for you.

Let me give you an example. Back at the Fratellis show I mentioned earlier, my friends and I established a spot to stand in the middle of the crowd when all of a sudden we hear a snarky comment come from behind, “Oh! It’s not like I was standing here or anything.” The sarcasm was just oozing from every syllable. I turn around, and this girl and her boyfriend are standing behind us. She gives me this dirty look, as if I was supposed to know she’d show up behind me. (Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this was assigned seating. Oh wait, it’s general admission!) The boyfriend, who we ended up talking to was actually a nice guy, and we then told the couple it wouldn’t be a big deal if they went in front of us. The girlfriend still refused, like a spoiled little kid.

Look, if she had asked me to move ahead of me so she could see, I wouldn’t have been able to say no. Instead, her snobby attitude got her a permanent ticket standing behind the pillar of Jeff. So, kids, don’t be rude. Friendliness can go a long way.

Don’t be an idiot.
This one’s a no-brainer, really (unless, that is, you’re an idiot and you missed the whole “having-a-brain” thing. In which case, the Paramore girls are still working on their selfies over there). Don’t throw anything. Don’t act like a drunken fool. Be respectful of those around you. Be respectful to the band. No yapping if a softer song is being performed. No hitting. No biting… what am I, your 1st grade teacher? You get the idea.

There you have it, kiddos. If you want a good, healthy, and fruitful concert experience, follow the “don’ts.” Fewer distractions = better concert experience. Put that phone down, and immerse yourself in the sound. Let the music wrap around you, move you, and make you forget about the outside world for a little while. That’s what going to a concert is all about. While you may not be in the band itself, you can still be part of the show.

Seen Your Video: Bob Dylan – “Like A Rolling Stone” Interactive Music Video

Bob-dylan-video

by Jeff Yerger

Stop what you’re doing right now, and take a few minutes to play with Bob Dylan’s new interactive video for “Like A Rolling Stone.”

Usually, I don’t get too hyped about interactive videos because they tend to… well… suck. But Dylan, once again, is ahead of the game and made a truly fun music video.

It’s totally surreal, and as a friend of mine pointed out, there are these great moments in there, like watching Drew Carey sing “and say do you want to make a deal,” or catching the house re-modelers singing “how does it feel to be without a home.”

So, don’t be shy; take that remote, the power is yours. Go head, flip through the channels; see what else is on TV.

Random Playlist: 11/18/13

Here are five random songs we’ve been digging lately:

Cults – “I Can Hardly Make You Mine”

The Fratellis – “Halloween Blues”

Kanye West – “Hold My Liquor”

The Replacements – “Favorite Thing”

Rilo Kiley – “Portions for Foxes”

Sunday Night Soother

by Katherine Milsop

The Old Fashioned.

While the drink may conjure cliche visions of ad men in fedoras hunched over a smoky, cherry-wood bar, it can be a smooth, delicious soother sure to please any palate when mixed right. So here is a blend to get you through the week, or at least keep you warm on a chilly fall night. And go ahead, dive after a few cherries. You deserve it, toots.

Start with a “lowball” glass. I use small glass tumbler that used to hold Nutella. Whatever works.

Add the sugar, preferably Simple syrup. It’s just one part sugar and one part water brought to a boil in a saucepan. For this drink, I add cinnamon to the syrup. And in my experience, syrup works better than granulated sugar or a sugar cube.

Sugar

Bitters offer a little spice. My Grandma put Angostura in bundt cakes. It works here, too. Just a dash to taste.

Pour about 2 oz. of your whiskey or bourbon of choice. I happened to have Jura on hand, so it’s top shelf tonight! But Jim Beam also works.

Jura

Add an ice cube or two for that satisfying “clink” in the glass.

Swirl. Garnish with an orange peel, if you desire, or a cherry.

Old Fashioned