The Odd Couple, Episode 22: The Puppet Master

Interior, the Chicago Blackhawks dressing room inside the United Center after their morning skate the day before their Conference Final series against the Los Angeles Kings is scheduled to start.  The media has left and the players are sitting at their stalls talking, joking and getting out of their gear. Patrick Kane is chatting with Brandon Bollig in the stall next to him.

Kaner [To Bollig]: Bro, did you know that the Kings coach is into fisting?

Bollig: Who, Sutter?

Kaner: Yeah bro. I saw it for myself one time.

Bollig: You saw Darryl Sutter getting fisted?

Kaner: Yeah, bro.  Some dude was elbow deep inside him.

Bollig: The fuck?

Kaner: Junior hockey in London, bro. Dude came to scout me. Went up to meet him in his hotel suite for an interview and the door was kinda open or whatever and I knocked and went in there and he was bent over the bed in the room with some bro elbow deep inside him.


Michael Handzus [To Marian Hossa in Slovak]: Bollig strikes me as the type of fellow who might do well in the carnival industry. Guessing the weight of the common folk as they pass by his stand in the midway. Or perhaps as a ticket-taker at the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Hossa [To Handzus]: While I agree with your point that his natural element is in the carnival, I see him more as a sideshow oddity, "Come see the the only known hominid specimen from St. Louis, Missouri known to speak in complete sentences!" or some such variation upon that theme. But I heartily agree with your sentiment that he should be relegated to a traveling carnival where the country folk could pay a nickel to see him in a cage. A wonderful thing to consider.

Handzus and Hossa laugh together for a couple of moments.

Patrick Sharp [To Ben Smith]: What's Bollig shouting about?

Ben Smith [To Sharp]: Something about fisting Darryl Sutter? I'm not sure.

Sharp: I never did understand why Stan gave him that extension.

Smith: He told me he buys a thousand dollars worth of Skoal every week. Says you never know if your next game will be your last and if it is you want to be sure to have enough dip on hand to get you through the lean times.

Sharp: Sound thinking.

Corey Crawford [To Nick Leddy]: You know how they play that Tool song Stinkfist sometimes during games?

Leddy [To Crawford]: Yeah?

Crawford. That song's about fisting.

Leddy: It is?

Crawford: Yeah, man. Check out the lyrics sometime. Pretty creepy.

Leddy: Huh. Why do they play a song about fisting during games?

Crawford: Dunno. It's weird.

Leddy: Bollig is always asking me to smell his fingers.

Crawford: Me too but Tazer says that when he does that I should just tell him I can't because it messes up with me tending goal properly. Seems to work.

Leddy: Lucky. I actually have to smell his fingers and they always smell like a dog's fart.

Crawford: Sorry, man. That sucks.

Leddy: It really does.

Marcus Kruger [To Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson in Swedish]: Why are the Cubs so shitty?

Oduya: I think it's because their owners are carrying too much of a debt load from the overly-leveraged sale from the Tribune Company so they're broke and now all they can do is sell the fan base hope with all these minor leaguers that won't even make the show for another year or two. Plus they got themselves into a tight spot with the rooftop owners and they seem to be banking on a new cable tv deal sometime in the next few years but there is no guarantee that they will reap the same kind of lucrative contract that the Dodgers were able to procure a couple years ago. Can't even get a shovel in the ground to renovate the stadium.

Hammer: Their PR department really is a tire fire too. First they chuck all of those get well cards for Ron Santo in the garbage then they toss that cake in the dumpster and now they put up a mural outside Wrigley showing Charles Lindbergh landing at the stadium as some sort of celebration after his trans-Atlantic journey in 1927. Except that didn't happen at Wrigley, it happened at Comiskey.

Kruger: Why don't they spend more money on replcement level players at least and maybe they could be at least be competitive. It's embarrassing. I don't know how they can explain this to their season ticket holders.

Oduya: It's a travesty.

Duncan Keith [To Brent Seabrook]: Beer me.

Seabrook tosses Keith a Kokanee from a small cooler in his stall and opens one for himself. They clink their cans together in a silent toast.

Jonathan Toews steps into the middle of the room to address the team. The room falls silent.

Tazer: Just to set the record straight, Darryl Sutter is not a sexual deviant. 


Tazer [Staring hard at Bollig]: Darryl Sutter was a proud Blackhawk player and coach and deserves our utmost respect. But to be clear he does have a rare medical condition that explains what Patrick saw in that hotel room in London.

Kaner [Aloud]: I bet he just likes to get his prostate milked when he's punching the clown. Pretty standard. Is that it, Tazer? He likes to get his prostate milked?

Tazer: No. Darryl is actually a muppet.

Gasps can be heard from all over the dressing room.

Tazer: It's true. He was created in Jim Henson's workshop sometime in the late 1960's. He requires a puppeteer to move and speak and that is what Kaner saw, the puppeteer just doing his job.

Kaner: Do you think he knows Janice cuz I would like to fuck her.

Tazer: As she is constructed from felt, it would not be possible to engage in coitus with Janice.

Kaner: Speak for yourself, bro.

Kruger raises his hand and gestures at Hammer and Oduya: We would like to meet the Swedish chef, if possible.

Hossa [Aloud]: I should like meeting Grover.

Seabrook [Aould]: Duncs and I want to meet Bert and Ernie.

Keith nods silently.

Sharp [Aloud]: Smitty and I would like to meet Statler and Waldorf.

The noise level in the room increases dramatically as the guys start talking about their favorite muppet characters.

Tazer: Gentlemen!

The room quiets down.

Tazer: Let's focus on the game tomorrow. You must put aside your fascination with muppets for the next two weeks and remember that even though we beat this team last year in the playoffs, they had a lot of injuries.  It won't be so easy this year. We have the home ice advantage so let's go out there tomorrow and play our game and take care of business!

Genreal cheering and yelling in the room.

Tazer [Above the noise]: And after we beat LA, I'll take you all to meet Kermit this summer.

Room goes crazy.

The End

You can follow me on Twitter @nCornick for additional stupidity.



The Odd Couple, Episode 21: The Mad Scientist

Interior, the subterranean bunker/laboratory of Minnesota Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov is hunched over a workbench soldering something under a magnifying glass.

Bryzgalov [Talking to himself in thickly Russian-accented English]: Work, work, work. Never time for family or other  hobbies such as tulip farm or C-B radio or swimming with dolphins or cloning pre-historic goats. I am wishing upon a star that I may be finishing these explosive android pucks before the sun peeks his brow above the horizon and winks at me. 

Pauses to blow away a wisp of smoke from the soldering iron and examine his creation.

Bryz: Good morning, Dimitri.

The android puck on the bench in front of Bryzgalov beeps at him three times.

Bryz: It is me, Ilya Bryzgalov, your master. 

The android puck beeps again three times in acknowledgment.

Bryz: You are being a charming fellow and I am believing that you maybe will be the child who is performing the best at exploding in the faces of Toews and Kane and making them unplayable or maybe even dead then we go to Los Angeles and poison all of the King hockey club with Polonium which I shall fit into their chicken breast buffet while distracting them with disco music. 

The android puck beeps again three times in acknowledgment.

Bryz: Haha! Yes, Dimitri, I hear you. I know you are hungry.

Bryzgalov proceeds to smear a liberal quantiy of cream cheese all over the android puck.

Bryz: Cream cheese has the fullness of calcium which young Dimitris are needing to make their circuits strong and good! Alexei!

From somewhere deep within the bunker a huge roar can be heard then a moment later an impossibly large albino Siberian tiger emerges into the laboratory.  It stands a full six feet tall at the shoulder and is wearing a saddle and battle harness which Bryzgalov has modeled after He-Man's Battle Cat.

Bryz [To Alexei]: Ah, Alexei my friendliest cat. I was put to thinking about parallel universes last night and I was thoughtful about the chance of me being vampire violinist in another dimension. Oh, the joy of making music notes float while drinking blood of virgin womens. Also was put to thinking about had you been born tadpole instead of tiger. What then, eh Alexei? Do vampires ride the backs of humongous big frogs with harness for battle? I am being pretty sure you may leap the Wall of Greatness in China with one jump should you have been born frog not tiger. I am to mount you now then we will be away to the communications room. Dimitri, to me!

Dimitri, the android hockey puck slowly rises off the workbench as dozens of microscopic thrusters push it airborne. After hovering for a moment, Dimitri shoots through the air and stops inches in front of Bryzgalov's face. Bryzgalov mounts the giant tiger and the android puck follows them out of the laboratory at a gallop.

Bryz [Finishing a thought aloud as Alexei walks into the communications room]: ...And that is why I was changing the name of pet unicorn from Larry to Sputnik hahaha!

Dimitri, the android puck beeps three times in acknowoledgment. Bryz plucks Dimitri out of the air and licks some of the cream chesse off it. Bryz dismounts and walks toward a bank of Soviet-era mainframe computers. The keyboards are in cyrillic.

Bryz: Sasha! Awaken!

The bank of computers whir to life.

Bryz: Sasha, show me photograph of vampire riding horseback on frog!

Bryz: I say vampire on back of frog and you are showing me frog on back of beetle.

Bryz [Exasperated]: Vampire on back of zebra. Wrong, Sasha.


Bryz [Aside to Dimitri]: Dimitri, take note. Research cowboy monkeys for use in future puppet show productions.

Dimitri, the android puck beeps three times in acknowoledgment.

Bryz: Fuck you, Sasha.

Bryz: Dog on pony.

Bryz: Koala on dog.

Bryz: Wombat on tortise?

Bryz: Cowboy hamster riding guinea pig like horse. ENOUGH! Sasha, dial Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia appears on a computer monitor in front of Bryz.

Putin: Progress report, agent Bryzgalov.

Bryz: Exploding adroid puck is green light for game one in Chicago, Mr. President.

Putin: Excellent. And the other project?

Bryz: Yes, I have just finished the editing.

Putin: Show me.

Bryz: Sasha play Project X. 


Putin: Superb. SUPERB! I will roll this out as the centerpiece for my next campaign. You have the thanks of a grateful nation, agent Bryzgalov.

The screen goes black.

Bryz: Putz. But now important matters are requiring of my attentiveness. I must be making my way to the flea circus where I am to commence in training the bugs in marching in formation of the glorious Minnesota Wild logo while in the meantime they play my favorite Andy Williams song Moon River on the very tiny orchestral instruments I have fashioned for the beasts with the use of the nanotechnology I was developing on vacation in the eighth dimension not but perhaps thirteen weeks ago this Tuesday.

Dimitri, the android puck beeps three times in acknowledgment.

Bryz mounts Alexei and they gallop out of the communications room as Dimitri whizzes after them down a corridor to a door marked "Flea Circus". Inside the room, Bryz takes up a conductor's wand and taps it three times on a podium.

Bryz: Attention please! Dimitri, the music!

A tinny version of Moon River becomes audible from speakers built into Dimitri as Bryz starts to rhythmically wave the wand in front of him. Just then the door behind Bryz silently opens.

Kaner [To Bryz]: The game is up, bro.

Tazer [To Bryz]: Put down the wand, Ilya.

Bryz turns around with madness in his eyes.

Kaner [To Tazer]: He's crazy, bro!

Tazer: Poor fool. He lost his mind years ago.

Tazer [To Rinkesh, Tazer and Kaner's faithful valet]: Rinkesh, disable the android puck hovering just near Ilya's ear then collect any worthwhile data from the communications room we passed.

Rinkesh fires a sidearm that seems to emit some kind of electromagnetic field causing Dimitri to fall harmlessly to the floor. Rinkesh then leaves Tazer and Kaner alone in the room with Bryz.

Kaner [To Bryz]: Why you wanna kill us, bro?

Bryz [Eyes spinning wildly in his head]: President Putz' orders, termite.

Tazer: I should have known Putin was behind this. 

Bryz: Putz.

Tazer: Indeed.

Kaner: Is that a flea circus, bro?

Bryz [Waving behind him]: My insectoid beasts of music and sentience.

Kaner: They know any Buffett?

Bryz: They learned of recently Boat Drinks.

Kaner: Bro!

Bryz [Aloud to the flea circus]: Boat Drinks by request for the dwarf Kane.


Kaner proceeds to do the Kaner Shuffle as the flea circus band plays.

Tazer: Enough of this nonsense. Ilya, I'm going to give you a shot now. I hope it will clear up most of your madness.

Tazer walks over to Bryz and stabs his upper arm with a syringe.

Tazer: We'll see you tonight at the United Center.

Kaner: Thanks for the song, bro. Here's a brew for you and your pterodactyls.

Kaner pulls a can of PBR from his cargo shorts and tosses it to Bryz.

Bryz: They are being fleas not pterodactyls.

Kaner: Whatever, bro.

The End

For more stupidity like this you can follow me on Twitter @nCornick.


The Odd Couple, Episode 20: The Great Peanut Butter Caper

Haven't blogged since January of 2013. Haven't fired up the Odd Couple machine since (winces) November 11, 2011, a scant 887 days ago by my math. So consider this episode of the Odd Couple my offering to the Hockey Gods for this playoff season. I am humbled.

Interior. Tazer and Kaner are eating breakfast inside their suite at a downtown St. Louis hotel in advance of the Blackhawks first round playoff series against the Blues.  Tazer is wearing grey flannel pajamas with his initials embroidered over the left breast pocket.  He is alternating between reading that morning's edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch while eating half of a hollowed out cantaloupe filled with cottage cheese and a bowl of oatmeal.  Kaner is wearing his Despicable Me minions pajamas and is eating a bowl of Franken-berry cereal and a glass of Nesquik Strawberry Milk. Kaner and Tazer's faithful valet, Rinkesh, a 12 year-old boy Kaner purchased several years ago is nearby ironing one of Master Toews' dress shirts.

Kaner [To Tazer, through a mouthful of Franken-berries]: Bro, I know who did that.

Tazer [To Kaner, distractedly from behind his newspaper]: Did what, Patrick?

Kaner: Stole all that peanut butter, bro.

Tazer [Lowers a corner of his paper and raises an eyebrow at Kaner from behind his reading glasses]: What peanut butter would you be referring to, Patrick?

Kaner [Gesturing at the front page of Tazer's paper]: The peanut butter on the front of your paper, bro!

Tazer folds his paper in half and examines the front page.

Tazer: Are you that advanced in your reading lessons, Patrick? I'm proud of you.  I didn't think you had advanced much beyond your ABC's by this point.

Rinkesh [Looking up from his ironing]: Oh, Master Toews! Master Kane has progressed wonderfully since you set me to teaching him his letters.

Kaner: Yeah, bro. I can even spell my name now.

Tazer: Very good, Patrick. And well done, Rinkesh. So what was it you were saying about this peanut butter nonsense?

Kaner: I know who stole that shit.

Tazer looks at the front page again. He had only read the headline while skimming the front page earlier. It read: Massive Peanut Butter Theft. Tazer quickly read the whole story.

St. Louis - In a daring day-time robbery yesterday, two armed men took control of a local Peter Pan peanut butter manufacturing facility and escaped with approximately ten thousand jars of creamy peanut butter.

After collecting all of their cell phones, the perpetrators reportedly forced the forty-two Peter Pan employees on duty at the time of the robbery into a large walk-in refrigerator at gun point and locked them inside. Approximately thirty minutes later, two employees were able to break open the refrigerator door. Upon exiting the refrigerator, Duane Roscoe, the plant manager, discovered that two semi-trailers, each loaded with five thousand jars of creamy peanut butter, were gone from the loading dock.  Mr. Roscoe estimated the retail value of the stolen peanut butter at $25,000.

Lieutenant John Buford of the St. Louis Police Department said that detectives were reviewing video footage of the events and described the robbers as both dressed in black shirts and pants with black ski masks over their faces. Buford went on to describe one as very tall and broad and the other shorter and slighter in stature.

"We are urging any members of the public with information related to this incident to come forward," Buford added.

If you have any information related to this case, please contact the St. Louis Police Department at.....

Tazer [Looking back up at Kaner from the newspaper]: Please tell me that you weren't involved in this crime, Patrick.

The words "...the other shorter and slighter in stature." raced through Tazer's mind.

Kaner: C'mon, bro. You know that I only use the peanut butter and jelly combo shit for my PB and J sandos.

Rinkesh: Master Kane prefers his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches served on Wonder Bread with the crusts removed and cut into triangular halves.

Kaner: Fuckin' A, Rinks.

Tazer: Of course, forgive me for impugning your character, Patrick.

Kaner: I impugned your mom last night, bro. She loved it.

Tazer: I'm sure.

Kaner: Spermed her up.

Tazer: You repulse me.

Tazer resumes reading the paper.

Kaner: Don't you wanna know who hijacked the peanut butter trucks, bro?

Tazer: No.

Kaner [To Rinkesh]: New nickname for my cock, Rinks. The peanut butter truck. Write that down.

Rinkesh: Of course, sir.

Rinkesh scribbles in a notebook.

Kaner [To Tazer]: It was Backes, bro.

Tazer [Lowers his paper again and looks at Kaner]: I beg your pardon?

Kaner: Backes, bro. Shoulda seen all the empty peanut butter jars in that dude's room in Sochi.

Tazer: David Backes?


Tazer: I'm not listening to any more of this poppycock. David Backes is a fine, if perhaps a bit neandrathalic, captain, as well as a god-fearing and charitable man.

Kaner [To Rinkesh]: New nickname for my dong. The Poppy Cock. Got that?

Rinkesh: Indeed I do sir.

Rinkesh scribbles in his notebook again.

Kaner [To Tazer]: It was Peter Pan too. A whole suitcase of Pan Pan Peanut Butter, bruh.

Tazer: Have you considered that peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and that David was merely ensuring that he had an adequate supply on hand as there was no guarantee of finding his preferred brand of peanut butter in Russia? As I consider it further, I doubt the communist mind has even conceived of peanut butter. I commend David on his forethought.

Kaner: Pretty sure Backes jacked those trucks, bro. You ever see Peter Pan, bro?

Tazer [Sighing]: I believe I saw the animated film as a child, yes. 

Tazer reflects for a moment.

Tazer: When I think about Peter Pan, I seem to remember a thoroughly sensible father character.

Kaner [Aghast]: Mr. Darling?!

Tazer [Snapping his fingers] Yes! Mr. Darling! I quite enjoyed his commanding presence as well as his firm hand while dealing with several unruly children. Not unlike my role as a captain.

Kaner: Mr. Darling is a black belt cock-knocker, you dip shit. He doesn't even believe in Peter Pan for fuck's sake!

Tazer [Concerned]: Patrick, do you believe in Peter Pan?

Kaner: We hang out every time I drink absinthe.

Tazer: I've told you not to consume that filthy beverage. It will rot your mind.

Kaner: If I could only get small enough, I would love to fuck Tinkerbell.

Tazer [Setting his paper down]: I'm going to take a shower.

Tazer gets up and leaves the room.

Kaner [Yelling at Tazer as he leaves]: He plays here in St. Louis, how about that, fuck face? It's all connected!

Tazer [Yelling from the bathroom]: You are delusional, Patrick!

Kaner [To Rinkesh]: If I got small enough to fuck Tinkerbell, I wouldn't want my cock to shrink too though. You know what I'm saying, Rinks?

Rinkesh: Perfectly, sir.


 * * *

The following is a text message exchange between Kaner and Backes later in the morning.

Kaner: bro

Backes: dude

Kaner: how it hangin

Backes: long & 2 left

Kaner: sweet

Backes: sup?

Kaner: i no wut u did

Backes: wut i do?

Kaner: tuc p nut buttr trux!

Backes: haha gud 1 dude. Osh-dawg told me storie this morn. We laffed. lol.

Kaner: i no u tooc p nut buttr!

Backes: y u bustn my balls dude?

Kaner: not ball bustn gunna call cops on u

Backes: dudebro calm down - how bowt u come to my house today and we watch lady and the tramp. u like that?

Kaner: i like teh tramp cuz he iz skruffie.

Backes: & i sho u my new puppie!

Kaner: ok

Backes: sweet


* * *


Later that afternoon. Interior. The movie room in the basement David Backes' house. Lady and th Tramp has just ended.

Kaner [Sniffling and wiping away tears]: Good cartoon, bro.

Backes: I know, dude. Can't believe you thought I stole all that peanut butter. Why would you think that? You hurt my feelings.

Kaner: Cuz you always had so much peanut butter in Sochi, bro.

Backes: Ah. Yes. Sochi. You were never meant to see that, Patrick.

Kaner: Bro?

Backes: Perhaps you would like to see my newest puppy?

Kaner [Confused]: Yeah I guess but hey, why you talking like half-a-fag Tazer now.

Backes [Under his breath to himself]: Toews is half a fag. I'll take care of him later.

Backes [Aloud to Kaner]: This is my natural speaking voice, Patrick. No more need for pretense at this point. Follow me.

Backes leads Kaner out of the movie room down a  hallway into a utility room. Pausing at an electrical panel, Backes opens the panel door and flips a switch witch opens a small secret door just to the right of Backes.

Kaner [Excitedly]: A secret passage, bro?

Backes: Just so. Now follow me, Patrick.

The passage is actually a narrow set of stairs leading down and illuminated by a buzzing bank of fluorescent tubes. At the bottom of the stairs is another small door. Backes unlocks this door with a set of keys from his pocket. Kaner can hear the barking of what sounds like several dogs behind the door. As Backes unlocks and opens the door, the barking becomes overwhelmingly loud and the musty air is heavy with the smell of dog food, dog waste, and peanut butter. Kaner turns to try and run back up the stairs but Backes is used to this reaction and whips around in time to grab Kaner's jacket and haul him down into the dog dungeon. The much larger Backes tosses Kaner face down onto the cold concrete floor. Backes closes the door to the staircase behind him.

Backes [Shouting above the barking dogs]: What do you think of my play pen, Patrick?

Kaner lifts his head off the cold floor and looks around.  It's a long, low concrete shoe box of a place. Maybe a hundred feet long and fifty feet wide. The ceiling must only be seven feet tall. One of the long walls is lined with dog kennels. There must be at least twenty with a howling dog in each one. Across from the wall are countless boxes of Peter Pan brand Peanut Butter.  There are empty peanut butter jars scattered on the floor throughout the room.  There are also leashes and several different odd looking chairs.


Backes: It's my play pen, Patrick, as I said. This is where I come to love my animals. And where they love me back.

Kaner [Screaming from his knees]: DOG FUCKER!!!

Backes: Sometimes. Sometimes I pleasure them manually, sometimes orally, sometimes vaginally, sometimes anally. It all depends on the mood. What I enjoy the most, however is receiving oral pleasure from my beautiful beasts. Hence the peanut butter.

Backes takes a dog chain off the wall and loops it around Kaner's neck while he is still on his knees.

Backes [Shouting]: Let's go now, Patrick and I will introduce you to my two newest canines which I was lucky enough to rescue from Russia and bring home with me.


Backes: She isn't my wife. I bought her from a fellow in Canada several years ago. Indeed, Kelly is merely a house slave. Come along now.

Backes kicks Kaner lightly in the ribs as he leads Kaner down the row of kennels on his hands and knees.

Backes: Ah, here we are. Sasha and Vladimir. My lovelies.

Both dogs are barking madly as Backes and Kaner approach their kennels. Backes takes his keys out again, unlocks both kennel doors and lets the dogs run out in the dungeon.

Kaner: What are you going to do with me, dog-fucker?

Backes: I will let Vladimir have you from behind. Then perhaps you'll take oral pleasure from Sasha, yes? You're a small man, Patrick so I will have to make some adjustments to my chairs for you. Then I anticipate eviscerating you, letting the beasts eat your entrails for dinner tonight, then finally I will tan your hide and turn it into a summer dress for Kelly. That will be a nice project to work on during the playoffs to get my mind off work. Without you, the Blues shall triumph in the first round and go on to hoist Lord Stanley's chalice in June. How does that sound, eh? I will enjoy serving my animals kibble from the Cup this summer.

Kaner: Go fuck yourself.

Backes: No, Patrick, that's what the dogs are for.

A short time later Kaner is strapped into position on one of the oddly shaped pieces of furniture. He is bent forward at the waist and Backes is pulling Kaner's pants down around his ankles. Backes has positioned Vladimir the dog on a small platform above Kaner's butt.

Backes: I won't lube you up. Vladimir is quite a small animal. I expect you'll accept him relatively easily. Let me prepare him for you properly for you first though.

Kaner hears a popping sound as Backes unscrews the lid off a fresh jar of peanut butter then several minutes pass as all Kaner hears are various slurps, barks, and moans. Eventaully Kaner feels a jostling on the platform behind him.

Backes: Here we are then. I'll just guide him into you then, shall I?

At this point, the small door Backes and Kaner had entered the Dungeon through bursts open as Tazer and Rinkesh appear. Startled, Backes turns around and locks eyes with Tazer.

Backes: Jonathan.

Tazer: David.

Backes: I've been looking forward to this day.

Tazer: As have I.

Kaner [To Tazer]: HE'S A DOG FUCKER, BRO!

Tazer: So I see. Rinkesh, get Patrick out of that...thing.

Rinkesh unstraps Kaner from the harness while Backes and Tazer circle each other. 

Tazer: It's over, David.

Backes: Is it?

More quickly than Kaners' eyes could follow, Backes produces a long-bladed knife from somewhere on his person and dives forward as if to bury in Tazer's chest. The knife jams hard against something underneath Tazer's clothes as Backes' hand is sliced open with the jolt.

Backes: I...I don't understand.

Tazer: I know, David. Perfection is a hard lesson to learn.

Tazer slowly unbuttons his shirt to reveal the glint of his titanium skeleton to Backes under the surface of the knife's cut.

Backes [Choking]: Cyborg!

Tazer [With a wink to Backes]: Made in Manitoba, dog-fornicator.

The dungeon is then swarmed by federal agents and animal control officers as Kaner is led upstairs.

Kaner [To Tazer]: You saved me, bro! I about to get fucked by a Russian dog cock!

Tazer: Never fear, brother mine. Now let us go into this good night and wreak vengeance upon the Blues of St. Louis, a rather backwards community which I've found to be over-populated by alcoholic hill jacks.



For additional stupidity you can follow me on Twitter @nCornick


Your 2013 Chicago Blackhawks Season Preview/Post-Lockout/Game of Thrones Extravaganza!

Annnnnnd, I'm back.  Only been five months.  Miss me?  Didn't think so.

Last year I used Harry Potter for the season preview. This year I am going with Game of Thrones, AKA A Song of Ice and Fire. (GOT is actually the name of the first book in the series so ASOIAF is a bit more appropriate when referring to the whole series...but...whatever.)

I have read all the books (five of a planned seven) and watched the first two seasons of the HBO series.  Obviously by reading the books I know things that are going to happen to a lot of the characters that you wouldn't know if you only watched the HBO series.  With that in mind I did my best to keep my descriptions vague so as not to spoil anything for you TV-only people, which I assume is the vast majority.  Also,  I used illustrations for the characters that I found online rather than the actors from the TV show.  I don't like being forced to imagine a character based on an actor's physical appearance.  I like to use my imagination so that's why I decided to do it that way.

If you haven't read the books, I highly recommend them.  They provide so much more depth and context than they are able to fit into the TV show.  I still like what HBO has done with it but the universe George R.R. Martin has created is so huge and has so many characters that it is really hard to work all the subtleties and nuances into a TV show.  Stuff gets lost.

I was planning on posting this on Friday 1/18, the day before the first game of the season. Unfortunately I came down with pneumonia last week and that just knocked me on my ass.  I highly recommend never catching pneumonia if you can arrange it.

I'm not sure what my plan for this blog is going forward.  I would like to think that I will be posting somewhat regularly during the hockey season.  At least I will if I think I have anything interesting to say. Follow me on Twitter if you care and I will link to whatever new stuff I post there.

I broke this down into two parts. The first part is all Blackhawks players and personnel.  The second part is all non-Hawks players and NHL/league people.  Enjoy!


Jonathan Toews is...

Danerys Targaryen

Each is the most important character in their respective story and the plots cannot move forward unless they advance them.  Danerys is the mother of dragons and slaves.  Tazer is the metaphorical father of the team.  He's the daddy-captain. Did you see the pictures of him running practices during the lockout? It's just what he does, it's etched into his DNA.  I like to imagine someone else trying to run a practice and Tazer proceeding to stare them to death.

It's easy to forget how young Danerys and Tazer are.  Danerys is only fourteen in the books (guess HBO isn't cool with depicting a 14 year-old getting mounted by a much older Khal Drogo...) and Tazer is only twenty-four.  In hockey terms, he's still three to five years away from his prime. 

The main difference between these two is that Tazer has already been to the top of the mountain. The question is: was that a one time thing or can he put a team on his back and take them to the promised land one or two more times before he's done?  Danerys is still earning how to weild her power and is yet to achieve her dream of sitting upon the Iron Throne.

The Money Quote: "When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me.  We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground.  Turn us away and we will burn you first."

Patrick Sharp is...

Ser Loras Tyrell 

Because they're the finest physical example of the male form in both fiction and real life. Or so I understand. That's where any comparison of these two must begin anyway. Sharp is one of Chicago's Most Beautiful People.  Ser Loras is known as the Knight of Flowers.  Women swoon after him wherever he goes.  They dampen the ladies' smallclothes is what I'm trying to say. (Disclaimer: In the books there are oblique references to Loras' sexual orientation and a possible clandestine relationship with Renly Baratheon; In the television show there is no ambiguity, Loras and Renly are shown to be lovers....but I digress.)

On a less superficial level, we must acknowledge that both of these guys are the balls in combat.  Sharp was the Hawks best and most dependable forward last year and is vastly underrated in the discussion of best offensive players in the league.  There is nothing really underrated about Loras. He is a member of the Kingsguard. He wins tourneys left and right and is considered one of, if not the best all-around knights in Westeros.

The Money Quote: [Jaime Lannister about Loras] "He is me, Jaime realized suddenly.  I was speaking to myself as I was, all cocksure, arrogant, and empty chivalry.  This is what it does to you to be too good, too young."

Marian Hossa is...

Khal Drogo

Khal Dogo is the baddest motherfucker to have sprung forth from the mind of George R.R. Martin thus far in a Song of Ice and Fire.  Nothing stands before him and the only player on the Hawks worthy of the comparison is my main man, my favorite Hawk, Boss Hoss, Marian Hossa.

Snappin' necks and cashin' checks is what they do.  When you are reading about or watching Drogo you can feel the power glowing off the page and screen.  He is pure animal-warrior.  No thought, just movement and action.  Instinct.  And that's what it feels like when I'm watching Hossa when he's on his game, just toying with the opposition because he's just so much better than everyone else on the ice. Whatever.  I'll admit it.  My Hossa man-crush is one degree shy of becoming Loras/Renly-esque.

If I'm comparing these two though, I can't get out of here without mentioning something rather unfortunate.  Both Hoss and Drogo were brought low by treachery.  Hossa by the mindless cruelty of Raffi Torres and Drogo by the blood magic of Mirri Maz Durr.

Hossa, like Tazer needs to avoid being concussed again this season if the Hawks are going to have any success.

PS: If anyone in the Hawks front office is even thinking about buying out Hoss next summer, I'm gonna find them and do THIS.  Beware.

UPDATE: Hoss checks in with a goal and two assists in the first game of the season. Boom!

The Money Quote: "I will rape their women, take their children as slaves, and bring their golden gods back to Vaes Dothrak."

Patrick Kane is...

Syrio Forel

Kaner is a more important character to the Blackhawks than Syrio Forel is to A Song of Ice and Fire but I couldn't figure out anyone else who matched up with Kaner so well.  Forel is a water dancer, a philosopher, and as the former First Sword of Braavos, he is the ultimate swordsman.

I love how Martin writes Forel.  His constant use of the third person to refer to both himself and the person he is speaking to is very entertaining.  

The comparison with Kaner is based solely on their pure skill levels.  I've seen it written before that Kaner is the Hawks most skilled player since Denis Savard.  For all of his off-ice exploits and being pushed into roles that don't suit him *cough*center*cough* it can be easy to forget how supremely talented the kid actually is when he is allowed to do what he does: make plays.  He is the Blackhawks water dancer and their first sword. 

The Money Quote: "Just so.  Opening your eyes is all that is needing.  The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes are true.  Look with your eyes.  Hear with your ears.  Taste with your mouth. Smell with your nose.  Feel with your skin.  Then comes the thinking, afterward, and in that way knowing the truth."

The Money Quote No. 2: "There is only one god, and His name is Death.  And there is only one thing we say to Death: 'Not today.'"

The Money Quote No. 3: "The Frist Sword of Braavos does not run."

Dave Bolland is...

Petyr Baelish AKA Littlefinger

There is the Game of Thrones and then there are the games within the Game of Thrones. These two are the masters of the games within the game.  Manipulation and psychology are where they make their bones. 

It's the work that Bolland does between the whistles that makes him special.  Like Baelish, he is slight of build and tends to rely more on his cunning than whatever his physical gifts may be.  He'll fuck with the other teams' mind then annoyingly back it up with a great skill play.  Even in moments of success however, he betrays nothing.  Are you familiar with his post-goal serial killer stare?

He is The Rat.

If Petyr Baelish's nickname was not Littlefinger, it could easily be The Rat.  Just look at him.  He is so god damned sneaky and slimy...and ratty.  He makes me squirm whenever he shows up in the series.  So creepy.  Always plotting and scheming to assume as much power as he possibly can you never feel like you really know what is going on with Littlefinger. You know he's playing the game two or three moves ahead of you but you can't catch up with him.  If every player in the game is dancing, don't you get the uncomfortable feeling that Littlefinger is the one holding all the strings?  Gross.

The Money Quote: "Distrusting me was the wisest thing you've done since you stepped off your horse."

Duncan Keith is...

Eddard Stark

Great, yet flawed men.  Eddard tried to play the game of thrones with honor and that cost him his head. If only Eddard would have remembered what Leo, the evil leader of The Scorpions gang in the musical Grease said: "The rules are, there ain't no rules."

No rules in drag racing and no rules in the game of thrones, alas.  That is not to say that Eddard was stupid, just that he could not deviate from his rigid moral code for any reason, even if it meant saving his own life.

Which brings us to the curious case of Duncan Keith.  Only a couple of years ago he was deemed the best defenseman in all the realm.  Today, he's slipped into a secondary tier and the fans and media have just about run out of explanations as to what exactly his malfunction is.

At first we thought it was just part of the general hangover the whole team went through after the Cup run.  He admitted as much himself.  Then last year there was a lot of talk about motivation and visits to the team psychiatrist.  Haven't heard a peep out of him this off-season/lockout.  He wasn't in Chicago working out with the guys there so I'm left to assume he was training in solitude in rural British Columbia like some kind of Canadian monk.

It's my hope that during all these off months that he was able to sort out whatever it was that bringing him down and get back to his old ways.

Quiet, solid, rigid.  Honorable.  There are a lot of similarities between Duncs and Eddard, I just hope that Keith figures out how to change himself in time.  Eddard didn't.

The Money Quote: "Winter is coming."

Brent Seabrook is...

Jaquen H'ghar

Power play? Check.  Penalty kill? Check.  Shut down the other team's top line?  Check.  Eats monster minutes?  Check.  Can be relied upon to complete any task put to him in any given situation?  Check. He is simply the Hawks best defenseman and he does it all in relative silence and anonymity.

Jaqen H'ghar is the best at what he does (killing people).  If you give a man a name, a man will kill him for you.  Period.  End of story.  As a Faceless Man of Braavos we don't really know who or what Jaqen H'ghar is other than the most efficient killer this side of Dexter.  And he does it all in relative silence and anonymity.

The Money Quote: "Help was not promised, lovely girl. Only death."

Corey Crawford is...

Brandon Stark

Sometimes it's easy to forget that the goaltender is the most important position on a hockey team.  It's even easier to forget that on a team like the Hawks who have so many interesting players and personalities outside the crease that by the time you get to thinking about Corey Crawford, you're like, "Oh yeah, him."

His first season was good, his second season was bad and now what are we to expect in his third?  It was too many softies last year, especially in the playoffs that sunk the Hawks.  Did he spend his lockout time wisely?  I don't know.  I never heard anything about him at all during the lockout.  He is so boring that he makes Tazer look like a coked up go-go dancer in a cage at Studio 54, circa 1978.  I bet you Crawford is like one of those weirdos who are on that show My Strange Addiction. He probably eats toasters or something.

It can be easy to forget about Bran as well since Martin tends to abandon his story from hundreds of pages at a time.  But that's not because he's not important, in fact he may end up as the most important character in the series when it's all said and done (with the caveat that he doesn't die first, of course - Martin loves to kill his characters).

As an aside, I predict the climax of the entire saga will come down to some kind of epic showdown between Bran and Danerys, Ice versus fire. Just a guess.

Anyway, there's a lot going on with Bran.  He obviously has enormous potential but can he learn to harness his power, and channel it properly?  Same for Crawford.  Enormous potential.  The talent is there, but can he put it all together in a scant 48 games?

The Money Quote: "Can a man still be brave when he's afraid?"

Daniel Carcillo is...


We don't have proof that Carcillo is not actually a red priest of R'hllor so until proven otherwise, I'm just going to go with that.

Lots of connections between these two.  Melisandre seems to be playing a game that we, the readers, are not privy to and sometimes it feels like Carcillo decides to play his own games with out considering what is best for the team.  I can't take any more mindless majors that require season-ending surgery and months of rehab from him.

Melisandre undoubtedly has power.  We just don't understand where it comes from or what the extent of it is.  I don't think she does either.  Her visions show both truths and half-truths and she doesn't have the skill to separate the two which is frustrating and makes her look like some kind of carnival sideshow... Just like Carcillo.

Carcillo actually has some skill but when he forgets that and lets his reptilian brain take over (or maybe it's the other way around; maybe his brain is primarily reptilian and the human side emerges only occassionally...) things go to shit and he becomes the sideshow.

Both Carcillo and Melisandre have attached themselves to powerful people in order to further their ambitions: Melisandre to Stannis Baratheon and Carcillo to Toews and Hossa (on whose line he will be skating).  Only Q would be able to explain why Carcillo is on a line with two of the best forwards in hockey when he should be in the bottom six somewhere.  Melisandre is merely an up-jumped priestess who thinks that Stannis is the answer to her prophecies.  Stannis is running with her because he doesn't have any other options.  The Hawks have other options on what they can do with Carcillo although it is up to Q's whims to make it happen.  Color me doubtful.

UPDATE: Carcillo injured himself in the first game of the season and will be out for a month. 

The Money Quote: "We all must choose.  Man or woman, young or old, lord or peasant, our choices are the same.  We choose light or we choose darkness."

Brandon Saad is...

Arya Stark

Brandon Saad and Arya Stark are the vessels of all our hopes and dreams.  Merely children, we have seen their potential and ache to see both of them mature into their powers with which they will beat fools down.

Arya is my favorite character in both the books and television series, although in the books Martin spends a hell of a lot more time on characters a hell of a lot less interesting (Catelyn Stark, come on down!  Brienne of Tarth, come on down!) than Arya.  In books with fifty or sixty chapters, he might give her three.  Come on, man.

We want both of them to do well so badly that it aches.  We want Arya to become a master assassin who takes vengeance on all the people who destroyed her and her family (Ser Gregor, Dunsen, Polliver, Raff the Sweetling, The Tickler, The Hound, Ser Ilyn, Ser Meryn, King Joffrey, Queen Cersei) and we want Saad to become the next Hossa.  We want it.  Can they live up to our expectations?  I don't know. That's why we read the books and watch the games... 

The Money Quote: "Swift as a deer.  Quiet as a shadow.  Fear cuts deeper than swords.  Quick as a snake. Calm as still water.  Fear cuts deeper than swords.  Strong as a bear.  Fierce as a wolverine. Fear cuts deeper than swords.  The man who fears losing has already lost.  Fear cuts deeper than swords.  Fear cuts deeper than swords."

Andrew Shaw is...

Sandor Clegane AKA The Hound

They're button-pushers.  They annoy you with their filthy chirping which is one way to get under your skin... but when some one tells them to, you know, push a button... they push it.

Excuse me for jumping off the GOT metaphor train here for a second but maybe this exchange from The Godfather, Part 2 can explain things a little better.

Chairman: You were a member of the Corleone crime organization.
Cicci: No. We called it the Corleone Family, Senator.  We called it the family.
Chairman: What was your position?
Cicci: At first, like everybody else, I was a soldier.
Chairman: What is that?
Cicci: A button, you know, Senator, come on.
Chairman: No, I don't know. Tell me.
Cicci: Well when the boss says push a button on a guy, I push a button. See, Senator? 

The Money Quote: "If any man dies with a clean sword, I'll rape his fucking corpse!"

The Money Quote (Bonus Quote!): "Fuck the Kingsguard, fuck the city, fuck the king."

Joel Quenneville is...

Lord Commander Jeor Mormont

Grizzled, veteran soldiers.  Leaders of men.  Questionable decision-makers.

The Money Quote: "They say the king loved to hunt. The things we love destroy us every time, lad. Remember that."


Dustin Byfuglien is...

Samwell Tarly

Because they're both fat, you see.

The Money Quote

Alexandre Burrows is...


Theon Greyjoy

A weak, insecure boy who betrays the family that raised him and kills many of those that he was closest to.  Sounds about right for Burrows.

The Money Quote: "It's better to be cruel than weak."

Sidney Crosby is...

Viserys Targaryen

They operate under the presumption that they are the best.  That they are the true heirs and direct descendents of the great players and kings that have come before them.

But they presume too much.  They over reach.  They whine and grovel and depend upon the welfare of the media strangers to survive.

No, in the end, they are not special at all. Crosby got his crown of concussions and Viserys received his crown of molten gold.

The Money Quote: "You dare?  You give commands to me?  To me?  You do not command the dragon. I'm the lord of the Seven Kingdoms.  I don't take orders from savages or their sluts.  Do you hear me?"

Don Cherry is...

Grand Maester Pycelle

Doddering old fools whose"wisdom" is sought out and listened to with great reverence.

The Money Quote:"Now I have his son, King Joffrey, may the Gods bless his reign.  He's a capable young man."

Elliote Friedman is...

Lord Varys

They are the Masters of Whispers. Too easy.

The Money Quote: "The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling."

Gary Bettman is...

Cersei Lannister

Lying, incompetent, scheming cunts.

The Money Quote: "When you play the game of thrones you win or die.  There is no middle ground."

Jeremy Jacobs is...

Tywin Lannister

These are the true faces of evil and power.  Other...lesser...beings, may scurry about, making irritating noises in dark corners of these stories but in the end they signify nothing.  Only these two stand unopposed, lords of all they survey.  They are heartless pricks who would sell their own mothers into prostitution if they thought there was a buck to be made.

The Money Quote: "A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of a sheep."

Donald Fehr is...

Tyrion Lannister

They are the perfect foils for Jeremy Jacobs and Tywin Lannister.  If only the whole world wasn't watching every move Jacobs and Tywin make, they would have disposed of these disgusting inconveniences long ago.  Alas, as it stands, their existences must be tolerated.

Unfortunately for Jacobs and Tywin, Tyrion and Donald are the cleverest characters in their respective universes.  They tend to be underestimated at every turn which they almost always use to their advantage.

The Money Quote: "I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses.  My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his war hammer, and I have my mind...and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it's to keep its edge.  That's why I read so much, Jon Snow."

That's it.  You can follow me on Twitter @nCornick more nonsense if you so desire.



The Missing Links 8.9.12

Amazing picture. Maybe one of the greatest pictures ever taken. A Tatooine Martian sunrise. I can't get enough Mars news these days. 

Not a lot of links today as I was busy trying to watch the U.S. Women's Soccer team win the gold medal in their redemption match against Japan. And they did. I really love those ladies. I keep wanting to call them girls but that isn't right. They are women. Very attractive women. I have lots of crushes on that team.

-Grant Wahl's USA-Japan game story. [Sports Illustrated]

-Speaking of women at the Olympics... They are dominating the men. Part of me wishes I had a daughter so I could expose her to all the great examples of female strength in the sports world. Alas.[Washington Post]

-"Mars crater where rover landed looks 'Earth like.'" [AP]

-The Olympic medal for whining goes to... [New York Times]

-McKayla Maroney teaches Jenna Bush how to Dougie. McKayla's got some moves. Jenna is channeling her inner Republican in her effort to dance. Awesome. [Buzzfeed]

-This makes the 20 year-old me very, very happy. Scully and Mulder are shacking up in real life. [Buzzfeed]

-Finally in honor of the bad ass women of American soccer, I give you this gem from last year's World Cup. OH CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?! ABBY WAMBACH HAS SAVED THE USA'S LIFE IN THIS WORLD CUP!