I’m Miss World Cup, Watch Me Break And Watch Me Burn: We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

If there’s any hope for anything other than a procession for Team Canada to win this thing at home, it’s going to be wearing yellow. That didn’t work out so well in Sochi though, and now the Swedes would have to topple the hosers two out of three on their own turf. But hey, that’s only three games, and they just might be capable.

This is a sneaky solid squad, with probably the best blue line in the tournament (and it’s not even as good as it could be), bolstered by one of the two best goalies in the world, and a forward corps that might lack true star power but is littered with solid contributors up and down the lineup. It’s like the anti-USA.

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I’m Miss World Cup, Watch Me Break And Watch Me Burn – C.I.’s World Cup Preview: Czech Republic

Pavel Nedved is certainly more worth talking about than any of the players on this squad. Come at me.

We finish out Group A with the team almost certainly destined to be the wooden spooners of the group, the Czech Republic. It’s hard to believe now that when the Olympics first allowed the professionals to be involved, and just two years after the US had won the first World Cup, the Czechs were the ones taking home the gold medal. That’s what happens when you have the two best players at the time, one in goal in Dominik Hasek and one at forward in Jaromir Jagr (was this the last goal Jagr scored that actually mattered for anything? Discuss amongst yourselves). Sad to say, that was probably the last time the Czechs mattered on the international stage.

I’m not sure this preview has to go much further than to point out that Roman Polak is on this squad. That’s how you know it sucks deep pond scum. One day, people will figure out that Roman Polak simply can’t play. I await that day excitedly, a bottle of champagne constantly chilling in my fridge.

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High On The Hog: Touring The Farm

The Rockford IceHogs, Chicago’s affiliate in the American Hockey League, had their share of turnover this summer. Some familiar names depart for other opportunities, to be replaced by the hope of fresh prospects.

I will be sending weekly reports from the jewel of Winnebago County throughout the hockey season. Before the Hogs drop the puck on their regular season, I’ll be back with a more finite look at the roster once everything shakes out at Blackhawks training camp.

For now, though, I thought I’d get my mind back on hockey by taking a look at some of this summer’s activity and how the little piggies could look when things start to get serious here in a few weeks.

Jump on the tractor and let’s tour the old homestead, shall we?

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Friday Foofaraw: Our Bears Season Preview Roundtable

Look at out, kids. We did it. But we can’t make you any more football-stupid than you already are.

Is there any chance this team is going to be good?

Cieslak: No. There’s a chance they win 7 games making it the worst possible outcome for a rebuilding team outside of making the playoffs and getting the absolute piss kicked out of them in the wild card game. I still ride with Jay, mostly because everyone hates him which makes me like him more and more because I’m human poison. But the injuries to McPhee and Kevin White always being hurt and Alshon Jeffery almost a lock to *get* hurt, this team is in deep trouble this year. Worse yet it doesn’t seem like this year’s draft was that good. They should try and continue to stockpile good picks and winning more than 4 games is a bad way to do that. I wish they were going to be that bad – the coaching staff is too good for them to be the worst team in the NFL.

Fels: If I squint, and I mean really hard, I could trust Fangio to come up with different schemes to keep them in a lot of games they probably shouldn’t be in. They do have actual linebackers this season, instead of the Streetwise salesmen they had last season. The secondary still blows, but I understand trying to build a front seven before as secondary as that can partially cover for that. Not enough against any real QB of course, but the Bears also have a pretty cushy schedule in that regard. We have no idea what Osweiler is. The Eagles don’t have one, The Cowboys one is hurt. Who knows what you’ll get out of Stafford with no Megatron. Looking over the whole schedule, there’s really only three or four games you’d say they have absolutely no chance in, because this is football and it’s dumb and really most teams are just this goo no one can make anything of. 

When I stop squinting, Cutler will do the best he can but once again has no weapons. The line should be barely ok with Sitton but absolutely no one can get hurt. There’s going to be a lot of games where they needed touchdowns and get field goals and lose by one score. 

It all adds up to 7 wins, maybe 8, the same thing we’ve been watching basically for the past 20 years. 

Feather: Sure. This is the NFL and there’s a reason why hillbilly red-ass Jerry Glanville said it stood for “Not For Long.” Aside from basically one team (New England), every year is dependent on who doesn’t lose 30 players to catastrophic injury. We’re at the point of the NFL timeline where I was just simulating seasons on Madden ’08 and basically every roster is filled with make believe players. 

So can the Bears be good? Why the hell not. Sam Bradford is running the ship in Minnesota. Detroit is Detroit. Sweep those 4 games and split with Green Bay and the Bears are halfway to 10. That doesn’t seem nearly as implausible as when Teddy Bridgewater had 2 healthy knees. Factor in a softer out of division schedule than normal and suddenly, we’re expecting meaningful football in BEAR WEATHER again. 

See? I’ve got you believing. Of course, they’ll probably lose three key players in Houston and everything will go right down the toilet. Football is the worst. 

McClure:The NFL is stupid and a bloodbath, so maybe, but who gives a shit? It’s a sport that does not allow for incremental growth, so there are no years to build on as we’ve seen the likes of the Cubs and Hawks go through. Every year is a crapshoot because players limbs fall off literally ever 10 seconds. Plus, it’s far more amusing when the Bears are bad. This entire city is completely emasculated when they lose, and it’s hilarious. The average football fan is even stupider than the average hockey fan, and the arms race that is the marketing of the sport has now turned everything into a life or death reflection of self worth, and this city takes that to the extreme with its ill-conceived notions of what football is supposed to be about. Just look at the last week with how weepy and maudlin even the most critical Bears observers got with the release of Robbie Gould, an overpaid and bad kicker and locker room lawyer. But because he’s white and nice to the media and keeps perpetuating the Bearsiest of Bears ideals, there are still garments being rendered a week later. 

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I’m Miss World Cup, Watch Me Break And Watch Me Burn – C.I. World Cup Preview: Team Europe

Here’s the thing. I love Anze Kopitar. I love watching him play. I think he’s the equal of Toews or Bergeron as two-way centers who can do anything you ask him. If he didn’t play on the West Coast he’d probably have a Selke to his name already (though Bergeron should honestly win it every year until he retires, and then maybe one or two years after that).

That doesn’t mean I think an international tournament should be mutated so that he can play with a mishmash of other players from countries the NHL just doesn’t fancy instead of Slovenia. While that’s not the reason Team Europe was created, it sure feels like it. The NHL feared Denmark or Switzerland or Norway or whatever else getting embarrassed in three games. I’m not sure this outfit will do much better.

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I’m Miss World Cup, Watch Me Break And Watch Me Burn – C.I.’s World Cup Preview: How Dumb Can Canada Be And Still Win? Let’s Find Out!

Moving on to the overwhelming tournament favorites and the hosts, Team Canada. I’ll give Canada this; they’ve gotten away from trying to pick a “team,” like the US is still intent on doing, and got them in trouble in some junior tournaments, and are just picking the most talent they can find. When you have this much to pick from you clearly don’t need checking and 4th lines. They’re not doing the best job of it, of course. But it also doesn’t matter given the talent gap they have over the rest of the world.

It would probably be more fun to try and pick a team that Canada left at home and see how well they’d do. It would start with Subban and Letang. You could have Martin Jones or Roberto Luongo in net. Behind Subban and Letang you’d have Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Ryan Ellis, and a host of others. That’s probably enough right there.

Speaking of which, how is the corpse of Jabe O’Meester ahead of any of those guys? That’s the thing about Canada’s decision makers. They’re still wrong. And still dumb. And it doesn’t matter. Why is Alex OrangeJello here ahead of Subban or Letang? Because he’s right handed? Kiss a sick monkey’s wet ass. Should Weber be ahead of them? Probably not. Still, Vlasic, Burns, and Doughty is more than enough to push those players down the chart and not make too much of a difference.

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I’m Miss World Cup, Watch Me Break Watch Me Burn – C.I.’s World Cup Preview: This Beer Fart Of A Team USA

A day later than I had planned due to some planning snafus getting out of Montreal. Though I maintain Quebec is a weird vortex that just changes the date on your flight without you knowing so you can never leave (yes, I am Kat Stratford maintaining that boy kicked himself in the balls).

First off, let me say that I really wanted to like the World Cup. In my mind, it really did have a chance to be better than the Olympics, and if the league is willing to have it regularly for a while (correctly) it still could be with a built up reputation. This is for a couple reasons.

One, some of the reasons I am the hockey fan I am is the ’87 and ’91 Canada Cups. Ok, I barely remember ’87 but I do remember that even at six-years-old seeing Gretzky and Lemieux on the same line was a really cool thing. It was like seeing Jupiter and Saturn combine. I saw one of the of the warm-up games in ’91 at the Stadium between the US and Canada that featured a Roenick penalty shot on Belfour (saved) and the first sighting of the unholy monster that was Eric Lindros and Chris Chelios bouncing off of him like a superball. The US taking the first World Cup in ’96, with a completely loaded roster that is still kind of hard to fathom, is a cherished memory for a lot of us this age. This tournament, in whatever form, has certainly shone bright at points.

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