Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hockey Talk with Guy Maddin

"The Buffalo Sabres play like a wasp's nest hit with a stick"
-Guy Maddin

I was lucky enough to get an interview with Guy Maddin regarding his (fabulous) new film Brand Upon the Brain! (to be published next Monday at IFC News), and after the boring questions were asked, we started talking hockey. He claims he has a love-hate relationship with the NHL ever since the Jets abandoned Winnipeg in 1996 to become the Phoenix Coyotes. But he's been immersed in the sport since he was a kid. His father coached the Canadian national hockey team, and Guy was the stick boy, helping limber players take off their jerseys and "squeezing oranges into their mouths." He said it was all very Greek and decadent. I'll take him at his word.

But his true passion was the WHA (World Hockey Association), an upstart competitor to the NHL that existed from 1972 to 1979. The Jets began there before being absorbed into the NHL. Maddin told me that the league was the first to place hockey teams in the warmer American climes, including the Houston Aeros, the Los Angeles Sharks, the San Diego Mariners, the Miami Screaming Eagles, and the Phoenix Roadrunners. Maddin waxed philosphic on the epic 20 minute fights that would break out, how the WHA introduced eastern European and Russian players, whose elegant, crisp passing style which would eventually change the rough and tumble North American style forever. Talk circled around stories about in-team cuckolding and the curious blackballing of Ted Nolan after his firing in Buffalo.

After the Sabres' heart-breaking 2-1 loss in double OT this afternoon to the Rangers, I consoled myself with Maddin's enthusiasm for Buffalo's style of play, and his insistence that his role as stick boy was akin to a catamite.

In other Buffalo news - the Bills had a solid day at the draft this weekend, taking tough Cal RB Marshawn Lynch in the first round, and Penn State LB Paul Posluszny in the second. Lynch is an all around back with the ability to be a bruiser between the tackles, has the hands to line up in the slot as a receiver, and has enough speed to break off TD runs. McGahee was more one-dimensional. Plus there's this:

I know less about Posluszny, other than the Bills considered him in the first round, and traded up in the second to get him. They had him rated very highly. He wore former Bills LB Shane Conlan's number at Penn State, which he chose in respect to him. Fun!


Blogger Michael J. Anderson said...

Great post!

By the way, you needn't worry about the Sabres - they're going to lose a couple to the Rangers, but they will be there in the E.C. finals with Ottawa, which should be an outstanding series.

To extend my analysis, they should beat the Sens, though it will be close: like Buffalo, Ottawa is deep offensively. Still, I give a slight edge to the Sabres in this regard (led the NHL goals this season). Defensively, I think Ottawa has the slight edge - their shut-down pairing has been very good, plus they have Wade Redding and some very talented offensive d-men. In nets, Ryan Miller is not the second coming, but Ray Emery is the least of this year's remaining net-minders: edge Buffalo. Coaching is more or less even, so with the Sabres having home ice, I think your boys will be seeing Anaheim or San Jose in the finals. Hopefully the Sharks -- what an amazing series that would be! Forget about the NBA, Golden State might be a nice story and all, but the remaining cup playoffs are going to be very fun.

Also, don't you think it was a bit of a stetch taking Marshawn Lynch at #12 (if I remember correctly)?

12:35 PM  
Blogger R. Emmet Sweeney said...

Thanks for the NHL analysis, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the Rangers-Sabres series, but that Golden State-Dallas game last night was one of the most entertaining sporting events I've seen in a while. Last second heaves, scrappy comebacks, an insane crowd, an angry Mark Cuban - it had everything.

And Lynch was by no means a stretch. Green Bay was going to be all over him at 16 - so he fell just about where he was expected to. Plus he has none of the injury red flags of Adrian Peterson.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Matt Hauske said...

As I dominated my Fantasy Hockey league this season, I think I'll throw my two cents in on the NHL playoffs, and maybe offer a different perspective than Mr. Anderson.

I think the team with the prettiest uniforms will win. And a sabre would clearly beat a senator (especially an older one like McCain or a wussier one like Harry Reid), but I'm pretty sure a shark would beat a sabre, especially if they fought in water. As for a duck, regardless of whether or not it's mighty, my money goes on almost any animal in the kingdom.

Did I mention my team was auto-drafted and I only made 5 moves all season?

9:39 PM  

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