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A few years back, the top-notch Wings forum at letsgowings.com featured a thread that graded the team at the halfway point of the season. Entries featured the classic blind loyalty of straight A+ grades, to the equally classic bashing of the favourite whipping boys at the time (names like Boyd Deveraux and Robert Lang come to mind).

While nobody went as far as to give a grade to Karen Newman, there was a scathing grade given to a key member of the organization. The “JLA Music Guy” was given an F. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be the first to give Matt Ellis an A+ based on his moxy, but an F is pretty harsh for the music guy.

Here is a guy who puts some thought into his work. Yes.. I know that every rink plays the Dragnet clip after a penalty.. but JLA Music Guy goes far beyond this tired cliche. I mean faaaaar beyond. Most Wings fans will forever be in love with the Irish Jig, otherwise known as the “Irish Washer Woman”, that echoed throughout the Joe after a Shanny goal.

The astute listener will catch a wift of “Feels Like the First Time” after a first goal in a career. This obviously requires some basic advanced scouting. Who can forget the Tyson Nash treatment? “Signs” by the Three Five Man Electrical band reminded Mr. Nash that “long haired freaky looking people need not apply”. Fair enough. JLA Music Guy not only loves classic rock, but evidently yearns for the pop-hip-hop styles of the early 90′s. Draper goals are followed by a plea from Kriss-Kross to “warm it up Kris”. No word yet on whether Draper has replied with a frustrated “I’M ABOUT TO!”.

Other favourites include “He’s So Fine (Doo Lang)” for Lang goals and “I Can See Clearly Now” for Cleary goals. “Wide Open Spaces” reminds opposing teams that they have pulled their goalie. Saturday night games feature the predictable “Piano Man” at exactly 9:00, because its “9:00 on a Saturday”… you get the idea.

But the hall of fame moment came earlier this year. This tidbit comes via my brother, who was at the game and swears that he did not make this up. With eight seconds left in overtime, JLA Music guy played “Over My Head”.. featuring the line “Eight seconds left in Overtime”. Digest that for a second. That is top quality work. The moment presented itself.. perhaps for the first or second time in this guy’s career.. and he seized it.

My friends.. JLA music guy is the definition of A+. Matt Ellis.. eat your heart out.

Odd Dance Partners

Umm.. not quite sure what to say about this. A must see to say the least.

Chelios and Bettman cutting up the rug.

Simply the Best

The Hockey News is running a cover story featuring the top European player of all time. Which silky smooth Swede is gracing the cover? None other than than Eurohorse himself, Niklas Lidstrom.

While Leaf fans will make a strong case for Mats Sundin Anton Starlman, this is an honour that belongs exclusively to Norris Nick. He has quietly taken a stranglehold of a potential 6th Norris in 7 seasons. What’s left to say about him that hasn’t already been said?

What are your best memories of #5?

Shanny, Mini Me, and JT?

The New York Post’s Page Six is reporting that Brendan Shanhan and Sean Avery may land roles in the upcoming comedy The Love Guru (written by Mike Myers). While Shanny seems like a fine choice, my wife would argue that Darcy Tucker is the real NHL love guru.. but I digress. Others slated to play opposite Shanny include Justine Timberlake, Jessica Alba, and none other than Verne Troyer (aka Mini Me).

I can only imagine the comedy that could result from such a bizarre collection of characters thespians. Look for Shanny to break out of his typecast as a mere extra (Forrest Gump, Me Myself and Irene). Of course Sean Avery reached an ironic level of success playing an anti-francophone goon in The Rocket. IMDB lists the plot synopsis as “empty”.. insert your own joke here. I know I’ll be milling around the Toronto filming locations hoping to catch Shanny and JT exchanging trade secrets.

The Legacy of Jimmy D

Armchair GM has a nice piece on the Wings draft day success over the past 20+ years. It’s quite a testament to the front office. A couple of things that stand out:

  1. Anders Eriksson – One of a handful of first rounders picked during this era. Trading Eriksson in his prime for today’s 45 year old Chris Chelios would still be highway robbery.
  2. The 1989 Draft – Lidstrom and Fedorov in consecutive late rounds, rounded out by Konstantinov in the 11th round.. and to think that Mike Sillinger was the apple in everyone’s eye for that day.

When reviewing the partial draft history, what stands out to you?

Still hope for Markov?

The Ottawa Citizen is reporting that Dany Markov is holding out for $2.5 million. Evidently the suitors are not lined up at this price. The Wings best offer of $1.5 million may be enough in the end, with Markov facing the alternative of a winter in Siberia.

Currently, the Wings defense corps is shaping up as:

Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Chelios, Lebda, Lilja, Quincey

Obviously Quincey would be the odd man out in the event of Markov returning. Although Quincy proved during the playoffs that he can play effectively at the NHL level, Grand Rapids type minutes are probably best for his development at this point.

The Wings recently unveiled their new Rbk form-fitting jerseys. Hopefully the kids of Hockeytown won’t mistakenly be sent a Toronto Maple Leafs sweater from the Eatons Hockeytown Authentics catalogue.

Rest easy, tradition has not been tampered with… or has it? The movement of the Captain’s C to the right side of the chest is puzzling to say the least. Rumour has it that no other team will be following suit. At least this doesn’t compare to the 80′s Flyers in the world of go-it-alone uniform quirks.

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