Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Message to Shane Doan and Mike Wallace

By Artistry

As we waited last summer for our prodigal son to announce his return to the scene of his greatest glory, we wrote a song about Jaromir Jagr.  While this summer we contemplated a new NHL dream team, we refreshed our Twitter feed once every 45 seconds for news about Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Now we're tired. So very tired. And we have a message for a couple of guys still ruminating about whether to show up in Pittsburgh.


This is probably just "Will he or won't he" fatigue, but I think my pulse actually slows when I hear Shane Doan is "intrigued" by the Penguins, or that they are "on his list."  Don't do us any f***ing favors, OK buddy?  You're 35-years-old, slow, and expensive.  Thanks for letting us know the Pens are still "in the mix," and that maybe, if fortune smiles upon us, you will visit.  You have been "in the mix" of things I don't care about for the last 15 years, you are still very much "in the mix" now.

Boy, doesn't this look exciting?!?!?!
Oh, what's that, contract talks have broken down with Mike Wallace? Oh no! Who is going to drop passes for the Steelers in December? How are we going to survive without signing a guy with 500 fewer catches than Larry Fitzgerald to a Larry Fitzgerald contract?  It's OK, Mike Wallace.  I'm sure the Steelers, who have never let a holdout dictate contract terms to them in the whole history of time, will make an exception for you.  Your agent is giving you terrific advice.  Tell him to keep up the good work.

Limas: "Did someone say dropped passes?"
That's enough for today. I could go on, but really, who has the energy?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bachelorette Finale Recap: The JEF Rises

By Finesse

[Please excuse the advertisements that appear throughout this post, but based on what we see during The Bachelorette commercials, it's clear that there is a target audience for this show and that they all have the exact same needs.  We just thought we should get in the game and try to make a few bucks.  Hope it's not too disruptive.  Thanks for reading.]


It's the finale of The Bachelorette and Chris Harrison, the master of segues, really sets the stage for tonight's episode with the transition to end all transitions.  "There was a terrible tragedy in Colorado. [purses lips] Tonight is the most emotional television event of the season!"  Harrison is broadcasting in front of a live studio audience in Los Angeles, and as we'll see, these women (sorry to generalize) consume the show the way we do and the way it was intended: with complete shock and raw emotion.

They'd probably think MAT was cute.
We're in Curacao again this week and ... wait for it ... Emily is "really excited for this week in Curacao.  So excited, that I decided to wear an ankle-length skirt that doesn't allow me to take steps bigger than 4 inches."  Emily's family is also in Curacao, and they come bearing the blessing.  

JEF is first up to meet the family and he absolutely destroys it through the sheer willpower of hyperbolic declarations of love.  In response to Emily's mom asking, "are you serious about Emily?" JEF decides that is a softball question and instead responds to the question, "if you were a meat product, how much of you would leave Emily ever?"

"There's not a single ounce of me that would leave her ever," he says.

Not even when she looks like this?
So much more after the jump...

The NCAA's Destructiveness and Penn State's Perpetual State of Apology

By Finesse

Last week I laid out reasons why the NCAA should not have punished Penn State football, but it should come as no surprise that an an organization with a lower approval rating than Obama leading a parade of illegal immigrants to the front of the line at a jobs fair in Flagstaff came down harshly.  This was low-hanging fruit for them.  The consequences of a renegade NCAA are here.  

But as a Penn State alumnus, what's more disappointing to me than the punishment is that Penn State seemingly didn't fight it at all. The public stance taken by the university (though there is at least some internal dissent) is this: Say "thoughts and prayers" as often as possible, be in a perpetual state of apology and hope to "heal" by letting people repeatedly punch you in the face.

Maybe I have more faith in society than most, but I think we have the capacity to process multiple things at once.  You can apologize for what happened without apologizing for absolutely everything you are as an institution.  You can be against child abuse at the same time you're for Penn State.  I have nothing to apologize for and neither does anyone else who went to the school, goes to the school, or is connected with the school, as long as they had nothing to do with Sandusky.  President Rodney Erickson should have stood up for the school and made an argument that we can actually distinguish bad actors from bad places.  

Instead, the Penn State administration is continuously caving to the Outrage Police who swoop in, demand apologies, and then say your apologies will never be enough.  So why not circle the wagons with the people who have been with the school all along the way?  I'm not advocating that the school run from its mistakes or only fight to protect football; just stop volunteering to lay down on the tracks in front of the steamroller.  

By signing the Consent Decree without pushing back at all, Erickson didn't just throw the baby out with the bathwater.  He gave the NCAA the launch codes and let them nuke the whole house.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Raw Emotion Podcast: The Bachelorette Finale. All hail JEF

Sometimes heroes emerge from the most unlikely places, and sometimes they emerge in skinny jeans and tank-tops. In a shocking twist that no one saw coming, Emily chose to give her forever to JEF, the humble PeopleWater founder from Utah. We talk about Emily's decision, Arie's heartbreak, and so much more on the final installment of this season's GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast. Get the tissues.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Let's let Mario welcome Calle Johansson to the Capitals

The Caps announced the hiring of long-time defenseman Calle Johansson as an assistant coach.  Congratulations. There's no better strategy to get a routinely underachieving playoff team to perform better than reassembling a cast of characters that routinely underachieved in the playoffs.

Let's let Mario do the welcoming. Look for #6!

[On a related note, was Rod Langway on the ice for every goal Mario ever scored?]

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rick Reilly Knew About Joe Paterno, Everything Else Before You Did

By Finesse

This post is not about the Penn State scandal; it's about people who make things up.

Rick Reilly's latest column on opens with this anecdote:
In 1986, I spent a week in State College, Pa., researching a 10-page Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year piece on Joe Paterno. 
It was supposed to be a secret, but one night the phone in my hotel room rang. It was a Penn State professor, calling out of the blue.  
"Are you here to take part in hagiography?" he said.  
"What's hagiography?" I asked.  
"The study of saints," he said. "You're going to be just like the rest, aren't you? You're going to make Paterno out to be a saint. You don't know him. He'll do anything to win. What you media are doing is dangerous."  
Jealous egghead, I figured.  
What an idiot I was. 
Think about the premise you have to accept to believe that this is true: Reilly is on a secret mission to State College, but a professor finds out not just about the mission, but also about where Reilly is staying, then decides to call Reilly blindly and anonymously in Reilly’s hotel room to chastise him for doing his job as a reporter, and then ups the douchiness-ante by dropping a ridiculous vocabulary word that no one has ever said in real life … and by the most miraculous of coincidences, just happens to impart wisdom that is ever-so-prescient 25 years later. 

In the spirit of making up anecdotes, here are some other things people have told Rick Reilly.

- In 1984 Reilly was on vacation in the Caribbean and a cabana boy came up to him with an anonymous letter postmarked from Eugene, Oregon. It said only, “Don’t be pococurante about letting Nicole marry OJ Simpson. You have to stop it.” At the time, Reilly dismissed it as just another guy from Oregon who sends anonymous letters via cabana boys to people in St. Thomas. 

What an idiot Reilly was. 

- While watching the Parent Trap at a theater in 1998, a man sitting behind Reilly leaned over and whispered, “You see that little freckled redhead everyone thinks is going to be a huge star? Well you’re showing your nescience if you don’t realize that one day she’s going to be so cracked out that she loses a role as Linda Lovelace in a movie that not only will people not see, but people will demand not even be made.” At the time, Reilly thought this was just another stranger who likes to whisper things to you at the movies. 

What an idiot Reilly was. 

- While bowling with his wife in the late 1980s, the guy who hands out the bowling shoes approached Reilly during the 6th frame and said, “Beware of Larry Craig’s perfidiousness when he denies knowing the meaning of his wide stance.” At the time, Reilly thought this was yet another bowling alley employee passing on unsolicited advice about random people. 

What an idiot Reilly was.  

- While leaving Wrigley Field after a Cubs game in 1999, a tipsy Reilly stumbled into an alley to take a leak. Halfway through the act, he looked up at the brick wall in front of him and saw written in blood: “HEY RICK REILLY. WALL STREET BANKS THAT SELL SUB-PRIME MORTGAGES WILL CONTUMACIOUSLY RESIST INCREASED GOVERNMENT REGULATION IN THE LATTER PART OF THE NEXT DECADE.” Reilly thought this was just another juvenile defacing public property to send messages to strangers about the proper role of government regulation in a capitalist society. 

What an idiot Reilly was. 

 None of this is meant to address Reilly’s main points about Paterno. That’s for everyone to decide on their own. But as a wise Vietnamese garbage man who once Skyped my hotel room when I was traveling for business in Dallas told me, “An increasingly avaricious Rick Reilly will one day work for ESPN where he will peddle in transparently sophistical anecdotes, so all those old Sports Illustrateds you collected will turn out to be worthless.” Of course, I didn’t believe him. 

What an idiot I was.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why the NCAA shouldn't punish Penn State football

By Finesse

In a lot of places, the Freeh Report released Thursday has ignited an arms race for the dramatic: How badly should the NCAA punish Penn State for the Sandusky scandal? The internet is littered with stories advocating "the death penalty" for Penn State football.

But here's how many Penn State football games the NCAA should cancel: Zero. The NCCA needs to ask itself only 3 questions: 1) What are we preventing? 2) Who are we punishing? and 3) Who are we helping? When the answers to those questions are nothing, everyone, and no one, respectively, then the NCAA shouldn’t cancel a single game.

What are we preventing? 

Everyone agrees this should never happen again. But does ending the Penn State football program get us closer to that?

Over the course of 100-plus years of college football across hundreds of schools, nothing like this has ever happened before. So before we decide that everything associated with Penn State and college football generally is broken, consider: Is child abuse and the failure to report it really a systemic problem that’s pervasive in college football programs? This isn’t the Catholic Church with its thousands of incidents across the globe and its celibacy vow that, let’s just say, attracts a certain type of person. This is one sick monster who infected an otherwise pretty good institution led by people who did the wrong thing. If there are institutional problems, then do the hard thing that requires thoughtfulness and effort: change the culture of the institution. Don’t take the easy road and destroy it.

If missing football games is needed as a deterrent to other schools, consider what the president of another university would have to think when presented with reports that someone was molesting children on campus.
President: "Ok, so I have this report of child abuse in front of me, what am I going to do. Hmm. If I don't report it, I'll make myself and my university the subject of ridicule for a generation, get arrested, have the football coach's reputation destroyed, and have this be the only thing anyone ever thinks about me or my school for the rest of time. Nah, not going to report it."  
Adviser: "Yeah, but if you don't report it, you will be ineligible for the Capitol One Bowl."  
President: "CALL 911!!!!!" 
Shutting down Penn State football would absolutely send a strong message, but so would exhuming Paterno's body and decapitating him during halftime of the Super Bowl. And you could end petty theft if you cut off pickpockets' hands. But at this point, other schools don’t need to see Penn State’s program destroyed to get the message that they should report child rape any more than a clown needs to see PeeWee Herman go to jail to get the message that it’s a bad idea to masturbate at the movies. 

Who are we punishing? 

Beyond the students and current players, who have done nothing wrong and deserve to play at the school they wanted to, the State College community would bear the enormous economic burden of cancelled games. Some have argued that the State College community is not "innocent" because it helped deify a football program. But does that really make the guy who owns a hotel in Bellefonte or the guy who rents RVs in State College deserving of punishment? If it does, then the entire country is guilty, including the columnists and their media organizations who have done more deification than anyone.

Sure, the community would survive cancelled games -- after all, it’s just football. But they’d be casualties of a vengeful napalming of a football program all in the name of … what exactly? We could have dropped an atomic bomb on Tokyo but the war was over.

Any punishment the NCAA could dole out would have no impact on the actual people responsible. That cast of characters includes a child rapist in jail for life, a dead guy, three guys under indictment and a redhead with terrible judgment. They're all punished. And if you find out more individuals were responsible, punish them, too. 

Who are we helping? 

When this scandal was unfolding back in November, you couldn't find a channel or website that wasn't screaming at you, "This is about the kids!" So if this whole thing should be about the kids, then we have to consider how punishing the Penn State football program helps the kids.

I’m not going to presume that Sandusky’s victims feel one way or the other about punishing the football program, although some people already have, including Jeremy Schapp, who suggested that Paterno’s statue be replaced with one “dedicated to the boys who were raped by Sandusky.” (Do we really think they want a statue of this?)  But even if we knew how they felt, and whether they were all united in feeling that way, it wouldn’t matter.  We don't live in a country where the victims of crimes get to decide the punishment of the people who harmed them.  If that were the case, your neighborhood thief would have his head on a stake outside King's Landing.  I feel bad for Sandusky's victims and what they went through is terrible.  I don’t pretend to know their pain.  But it doesn’t mean they have jurisdiction over the future of Penn State football.

You could actually do a lot more to help the fight against child abuse by not cancelling any football games. Today, the single best resource in perhaps the entire country to raise awareness of child abuse is the Penn State football program. It has a bigger national platform than any university has ever had. They should use it to do something good. Something proactive, not reactive. Because here’s the truth: the same people who are complaining that the football program is too big are only interested in this case to such an extreme degree because the football program is so big. If the football program goes away, so does the spotlight on helping victims of child abuse. 

So here’s what the NCAA should say in a nutshell: What happened at Penn State is terrible and can never happen again. We’re going to work with Penn State, and all of our schools, to make sure that it doesn’t. But shutting down football there gets us no closer to that end, so we’re going to use this opportunity to do something positive, not something borne out of a thirst for vengeance. 

And maybe we’ll even have some fun watching football along the way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bachelorette Fantasy Suite Recap: The Triumph of JEF

By Finesse

[Follow me on Twitter and listen to the Raw Emotion Bachelorette recap podcast here]

This week the gang travels to Curacao under a contract that requires the contestants to say the word "Curacao" every 6th word in exchange for being able to do whatever the f**k they want to the island.  And like any good Fantasy Suite Week, this one starts with voice-over recaps of where Emily stands with each of the gentlemen.  She says that Sean possesses "so many things I want in a husband," which we translate to mean "except he's not Arie."  Emily says she loves JEF's style, that he "marches to his own drum completely," and that he is someone "who could make going to the grocery store interesting because he would skateboard there wearing purple pants with socks pulled over them while moderating a debate about love between his imaginary puppet and real puppet."

Emily says that she had an instant connection with Arie and praises him for bringing out the youthfulness in her.  Youthfulness was supposed to be JEF's forte given that he wears a size 6 shoe and weighs the same as one of Sean's bowel movements but now that Arie is leading the race for Emily's youthfulness?  As Artistry says, "Game over."

Also brings out the youthfulness in Emily.
Emily thinks that all of them would be the best husband ever and she just doesn't know which one she should be with.  When in doubt, ask God.

What is God's plan for Emily?  Find out the answer, and so much more, after the jump...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Raw Emotion Podcast: Bachelorette Fantasy Suite Recap

The least fantastical of all Fantasy Suite weeks is in the books and it's a shocker. Last night's Bachelorette episode saw Sean get sent home, JEF preemptively protect Emily's chastity, and a grown woman brought to tears because she was scared that she couldn't trust herelf to be left alone with Arie. Emotional times at GTOG HQ. It's the Raw Emotion Podcast.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

What's next for the Penguins: How about trading for a winger?

By GTOG Staff

In the wake of pulling a losing draw in the great Zach Parise Sweepstakes of 2012 - which frankly isn't so bad unless you believe in giving $100 million contracts to players who probably won't sniff the Hall of Fame - the Pittsburgh Penguins are left with five legitimate Top-6 forwards.  Ray Shero may choose to try to fill out the Top 6 with Tyler Kennedy.  Alternatively, he could make a deal for one of like 170 other guys.

"Let's take a look at some of those 170 other guys."
Bobby Ryan, Rick Nash, and Alex Semin are all available, but they are over-priced, really over-priced, and Alex Semin, respectively.  If the Pens get any of those guys, our excitement will surely be tempered by the fact that we had to part with the assets and/or cap space necessary to get one of those guys.  So let's not talk about them.  Instead, we're going on a little bit deeper dive, past the shallow water where Glen Sather and Paul Holmgren fish and into Shero Trench.  5 potential targets, after the jump...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

From the Band of Brothers, Happy 4th of July

By Finesse

The Pens didn't get Ryan Suter or Zach Parise and now Ray Shero is sitting on a pile of cap space with very few things worth spending it on.  As much as Parise and/or Suter would have helped the product on the ice this season, you'll have to forgive us for not being upset that we didn't add the 14th year to their contract to pry them away from the Wild.  Good luck in Minnesota, we'll be rooting for you in Sochi.

I'd wish everyone a Happy 4th, but that wouldn't do this day justice.  The only thing that can really capture the essence of this holiday is the most patriotic tweet and retweet since @GeorgeWashington wrote "R.I.P. Andy Griffith also I cant believe Anderson Cooper is gay God Bless America."

So Band of Brothers-ian

Monday, July 2, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Will Zach Parise ever decide?

An emotional night at GTOG headquarters as we discuss the never ending saga of Zach Parise. How much would he help the Pens? How much is he worth? Is Finesse on acid defending Alex Semin? Is Mrs. Artistry's printing ruining Artistry's focus? What about the rest of free agency? All that, and more. It's the GTOG Podcast.

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GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Bachelorette Hometowns Recap

Click here for our NHL Free Agency Podcast.

After what was the worst Hometowns week in Bachelorette history, we discuss the lack of blessings, Chris's qualities (or lack thereof), JEF's responsibility in the Fantasy Suite, and much more. It's the GTOG Podcast.

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NHL Free Agency: A Recap of Nothing

By Finesse

We promised yesterday in our post about whether the Pens may have any interest in Alexander Semin that we'd have a major recap of Day 1 of NHL Free Agency this morning  But unless you want my recap of going to the gym, taking a nap, and watching 21 Jump St., or Artistry's recap of a wedding he attended there is nothing to talk about.  Here is the master list from TSN.

Surprisingly reasonable, for the most part.
Over the 2+ years of doing GTOG, we've learned when to save our energy.  Word is that Parise and Suter will be making their decisions today and, of course, it's Hometowns on The Bachelorette tonight.  We'll be recording two podcasts tonight (one hockey, one Raw Emotion), and hopefully throwing something up today when Suter and/or Parise make their choices (my prediction: Suter to Detroit, Parise to Minnesota).  Stay tuned.

Make sure to follow me and Artistry on Twitter for instant reaction to the news of the day.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

NHL Free Agency: Could Alex Semin be the Pens' Plan C?

By Finesse

Imagine the following scenario: The Pens dance with Ryan Suter and Zach Parise all day today but can't get a deal done with either.  The guys from TSN are tweeting that Minnesota is heavily pursuing the pair, but you can't sleep on Detroit.  Rob Rossi is tweeting vague things to make himself sound smart but that he can't be wrong about like, "Hearing there may be a surprise team in the Parise hunt."  Shane Doan re-signs in Phoenix.  Paul Martin gets traded.  Hudler and Samuelsson get $5 million dollar contracts, sending Artistry into anaphylactic shock.  Sunday night comes around and the Pens have one of consequence.  And at lunchtime on Monday, the following headline pops on your screen: "Parise and Suter spotted at Detroit airport.  Wings call presser for 4:00 today."

Pop quiz, hot shot.  The Pens have $15million in cap space, Deryk Engelland as their 4th best defeseman, and Eric Tangradi may be on the second line.   What do you do?

Don't shoot him in the leg.
Let's add another layer to the story.  Alex Semin's agent spends all day Sunday asking teams for a mega-deal in the Zach Parise range, and after the GMs stopped laughing they moved on to their own Plan Bs.  The teams needing to hit the cap floor have reached it.  Semin has no one to go to prom with and the Pens have an empty Hummer limo and a box of wilting corsages.

Is it possible?

The chances of all that happening are close to 0%, given Shero's awareness that he better have a viable Plan B and the fact that, enigmatic as he is (<-- did Finesse just call a Russian player enigmatic?  OMG  HE'S RACIST!!!!!), Semin will have suitors this summer.  But what if it does go down like that?  What if Semin is out there and all the Pens have is a big wad of cash with no one to give it to?

Alex, how about 1 year, $7 million.  Is that something you might be interested in?

If, and only if, today and tomorrow unfold exactly like that, there are 3 simple reasons why I'd offer Semin a one-year contract: 1) as long as Dale Hunter isn't his coach, the guy can score goals; 2) with $15 million and no one to spend it on this year, a one-year deal like that would not hurt the Pens' cap going forward; and 3) sorry for bringing this up, but he's a right-handed shot and would be working with left-handed centers...

Remember when we thought that was funny?
I'm not advocating this, and I'm not saying it would be easy to stomach.  But I have a strong stomach.

Should have been 2 minutes for holding the stick
We'll have a huge post tomorrow with reaction to all of today's dealings.  Make sure to follow me and Artistry on Twitter.  Go Pens.