Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Quick game 4 thoughts 

Just got back from game 4 and had to bang out some quick thoughts before heading to bed. No detailed thoughts, just a quick brain dump.

Didn't bring the camera tonight but was sitting up in Base Camp 2, Row GG tonight so it wouldn't have mattered anyway. We also ended up in the middle of a bunch of Petes fans again. Not sure what I did to deserve that two games in a row.

The 67s came out flyng and were all over the Petes in the first. The shots were about 16-4 at one point and it was looking like another series-clinching blowout.

Then came the second. The 67s were brutal in the second and were lucky to come out up a goal.

That lasted all of about a minute into the third.

The 67s should have had a 5 minute powerplay. A 67s player (I was so enraged that I didn't even think to note who) got plowed into the boards from behind about 5 feet from the ref but no call. Welcome to the third period, no whistle required.

The 67s were all over the Petes late in the third but couldn't put one past MacDougald who had probably his best game of the series. Manyof the shots came from the perimeter, but he made some nice stops frm close range too.

The 67 continued to take the play to the Petes in OT. They had a few veerrrrry near misses (as did the Petes) before Jaime McGinn finally jammed one home to bring the crowd to its feet.

The 67s now stand one London Knights win away from the Memorial Cup.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Pedro-killer joins Lynx 

Following in the Clay Bellinger tradition of former Yankee utility infielders, turned Lynx utility infielders, Enrique Wilson was added to the Lynx roster today. Now the Lynx just need Pedro Martinez to do a rehab stint at Norfolk.

In other Lynx news, you've gotta love Walter Young's early league-leading Bondsian line of .500/.556/.750. Youch!

Finally, the Lynx spit a doubleheader in Rochester today to move to 10-7.

Batman throws up a zero 

One of the small joys of getting my 67s tickets through the ticket program at work is that I never know where I'm going to sit until I arrive and pick up my tickets at the Will Call window. I always end up somewhere new, and usually in pretty good seats.

Tonight we walked down to our seats under the roof in section 4 and found ourselves surrounded in Peterborough purple (mauve? violet? far from Raider Black in any case). Uh-oh. Could be in for a long night.

In the end, I could have been at the library. Heard barely a peep out of them all night as they had very little to get up and celebrate. Occasionally they'd shout out some encouragement, or question (former Pete) Brad Bonello's manhood (which was usually quickly shouted down with a "Look at the scoreboard") but mostly all they could do is sit there and watch the Petes fail to put the puck in the net.

Didn't bring the camera, but wish I had since I would have been in perfect position to capture Hulit burying it top-corner for the opening, and in the end game-winning, goal.

Kaspar had another stong game. What a turnaround the Kaspar-Petruzalek-Akeson line has had since the first couple of games of the Barrie series. They were all but benched after those first couple of games but have responded by becoming one of the 67s best lines.

The penalty kill and power play (mostly) both looked better.

However, the story once again was Battochio. He stopped 38 shots for the shutout. He had few spectacular stops to make, but was rock-solid. Batman steals another.

Welcome II 

Welcome to anyone who saw the mention in the Ottawa Citizen (subscriber only although Lana at Place and Thyme took the time to scan it) this morning.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Boys and girls, tonight's number is three. Three goals for the win. Three straight series-opening road wins. Three wins away from the OHL finals (and possibly, even likely, a Memorial Cup berth).

The 67s were lucky to win tonight. They played a decent game, but far from their best. The Petes had the 67s pinned in their own end for much of the third period. Other than their final chance, the 67s power play was nothing short of brutal.

Neverless, they pulled it out. Althogh he wasn't as busy as in previous rounds (facing ony 25 shots), Danny Battochio made the key stops when needed, and Jeremy Akeson drove to the net to poke home the winner (early enough in OT that I missed it while watching the ballgame) to give the 67s the victory.

Next up in the alternating home-and-home series is a Saturday night encounter at the Civic Centre.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Returning mini book reviews from Flammable Epidermis Man 

Well, as optimistic as my parting hopes were, they were ore or less bang-on. The 67s are indeed through to the Eastern Conference finals, and while the Lynx didn't go on an 8-game tear, they did win 5 of 8 (including a split in front of a big crowd on Saturday) and both games since then to go to 7-5 and a share of first.

Meanwhile, never one to take my responsibilities lightly, I spent my week away, toiling on a far-away beach, reading a pile of books, sustained only by unspecified beverages and the occasional swim in the ocean. As a distant cousin of the Gremlins, I've also been known to spontaneously combust when exposed to sunlight. I try to stick to the shade. Thus, I can bring you a few more sports book capsule reviews.

Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty - Buster Olney

I don't know if I'd recommend non-Yankee fans go out of their way to pick it up (outside hardcore baseball fans), but as a long-time Yankee fan I enjoyed it, even though the ending sucked (the 2001 World Series that the Yankees lost in the bottom of the 9th to the Diamondbacks) .

Friday Night Lights - H.G. Bissinger

Having seen and enjoyed the movie, I picked up the book to compare and fill in the details. No real surprises. The afterword describing Odessa's reaction to the book was interesting.

Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut:

Not a sports book, not one of Vonnegut's best, but not bad. So it goes.

Game Time - Roger Angell

A collection of Angell's baseball writing, which was easily my favourite book of the bunch. Angell's writing is second to none, both lyrical yet tight. Although Angell has been covering baseball since "only" 1962, he was born in 1920 and recounts some of his own experiences growing up in NY as far back as the late 1920s. He also manages to avoid the "things were always better back in the day" trap, which captures many of his cohorts. He seems to love the game as much now as ever. It shines through in his writing.

I also loved the seasonal structure of the book which flowed from spring training pieces, to mid-summer pieces, to playoff pieces.

A perfect introduction to Angell's writing.

Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy - Jane Leavy

Well written bio of one of the great lefties (pitchers period, for that matter) of all time. The first chapter has an outstanding description of Koufax's biomechanically-perfect pitching motion.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Back in a week... 

I'm outta here for a week, to return next Sunday, hopefully to do a 3rd round preview for the 67s and to talk about how the an Opening Day sellout greeted the Lynx home to see them sweep a twin bill and extend their 8-game win streak, pushing their record to 8-2.

A fella can hope.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Forest dwelling animals beware! 

Another story that caught my eye today didn't involve the Lynx opener, but rather opening links.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Ottawa Lynx - 2005 preview (in progress...) 

(Note: Since this is the Wild West hinterlands of the blogosphere, I'm going to try something new and write this preview iteratively. Rather than wait until the article is complete, which certainly won't be until after tomorrow's season opener in Louisville, and possibly wouldn't be until after I get back from vacation on April 17th. For now, I've filled in many of the main players. I will continue to fill in the gaps as I continue researching. The roster and very basic stat lines are available on the Lynx site. )

Finally out of the Sens long springtime shadow for a long-deserved moment in the sun, the Lynx had their largest media day turnout since their inaugural season yesterday. For the first time in as long as I can remember, both papers had multiple articles about the Lynx this morning.

With no competing NHL playoffs, the Lynx are hoping the increased attention will lead to a turnaround at the gates. If the spring weather can cooperate, this is a veteran team, mixed with a few top prospects that can win a few games and bring some fans back to the park.

The Rotation

The rotation, at least until the first call from the big club, looks rock solid this year. The top four starters all made at least a few appearances in the majors last year (it's not clear to me who will be the 5th starter. My guess would be Andy Mitchell or Brian McNichol, or maybe it'll just be a 4-man rotation with occasional sport start by someone else). The Orioles used 9 different starters last year so all 4 starters may make ML appearances this year.

RHP James Baldwin

Former AL All-Star with the White Sox. Ran into shoulder trouble, but is trying to work his way back after only 21 innings over 12 appearances the last two seasons. He's still only 33, so if the shoulder's ok, he could impress. He'll likely be the first to get the call to Baltimore when Bruce Chen gets traded for the 37th time (he of the 14 teams in 8 organizations since 2000), or if Sidney Ponson gets thrown in jail.

Baldwin has been named the Lynx's opening day starter.

RHP John Maine

The Orioles' top pitching prospect, Maine doesn't have overpowering stuff but has good command. He dominated AA to start 2004 (4-0, 2.25 ERA, 34/7 K/BB in 28 IP) struggled to start in AAA, but finished strong. Somewhere in between he was called up for an emergency start and was hit hard by the Twins.

RHP Dave Borkowski

Another guy who split the year between Ottawa and Baltimore, Borkowski was the Lynx opening

LHP Eric DuBose

Spent 2004 with the Orioles, even as their #2 starter at one point, before going down to injury.

The Bullpen

Most of the bullpen consists of returnees. Rakers, Rodriguez, Ormond, Byrdak, and Fiore all appeared with the club in 2004.

LHP Tim Byrdak
RHP Tony Fiore
LHP Brian McNichol
RHP Andy Mitchell
RHP Rodney Ormond
RHP Aaron Rakers

RHP Eddy Rodriguez

Split the season between Ottawa and Baltimore last year

RHP Jacobo Sequea
Sequea is slated to be the Lynx closer after notching 27 saves at AA Bowie last year. He's got a nasty slider and good movement on his fastball.

Eli Whiteside

One of Baltimore's top prospects and the best defensive catcher in the system.

Sal Fasano
Veteran with ML experience. His last ML appearance was a Moonlight Graham-like single at bat(a K) in 2 games with the Anaheim (in their pre "of LA" days) Angels. Prior to that he spent time with KC, Oakland and Colorado, logging as many as 216 at bats one year. As a comparison, former Lynx C Raul Casanova is on his comps list at baseballreference.com


Walter Young (1B)

Now here's a guy whose numbers jump out at you. Not only the Bowie-record 33 homers, but more the O-linemanesque 6'2" 295 lb. frame. With digits like that the imagination races. Are we looking at the second coming of Pedro Cerrano? Cecil Fielder? Mo Vaughn? Well according to Baseball America:

"Aside from his power he's a run produce who works counts and is willing to take a walk although he has holes on the inner half. They say a better comparison [than Calvin Pickering] might be to David Ortiz"

Wow. Sounds like my kind of player.

He's also better around the bag than you might expect from a gent his size.

He drew the most media attention of any of the Lynx yesterday, and will likely be a fan favourite too for good reason. The Lynx have been without a bonafide power hitter in the lineup (occasional Jack Cust appearances notwithstanding) for many years now. I'm looking forward to seeing Young take his cuts and park a few in the Canadian Tire parking lot.

Bernie Castro (2B)

Ed Rogers (SS)

Napoleon Calzado (3B)

Back for another spin after hitting .359 in AA in the Braves system last year.

(seemed overmatched last time here but may have developed)

Alejandro Friere


Bobby Darula

Ramon Nivar

Newest member of the Orioles organization, coming over from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Matt Riley.

Tim "Little Rock" Raines Jr.

Lynx fans are well familiar with Raines Jr. Although he doesn't quite have the plate discipline of his famous father (not many do), he does have the speed.

Keith Reed

Named the Orioles top prospect in 2001 by Baseball America, Reed also boasts one of the best arms in the system. Since both Reed and Raines are listed as centerfielders, I'm guessing Reed will end up in RF because of his arm.

Something I've occasionally wondered, but had never looked up until right now, is the Park Factor for Lynx Stadium. According to Baseball Prospectus 2005, Lynx Stadium has played as a slight hitters park in 2004 and 2003 with park factors of 1028 and 1008 (1000 represents the average park). In 2002 it was a pitcher's park with a PF of 987. As a frame of reference, it was similar to The Park Formerly Known as SkyDome (1032) and or U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago (1029). As yet another fame of reference, Coors Field in Colorado typifies the upper ranges of the scale with a PF of 1116.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Fun with Google maps 

I've been having some fun tonight playng around with the new Google Maps satellite imagery functionality. In addition to finding my own house (yes, the potholes on Strandherd can be seen from space), along with those of a few family members, I tracked down a few Ottawa landmarks:

- Lynx Stadium
- Lansdowne Park/Frank Clair Stadium
- Corel Centre
- finally, as required by municipal bylaw, NCC proclamation, and federal statute, Ye Olde Parliament Buildings

Game 6 impressions 

Weathering the storm and kicking ass. That about sums up the 67s in game 6 of their first round series with the Barrie Colts. During the few moments when they weren't killing one of their 15 penalties (including five 5-3s, most for over a minute), the 67s were filling the net behind Francois Thuot.

You've read the summary by now, so just a few notes:

- the gamesheet doesn't include this level of detail, but I'd love to know how many shots Barrie had at regular strength. I'd be willing to bet that it's less than 10. The 67s dominated during the few even-strength moments during the game.

- the 67s cannot afford to take as many blatantly dumb penalties as they did last night. While probably 3-4 of the calls were borderline (most notably Kaspar's "holding call"), most calls were legit. After the initial spate of calls, the 67s should know that the game was being called tightly.

- 6200+ was a good crowd on short notice

- forgot my camera, which was a shame since I was in a better-lit area (20 rows up at centre ice) without netting and the red inflatable blow-in-the-wind thing to block my shots.

- The OSB (Sponsor this space) Turning Point: Mark Mancari throws a bad-angle shot at the net which sneaks through Thuot, giving the 67s a 2-1 lead. Seconds later, Battochio extends the pad and glove to stone Hisey from in close. Barely a minute later, the 67s extend the lead to 3-1 and the rout was on.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Monday link roundup 

The latest from a busy day in Ottawa sports news:

- Frank "The Professor" Clair passed away at the age of 87. Although it's before my time, he was one of the great coaches in Rough Riders and CFL history.

- After leaving Danny Battochio high, dry, and shell-shocked throughout most of yesterday's 3-2 loss to the Colts, the 67s are back at the Civic Centre to try it again at 7:30 tonight. Little is still out for Barrie, while they'll also stick with Francois Thuot, who took over from Dan LaCosta late in the first period last night (and looked light-years better than he did in his Game 1 starting cameo). Ottawa 67s blog has the full roundup from last night.

- The Lynx roster has been announced. I'll write more on that in the coming days. In short, it's a roster deep in experience, with a few interesting prospects.

Happy opening day everybody!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Game 4, as captured by the infamously underzoomable camera, through the netting 

The 67s draw the first penalty of the game.

On the ensuing powerplay, the Colts pass it across for a one-timer. They wouldn't score on this one, but would open the scoring seconds later.

Let's make some NOISE!!!!

One of the things I love about 67s games is the atmosphere. Tonight was my first playoff experience, and while it wasn't as intense as a Senators playoff game, it was a notch up from the regular season. The thundersticks were out in full force, popping like popcorn, and we were surrounded by these noisemakers. This guy also had a horn. There was also another guy with a huge extendible flag. I didn't have a quick enough camera to capture a usable picture of the flag, but it looked like it had been around since the Bobby Smith era. My tickets were randomly assigned through work purchase, but I couldn't have landed in a better section. I hope my tickets are there again Monday if it gets that far.

Battochio holds down the fort in the third.

Aftermath of the Kaspar hit on Little.

67s win!! 67s win!!
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Quick 67s Round1, Game 4 notes and summary 

Although I wasn't able to attend Wednesday's game 3 at the Civic Centre, I was there tonight, trusty crappy camera in hand for game 4 against the Colts.

It's an ongoing Hitchcock movie waiting to see which 67s team will show up, or even if they will show up. In the early going, it loooked like they might not. Barrie outshot the 67s badly early and jumped out to a early 1-0 ead. Although the 67s replied nearly instantly, tying it up at 1-1, they continued to cough up more than Longshanks late in Braveheart.

Fortunately they settled down and escaped the 1st period down only 3-2.

The 67s came to play in the second. They took the play to the Colts, aided somewhat by a series of mostly unsuccessful powerplays. After tying the score midway through the period, they finally clicked on a PP when Bryan Bickell's goal gave the 67s their first lead of the game.

After taking a 4-3 lead into the intermission, the 67s came into the 3rd sitting back on their lead. While they started out with a little bit of a forecheck, it got weaker and weaker as the minutes ticked away and they retreated into a full lead-protecting shell. As such a strategy often does, it came back to bite them. Travis Fuller snuck a rebound just underneath Danny Battochio that barely dribbled over the goal line with less than 3 minutes to play . Back to square one.

Luckily, not being much for originality, the 67s recycled the ending from Wednesday's game 3 script, changing only the timing somewhat. With 1:14 to play Julian Talbot poked home his own rebound coming down on a 2 on 1 with Chris Hulit. By scoring nearly a minute early, the 67s prolonged the closing drama. Why kill a mere 19 seconds when you can make things interestnig with a wild 74 seconds.

With G Dan Lacoste pulled, the Colts swarmed the Ottawa net but Bottachio somehow managed to keep it out among the flying bodies in the fray. Will Colbert was drew a penalty, presumably for being the launchng mechanism for one of the aforementioned flying bodies. Of course a penalty with the goalie pulled is a good news/bad news situation. Good news: you can ice the puck. Bad news: you have to get he puck first. Good news: the 67s scrambled a draw, won the puck along the boards and Chris Hulit lofted it into the Colts' end, bouncing it into the net to salt it away. So that was that.

A game to note: Midway through the third, Lucas Kaspar ("You may remember me from such times as... the regular season") lowered the boom on Bryan Little, catching him with his head down, and knocking him out cold. Earlier he had notched an assist on Bickell's PP goal and had a generally strong night. Welcome to the series Mr. Kaspar.

The somewhat forgotten man: If not for Danny Battochio, this series is probably 3-1 Barrie rather than vice versa. He's been getting some credit, but deserves even more.