UM hate me

Yesterday was a day of rapage for the Gophers, as they were properly and thoroughly beaten by Boston College, ending their season. While they came within 2 goals late in the third period (after a clusterfuck of a play that saw nearly three minutes put back onto the clock), it ended badly (5-2).

At 3:27, Ben Gordon fired one into the top of the net to cut BC's lead to 4-2. Referee Brian Aaron waved the goal off, however, saying it hit the crossbar, and play continued. At the next stoppage (at 19:15 of the 3rd), Aaron went to video replay, and saw that Gordon's shot did, indeed, enter the net. So, time was put back on the clock, and BC's 5th goal (which caused the stoppage at 19:15) was removed. Now, instead of a 5-1 lead for BC, it's back to 4-2. No matter, however: BC still scored another goal, and UM still lost.

The Gopher's final record was 19-17-9, meaning Lucia failed to guide the team to 20 wins for the first time in 9 years. Ouch.

Boston College faces Miami today to see who progresses to the Frozen Four (April 10). Michigan and Notre Dame have already secured their spots in the tourney, while the other regional playoff has UND facing Wisconsin. I promise I'll keep this updated, even though the Gophers are gone.


Minnesota kicks ass, takes names

So in my last college hockey post, I was pretty sure UMN had shit the bed, and were all but finished in the WCHA playoffs. I certainly didn't expect them to make the championship game, as they had a pretty brutal record against fellow WCHA teams throughout the season.

But ... I was wrong. On Sunday, 03/16 they faced Minnesota State in game 3 of their playoff series, and won in double overtime, 3-2. That led to a 1 game playoff against St. Cloud State on Thursday, 03/20, which they also won 3-2 (no overtime needed). By beating St. Cloud State, UMN was forced to face Colorado College on Friday, 03/21 in the semifinal. By some magical Easter Miracle, UMN pulled off a 2-1 OT win, to place them in the WCHA final against Denver.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end (including UMN winning streaks). In the WCHA championship game on Saturday (03/22), attended by a whopping 17,907 fans, Minnesota lost a goaltender's battle (and the championship) 2-1. All three goals were scored in the 2nd period of a game that saw Alex Kangas making 32 saves for UMN, and Peter Mannino making 34 for Denver. Ryan Flynn got Minnesota's only goal to open the scoring, which was countered by Denver goals scored by Tyler Bozak and Tom May.

The Mens D1 NCAA tournament now starts, which sees Minnesota facing off against Boston College at 1930 EST on Saturday, 03/29. Minnesota is ranked #3 (of 4) in their bracket (the Northeast Region), with games being played in Worcester, Mass. Besides UMN and BC, the Northeast bracket also includes #1 Miami, and #4 Air Force. Expect Minnesota to be relying on Kangas to continue to play exceptionally, and for the team to ride their strong momentum into these games.

UMN's record sits at 19-16-9 against all NCAA opponents this year.

The difference between a porcupine and BMW of Lincoln

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty details of this, since it's blowing up all over the innertubes, but I'll give a Cole's Notes version, and a link to the forum thread for you to read through at your own Easter Monday leisure.

A gentleman was looking to purchase an E90 BMW M3 sedan. Can't blame him ... it's going to be a great car. Said gentleman, Mr. "dooma350", found a listing on eBay for the car he wanted, with a starting bid of USD$60,000. He arranged financing (of up to USD$61,000) and bid on the car. Nobody outbid him, so he got his dream car for the opening bid, right? Nope ... not so much.

BMW of Lincoln, Nebraska is refusing to honor the sale, saying they made an "honest mistake", even though they reviewed (and changed) the auction listing page 3 times in 3 days.

This story is "blow<ing> up like the World Trade" (© Notorious B.I.G.), and has been posted to any and every car forum you can think of (including Autoblog) and the Consumerist. As of 0909 PST (GMT+8) the dealership has sent Mr. dooma350 an email saying they will not be honoring the auction price of USD$60,000. I'll keep following this story, and update as I feel necessary.

The original post is at the BimmerPost forums, here.

UPDATE: BMW of Lincoln is agreeing to sell Mr. dooma350 the car for the agreed-upon price of USD$60,000 (with certain conditions). No word on what those conditions may be, but Mr. dooma350 will find out tomorrow in a meeting with the dealership.

UPDATE 2: BMW of Lincoln is now saying that Dooma (aka Ken) can't/hasn't produced funding, and with a rapidly approaching deadline (04/01) the deal is expected to fall through.

UPDATE 3: I just realized it's been a while since I updated this post (or any part of the blog), and Ken has now received his car, and is loving it. He's posted plenty of pictures on the forum (see link above; p.122 of the forum post), and she's a beaut!


Phew! UMN wins game 2

In another nail biter of a hockey game, the Golden Gophers managed to squeak out a 2-1 overtime win over Minnesota State to tie the series at 1-1, and stay alive for another day.

Once again, it was a goaltender's battle, with Minnesota pounding 37 shots at Mike Zacharias over the 67:33 minutes of hockey. Gopher goalie Alex Kangas made 27 saves of his own, allowing a power-play goal at 11:09 of the 3rd.

UMN was 0-3 on the power play, while State went 1-4 on the night, in a game attended by 4744 fans. The officials, once again, were Derek Sheperd as referee, and Brad Sheperd & C.J. Beaurline working the lines. I'm not sure how there are only 3 officials in all of Minnesota, but you'd think they'd at least switch it up and put one of the linesmen working the whistle. We'll have to see if game 3 has the same guys working it.

Game 3 is tomorrow, and I'm afeared that it's going to be another close game. I'd love for UMN to win this cleanly, but honestly, as the #7 seed (facing #4 Minn. State) it's probably not going to happen. It was good to see solid shooting tonight, as they out shot their opponent in every period except overtime. One could say that overtime was when they should be shooting the most ... but they scored, so I'm happy. Winner of this series meets #5 St. Cloud State, who knocked out Kyle Turris and the Badgers in 2 straight games, next Thursday in St. Paul. The winner of that games faces #1 Colorado College next Friday in the semi-final.

The other quarter-final has #3 Denver facing either #2 UND or #9 Michigan Tech. I think. It's honestly the weirdest tournament layout I've ever seen, with teams being re-seeded after round 1, and then the 2 lowest remaining seeds playing in the quarters, with the winner facing the highest seed (Colorado) in the semis. Whoah.

In other hockey news, the Canucks beat Dallas tonight after giving up a 3-0 advantage, and trying their hardest to lose. Unfortunately, they didn't succeed.


I give up: UMN loses to State in Game 1

As promised, this game certainly was a "battle of the goaltenders", or as I like to call it "a battle of who can score the least". And when it comes to not scoring, nobody beats UMN!

Not only did UMN manage to lose to the Mavericks for the first time in 20 games (since 2002-03), but the only goal of the game was a short-handed 2-on-1. In the 2nd OT period. And instead of being completely irate about it, Coach Lucia managed only to call the goal scorer(s) "two great penalty killers". Sweet jeebus.

I don't want to talk about this game anymore, since there's not much to talk about. Game 2 of the series goes tomorrow night at 7:07 CT (5:07 PST). If UMN gets knocked out in 2-straight by Minnesota State ... I'll be kind of upset.


Gibson Guitar Corp. dumb; trying to steal profits

This is just stupid. Gibson Guitar Corp. is suing Activision, the makers of the "Guitar Hero" series of games for patent infringement. Not because the totally-realistic plastic guitars violate some design policy of the axe-maker, but because the games themselves are allegedly a violation of a 1999 patent held by Gibson.

Due to my extremely high level of loserness, I dug up the patent via Google (patent #5,990,405 if you're interested) to see how similar it is to "Guitar Hero", given the 8 year difference in technology (as the original patent is dated 23 November, 1999). Yeah ... it's really not even remotely the same. The Gibson patent allows a musician to play a musical instrument wearing a head-mounted 3D display. Portions (audio/video) of the concert are pre-recorded, and then a "sound track corresponding to the musical instrument played by the musician" is dubbed in. You can also "suppress the instrument sound track so that the sounds created by the actual playing of the musical instrument are heard along with the pre-recorded audio & video portions".

The bold was all added by me, to stress how different this patent is from "Guitar Hero". Even if you've never played the game, I'm sure you're well aware that there is no real musical instrument involved. You press colored buttons on a plastic guitar. It's not notes, it's not music, it's not a concert: it's how well you can time the colors. It's like a high-end Tetris game. If you took away the "instrument sound track" from "Guitar Hero", all you'd hear would be "click-click-click", not "sounds created by <a> ... musical instrument".

Clearly, Gibson Guitar Corp. is just trying to make a few extra dollars from the astounding success of Activision. They just want the video game manufacturer to obtain a license to use the patent (which I'm sure they'll charge dearly for). Companies like Gibson should stick to what they know best: making guitars. Leave the game development to the pros.

Source: LA Times | Business


Qatar in the bag

The first race of the 2008 Moto GP season was last night, and it didn't disappoint. The first ever night race in GP history was held at the Losail track at 2230 local time (and aired at 1900 on Speed TV here in North America).

From the start, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa showed incredible speed, grabbing the hole-shot and leading for the first 4 laps, before settling into a 3rd place finish. Rossi worked his way to the front of the pack, and looked solid for a few laps, before being passed and eventually falling back into a 4th place finish. Casey Stoner once again showed the dominance of last season, finishing in 1st place with an incredible 5.323 second gap over 2nd place Lorenzo, and a full 10.600 seconds faster than Pedrosa.

While Dani Pedrosa opted for the '08 version of the Honda RC212V (with pneumatic valves & a new chassis), while Nicky Hayden, 2006's World Champion, stuck with the '07 bike and finished in a disappointing 10th position (nearly 13 seconds behind Pedrosa). One has to think that Hayden (whose contract expires in 2008) may have a difficult time convincing Honda to keep him on as a factory rider after a disappointing 2007 season, and this dreadful start. That being said, with only 1 race in the bag of 2008, it may be too early to count out the Kentucky Kid.

Jorge Lorenzo was the other big story of the night, sticking right on the tail of Stoner for the majority of the race, but losing time every lap (especially on the long home straight). Lorenzo decided to stick with the Michelin tyres, while Rossi (on the same Fiat Yamaha factory ride) decided that Michelin couldn't be competitive against Stoner's Bridgestones, and switched tyre sponsors. It's interesting to note that 3 of the top 4 riders (the exception being the winner, Stoner) were on Michelin tyres, so one could question Rossi's decision to drop the French manufacturer from his sponsor roster.

Finally, James Toseland (the only Brit in the race), former World Superbike champion, made his GP debut in Qatar, and proved himself quite capable on a spring-valved, Tech3 Yamaha YZR-M1 (while the factory riders were provided with the 2008-spec pneumatic valved model). Toseland is said to have the '08 model bike by race #3 in Portugal, which should allow him to be very competitive, considering he finished only 0.74 seconds behind Rossi.


Turris to make NHL debut this year?

The Phoenix Coyotes are apparently trying to convince Kyle Turris that leaving the Badgers and joining the NHL is his best bet for the future. Coyotes GM Don Maloney wants to have a sit down with Turris and his representatives to "see how much sense turning pro makes" after Wisconsin's season ends. With UW going into the WCHA playoffs as the #6 team, this could be sooner rather than later. Possibly before the start of the NHL playoffs.

In theory, if the Badgers don't make it past the 1st round of the league playoffs (ending March 15), Turris could be with PHX for the last 2 weeks of the NHL season & the playoffs.

Turris currently leads the Badgers with 10-18-28 in 24 games (6th overall in scoring in the WCHA; 4th amongst freshmen in NCAA play).

In other NCAA news, a junior for Sacred Heart, from Regina, is named Bear Trapp. You know you're from Saskatchewan when ...

Minnesota pwned ... again

Grumbles! UMN played UMD in an all-Minnesota matchup last night, which ended surprisingly badly. Or maybe it's not surprising, considering how the Gophers like to smite me. It was a relatively close game (3-2), but going into the playoffs, and facing #4-ranked Minnesota State, UMN has to step up to the ... face-off dot ... and start playing better.

Minnesota managed only 18 shots (compared to UMD's 25) and fell behind 2-0 by 12:35 of the 2nd. It took a 5-on-3 powerplay for them to break the goose egg at 14:54 of the 2nd, though UMD got a powerplay goal of their own before the end of the period to go up 3-1. Early in the 3rd (4:07) Justin Bostrom pulled the Gophers within a goal, but they didn't manage any more offense before the final buzzer.

Playoffs start this Friday (03/14) with a best-of-three series.


Oh crap ... I'm starting to respect Ovechkin

Don't tell anybody I said that. I was always on the Crosby side of the "which rookie is better" debate (though I'm not sure I want to admit to being a Crosby lover either). But with Ovechkin's crazy good season this year (especially the 5-point night and natural hat-trick of a couple games ago), I'm about to jump on the bandwagon.

The Japers' Rink blog has a number of milestones that Ovechkin has either already reached (with his 2-goal performance last game) or is going to reach very soon. Par example: #53 set the record for "most goals in a 3-year span with the Caps"; #54 was "Most goals by a Capital in a season since 1981-82", as well as "Most goals in a season by a left wing since 1992-93". Keep an eye out for goals #61 (most in a season by a Capital), and #64 (most in a season by a left-winter).

Also notable from Japers' Rink is this picture which features some of my favourite things EVER (Brunswick sardines, mullets, turtlenecks & the Pens). I need to do more research on this ad campaign, because this is HUGE for the Connor Brothers. Why is this not at the entrance to Blacks Harbour, NB? No, I'm serious.

2008 Moto GP preview

It's season #60 this year, and I am so ecstatic about all things Moto GP that I can barely contain it. Firstly, March 9 (this Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!) is race #1 in Qatar. More exciting than that, is the fact that it will be the inaugural night time race, which is sure to be great (and a lot cooler than the Losail circuit is known to be).

This season also marks the first time in my conscious memory that two races will be held in the USA, with the US GP at Laguna Seca on July 20, and the Indianapolis GP at the Brickyard on September 14. The only way I could be more excited was if Canada got a GP race (though it would probably be Toronto or Montreal ... so I might as well just go to Laguna Seca).

I'm excited to watch Melandri perform on the Ducati GP8 (though I don't think he'll be spectacular), and I'm excited to see Casey Stoner continue to dominate. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Rossi fan, but I'm a bigger Duc fan ... and #1's name is my name.

Other notables: Colin Edwards usurped from Fiat Yamaha by Jorge Lorenzo, and relegated to the satellite Tech 3 team; Kawasaki picking up John Hopkins from Suzuki (who replaced him with Loris Capirossi); and everybody's favourite Brit w√ľnderkind, Bradley Smith, riding 125cc for Aprilia (the Polaris World Ateam). Incidentally, Smith could be the first person with that surname to EVER race at Indianapolis (thanks Wiki!)


With this open source, I thee ... type

I'm all about things that are free. I'm the type of person who will take a free pile of crap over a cheap item (that is less crappy), simply because it's free. Now, if something is free AND good ... well that's even better!

With that in mind, I give to the world a .ttf file of my handwriting. I think this may fall into the "free pile of crap" category (especially since it's not your handwriting), but I think it's pretty nifty. It would be a sin to keep all this greatness contained in my computer, and not spread throughout the blogosblogs for all to enjoy!