Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It's been totally crazy here (just grabbing lunch at 2:30) so I haven't had a chance to look at the blogs or Game recaps other than last night when I saw i missed anoth Ovechkin goal. Was it amnazing or just a normal Ovie score?
My son felt he did okay at his interview and life is still good in Bristow. Work is challenging and busy so I need to get back to it. Hope everyone else is having an interesting, good,m fun day as well.
Monday, November 26, 2007
In any case, in the words of my former high school pals - how 'bout them birds (of course I'm talking about the Eagles) okay so they didn't win last night but they sure put a scare into the NE Patriots and in NE's own house with a backup quarterback to boot. Also for those who don't see it the title this morning is meant to be a play on "No Soup for you!" from Seinfeld, of course if you needed this explanation my setup was really lacking.
Now it's back to the real world of chasing business and figuring out product plans here at ICx Technologies. I'd talk more about that part of my life, if I could because (to me) it's an amazingly cool place to work with lots of smart people but since we've recently gone public and are in a quiet period so there's not much I can say about it for a while, except for LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Also I've been pretty pleased at the last week's NCAA football results. The NCAA results I liked best you may ask - well that's a tie between Arkansas beating LSU (nothing against LSU I just love how the underdog has upset the 1-2 so much this year); the WVU win; and the VT-UVA game (again not because I don't like UVA). The three things all likely add up to this: a Big East Team (WVU) in the BCS Championship game and definitely add up to a former Big East team winning the ACC championship. I didn't think it was that cool when the ACC basically raided the Big East of it's growing football prowess now they are reaping what they've sown.
The Caps game was pretty awesome. They scored 3 power play goals to go up 3-0 before the Hurricanes got their first in the last minute of the second period. The team's approach is clearly to take a more proactive stance and play more aggressively and it sure seems to be working. It's also just so much fun to watch them again, now that they play the entire 60 minutes. The Hurricanes played hard all 60 minutes too and I thought after they scored that second goal - "Oh no here we go again." However, the 'Canes second goal seemed to energize the Caps and the crowd as much as it energized the Hurricanes. If Ovechkin's power play goal in the first period was pure excitement, his fore-checking and back-checking in the third was awesome power; and his second goal that put them up by two was the athletic artistry we all love to see. Once again Poti and Pothier served as solid anchors with significant ice time (23:41 and 20:10 receptively); and Erskine had a reasonably good game as well (18:42 TOI; 4 SOG; +/- -1; 2 PIM).
Overall my summary is it was a solid effort by both teams and I really liked the outcome. High points: A) I thought this was the first game I watched that Nylander earned more than every bit of his pay. B) The line combo of Fleischmann - Nylander - Pettinger worked. C) Olie the Goalie was solid "between the pipes" as well turning back 35 of 37 shots. Olie's play in the first five minutes of the first period was key to them having a lead at the end of the first. If your keeping count I was 4 1/2 of 8 on predictions. (I'm giving myself 1/2 for Erskine being in and Schultz sitting - hopefully we'll see Eminger soon so we'll know he's NOT being too heavily shopped. I think you can figure out which of the others I'm taking credit on; and even though Brashear had another good game - 8:48 TOI; 3 SOG; +/- 0 and no PIM I didn't feel right taking any credit on prediction #8.
So as I sip my coffee here in suburban Northern Virginia, all is right in the world, except I just realized that I'll miss the Caps game on Monday since I'll be with my son at his interview with our Congressman's (Tom Davis) interview board for Service Academy nominations. So I'll probably give them to one of the other crazy hockey fans in ICx Technologies corporate headquarters. Oh well, I'll just have to wait till Wed to go see their 4th win in a row under their new coach, Bruce Boudreau.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Whatever happens in this evening's game I hope it'll be as fun to watch like yesterday and of course I hope the Caps win - I figure they need to average 3 out of 4 over the rest of the regular season. I won't get too down on things if they don't go on a 10 game tear; there's too much parity in the league with the salary cap for that unless everyone is healthy AND Olie get's really, really hot. Also with all the goal scorers in the SE it'll not be likely that a 10 game streak occurs. That said I still think this team can do it and of course I'm rooting for it - yesterday was the first time in my 47 years I ever hollered at the TV rooting AGAINST the Flyers. Boy do I remember their first Stanley Cup the run to it and the parade after it. Some day we'll all have that feeling on F street together and then DC can wrest the title "Hockeytown" from Detroit. What the heck our violent crime rates are both similar - pretty bad - so why can't both our hockey teams be good (I just want ours to be better).
The Caps and Canes are both coming off 4-3 wins last night and both will be looking for their next victory. I wonder what we'll see today. I'm kicking myself for selling my tickets but I really thought I'd be fishing or playing golf in Myrtle Beach today not sitting at home working. Why do I want to see the game tonight - a lot of reasons but I think this sums up one of 5 reasons I have season tickets from the mouth of former Flyers Coach Ken Hitchcock: "If I lived in Washington, I'd pay whatever season ticket price just to watch Ovechkin play. To me, he's a special player who comes around once every 10 years, He's unbelievable." A couple of points - 1) I'm not suggesting a ticket price increase, in fact I'm really, really, glad there isn't one and don't want one at all. 2) This is not a dig on anyone else - the Caps have lots of good players/weapons - it's just Ovie is really a lot of fun to watch and theres some chatter on the blogs that yesterday wasn't his best game - to that I say go back and watch his fore-checking and back-checking, and intensity - he controls the tempo most of the time he's on the ice and did so yesterday. 3) Ovie is usually at his best in big games and tonight is a big game - wouldn't surprise me to see him to get multiple points and/or goals as long as they keep the Ovechkin-Kozlov-Clark line together it has real chemistry.
Predictions: a) Johnson in goal; 2) Backstrom stays on fourth line but does even more PK duty, especially if Caps take some dumb penalties; 3) Eminger in for either Shultz or Jurcina or he's really being shopped on the trading block (Personally, I hope he's back in the lineup); 4) Even though Semin is listed as day to day he stays out tonight and the rest of the week; 5) Nylander-Fleischmann skate even strength shifts together and do well; 6) Ovie-Kozlov-Clark paly together and Ovie has an awesome game; 7) Caps PowerPlay unit is same as yesterday and scores at least 33% of the time (okay the makeup is prediction and the result is hope); 8) Pettinger finally scores and breaks his drought; and finally 8) (as much hope as prediction) Brashear gets another Gordie Howe hat-trick (1 Fight; 1 Assist; and 1 Goal). Not my usual style but I predict the final score Caps 5 - Canes 3.
Okay back to work till 7PM. Yesterday, I got a few things done and further down the road but still lots to do. Today will be the day I close a few more things out. I generally lead a pretty workaholic, uneventful existence and today will be one of those days. My tasks at hand are pretty straight-forward -get a couple of proposals together and also do some "strawmen" for discussion of some key topics for a meeting I'm hosting later this week with ICx colleagues from around the country on our product and technology road map. This will be interesting and fun but the challenge is always wanting to do everyone's good ideas and not having enough time to do them all as fast as we want.
LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Initial reports suggested only a small hole was punched into the hull, but the Argentine navy later said it received reports of "significant" damage. Photos released by the Chilean navy late Friday showed the ship lying nearly on its side, surrounded by floating blocks of ice with escape ladders dangling down its side. Jerry DeCosta, who was vacationing on the Explorer but did not identify his nationality before a call was cut short, told The Associated Press that survivors felt fortunate to have been rescued without a hitch. "Everybody got off the Explorer fine," he said, adding many passengers were not aware at first that the ship had hit ice and gashed its hull. "We didn't even know what was happening; yet it was all professional" he said of the rescue. "Everything was done right, the captain got everybody off and the weather was ideal. It was a fluke of nature and luckily we got out," he said of calm skies and seas, a rarity in Antarctica where a storm blew up soon after the rescue. "We sent out a distress call and people came to help."
On Saturday, an air force Hercules C130 transport took off from this southernmost Chilean city for the Antarctic base some 1,100 kilometres southward. Authorities said it would bring back the first 78 survivors later in the day, the first of at least two flights planned. "We hope to conclude the evacuation in the early hours Sunday," said Eugenia Mancilla, a Chilean government spokeswoman. The 154 passengers and crew members were rescued by a Norwegian cruise liner, the Nordnorge, that answered the Explorer's distress call early Friday. "They were cold after being six hours in the lifeboats. We got them hot drinks and food and the right clothes," said Capt. Arnvid Hansen, of the Nordnorge. Wearing bright orange suits to fend off bitter temperatures, their faces reddened by a blustery storm that delayed their landing, the rescued travelers disembarked Friday night from the Nordnorge on King George Island, where they slept at Chilean and Uruguayan military bases.
Authorities reported no injuries other than some complaints of mild hypothermia. Andrea Salas, an Argentine crew member aboard the Explorer, said that passengers did not panic when the ship struck ice. "The captain told us there was water coming in through a hole. We grabbed our main things and our coats and we got into the boats almost immediately," she said. "There wasn't any panic at all and luckily, everything went well. Now, after all the anxiety has passed, we can just say, 'Hey we're still alive.' Susan Hayes of G.A.P. Adventures of Toronto, which runs environmentally oriented excursions and owns the stricken MS Explorer, said all passengers were accounted for. She said 91 passengers hailed from more than a dozen nations, including 24 Britons, 17 Dutch, 14 Americans, 12 Canadians and 10 Australians. The ship also carried nine expedition staff members and a crew of 54. The Explorer was on a 19-day circuit of Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, letting passengers observe penguins, whales and other wildlife while getting briefings from experts on the region, according to G.A.P. Operators had boasted that the Explorer - a ship only 75 metres in length with a shallow bottom and ice-hardened hull - could go places other vessels could not.
Friday, November 23, 2007
2. They never stopped playing; and that's why they won.
3. The biggest difference I noted was the D-Men pairings; Poti - Pothier earned their money didn't they - what was their Time On Ice, no question which D-Men are the anchors (in a good way) of this team today. Oh and how many assists did Poti have? Schultz-Jurcina looked good as did Morrisonn- Green. My 2 cents Hanlon would never have tried these pairings and stuck with them. The amount of TOI that Poti - Pothier need to have to make this work would've made him too nervous as would playing the young guys together even though their playing styles are complimentary. Will the young guys make mistakes sure and then Boudreau will (gasp) yell at them, but they'll learn and the team will stay fired up; for example I'd expect someone will work with Jurcina on whatever caused him to be out of position on the Flyer's third goal but I expect we'll see more of a Jurcina-Schultz pairing or we'll see Schultz with Eminger or Morrisonn though it sure seemed like the Morrisonn - Green pairing worked. Also the reaction to being caught out of position later in the third by Jurcina when he hustled and recovered showed more spark and "accountability" then we've seen in a while.
4. The line pairings can work. I've always liked Flash and if any one can skate with Nylander it's Fleischmann. Also Nylander actually seemed to freelance less. That said there was a couple of shifts at the end of the third with Nylander - Ovechkin together and that dind't seem to go well for either. Ovechkin - Kozlov - Clark works, it has a nice beat and we can all dance to it. . At some point it'll shift to Backstrom at center as the combo that put the OT goal in was fun to watch and hard for the Flyers to handle showed; but at even strentgh Kozlov-Ovechkin - Clark seem to be a more disciplined pairing that never seemed out of position or to need to look up to see where any of the other two guys are. I hope they leave Nylander - Fleischmann - Pettinger together for a couple of games as it seemed to work well. Shots on Goal were up for the Caps and stayed low against the Caps though the Flyers clearly got and took advantage of a few good chances.
5. It seemed like it was okay for the Caps to have fun, as long as they hustled when they played, and they responded.
6. It certainly seemed like time management was better and shift changes were smoother.
7. "Old Tyme Hockey" is okay to play and it works - the Caps did a lot less dump & chase; they also pushed the Flyers to the boards and were there waiting for them. Brashear responded and certainly earned his keep with a Gordie Howe hat trick (1F, 1G, & 1A) - way to go!
8. I thought the double minor against Clark in the second was harsh/unjustified (should have been a single minor) but hey that's hockey, as was the first slow whistle of the game which helped the Flyers score their first goal. The second one was as Craig Laughlan said "One Olie would like to have back". That said the reaction of the Caps and play during the last 2 minutes on their power play on the bad penalty by T-man was pretty good. They shot more than recent days and they had 2 good scoring chances to end the period on a high note.
The Flyers are a good team this year and a great team at home, this looked like a good first step. Good luck Bruce and thanks to the Caps for keeping at it and bringing home a W - oh and finally:
9. It was fun to watch.
Optimistic in Bristow (aka frequently frustrated caps fan)
The Clark double-minor seemed excessive and the Flyers certainly took advantage of it but that's hockey. At least the bad penalty by T-Man that let the Caps have a PP for the bulk of the last two minutes of the period helped. The PP seems to be working better and taking more shots - a good thing from my perspective. I'd expect some changes on the PK unit soon though if things keep going the way they did on Clark's double minor, though as CL said right after the Flyer's second goal "That one is probably one Olie would like to have back." - as if Olie isn't so intense as to want to have them all back.
"Just sayin" still guardedly optimistic but it's fun watching a goalie other than Olie or Johnnie have to cover up so much. Both the forechecking and backchecking are just so much more intense than the last several games it's a different game for the Caps opponents.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The usual football games were fun to watch yesterday - isn't Brett Farve just awesome to watch. The Packers this year certainly are on a roll as are the Colts - well given Michigan, Notre Dame and the craziness in the Big 10 at least the Pro Teams are providin mid-western football fans with a spark, eh? The Packers, Colts, Cowboys and of course, the Patriots are all just so dominant this year. There's leassons to be learned watching them for business and sports - they stick to a system and execute as a team. Oh and while I'm on the subject in the NFL there's no way to run or not run "up" the score. Let me ask you this - when you shell out what will be $200+ bucks for seats, parking, and a bottle of something to drink, do you really want to see the second and third string for 1/2 the game? Well, if you do - "we just disagree" - especially before the last game or two of the season when a team has things "locked. But I digress again.
I'll also watch the Caps-Flyers game today with great interest, as I suspect most Caps fan will. Tarik's blog yesterday was a surprise (that he did a post as well as the contents). I saw lots of banter in the blogsphere, from the malcontents, who still think the answer is to sack George McPhee as well as Craig Patrick in some cases. I think one conclusion is premature and the other is just a dumb statement. The issues to date don't seem to be a lack of enough talented players, IMHO. I look at the recent past - the last 10 games - and don't see the chemistry and discipline there like they were the first three. Putting things in place so the talented players on the team play in a motivated but disciplined manner so the whole is greater than the sum of the parts is the responsibility of the coaching staff, and at the pro level, the experienced players. From Tarik's blog it sure sounds like Boudreau understands that and will drive it home to the younger players on the team. I also think as a former NHL player he'll understand the feelings of the older more experienced guys like Olie and Chris Clark so I'm taking a position of gaurded optimism. I don't expect things overnight but I do expect folks to drive harder through all 20 minutes of all 3 periods. If nothing else the extra laps for various mistakes in practice can only improve stamina in the long run.
Relative to the comments related to Craig Patrick, I think they are ignorant and dumb. I understand that Ted Leonsis is the majority owner but he has partners and one of them is Craig Patrick. I seriously doubt he picked any of his partners lightly, including Patrick. Mr. Patrick grew up in a family with a solid NHL pedigree, some will scream that doesn't mean anything. My response is talk to folks who are rabid Clemson Football fans and see if they don't think their head coach learned anything over the dinner table growing up. There's plenty of other good examples as well. These issues aren't solely anybody's fault; one recurring theme the blogs allude to have merit - the big mistake on the Jagr extension which the Caps are still literally paying for. It's like the Texas Rangers who also had to be breathing a sigh of relief when A-Rod opted out of his "Yankees" contract this year. Welcome to the era of the salary cap - back when the "Jagr Mistake" was made it was early in the current socio-economic world of today's NHL and "shoulda, woulda, coulda" doesn't get anyone anywhere. Let's move on, I'm sure Glen Hanlon will and do well; I'm sure the Caps Ownership, Management and Players will - they live in the real visceral world where you have to do that - we fans here in "cyberspace" need to move on as well. If you're a real geek I say: clear out the buffers; flush the algorithmic filters and start anew.
If 10 to 20 games from now you still want Ted Leonsis to sack McPhee or buy out Craig Patrick; get 10 or 20 friends and buy a bunch of tickets; go to a couple games and scream a chant about it. Remember at my heart, I'm a boy from Philadelphia, growing up even when the Eagles or Phillies had horrible seasons we still had fairly good PAID attendance figures - we just gave both our own teams AND the opponents a hard time verbally. Watching Steve Carlton throw a near perfect game in a really imperfect season was still a better way to spend an evening than sitting at home. One other note on that, when I was growing up and we shouted our discontent in public, we managed to tell people to stick it without that much hardcore profanity. I've never heard that much bad language at the Verizon Center; but several years ago, I stopped taking my then 10/11 yo son to FedEx Field when I was up in the 400 level and a whole section of drunks were really, really vile in the description of what they wanted Norv Turner to do by/to himself. That was my last game with him for a long time because I didn't want to subject my son to that environment. (Please put this in context and remember this isn't coming from a "prude" I'm a Merchant Mariner and there's a reason for the cliche' "swear like a sailor".)
One last set of thoughts and comments about a really class act that was rightfully sacked yesterday. I think it's really ignorant and yes - stupid - to not agree and admit that Hanlon is a driven guy and solid coach. He was an NHL player - actually a goalie - for many years; to compete at the highest level of your sport you have to be a special person both physically and mentally. But to be a goalkeeper in any sport - soccer; lacrosse; or hockey - you have to be so mentally tough and competitive - the description "Type A" has to be understatement. Yes it's true, the last two months have been painful for us fans to watch; but I cannot accept it was because of lack of drive, desire or intensity on Hanlon's part. He and this team are just at a juncture where a new set of eyes and fresh approach are needed. I have no doubt Glen Hanlon will be back at the helm of an NHL club and do well soon. We should wish him well, thank him for three solid years, and we should let the dust on this change settle before we get ahead of ourselves on calling for other wholesale changes.
Now back to work, lunch break is over.
Oh and let's give Ted and the ownership some space and let up on them too. This "fascination" about his vacation plans, etc. is just plain wrong. A couple of points:
1) In this Wired/Web 2.0 World, he doesn't have to be at every game to stay involved and in touch. Look at his bio - he has lot's of investments and interests including the Caps that He's clearly very actively involved with - today is the information age and physical presence in the same room to make things happen - who can say "Webex"? I bet all of the Caps Front Office and Ted as well as all the other principles in Lincoln Holdings can. Finally on that point how do you think 5 guys in Toronto review every goal scored in the NHL every night before it's declared "official" and annouced in any of the playing arenas, if they aren't "actively involved" in the games...
2) Just because he owns the Caps doesn't mean he can't have a family and a larger life - I know if I had achieved as much as he and the other owners have I'd want to enjoy an arrary of things in addition to the Caps. These guys are keeping much of the pro sports scene in DC viable, if you think they are in it for the money you really don't understand how many other things are easier to make money (either from on-going operations or asset appreciation) than owning an NHL or WNBA team.
Happy Thanksgiving! Our Christmas Cactus is blooming; it's a windy 66 degree day here in Bristow, VA and I was just told I have to roast the turkey. I generally do the meat and poultry and my wife makes the sides and desserts, for occassions like this. My idea of being lazy and going to Cracker Barrel got shot down yesterday. I also have some work to do after we finish dinner early this evening to get ready for a fun but busy week next week.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
There will no doubt be more "soul" searching but from the outside looking in one can't help question the preperation especially looking at the stats and the unending changes to the lines, and the lapses in efforts by the defense.
I'll keep coming, if for no other reason than to see the magic Ovie and Semin can do with a hockey puck and hockey stick and to see the great saves and determination of Olie the Goalie. Also the Caps are a class organization and of all pro athletes NHL players in general and the Caps in particular are just great corporate citizens of their communities and basically good examples to kids. But wouldn't it be a lot more fun to go to the Verizon Center and watch them win more often and with this team of super players why can't we have that kind of experience more often.