Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mt. Puckmore Revisited

First and foremost, it's time to get serious.  I've owned my house for 2 years and have never sat at my office desk any longer than it has taken me to file away bills or print out pictures of cats with poor grammar attached to them, so you know if I'm writing this post from said aforementioned desk, that this is serious business and isn't going to be a post with millions of Wellwood is fat (He didn't play for the Stars, so it can't be) or Martin Skoula has the defensive prowess of a Tic-Tac jokes (Whoops, forgot about 2005-06...good thing I was able to obtain this video of a Montreal forward going up against Martin Skoula 1-on-1.  If you look closely you'll see a special rare appearance by Niko Kapanen by the blue line).  Nope, I'm here to respond to The Dallas Morning News' Mike Heika who was privileged enough to write the Dallas Stars Mt. Puckmore for Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy Blog.

First off let's tackle Mr. Heika's four faces: Modano, Gainey, Belfour, and Lehtinen.  Modano was obviously a lock.  He had to be.  You do not leave out the "Face of the Franchise" when it comes to Puckmore.  It's stupid.  It would be like not calling a penalty on a blatant violation of the rules.

In Gainey, I honestly feel ashamed that I didn't even think of him when I compiled my own list of four candidates.  He truly coached the team well and built the foundation for the great years of playoff success we had.  The day he left the organization was a sad day for me since I did not really trust Doug Armstrong with the keys to the Stars organization.

I can't really get upset with either the Belfour or Lehtinen picks.  Both have the support that they should in terms of being eligible.  Lehtinen deserves it for his accomplishments (6 Selke nominations, 3 wins in addition to leading the team in goals 2 years in a row among other stats) in addition to being a Star for life.  As for Eddie...well, I still can't shake my memory of him being Billionaire Belfour.

This all leads me to my own nominations for Mt. Puckmore.  The ones that should have made it because they are so important to the deciding criteria of "four people...who you remember most when you think of these teams -- whether they be players, coaches or executives."

Sadly not even close to the strangest thing put in there (source: Cornell)

Joe Nieuwenmynameisreallyhardtospelldyk
I know a lot of people probably disagree that he is someone that is remembered the most, but he deserves to be here for other reasons than being the #2 center for the Stars.  Gainey traded a guy that one day might crack an NHL lineup for Joe.  Aside from being ballsy, it suddenly added a legitimate punctuation mark to the Stars team in terms of how serious a Southern market was willing to be in hopes of winning a Stanley Cup.  Suddenly more and more free agents were willing to look at Dallas as a viable destination.  Keep in mind he notched six game winning goals and won the Conn Smythe in 1999.  As for today...well, he's still well known.  Mainly as someone that can't seem to put together a winning team at all.  He's also the guy that had to make the announcement that Modano would not be offered a contract.  Tough break, but it does mean memories.

Sir, you appear to have a squirrel tail coming out of your nose.
Jaromir "Puff Nuts" Jagr
Because what self respecting blogger wouldn't include Jagr in their Mt. Puckmore?  When you look at the stats it further shows how amazing he was.  Since the 2000-01 season, when playing with Stars players he was literally a point a game player (9 games, 4 goals, 5 assists).  Not even Mike Modano has that distinction.  What's that?  Jagr never put on a Stars uniform?  Get the F out of here!  Oh well.

Only thing it's missing is a Liverpool banner (source: Dallas Sports Fans)

Thomas O. Hicks
Yes, I hate the man.  Nay, I despite the man.  I've had to endure him and his family long before he owned the Stars, and will likely have to do the same long after he has sold them.  One thing needs to be made perfectly clear though, he has done excellent things in taking this team where was a few years ago.  He has done some horrible things to the team to turn it into what it is today.  His finances are the reasons for our success and failures.  He was able to turn an $84 million team with virtually no future being in a southern market, into a team worth $246 million at the end of 2009.  Like him or hate him, he truly has defined the Stars for better or worse.

I see nothing wrong with this picture (source: The Star)

Brett Hull's Left Foot
Like you didn't see this coming.  Brett Hull's left foot is easily the most famous and recognizable...player?...executive?...hmm...ok, so it doesn't fit the exact word-for-word criteria for Mt. Puckmore, but you can't tell me you don't think of this moment when you think of the Dallas Stars.  If you disagree, then I encourage you to go to any hockey city in the US, for example's sake let's pick one completely at random like Buffalo, and ask the first 10 people you see walking down the street the first thing that comes into their head when they hear the words "Dallas Stars."  After you eliminate the one person that breaks down and cries, the two people that curse at you, and Scott Norwood exclaiming "Thank God!" you are left with six people who are obviously going to say Brett Hull's left foot.  It's proven fact, just look it up.

Please remember there is a lovely comment section you can take full advantage of and leave your scathing remarks for me to read, or you can harass me on twitter.  It's all up to you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fantasy Hockey Drafting Tips

With fantasy football drafts starting to kick into high gear, that means hockey season is approaching and it never hurts to start developing a good draft strategy.  I for one keep a notepad on me at work and on the last page I keep a running list of sleepers and players I'd really like.  Our friends over at Blades of Funny have already weighed in on their tips on what you should do, well now it's time for the perennial master of drafting a second place team to give you his top fantasy hockey drafting tips and reminders:

- Remember that goaltenders are extremely valuable since they compile a majority of the key statistics that you'll need to be successful.  This is why you should draft a goalie in the first 4 rounds just to make sure you are set.  In round 5 you can begin focusing on these supposed superstars like Crosby and Ovechkin.

- When in fear that an opposing player might steal your aforementioned goaltender pick, gently remind them that Evgeni Nabokov, Andrew Raycroft, and Steve Mason all won the Calder Trophy as rookie goaltenders.  If that doesn’t work, add that Jose Theodore and Tim Thomas both won Vezina Trophies.  Should be smooth sailing from here on out.

- Despite "Goals" being a scoring category, Vesa Toskala does not actually count towards it.

Pretty sure Vesa wishes he were on any team, including your fantasy team

- Always be aware of when players have retired, remain unsigned, or sign with a worthless team overseas.  Respective examples: Scott Niedermayer, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Taylor Hall.

- Team chemistry is important even in fantasy hockey.  You can rack up serious points if you are able to draft multiple line mates from a killer line such as getting a Thornton/Heatley, Stamkos/St Louis, or Ovechkin/Backstrom duo.  This being said, it might not be wise to draft Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter, particularly if Lauren Pronger is chirping in their ears.

- Keeping track of how many people you have at each position is extremely important, as most leagues will not allow you to interchange right and left wingers.  Some people, such as myself, opt for a strategy of drafting one less defenseman than allowed in exchange for carrying an extra forward on the bench.  However, under no circumstances carry 8 D-men.  That’s just absurd.

- Remember that whenever someone drafts Martin Brodeur or Kyle Wellwood, they are entitled to a free pie.

SAT analogy question - Spinach is to Popeye as Pies are to ___________ (Hint: Look up)

- Note that just because you draft Patrick Kane or Shane O’Brien, slutty, barely legal girls are not going to bust through the door, bring you alcoholic beverages, sit on your lap, and discuss the first thing that comes up.

- Drafting a good team is a balancing act.  Power forwards, for example, will put up both points and PIMS, and thus are a great way to cover multiple categories at once.  Keeping this in mind, avoid all Dallas defensemen, as heavy “minus” and high “short handed goals against” totals do not help you win leagues.

- When in need of plus/minus help it is always wise to choose players from a defensive minded team such as the New Jersey Devils.  If these players are all gone, just pick the guy that stands on the ice while Ovechkin scores all his even strength goals.

- Finally, in order to level the drafting field and make things more interesting, whenever a Montreal Canadian player is selected, all opposing team owners must do car bombs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

EA NHL games and the NHL 11 demo

So last Tuesday, the new NHL 11 demo hit the Xbox Live Marketplace.  The first thing you should know is that I quickly discovered that I suck at NHL 11.

 Just like anyone from Buffalo, I too am a loser when it comes to important games

Some quick background on my EA playing career.  The last game I truly enjoyed was NHL 2004.  I played it religiously in college.  Most of my fraternity brothers were Madden and FIFA fans, but I was one of the few that loved hockey in the house.  I still remember nights with one of my fraternity brothers Alan, where we would come home from the bars/house parties/dorms and we're play a rousing game of drunken NHL.  Regardless of my state of inebriation, I'd always win.  I remember a particular 2 on 2 game one night where my partner and I were behind by a good 5 or 6 goals going into the third period.  We ended up coming back and winning, but we did not end up with a chorus of applause, but rather a series of profanity filled rants and the accusation that we were playing possum the entire time and just wanted to make the opposing team look like idiots (in reality, this is the first time I will admit that this was not the case.  My teammate and I literally just sucked it up royally for 2 periods and I think the game was overly generous in return).

I also recall my favorite part of the complete annihilation of Alan's self worth during these games: the elusive white board I had next to my couch that contained a running tally of certain statistics like  goals, powerplay goals, short handed goals, and when typical mundane categories like that got old, thing like the BMG, the Black Man Goal.  In case you haven't realized, Discard What You Don't Need is not a PC blog, so don't expect it to be.  The BMG was a great thing and the NY Rangers with Anson Carter became the go-to team.  Much fun was had.

 Wait, this man actually won something hockey related?

Fast forward to the innovation of the right analog stick with dekeing, and more importantly, the review of the aforementioned NHL 11 Demo.  The days of singing songs and being a complete jackass while literally scoring at will are over.  My learning curve is extremely behind those of others.  I haven't bought an NHL game since 2008 due to my inability to waiver from the "old ways" of EA games.  It took me 4 games to finally score my first goal in NHL 11, and sadly, it was an empty netter since the 3rd period began with me ahead.  Not exactly a confidence booster.

As I have played more and more, the game has gotten easier.  Much easier to control in terms of passing, defense, and dekeing than I recall.  Goals are still harder to come by than I recall from the good old days.  The graphics are obviously amazing as can be.  The Stanley Cup celebrations complete with city personalized quotes are interesting and impressive.  However, from what I've heard, the improvements over NHL 2010 aren't exactly earth shattering.  This is why I want to talk about the EAUHL and how impressed I was by it.

We've all heard that EA got officially licensed to use OHL,  WHL, and QMJHL teams in their game this year, and quite honestly what they did with it has amazed me so far.  The ability to have regular NHL-ers with up and coming stars is quite intriguing.  The fact that you can upgrade each of these individuals depending on how old and how much potential they have is also quite interesting.  I love the idea of earning EA pucks that can be used as a monetary currency to buy additional cards in the form of upgrades and players.  It really seems like a neat system and I look forward to them expanding on it in the full version.  That being said, EA needs to fix the glitch that allows you to upgrade anyone that plays defense for the Dallas Stars.  Obviously this is fantasy and not something that actually happens in the NHL.

That's all the good.  The great even.  I think I could probably play NHL 11 for an entire year and not get bored of it thanks to the dynasty mode in addition to XBL and the ultimate hockey league.  However, with the good, we must all have bad.  Sticks seem to break too often.  They snap like Kurtis Foster's leg going for an iced puck.  It's ridiculous.  I seriously see a good 2-3 per game and that doesn't even include how many dropped sticks there are.  Now for those achievements whores such as a good friend of mine this is excellent since there are achievements that center around this, but for the hockey dedicated, it just get frustrating at times.  Look, I understand they happen, but it gets annoying when I have to skate around two broken ones on the ice just to wear down the D and get a scoring chance.

 Who cares if it's the wrong game, Joe's gonna break his stick anyway.

And the Gary Bettman imaging?  Hell, I won't even start.  They could have scanned in an image of Barney the Dinosaur and it would have had a closer resemblance.

Then there's the fighting engine.  Now I love being the crap out of someone, especially if it's an overpaid Ranger whose name rhymes with Poohard.  My issue isn't with the fighting system, but rather the instigation system.  Anytime I try to fight post whistle by pushing and shoving I end up in the box with a 2 minute minor.  The computer on the other hand can do whatever they damn please post whistle and the refs apparently turn into Ray Charles.  Sorry, that was an insult to all blind people.  I should have gone with the obvious Kerry Fraiser joke instead.

My only other complaint is actually one that is probably not justified.  It's harder to destroy someone with a good check nowadays.  I'm looking for Scott-Stevens-on-Eric-Lindros type destruction from a body check and it's hard as hell to get that now a days.  Sure the addition of an amazing hip check is nice, but it's quite difficult to actually accomplish.  Instead it's all about actually getting the puck via a poke check or some other non-violent hockey method like "actually playing defense."  Pfft, whatever that is.

My only other issue with the game?  Isn't Taylor Hall supposed to be able to score every time you shoot the puck?  Just saying.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What a new buyer means to the Stars

So it would appear that Forbes magazine is reporting that Tom Hicks is closer to a sale than we all thought.  What does this mean for Dallas and the Stars team?  Let's find out!

To those that are unfamiliar with me, I've led an interesting life.  I've actually grown up with some of the Hicks family and ironically know many of the locals that tried to put in bids on the Stars, including Mr. Cuban (who is a freaking giant of a man by the way).  On a random site note, I should point out that part of the Modano non-retirement was due to a failed organized bid on the team which included Brett Hull and would have brought Jim Lites back into the fold.  I was really hoping that that particular bid had gone through because of a few reasons:
1)  It would have brought some amazing local marketing to the equation
2)  It would have instilled hometown team pride, similar to Nolan Ryan being part of the Texas Rangers deal
3)  I probably could have weaseled myself some type of job within the organization due to connections
4)  Buffalo fans could have suffered for many years to come knowing that Mr. Foot-In-The-Crease now owned a hockey team and would enjoy showing that highlight reel clip literally every 8.3 seconds during any Stars/Sabres game.
5)  We could afford any free agent as long as they weren't Ilya Kovalchuk.

Now then.  When Mr. Hicks sells the team (because really, Liverpool fans love him much more than the local fans since he is a local owner of a hockey team that he helped mold into a great contender and champion and then let melt into a pile of repulsive ooze by creating the first ever co-GMs in the league) there will be much rejoicing in Dallas.  I mean, we might be able to afford someone on defense for starters.  I hear that Kaberle fellow is still trying to be traded! (wait, a no trade clause?  Hell, GMs get players to waive those all the time...)

In all seriousness though, despite being sold before the season starts in October, the Stars aren't going to look much different going into the season.  It's sad, but true.  All the ownership change means is that the trade deadline becomes somewhat important, and that there is an extreme outside chance that they might try to make a swipe at Niemi.  I know what you're thinking, but honestly if a team trades for a franchise goaltender in Lehtonen, and then drafts a potential franchise goaltender in Campbell, why not go out and trade for a decent goaltender in Niemi?  The lack of common sense is already present, so why not go for it?  In reality it's the best idea anyone has ever thought of.  Let's just see someone try and score with Niemi and Raycroft on the blueline with Lehtonen in net.  That's 3 goalies on the ice!  That's Charles Wang thought right there folks.  Next thing you know we'll trade for Jussi Jokinen back and then give our best player to the Islanders for Robbie Schremp so that we might be able to win a shootout in the near future.  Albeit, it'll be hard to get to the shootout when you're giving up 4-5 more goals per game than you are scoring, but we'll be a shoe-in if we make it.

So honestly, all I can hope for this season is a top 5 draft pick, that Kovalchuk signs a 1 year deal somewhere so we have a shot at him next season when we have cap room, Joe is able to resign Richards at a less than $6 mil a season extension, that the entire D learns how to play hockey overnight, and Brian Burke really likes one of our players to the tune of 2 1st rounders and a 2nd rounder.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Future

If it isn't clear yet, don't expect any award winning titles to be produced here.  I'm pretty cut and dry and prefer to stay out of Pun Jail whenever possible.  Anyway, last time we touched on the ghosts of hockey past.  Today I'd like to delve into the future specifically pinpointing a few players and a few personnel changes in the off-season.

Jamie Benn
I have to start with this kid.  I was at opening night last year vs the Predators for Benn's first NHL game.  He was one of the starters on the ice and I'll be damned if he didn't fly around the rink with blazing speed checking anyone in sight looking like the ultimate power forward.  This was amazing, except for one tiny detail: He's 6' 2" 207 pounds.  Not exactly small, but by no means a huge guy.  I assessed that if he tried to keep up that particular style of play, the Ice Girls would have been scrapping pieces of him up from the ice by the middle of the second period.  Regardless, he was moved off a great line of Ribeiro and Morrow after doing nothing in terms of generating offense for 2, maybe 3 shifts (I might have blinked and Crawford is all about those short shifts)...that didn't take long.  I honestly figured this was going to be just another bust of a prospect, but near the end of the season, mostly when playing for the AHL's Texas Stars, he was unstoppable.  One of the biggest reasons the Stars made it so far in the playoffs was Benn's goal scoring ability.  My hope is he takes was he learned from his first full NHL season and is able to take the next step in the coming year.  Lord knows we'll need the offense because the defense is pure crap.

Stars Defense
Speaking of, you can't spell "Disaster" without "Stars D."  Look, I love Stephane Robidas.  The guy has taken more pucks and sticks to his face than any man should, and he sacrifices his body like no other, but the guy is not a #1 defenseman...except on this team.  I'll get to Turco, but you can't really fault the guy for the last 2 seasons.  He's virtually had a whole core of guys who played in the league 2 years or less and worst of all, they didn't play because they suddenly were amazing, they played cause there wasn't anyone else available.  Plain and simple if these guys don't step it up, stop making bad turnovers, and put forth some hussle and effort, it doesn't matter if we have LOLuongo in front of the net, the other team is going to score.

One is a winger who, for the right incentive ladden contract could be quite the bonus to the team if he can stay healthy, the other is a goaltender that makes me go "Why?"  In a fantasy world, I had Nabokov and Turco switching sports via free agency.  It made perfect sense really, they're both essentially on the same level, the teams in front of them are really the only difference.  Well, except for the whole "Dallas can't afford to shop at the $1 store, so how could they give Nabby any sort of a contract he'd want?" thing.  I really hope the organization knows what they are doing.  I agree that Lehtonen has the potential to become a great NHL goaltender, but didn't Alexander Daigle and Patrik Stefan have the same, if not more, potential to be NHL superstars?  Hell, the last time I saw Patrik Stefan he was being reminded how bad he was.

The Draft
This one just makes me angry.  You see, when Joe (I know his last name is Nieuwendyk, but you try typing that a good 10 times from here on out and tell me which name you're going to put down) traded for Lehtonen he traded the #1 prospect in the Stars organization.  A defensive prospect by the name of Ivan Vishnevskiy.  The fact that the organization kept pumping him up as the next Sergei Zubov gave hope to fans that had never actually seen him play.  We loved Zubov and the things he did with the puck.  The fact that he chain smoked like crazy, only added to the allure that he was such a great athlete.  So Joe goes out and trades him for our new goaltender of the future, in the process making every fan wonder what is going on since we know our defense is horrible and they just traded away the best guy we had in the system (in Joe's defense, Ivan couldn't play D for anything, but he was an excellent offensive threat on the blueline).  Thankfully as someone pointed out, if Don Waddell saw any promise in Vishnevskiy, then that means Stars fans probably didn't want him.  Touche.

Enter the NHL Draft.  I snuck away from work when I heard the Stars were getting closer.  I kept seeing Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley drop and drop and drop.  How lucky was Dallas about to be getting one of two outstanding defensemen that should have gone in the top 5 with the 11th pick.  I was so excited.  So happy.  Then I saw Joe announce they selected Jack Campbell.  Cue the bottle of Crown Royal.  Did I miss something?  You just traded away your #1 defensive prospect for a goaltender, did you not?  Then why did you just draft a goaltender with the 11th overall pick you idiot?  I pray that by the time the Stars D can actually help out a goaltender, which should be roughly the time that Jack Campbell applies for social security, that the 65 year old Campbell will have an outstanding NHL career and thus prove me wrong.  From here on out the Stars selected D guys like they got them at a half off sale: Patrik Nemeth, Alex Theriau, and John Klingberg, which led me to post a tweet that summed up the 2-day lottery for me:

For as much as I give the guy a bad rap, he really deserves it.  Extremely creative with puck handling and piles up the assists like crazy.  Sadly, when you're a goaltender, those are not the first two compliments I want to have in mind when I think of you.  "Stops the puck from going into the net" would be my preferred #1 choice and that's why you're now in Chicago.

I'd comment, but it takes a little longer to recover from such a kick to the nuts as Modano signing with Detroit.

The Real Deal - James Neal
Sure there are a ton of other players I didn't mention, but this one is my favorite.  I jumped on the bandwagon when he started 2 season ago and even drafted him in my fantasy league.  Thanks for the 24 goals chief.  Drafted him again last year and snagged an extra 27 goals for that shrewd move.  The guy really is a complete player who gives his all anytime he's on the ice.  It doesn't always end up as a point for him, but I feel he really is the next captain in the making for Dallas.  Having said all this, I'm shocked that no one has tried to sign him to an offer sheet considering the current Stars financial issues.  I won't complain though, and hopefully here's to hitting a minimum of 30 goals this year.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Past

I'm going to take you all on a journey. A brief delving into the ghosts of hockey past. In a few days, we'll turn to the optimistic hockey future (optimistic in the sense that Tom Hicks will no longer be the owner and we then have the potential to win a game).

I am about to admit something that only 3 people on this planet know. Which means, in all likelihood, that after appearing in this blog a grand total of 8 people will now know. I began watching hockey when the Stars first moved to Dallas. Not that I had ever paid attention to the game, but because I was cut for the first time from a baseball team and at that exact moment vowed to never enjoy the sport again and immediately searched to replace it with something new. Enter the Dallas Stars.

Throughout the years I have witnessed many highs and lows. I saw a Stanley Cup brought home, and even got to touch and hang out with it thanks to close connections with the Hicks family.
 Wide Right? Foot in Crease? I don't care.

I've also seen a bottle of cough medicine derail our goaltender the following season, ousting us from the Stanley Cup Finals, and sending the team into a slow downward spiral only to be momentarily revived by Brad Richards for one glorious post season run.

This brings us to more of less this past year.  My beloved DU Pioneers headed into the NCAA tourney as the #2 seed only to be thwarted by a first time team.  Oh the days when Paul Stastny, Matt Carle, and Adam Berkhoel were around.  Hell, I'd settle for the days when the crazy Czech Lukas Dora was around.  Good thing I still had the Stars playoffs to watch a few months later.

Oh wait, I didn't.  I forgot that our defense had more holes than swiss cheese.  I forgot that Marty Turco looked more like a defenseman than a goaltender.  I forgot that for as much as Brad Richards does on offense, that the loomed +/- always comes back and wins in the end.  Sure there were bright spots in the season, after all they still served beer at the games.  The problem was, I convinced myself that the team was wasn't flat out bad.  I knew the truth, but something inside me wouldn't accept it.  I defended the team right before the All-Star Break saying they looked amazing and surely we'd make it to the playoffs and then surprise everyone with healthy players.  I still hadn't lost hope when they needed a near miracle in the final 2 weeks of the season.  But like everyone who didn't support the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, the hope turned to crushing reality and I got to watch 16 other teams play for the Cup.  At times I wanted to punch Marc Crawford in the face for constantly trying to make all of the players fit his system, instead of utilizing the talents he had around him and letting them do what they excelled at (please see Appendix A: Mike Ribeiro's venture into playing at Montreal skill levels).  At times I wanted to punch myself in the face for watching such atrocious players on the ice not named Martin Skoula.

Ironically, it was the complete disdain for the failure at tanking the season and getting a high draft pick (tune in for the next post for my delightful response to that) that led me to following others that shared in my pain: Maple Leafs bloggers.  After seeing the years of built up torture and anguish, it all became clear to me that blogging is an excellent release.  So really, if you hate what I'm doing here, you just need to blame them.


Obviously if you are reading this, one of three things have happened:
1) You are extremely lost on the internet.
B) You are humoring me like no other and taking this all in before it implodes in a wreck of mangled metal and bones similar to when Dany Heatley drives.
iii) You actually want to read a hockey blog about the Dallas Stars.

So welcome to you kind sir or madam.  While I will have an "official" post up tonight, this post is merely serving as an aperitif to what you're going to experience.  I am not a writer by any means, but my goal is to take you on my journey as a Stars fan who enjoys mocking not only the 29 other teams, but also has a fine appreciation for self loathing and torment, thus my own as well.

Also, a special thanks to one of the best color commentators I've ever heard in the NHL: Daryl Reaugh. Without his massive vocabulary and ability to come up with some of the most bizarre analogies and phrases I've ever heard of in a hockey game, this blog might be called Down Goes Boulerice.  Thankfully, it isn't:

Just know that regardless of how this blog ends up, it truly is a win/win for you the reader.  If it turns out to be fabulous, then great, you just got a killer new blog to read out of it.  And if it turns into a smoldering trainwreck, at least you got to witness it from start to finish.  So welcome aboard, take a seat, buckle up, grab a cocktail, and enjoy the ride.