Sunday, March 31, 2013

EA Hockey: Time Sink and Memories - Version 99

Eric Lindros isn't looking at the puck but at the piece of ice he's going to curl up on after Scott Stevens (not shown) destorys him
While the hockey and gaming world celebrate the 20th anniversary of the influential NHL series of their games I'm going write a few posts highlighting some personal memories of these games. Like most mid-to-late thirties North Americans, I spent a lot of time with EA's hockey series in college and afterwards.  I also didn't date a lot, why do you ask?

NHL Standings - Biggest Surprises and Disappointments (April 1st)

"I wonder if there is an option to add a Senators logo to this beauty," Eugene wondered.
With April 1st being notable for it's practical jokes, it only seems appropriate to take a gander at the NHL's standings as teams enter the stretch drive to the end of the regular season. 

These numbers were generated 3/31 before that days games. I don't expect any of these numbers to change significantly overnight. It's not like teams score more than 6 goals very often.

Starting with the Eastern conference, obviously due to the east coast bias by a west coast blogger and/or alphabetic order.

Eastern Conference 

Biggest Surprise (who deserves a cookie):
Ottawa remaining in the hunt for the Northeast banner despite losing their best player to a nefarious attack from a noted thug.  I'm, of course, referring to Chris Kreider's intentional attack on the defenseless Craig Anderson.  Despite no penalty being called on the play, I'm confident that after Melnyk and his team of forensic scientists finish besmirching the good name less suspended version of Matt Cooke, this minor oversight will also be brought to the league's attention.

Consider that Ottawa has lost Spezza and Karlsson for 30 and 21 games respectively, only being 5 points out of the division lead is impressive especially considering their 6-8 divisional record. 

Biggest Disappointment (who needs a drink):
While it's easy to pick on the surprisingly bad Philadelphia Flyers, like everyone else, I think the biggest disappointment is the Florida Panthers.  With a league trailing goal differential of -37 through 36 games they are 13 goals worse than the next most outscored team, the equally hapless Colorado Avalanche.  Although Colorado has played two less games to get outscored in, if that makes the Panthers faithful feel slightly better.  It shouldn't.  This stat has even improved recently as the Panthers have won their last two games by a total of two goals.

But they're not alone being only two points an equally awful Washington Capital in what looks to be far and away the worst division in the NHL.  Even one of the two teams over 0.500 has a negative goal differential.

Western Conference

Biggest Surprise (who would like a cookie except their coach ate them):
Anaheim Ducks being not only in the lead of the Pacific division, but within striking distance of the now cooled off Blackhawks.  After underachieving both offensively and defensively last year (finishing 11th in the West in both categories) they are sitting 2nd and 6th, respectively finally proving that the problem was definitely a combination of the Alexes (Ovechkin and Semin) in Washington and Randy Carlyle in Anaheim.

Biggest Disappointment (teams with goaltenders that should really wait until after games for those drinks):
Outside of Colorado and Calgary, everyone is pretty much still in the thick of it for a playoff spots.  To put in perspective how much of a traffic jam there is in the middle of the Western conference.  Even 13th place Phoenix Arizona Seattle the Coyotes are only seven points out of being in 5th place.  However, neither of those teams is as disappointing as either Saint Louis and Edmonton.

Edmonton had the unfortunate fortune of having a bounty of high draft picks that were to turn into gold this year as well as having played together in the AHL during the lockout.  This, apparently, only makes your team good on paper, and as we all know, the game isn't played on paper.  It's played on ice, which is both slipperier, colder, and somewhat less forgiving than paper.

The Blues, the league's runner up to the President's Trophy (also known as the "kiss of death if you want to actually win the trophy that matters," and I'm not talking the Lady Byng) can only be described as disappointing.  While no reasonable person would expect them to repeat only losing six of 41 games at home, they've already lost 7 of 16 this season.  Their 15 shut outs and Jennings Trophy winning goaltending seems like a year ago (partly because it was) with this year's squad being plagued by mediocrity, injuries, and a shiny new contract.  But their scoring is up slightly this year, so they have that going for them, which is nice.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Types of Homebrews

My condolences if it's so bad that you're having a hard time deciding between these two beers
If you're lucky (or occasionally unlucky) enough to know a homebrewer, you get the opportunity to try some amazing (or not) beers that few other people get to ever try.  No matter the results, we should never discourage people from continuing to practice this amazing craft.  Even the most pedestrian beers were still the result of hours of slaving over hot stoves, drinking beer, and careful measurements.  Sometimes, not in that order.  And other times spending a wee too much time with one of those steps.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hockey: Optional Equipment - Visor Edition

There's been a lot of debate recently over making visors mandatory in the NHL.  This is fairly normal after witnessing someone get injured.  You could probably accurately guess the timing of the tsunami of articles written about requiring visors after every notable player has been struck in one of his peepers by a puck or stick at 25 minutes after the event. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Odd Statistics: Martin Brodeur Edition

When thinking about the future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur three things come to mind; his win and shutout records, his being the primary reason hockey fans had to look up what a trapezoid is, and fat jokes (which will never get old, please see Wellwood, Kyle for further evidence).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beer Drinking Efficiency

It sounds even hotter in French
As anyone who has read any of the beer related posts here know, I love great craft beer and consider the Big American generic breweries to be the liquid equivalent of the characters in Star Wars Episode I - lacking depth and complexity.  And in the case of Jar Jar Binks - totally dumb but in the case of Natalie Portman totally hot so I'd watch the commercials (and the image to the right might've been the best part of the Episode I advertising campaign, courtesy of Lays Potato Chips).

I need to start out with saying that my brother introduced me to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, probably the first craft beers I ever had.  Since those days in college, I've become a beer snob and he's become a little more health conscious to where his beer of choice is Michelob Ultra.  Nobody's perfect.  Well, except for Natalie Portman *heavy sigh*.

So one night some friends and I were debating the efficiency of drinking light beer versus good beer.  Using data from sites such as The Efficient Drinker, Real Beer, and Beer 100 and approximate pricing data - I've put together data on beer efficiency by rating some selected beers by calories per hour and cost per hour to maintain a BAC of 0.025, which is about two average beers for a 180 pound male.

1. An adult male will absorb alcohol at the rate of approximately 1 drink per hour, or 0.0125 of BAC (this may be the origin of "the first one's free", but I'm not totally sold on it).
2. Level loaded drinking.  This is beer and you should enjoy it.  If you need to pour it down a funnel, just pour it down the drain and crush the can against your head - it'll feel the same)
3. We want to maintain a BAC of 0.025 which is probably the ideal blood-alcohol mix for optimal bowling, golfing, and playing pool.
4.  There is no safe minimum BAC for karoke or dancing.
5.  Bar prices were estimated and are probably low.  I didn't have time to go hit random bars and ask how much they charge for beer.  I also refuse to order underwhelming beer in a bar.

1.  Light Beer will be less efficient than craft beer based on calories to maintain a BAC of 0.025
2.  Craft Beer will be more cost effective to drink both at home and at a bar based on lower consumption rate
3.  Light beer sucks and is probably just chilled insect urine.

"Wait a second; that third hypothesis is an opinion," you might be saying if you happen to like light beer or value the scientific method.  And you're correct.  However, this is my blog and I hate to be wrong  (which incidentally is why the Internet isn't healthy for me) so I wanted to make sure that I would at least be correct about one thing.

Light beer lovers - don't worry - I'm using math and I won't fudge the numbers.  If I'm wrong, I just won't share the results with my brother.  It'll be our little secret.

I selected a broad varieties of three tiers of beer based on available data (which sadly left some of my favorite breweries on the outside looking in).
1) The big American breweries like Budweiser, Michelob, and Miller
2) The Sub-generic beers like Natural Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon
3) Premium/Craft Beer like Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Samuel Adams

The Math
I've defined a beer as 12 ounces of 4.5% ABV beverage.  But any alcohol with the same ABV*Volume will work including Nyquil and Coke, if you're fighting a cold.  Since all beers weren't created equal in terms of both flavor and alcohol content, this works out to a percentage of "a beer".   That number goes into the calculation below.

Based on numbers on the University of Notre Dame's website, 0.0125 was extracted as being a single drink.  I subtracted another 0.0125 to represent the alcohol the theoretical drinker absorbed over the one hour they were nursing their beer(s) as stated above.

The Results are below (rendered in 16-bit graphics):

1.) Budweiser Select, Natural Light, and Natural Ice are only available in 12 packs and larger so the costs have been modified accordingly
2) But you can buy a sixer of Pabst, just in case you didn't want to take too much to a party. 
3) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA is only available in 4-packs so costs have been modified accordingly
4) Bud Select 55 and MGD 64 drinkers, you may seriously want to invest in a beer bong to keep up with the rest of us.
5) This is, obviously, an incomplete list so don't flame me for leaving out your favorite beer.  Several of my favorites are also missing.

After looking over the data...uh...  Well, crud.

Natural Ice is the clear cut winner from both a caloric and cost efficiency point of view.  A quick trip down a very fuzzy memory lane collaborates this data.  Millions of college students can't be wrong.  Ladies and gentlemen, our future is in their hands.  Let's hope they develop taste buds once they get jobs.

Once ignoring the sub-generics, Bud Light Platinum, the flagship of getting bombed while watching that girl-ish figure, is the clear winner with 65 fewer calories per hour than the lowest of the premium beers which was, surprisingly, Red Hook IPA with Newcastle (another shock) and Sam Adams Light close behind.

With due respect to cost efficiency, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the winner.  There creates a dilemma - which is better, saving $0.09/hour or 40 calories

Now throwing back some beers with your buds at home while watching the game is one thing.  But let's say you want to publicly embarrass yourself in front of the opposite sex.  Premium beer, based on the averages above, only costs $1.24 more per hour than the Big Brand Beer.  If you're over 22 and looking to get laid, for the love of barley - don't drink Natural freaking Light to save an additional $5.00 per hour.  Have some respect for yourself and those around you.  Grab something that will make a man or a woman say, "that's a successful person with good taste."  Or even better yet, grab the beer you like the best or that pairs with your meal the best, and raise your bottle/can/glass in a toast with your friends.  Prost!

And finally, in conclusion - light beer sucks.

Monday, March 18, 2013

When it's Okay to Jump on the Bandwagon

I work with a lot of people, some of whom are even hockey fans. Among these are a father and son pair who have traditionally both cheered for the Ducks. As the Kings advanced deeper in last year's playoffs, the father started to change his allegiance, even going so far as to reference the Kings in the first person ("our power play", "Saint Louis can't stop us", etc.) which is usually the sign of the either the die-hard or the delusional.  That probably made for some awkward drives home.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to Send Your Spouse to Buy Beer

I'm a very lucky man - I married a wonderful, sweet, intelligent, and beautiful young woman.  Hey Honey, this article is about beer and isn't that important, so you can quit reading if you want.  I understand.  I love you too.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Music That Hockey Arenas Forgot

A good song at a game can amp a crowd up (Pennywise's Bro Hymn), send them running for the exits (Baha Men's - "Who Let the Dogs Out"), or cause the opposing goalie to mentally break down (The Fratellis - Chelsa Dagger).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

R.I.P. - Stompin' Tom Connors

As was reported last night, Stompin' Tom Connors, the author of the "The Hockey Song" and other Canadian hits (I have to shamefully admit I'm not sure if I've heard many of his other songs).

While a cover is, at best, a homage to the original the version below is my favorite version of the song as performed by the Hanson Brothers, better known as NoMeansNo.  They're a Canadian punk band who decided to play under this moniker with Ramones styled songs about beer, girls, and hockey.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rink Beer and it's Hockey Equivalent

Well, for a first real post I thought I'd stick with something that stays connected with the blog's name - namely hockey and beer.  While I'm going to pick on some beers and hockey players/themes please remember that this is humor and shouldn't be taken as a slight against your favorite beverage/player.  So here we go...

We live in a glorious age of advanced stats, goaltenders wearing sumo suit sized padding, amazingly talented players and arenas stocked with a variety of beer.  There is something for everyone at the rink from the calorie conscious to the hop headed beer snob.  Luckily each beer has its hockey counterpart so here's a little guide to help you navigate the beer lines.

Game Night - 2022 (NSFW version)

Every so often I'm going to post a short story about the past, present, or future of hockey.  This first one is about the future from the point of view of a player.  Enjoy:

Game night tonight. Not that it will probably affect me. Just 60 or 65 minutes riding the pine. Not that I'm complaining.  Being an NHL player is probably the coolest job in the world. I just don't get a lot of ice time. My "line mates", even though it feels odd calling them that since we never skate together, get a bit more but it's usually pretty tough minutes with minimal chance of glory.

Game Night - 2022: ([Expletive] Edited version)

Every so often I'm going to post a short story about the past, present, or future of hockey.  This first one is about the future from the point of view of a player.  This version has all the bad words removed for your workplace enjoyment.  Enjoy:

Game night tonight. Not that it will probably affect me. Just 60 or 65 minutes riding the pine. Not that I'm complaining.  Being an NHL player is probably the coolest job in the world. I just don't get a lot of ice time. My "line mates", even though it feels odd calling them that since we never skate together, get a bit more but it's usually pretty tough minutes with minimal chance of glory.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Welcome to Puck 'n Beer

Welcome to my blog that revolves around hockey and beer.  This is done purely for a creative outlet for my views on random topics.  If you enjoy what you read, tell a friend.  If you hate it, tell a friend (it'll save them from your same unfortunate fate).  If you see spelling/grammatical errors feel free to post it in the comments.  If I get significantly more negative comments than positive I will drink crappy American domestic beer to repent.  Or even the dreaded malt liquor if things really go to hell.