Monday, October 31, 2005

It's the Great Cheater, Charlie Brown

As your superiors prepare for another Halloween while watching our hired help from NU's Doctorate Program sew popped collars into our costumes, I perused through the TV guide to see what haunted entertainment I could find. After shuddering when we saw NHPTV was a airing a ghastly program called "Richard Umile Shows You How To Strip For Your Lover", we happened upon a television classic. It was a remake of a classic Peanuts comic strip cartoon that we enjoyed as young wards growing up on the estate. A thorough description of this Halloween Classic appeared in the TV Guide:

In the 2005 half-hour animated special It's The Great Cheater, Charlie Brown, the coaches and players of U. Maine's hockey program celebrate Halloween, with Head Coach Tim Whitehead hoping that, finally, he will be visited by The Great Cheater, while Blackbears' forward Keith Johnson is invited to a junior high school Halloween party. Whitehead believes in a strange hybrid of a hockey coach, outlaw, and NCAA Rules Violating character named: The Great Cheater.

Whitehead thinks that the Great Cheater will arise out of the most revered cemetery in Maine on Halloween night and deliver phantom scholarships and illegal financial gifts to all the 20-something Canadian hockey recruits from "Parts Unknown". Of course, Whitehead becomes somewhat obsessed with his self-appointed mission to not only receive illegal scholarships from The Great Cheater for his undying belief, but he actually wants to be in the cemetery when the benevolent giver of academically ineligible players rises from among the gravestones.

October 31st has arrived again, and the night of Halloween is upon the coaches of Maine's hockey program. Assistant coach Grant Standbrook gets his boss Whitehead to carry home home his recruiting list, and decides he doesn't really like what's inside the envelope showing the list of french speaking academic detritus he's recruited.

While the coaches are busy white-outing the SAT scores of their incoming freshmen (known as Maine's "Trick or Cheat" campaign), Whitehead is penning his annual letter to the Great Cheater.

Each year, Coach Whitehead hopes that his letter to the Great Cheater will give him the illegal edge he needs to keep his scandal ridden program afloat.

Standbrook is obviously embarrassed by his boss who is ridiculed by the other Hockey East coaches. Whitehead patiently explains the merits of the Great Cheater to one of his players, Keith Johnson, but dismisses his non-belief of the spectre as a matter of moral differences and conflicts of Johnson's personal "old enough to pee, old enough for me" doctrine.

Every year Whitehead returns to the most revered cemetery in Maine he knows with Blackbear mascot "Bananas"......

The Great Cheater is believed to rise out of the cemetery to bestow gifts of illegal scholarships to those who are true believers.

Whitehead: "Here we are, Bananas, sitting in a cemetery waiting for the Great Cheater. Every Halloween the Great Cheater flies through the air with his bag of illicit recruiting gifts, and just think.....if you and I sit here all night, we may get to see him!"

"I really appreciate your sitting out here with me, Bananas.....
I must admit, however, that I've been wondering why you keep wearing those dark glasses all the time."

"There are certain times when you prefer Not to be recognized with Maine hockey coaches"

One year, Whitehead persuades freshman Vince Laise to keep his waiting.....
Since Vince, at age 23 is old enough to stay up all night, Vince must decide whether to join Johnson in trick or treating with local teens, or keep vigil in the cemetery with his coach, Tim Whitehead.

As the local kids go trick or treating, Keith Johnson is found wearing his famous ghost costume, which has 18 holes instead of the traditional two (for obvious reasons).

As the kids count the "spoils" of their trick or treat bags........

Johnson says: "I got a rock (in my pocket, that is)."

After trick or treating is over, the kids gather for the rest of the evening for a Halloween party. The highlight of the party is when Johnson goes bobbing for adolescents and brings up one with Bananas on the other end of it.

After being lambasted by Johnson about "venereal diseases", Bananas decides to go out on patrol searching for the Scarlet Baron. As our heroic fighter pilot lurks through the underbrush of the ugly end of Commonwealth Avenue (actually the Orono neighborhood's backyards), struggling to find his way behind night clubs and Kashi kitchens....he ends up in the cemetery.

While searching for the Scarlet Baron, Famous World War I Fighter Pilot "Bananas" saw many troubling glimpses of war when flying past windows in BU's Warren Towers co-ed dormitary.

Bananas rises up in the moonlight of the cemetery....Whitehead, thinking The Great Cheater has finally arrived, faints.

Laise is pretty upset when he realizes he spent the whole night in a cemetery, missing out on all the treats and the party, only to witness his team's stupid mascot, Bananas.

Laise: "I was robbed! I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Cheater when I could have been out meeting high school girls with KJ! Halloween is over and I missed it! You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Cheater and all that came was a fake bear who strips for no damn reason!"

"I didn't get a chance to go out to the party! And it was all your fault! What a fool I was. And could have met Candy and Caitlin! And Cindy and Mary and all sorts of cheerleaders! But no, I had to listen to you! You Whitehead. What a fool I was. Trick or Treat only comes once a year. And I miss it by sitting in a cemetery with a Whitehead. You owe me financial and academic restitution!"

Whitehead: "You've heard about fury in a twenty-something Canadian scorned, haven't you?"

Johnson: "Yes, I guess I have."

Whitehead: "Well, that's nothing compared to the fury of a twenty-something Canadian who has been cheated out of Trick or Treat".

Johnson: "Good grief".

Collar Up.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hockey East Rookie of the Weak (Oct 17)

Greetings, destitutes, it's that time of the year again. By now you should be fully aware that we have many laughs at the expense of the less fortunate; students and alumni of the pathetic schools that we encounter on the gridiron and on the ice. Likewise, you should all be aware that this extends to the athletes that attend these so-called schools of higher learning as well. Hockey season is now in full swing and it's time for another year of awful Hockey East recruits and busts to compete for the weekly honor of being named Pinhead Nation's Rookie of the Weak. The winner will once again be vying for the Caron Cup, the prized trophy awarded to honor all-time Hockey East bust Eddie Caron.

This week's ROTW is:

Brandon Yip, F, Boston University

Some might say we have a slanted view on things, but in this instance we're looking through Brandon Yip's eyes. Yip, a former teammate of America's Team's fabulous freshman Brock Bradford at Coquitlam, can't be happy with this weekend's performance in BU's game vs. UMass-Lowell. While some of his freshman classmates handed out assists in BU's 3-1 win over the Lowly-ones, Yip was seemingly handing out orange chicken samples, instead. Yip registered just 2 SOG and, like a burglar going into UNH's trophy case, he came away empty-handed.

(Dis)Honorable Mention:

Joe Charlebois, D, UNH

In fitting fashion, Charlebois has shown that he already has the Caron Cup in his cross-hairs (or is it cross-mullet for UNH players?). Charlebois, a defenseman out of Sioux City of the USHL, a 6th round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks and highly touted by UNH fans, posted not a single point nor a shot on goal in his time on the ice vs. Ferris State. Of course, his chances would have been much better had he not been kicked out of the game about half way through. Like his idol Eddie Caron, who had a penchant for cheap-shotting opponents into the boards face first, Charlebois received a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind. Although he was not DQed and was eligible to play the next night vs. Nebraska Omaha, he was benched by Whistling Dick Umile. Leadfoot Lives!

Steve McClellan, D, NU

McClellan, a defenseman out of Cushing Academy, might be the next great Cushing Academy graduate/Hockey East moron, following in the footsteps of BU flunkie Chris Bourque and UNH reject/Maine recruit Keith Yandle, to hit the Hockey East ice. Hopefully for him, he is a little more adept in the classroom than he is on the ice. In game 1 of NU's trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota to take on the Fighting Sioux, McClellan failed to register a single point and failed to generate a single shot on goal. He did, however, manage to be a liability for the Huskies with a -3 rating while being on the ice for 4 of North Dakota's 6 goals in a 6-0 beatdown from the Sioux. The next night, for NU's 2-1 loss, though a moral victory for our furry friends on Huntingon Ave, McClellan was not allowed to participate due to being benched.

Well, there you have it. It's nice to see that things haven't changed and that the freshmen in Hockey East that don't play in Chestnut Hill have Hockey East's Collar Down teams in position to battle for the honor of being the team to finish behind Boston College for years to come.

This year we're adamant that we are going to take input from our readers. If you'd like to nominate a Hockey East player for the ROTW, please send us email to We'll give strong consideration to your nominations. Additionally, as always, we welcome comments from anyone and everyone not named Jeff Bragdon. See you next week for another edition highlighting the non-achievements of Hockey East's awful recruits.

Collar Up.


Thursday, October 13, 2005


Here at Pinhead Nation World Headquarters, we have bestowed upon ourselves the awesome responsibility to point out shortcomings and chortle at intellectual failings. Truth be told, with the inception of internet blogs, it has become difficult to distinguish between the truth and fabrication. To prove this point, the people you wish you were empowered one of our hired drones to find a way to challenge one of these so-called blogs and show it to be nothing more than a land of bogus information.


Let your superiors set the stage. In the world of college hockey, top recruits have the world at their fingertips and thousands of fans waiting on their every word. Such a prospect is Sam Gagner. Gagner, a prized recruit from Canada has been reported to be considering many schools, among them America's Team, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, by reputable college hockey recruiting sources.

In late September, an internet blog (name undisclosed to protect the incompetent) focused on Hockey East claimed that Gagner had shocked the college hockey world and chose to attend Kenmore State College. Below is the text of the blog's report:

Thursday, September 22, 2005
BU to land Gagner

It is looking like Boston University will recieve a verbal commitment from Sam Gagner. I got this from a reliable source tonight:

Although I was unable to confirm it today, I am 90% sure that BU just received a verbal commitment from Sam Gagner who would be without a doubt the first significant recruit landed by BU in years. BC was frustrated with the fact that the new BU rink and the Mike Boyle connection were such a big factor in his decision. This was a big loss for the eagles although they really didn’t have room for him. It was being reported that BC, Wisonconsin, and Minnesota were all recruiting Gagner.

I got a call from a 2nd source this afternoon that is telling me that I might have jumped the gun 24 hours, because this source is saying that Gagner has committed, but he did so yesterday, not Thursday when I first reported it.

What does this mean? Well first off, it means that we first broke the Petrecki to BC story, and when other agencies pick it up, it will be proven that we broke this one as well.

Knowing that a player with such skills is unlikely to be attracted to morbidly obese coeds, your superiors, among many others, doubted the story's legitimacy that he committed to Boston University.

Late one evening soon after in Stately Pinhead Manor's "Situation Room", a plan was hatched to prove this story was untrue and its author was merely fabricating an obviously false story. After several ideas, it was decided there was only one way to test the story's truth, by going right to the source.


Utilizing "yahoo mail", a pretend email was set up using the name "Sam Gagner" and an electronic missive was sent to the blog's author. Curious to see if we'd get a response, the following email was sent to the blogger:

From: Sam Gagner
To: ***************
Subject: Your hockey blog
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 16:32:46 -0700 (PDT)

To whom it may concern:

A buddy of mine told me about your website and I wanted to clarify some things for you. I have not committed to Boston U. or anyone. I'm not sure where you got your info, but its completely wrong. I would appreciate it if you didn't write any more stories that aren't true. Thank you.

Needless to say, your superiors were stunned to see a response to this email shortly after. Expecting a smart remark or, at minimum, looking for assurances that this email was legitimate, imagine our surprise to read the following mail in the inbox:

******************* wrote:

I apologize for any inconvenience. I had a source that told me he was 100% positive that you had commited to Boston U. I will post a retraction immediately. I apologize again, and good luck with your College, and eventual pro hockey career.

Sitting around our fireplace finishing the last remnants of brandy, our socially elite jaws dropped faster than a Maine resident's overalls when faced with the backside of an unsuspecting bovine. Somehow, without any verification whatsoever, the following blog entry appeared on his website:

Personal Retraction statement regarding Gagner

It has been brought to my attention that my report on Gagner commiting to BU were in fact incorrect. I will always stand by my sources, and never reveal them to anyone, and I went with what they gave me here, and I was wrong, and for that I apologize to all of my readers, and more importantly Sam Gagner.

Again, my apologies

Your superiors quickly became perplexed. Why would someone claiming he had such solid sources denounce his story based on a phantom email out of nowhere? Admittedly, this blogger had a correct source claiming top recruit Nick Petrecki had committed to America's Team and did "break the story", but why such a hard hitting journalist would fail to verify a source astounded all of us.


Was this blogger's original source true? Is he really BU bound? The 'Nation can only surmise, but based on his quick retraction, it's clear his sources were likely flawed. Nonetheless, we convened in the Situation Room a few days later to see if this blogger had learned a lesson about checking his sources so not to further embarrass himself. The following email was dispatched to find out:

From: Sam Gagner
To: ***********************
Subject: RE: Your hockey blog
Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 15:41:37 -0700 (PDT)

Hey, thanks for retracting that story. I wanted to let you know that I had a long talk with my family this weekend and I've decided to commit to the University of Minnesota Gophers. Coach Lucia says not to tell anyone yet because of scholarship money things, but I thought I'd let you know. When they straighten out the money thing in a few weeks or so, Coach Lucia said I can tell people, but I'll tell you as long as you know you didn't hear it from me. See you later.

Knowing we likely had the blogger hooked, we eagerly anticipated a response. Realizing that the true Sam Gagner was unlikely to commit anywhere soon, adding the fabricated story about not being able to tell anyone due to a scholarship money issue would answer the question of why such a prominent commitment hadn't been picked up by legitimate recruiting publications. It didn't take long, but soon after the email was sent, the following response was received:

*********************** wrote:

Awesome! This is great news. Good luck in Minnesota, and I will run the story now, but be sure, I did not hear it from you.

Faster than a TV announcer can say "Ayers gives up another third period goal", news of Gagner's "real" commitment was announced to the college hockey world on his blog:

Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Sam Gagner commits to Minnesota (Official and Confirmed)

Sam Gagner has apparently decided on being a Gopher. I have a source within BU that told me this today, I have since confirmed it with more than one source.

It will not be announced for a couple of weeks because there is a financial issue that needs to be worked out within the University. But beleive me, after jumping the gun the first time, I did not want to mess this up again, I am now 100% positive that Gagner is heading to Minnesota. I have it confirmed from numerous different sources, one within BU, one within BC, and one from Minnesota that was given to me by my BU source.

Congratulations to Gagner, and I wish him well in his hockey future.

Again the University will not announce this for a couple of weeks because there is a money issue that needs to get sorted out, but believe me, Gagner is a Gopher

Days later, after perhaps realizing he'd be had, our naive friend chose to shut down his blog and pull it from the internet. Your superiors were disappointed to hear that it is no longer available to peruse and wonder if he thought that what he was writing was true, or whether he was just trying to spread rumors. The 'Nation wishes Sam Gagner luck wherever his collegiate days will be. Hopefully when he does commit, it'll be from a source that even the most collar-up college hockey fans can believe.

- Collar Up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pinhead Nation's PreSeason All-Milk Carton Team

Where do the days go? It seems like just yesterday that your superiors were sitting aboard our Aicon 72 while sipping a zesty 1914 Pierre Ferrand Memoire Cognac and enjoying a spectacular view of the Greek Cyclades.

Now, with the summer sun melting away faster than the national championship dreams of a University of New Hampshire hockey fan, it's time that the people you wish you were began to focus on the upcoming season in Hockey East.

Each year, students of New England's colleges begin the fall semester with meager goals. At Boston College, the importance of networking and meeting appropriate 'collar-up' acquaintances is paramount, while at Boston University, hoping you've lost enough weight over the summer so not to be too obese for the sidewalk tops the list.

Regardless, whether your are a member of the elite from America's Best College in Chestnut Hill or a U. Maine fan still picking splinters out of your posterior from an unkept Orono, Maine outhouse, autumn and college hockey have arrived signalling the best season of the year.

With the new college hockey season on the horizon, Pinhead Nation is proud to announce our "2005-06 All-Milk Carton Team" honoring Hockey East's likely disappointments and busts for the upcoming season.


Maine's Josh Soares is living proof that not all things improve with age. Although starting the season as a 23-year old junior after unseating Thornton Mellon as the world's oldest living freshman at age 21, Soares is a lock to disappoint in 2005-06. After leading the Hamilton Kilty Bees of the OPJHL in scoring with 124 points in 2002, Soares has tallied just 26 points in 50 games in Orono. Although Soares is older than most of his professors at Maine, not surprisingly he did not qualify for Hockey East's Academic All-Star Team last year.

Like Ozzie Canseco, Ken Brett, Roger Clinton, and Billy Carter, UNH's Mark Kolanos proves that the apple does, in fact, fall very far from the tree. While brother Krys scored an overtime goal to seal the 2001 National Title for America's Team, younger brother Mark has done nothing but tarnish the family name. Entering his final year in Titletown, USA, Kolanos has 10 points in 43 career games. Unlike former UNH bust Ed Caron, Kolanos' is hardly a hit with the UNH "ladies" as the Calgary native's looks aren't worth a UNH coed's effort to take her vibrator off her dormitory gunrack and put it to use between games.

It's rare a freshman earns a spot on the PreSeason Milk Carton Team, but your superiors at Pinhead Nation feel BU's Brandon Yip will prove to be a prophetic choice. Not only does he make the forward squad, but he is the proud recipient of the "Co-Rookie of the Year" award. Yip spent the last few years carrying America's Team freshman Brock Bradford's jock around British Columbia and saw his production drop after Bradford wisely left for the USHL's Omaha Lancers. Without a quality player on BU's roster this fall to help him, expect Yip (and the hype that surrounds him) to disappear faster than a box of Krispie Kremes left in a BU sorority house.


Of all of this year's Pre Season Milk Carton Team recipients, Boston University's Dan Spang is the true essence of the word "bust". In 106 total games at Kenmore State, the "Wicked Wunderbust from Winchester" has tallied just 39 points although being heralded as a top recruit after an MVP performance in the Hockey Night In Boston tourney in 2001. To show what a pathetic freshman campaign Spang had (.33 points per game), his team voted him BU's "Most Improved Player" after notching a mere .37 points per game as a sophomore. Following graduation, expect to see Spang enroll in Bloomingdale's Management Training Program joining former Terrier Bryan Miller.

Returning for his junior year of hockey incompetency is Commack, NY native and Northeastern defenseman Steve Birnstill. Birnstill joined the Huskies after former coach Bruce Crowder's primary defensive recruit, an actual traffic cone, spurned the program and chose to pursue a career slowing traffic on the Massachusetts Turnpike's Exit 9 instead. Since arriving at Matthews Arena, Birnstill, affectionately known as "Standstill", has captured 26 points in 70 total games while combining for a career -19 +/- rating. Birnstill achieved the team nadir in +/- futility in 2004-05 with a pathetic -11 rating to embarrass his school and his family.


Not only is BU's John Curry our pick as the goaltender on our Milk Carton squad, he is also the proud recipient of our first annual "PreSeason Milkman of the Year Award" honoring the player who will flop the most in the coming year. Despite a respectable 18-11-3 record, Curry honored the BU motto of "never to excel" by having just a 5-6-1 record against teams in the top 15 in 2004-05. Since the Beanpot means the world to BU, coach Jack Parker ensured a Terrier victory over BC by placing Curry on the bench and playing his backup. If only Parker benched Curry in the postseason, perhaps Kenmore Community College wouldn't have lost their last two games by a combined score of 9-2. With Spang taking on the role of primary defenseman, look for Curry's Goals Against Average to rise faster the average age of a UMaine hockey freshman.

Milk Carton Team Co-Rookie of the Year:

The faster they climb, the faster they fall. Remember this old saying when the NCAA career of Maine freshman goaltender Ben Bishop falls faster than ex-BU Terrier Chris Bourque's Grade Point Average. Bishop, the 2005 third round draft pick throwaway by the St. Louis Blues, will quickly make Maine fans long for the days of Alfie Michaud and Jimmy Howard. Although arriving in Orono with greater hype than last spring's arrival of cable TV (in selected areas), Bishop nearly found himself on the outside looking in when he was almost bypassed by a goaltender who ultimately ended up playing D3 hockey. In all liklihood, the happiest man on the U. Maine campus this year will prove to be backup goaltender Matt Lundin.

Well chums, there you have Pinhead Nation's 2005-06 preseason All-Milk Carton team. Despite the rise of Boston College football and the annual comedic demise of the New York Yankees, college hockey season has arrived and with it, the dashings of college hockey hopes from Durham, NH to Babcock Street, USA. Enjoy.

Collar Up.

- Mav and DW