Thursday Thirteen: The Final…Well, You Know

by J.R.

Every Thursday we bring you the III Communication’s Conference III Power Rankings, the Thursday Thirteen.

This week, we offer the final rankings of the 2013 season and prepare for the coming glory of Conference III.

1. Chicago Blackhawks. Not much doubt as to who would top the final rankings — the champion ‘Hawks who have sat atop the Thursday Thirteen more than any other team, only usurped by first responders, raccoons and Florida Gulf Coast University. Their march through the playoffs was inspirational and generous — their only series outside of God’s Time Zone and God’s Time Zone minus-one was their dismantling of Los Angeles, which the Hawks kept delightfully short, limiting those late-night starts. The guys at Puck Daddy are heaping praise on Michal Rozsival and Bryan Bickell, guys who were already Threeros to us.

birds12. The Fightin’ Starlings of Merseyside. English twitcher Steve Ward — “twitcher,” by the way, is the second-most embarrassing birding term — snapped some photos of a pair of European starlings fighting brutally over a backyard feeder. Turns out they are siblings. Just like Conference III, these avian pugilists — brothers-in-arms at arms (or wings) over the last scrap available. Such beauty. Such grace. Such violence. Word on the street is that due to their superior head-biting and wing-punching ability, the birds — which I am naming Liam and Noel for obvious reasons — are being targeted in a package sign-and-trade deal by Toronto GM Dave Nonis. (s/t to Jeremy)

3. St. Louis Blues. There’s an old adage in sports coaching that if two guys are the same speed and one has bad form and another has great form, opt for the guy with bad form, because once he’s coached into running correctly, he’ll be faster. And that reminds me of the old riddle about the town with two dentists — one has good teeth and one has bad teeth. Counter-intuitive as it seems at first blush, the bad-tooth dentist is the better dentist (or at least the good-tooth dentist isn’t very good at dentistry). And thinking about cities with two dentists makes me think of St. Louis.

Summer-Soup4. Soup. Oh it’s 90 degrees where you are? The soup is too hot? Stuff it. Soup is an anytime food. If soup sommelier was a job, I’d quit both amateur and professional writing. You know what soup is great to eat in the summer time? Trick question! Every soup is good in the summertime. Also, cold soups except gazpacho are an abomination. Cold borscht — a cultural staple in certain former Soviet Republics — is an arrogant mystery and makes crappy line changes.

5. Minnesota Wild. It didn’t quite go like the Wild planned when they spent all that money, as the Hawks made quick work of the Fightin’ Adjectives in the first round, which ended roughly 14 months ago. That Backstrom deal, though, is very palatable, though it’s disappointing Mr Darcy will not be their starter. And of course, congratulations to Josh Harding.

olivia-de-havilland-cigarette-gaden-may-19426. Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine. These sisters, the last living legends from Hollywood’s Golden Age, hate each other. Straight up despise each other. They are both pushing the century mark and they haven’t spoken in nearly 40 years. Check it, via de Havilland’s Wiki:

Both de Havilland and Fontaine were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1942. Fontaine won that year for her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion over de Havilland’s performance in Hold Back the Dawn. Charles Higham states that Fontaine “felt guilty about winning given her lack of obsessive career drive…”. Higham has described the events of the awards ceremony, stating that as Fontaine stepped forward to collect her award, she pointedly rejected de Havilland’s attempts at congratulating her and that de Havilland was both offended and embarrassed by her behavior. Several years later, de Havilland remembered the slight and exacted her own revenge by brushing past Fontaine, who was waiting with her hand extended, because de Havilland allegedly took offense at a comment Fontaine had made about de Havilland’s husband. De Havilland’s relationship with Fontaine continued to deteriorate after the two incidents. Charles Higham has stated that this was the near final straw for what became a lifelong feud, but the sisters did not completely stop speaking to each other until 1975. According to Fontaine, de Havilland did not invite her to a memorial service for their mother, who had recently died. De Havilland claims she Joan-Fontaine-in-the-50s-001informed Fontaine, but Fontaine brushed her off, claiming she was too busy to attend.

The amount of dedication it takes to maintain that kind of grudge with your own blood — and, let’s be honest, they’re so old, how many friends could either of them have still living? — is an inspiration and explains why de Havilliand and Fontaine are among Conference III’s leaders is side-eyes per-60 and even-strength devastating glares.

7. Winnipeg Jets. Did you know the Jets lead the league in “free-agents-that-need-signing” and are currently tied for last in “free-agents-they-have-actually-signed”? They make for great limericks, at least.

an.gof8. The Cornish Rebellion of 1497. So King Henry VII raised taxes on the Cornish — for whom I have some affection — to fight a war way up in Scotland. “Whoa, there, pal,” said the Cornish. “You were supposed to be our buddy. You’re from a Welsh house. We thought you were the Mab Darogan. You named your son our Duke and put a handful of Cornishmen in key positions. Why you heff to be mad? We ain’t got no quarrel with them Scotsmen. Our taxes are supposed to be set by the stannary anyway.” So the Cornish marched through Devon and then into London and then got slaughtered. The two leaders of the rebellion were suspended for targeting the head and then executed because it was the 15th century and by “head” we meant “King Henry VII.” Discipline wasn’t just a league talking point in 1497.

9. Dallas Stars. The Stars didn’t hire our first choice, but they made their choice, which is just fine, but they need to step up their trash-talk game, because they are getting lapped by Rich Clune.

216010. San Antonio Rampage. Cheers to the Florida Panthers’ AHL team for hiring Conference III legend Peter Horachek. Seriously, there isn’t a team better suited for Horachek than one named “Rampage.” Also, not for nothing, but Horachek was brought in as Florida AGM Mike Santos’ guy, so when Santos inevitably takes over for Dale Tallon, who is roughly 93 years old, Horachek’s right there to take the Florida job.

11. Nashville Predators. Watching Predators’ fans come to the realization that the team might use its second-highest-ever draft pick on a defenseman is interesting to watch. Watching the Predators front office soften the ground for it is just as interesting. David Poile should take a goalie at 4 if they want to maximize trolling.

wwf_wrestlefest212. Colorado Avalanche. While their wacky front office has proven adept in the arts of III-ness, it’s only enough to move Colorado one step above the basement. Perhaps if Roy and Sakic do a Hawk-and-Animal-style move on Glen Sather, they can climb higher.

13. Pierre McGuire. Dear Sam Flood: My name is J.R. Lind and you have people far better qualified to talk about hockey than Pierre McGuire, who is not the “gold standard” of anything unless he’s the Gold Standard Among  Memorizers of Players’ “Career Before The NHL” Section On Wikipedia. Agile guy though:


Be sure to check out the story of this hallowed photo from the man who took it, Dry Island Castaways’ Andrew Burner.