The Metropolitan Division is Stupid and Ugly and Dumb

by J.R.

tenby-mystery-beast-1-510x600-1361996047The NHL’s Metropolitan Division is a complete wasteland, devoid of any meaning or usefulness.

It is a hotbed of sin and horror. It is where good hockey withers away like a collapsing factory in a service-based economy — or like a service-based economy in a world of consumerism. It is so bad that all economic metaphors apply to it equally, even ones that are complete opposites.

It’s so bad it’s awfulness was unpredictable — or beyond prediction, because it was so apparent.

It is both overrated and underperforming.

It is not a sleeping giant. It is a creeping giant, crawling slothlike down a hill to a boomshaw where it will try to swim but fall to the bottom of the beautiful abyss under its own slovenly weight to drown and eventually be consumed by heretofore undiscovered creatures with no eyes.

That’s a lot of pretty words to describe a decrepit scene. And these days, people want numbers. Oh, but the numbers. There is no poetry in arithmetic, which is fine because there’s no poetry to describe how woeful the Metro is, unless there’s undiscovered verse from an especially dark day in Emily Dickinson’s life. Here’s the numbers anyway:

1267825310-billnyeQuantifying Terribleness

Here are the overall records for each of the four divisions:

Pacific: 54-29-8
Conference III: 47-26-16
Flortheast: 47-44-7
Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro: 36-47-10

That’s pretty terrible, Metro. Even the Flortheast is wise enough to take advantage of the Bettman point to make themselves look better. The Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro can’t even do that right.

And just to dispel any arguments the other divisions are just feasting on themselves, boosting their records, here’s the records for each division not counting division games:

Pacific: 39-18-5
Conference III: 28-11-8
Flortheast: 31-31-4
Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro: 19-32-8

To break that down, the Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro against the other three divisions:

Pacific: 9-12-5
Flortheast: 9-10-2
Conference III: 1-10-1

That one win against Conference III? A 6-5 shootout win by the Capitals over the Jets. The shootout went six rounds before Adam Oates decided to use Conference III Fraidy Cat Marty Erat to win.

Conference III’s worst team — Dallas — would be tied for second in the Metro. Even Edmonton wouldn’t be last.

In this age of boring, colorless empiricism, those numbers — ranged in columns before you — should be enough proof.

But there’s yet more evidence the Metro Division is Stupid, Ugly and Dumb.

The Metro Division Is Stupid

The Metropolitan Division got its name because the more accurate nomenclature — All The Worst Parts of America Division — didn’t test well in major markets.

This was a division created just so Pittsburgh would get a plum playoff position every year. Pittsburgh would be better, of course, if their goalie wasn’t a total dingbat sieve. They’d be better if they used the Philadelphia Flyers method of goalie acquisition, which is more or less the same way Spinal Tap dealt with drummers.

Beyond Pittsburgh — whose general manager won general manager of the year basically by existing in a franchise that won the draft lottery after the 2004 lockout — the Metro Division is a complete and total stupid failure, as opposed to Pittsburgh which is a failure in spite of itself.

It is so stupid that it’s stupid name doesn’t express how stupid it is, so people are forced to make stupid puns:

The Metro is full of stupid egotistical cities who constantly insist on their own import.

New York: Where people treat every raindrop, every blackout, every food truck that runs out of hamburgers that use bricks of ramen instead of buns as a national disaster in need of a telethon.

“We in New York have suffered greatly. There has been a shortage of kale at nearly three bodegas in parts of Brooklyn. Please send help.”

When there’s bad weather in the Great And Vast And Beautiful Middle of the Country, we ask our neighbors “How ’bout this weather?”. In New York, they speed as fast as they can to their Twitters and their Instagrams and their Orkuts to ask a yawning world “Do you see how bad we have it here?”

Philadelphia: New Jersey’s largest city, Philadelphia is populated by the most boorish, ill-spoken people on earth. And I say that as something of an expert, because I live in the South and haven’t pronounced a vowel correctly in my entire life.

Carolina: North Carolina is the south’s Ohio, a charmless buzz-buzz hotbed of commerce whose leading industry is banking. And we all know how cuddly and beloved bankers are. We know it. North Carolina does not. North Carolina is downright proud of all those bankers and the way they keep their cities full of people until 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. The only people who think North Carolina is important are North Carolinians, which make the Hurricanes perfect for the Stupid Metro. North Carolina is the Ohio of the South.

Columbus: Located in Ohio, the Ohio of the North, Columbus is the home of The Ohio State University (Ohioans have a dangerous and off-putting love affair with the definite article) and a nice zoo. They will tell you about this constantly. You know why all those Rangers fit in fine in Columbus? Because it’s like New York except without the smog or the people or the restaurants or the art or the subway or really any of the things that make New York attractive to people.

Washington: Washington is where Americans send our 535 most insufferable gasbags to live.

New Jersey: Like Philly, but with more parking lots.

The Metro Division Is Ugly

Ugliness isn’t just the absence of beauty. Ugliness is the destruction thereof. From The Sporting News Tuesday night:

Good work, Luke Schenn, you gormless, absent-minded, reckless ugly jerk.

So perfect a representation of the Ugly Metro is Luke Schenn they should name the divisional trophy for him, just in case the “A Little Bit Better Than .500 Cup” doesn’t stick.

To recap, here’s the divisions ranked by number of times they have injured Teemu Selanne this season:

1) The Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro: 1
T2) Conference III: 0
T2) Flortheast: 0
T2) Pacific: 0

The Metro includes the Devils, which defined what Ugly Hockey is in the mid-90s, and none of the other teams have recovered from having that stench all over them (in fairness, getting the stench of New Jersey off anything is difficult under most circumstances that don’t involve ultrasonic cleaning). The Rangers sent John Tortorella and his ugly, block-happy ways packing and forgot how to win and there’s nothing uglier than a sad Henrik Lundqvist. Good job, Metro. Not only did you screw up Teemu’s face, you made the once beautiful Henrik Lundqvist “about as good as Karri Ramo,” as Ryan Lambert put it:

Through eight appearances this season, Lundqvist has allowed 22 goals on 209 shots, giving him a save percentage of .895, “good” for 29th in the league. He’s also been hampered by an unspecified injury which cost him two games a little while back.

In his absence, and his atypical putrid performances, rookie backup Cam Talbot has shined. Wednesday night was his third start of the season, and obviously that’s rather a small sample size, but the fact of the matter is that he’s generally been better, and certainly provides a more secure backup than Martin Biron did this year. People tried to make a bit of a thing about Talbot starting last night, on the second day of a back-to-back, when his team’s starter was just coming off injury.

There’s no goaltending controversy here, obviously, but there is something going on with Lundqvist this season. Maybe it’s the smaller pads, maybe it’s something else, but when he’s asking the New York Post to get the NHL to clarify the rules on distinct kicking motions because the goals against hurt his stats, that seems crazy. This guy used to be Gatsby, cool and collected even in the worst situations. Now the new coach’s system seems not to be going his way. Tough bounce, but that’s what happens when you force out the guy who made you great.

There are two teams which are not particularly ugly: the Penguins and their Accidental Success and the New York Islanders. But then the Isles made a really ugly trade.

If Seth Jones is like Miley Cyrus — a case Sam Page made — it’s perfect that the Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro hints at the name of the band of Miley’s brother, who formed this horrid assault on music by meeting the brother of his sister’s co-star on the set of Hannah Montana. Not talented enough to have his own success, he parlayed his sister’s success into his own and given the opportunity, wasted it with this abhorrence:

To restate: ugliness isn’t just the absence of beauty. It’s the destruction thereof.

The Metro Division Is Dumb

There was once a finer distinction between “stupid” and “dumb.” For centuries, the latter meant “without the capability of speech,” which is why Denver’s version of the Humane Society is called the Dumb Friends League, which is also a synonym for the Metro Division. But, because of the German influence on American English (thanks, Pennsylvania…I guess), the two became more or less synonymous, because the German word for stupid is dumm.

False friends, indeed.

There is still a fine distinction, though. As Lewis Black put it on this appearance on Morning Joe, “The difference in dumb and stupid is that dumb isn’t funny. … Dumb is when you say something and the whole room goes ‘What did he say?'”.

Take the Flyers (please, British Elite League, please take them). The Flyers are owned by Comcast and, in turn, Comcast sponsors lots of NHL teams, which means they give them money. One of those teams is the Nashville Predators. And when the Nashville Predators opted to match the Shea Weber offer sheet, Comcast in some small way helped them pay his salary, which means that when the Preds announced they matched the sheet, this was the scene:

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 12.28.47 PM

Thanks, Comcast! That’s funny and therefore stupid.

On the other hand, there’s this from early in free agency, when the Flyers signed 97-year-old Vinny Lecavalier:

That’s just dumb.

From its dumb name to its dumb teams doing dumb things, it’s a division of dummies being dumb underachievers, as good buddy Thraxy — a Threero of the highest order, having to live in dumb Metro country, put it:

At least the Flortheast is a respectable 10-11-1 against Conference III. If you’re scoring at home, that’s ten times as many wins as the Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro has against Conference III. The Flortheast is full of respectable foes who put up a valiant if fruitless effort. The Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro is fruitless — because all the fruit has rotted away. It has one redeeming quality: it is so bad that whichever carcass that swamp of a division vomits into the playoffs will be thankfully swept out at its first meeting with a Flortheast team.

These 1,700 someodd words notwithstanding, it is beyond contempt and is best ignored, denied sunshine so it disappears into dust. Watching the Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro will kill a soul with the insidious disregard the reprehensible Luke Schenn showed Teemu Selanne’s face. Leave their boisterous boastful nonsense shouting be and let them grow hoarse as they convince each other of their decadent supremacy, bellowing idiocy like the decaying empires did at the League of Nations, the only other entity in world history whose impotence rivals the Stupid, Ugly, Dumb Metro.