Happy Birthday To III

by J.R.

One year ago today, I posted a brief item, a video of a Chambers Pot rumble between Dallas and Nashville and at ConferenceIII dot wordpress dot com, III Communication was born.

Since then we’ve been recognized by Puck Daddy and by Sports Illustrated and we’ve launched The Conference III Championship Belt, which has been recognized by Carter Hutton.

We’ve gone litigious and obscene and democratic.

In honor of our birthday, let’s, in the spirit of our proprietary power ranking system, look at our Top 13 posts of all time (ranked by views).

13. Buzz3eed: Eight Places In Texas To Move The Minnesota Wild (July 30, 2013)

When news broke that the Minnesota Wild had lost $30 million during the lockout-shortened year, speculation started that perhaps the Fightin’ Adjectives were in danger of leaving the State of Hockey (ok, there wasn’t all that much speculation, but we certainly fueled it).

Obviously, Minnesota isn’t going to move, but if they do, they are moving to Texas, because Texas has a long history of screwing Minnesota sports-wise. Not just the Stars relocation, but also the Herschel Walker trade. Indeed, the only time Minnesota bested Texas in anything sports-related was when Coach Hayden Fox’s Minnesota State Screamin’ Eagles defeated West Texas in the Pioneer Bowl. None of those things exist, but God bless a bed-ridden Luther noticing the guard’s tell. How unlikely is it, by the way, that West Texas — which was ranked No. 1 in the country — had gone an entire season with a guard giving away crucial information on literally every offensive play? Very unlikely, just like Minnesota beating Texas in sports.

Anyway, here’s eight Texas cities to which the Wild could relocate.

12. ‘How Many Cups Have You Won?’ — Detroit Reacts To The Blackhawks’ Victory (June 25, 2013)

After Chicago won the Stanley Cup, it was important that Detroit’s very obvious reaction to same be documented.

11. Rich Clune: Threero Of The Week (March 11-17) (March 18, 2013)

Our Threero series launched just two days after the site with a profile of some top-notch, Conference III-level trolling involving Predators’ pest Rich Clune:

In Nashville’s 4-0 win over Conference III foe and future Official Rival Dallas, Rich Clune jumped out of the penalty box, skated on a breakaway and then earned a penalty shot, which he promptly and deftly converted. He followed it with a gleeful, screaming, fist-bumping celebration and a pitch perfect radio interview:

“If you do your research on the Internet, you’ll find that I went four-for-four in shootouts my last year in juniors- 100 percent, no lie”

Later in the game, after a box-filling donnybrook, Clune drew Jamie Oleksiak into dropping his gloves, while Clune just stared at him blankly. Magnificent. This is especially enjoyable because during the previous Stars-Preds game, Vern “Vernon” Fiddler insinuated to Clune that he’d be on the farm before the teams met again.

10. Is Kevin Klein Too Dangerous for the SUDM? (January 22, 2014)

When long-time Predators’ blueline stalwart Kevin Klein was shipped to New York, we asked if he was, in fact, too deadly a weapon for the worst division in the history of professional sport.

9. Our Response In The Matter of The Royal Half v. III Communication (January 18, 2014)

When we launched DemocraThree, our friends at The Royal Half took exception, saying we stole the idea from their Pacific War Room. Thankfully, we keep an attorney on staff and TMurda’s response began thus:

Dear Mr. Big Shot Hollywood Lawyer:

I am writing in response to your letter (hereinafter: The Demand)  of January 17, 2014 to my client Mr. J.R. Lind in his capacity as the editor of the outré Central Division blog III Communication in which you “directed” him to “cease and desist all copyright infringement” related to III Communication’s new feature “DemocraThree.”

Sir, I am like a combination of Atticus Finch and Boss Hogg and your demand, like your TV shows, is two hours late.

Using the Ding-Ding Standard established by the courts in the seminal trademark case D. Bowie et al. v. V. Ice, it is clear my client, while certainly inspired by the work of your client, made it his original work product by making material additions.

8. A Very Conference III Festivus (December 23, 2013)

We aired grievances, lauded feats of strength and met Obscene Alex for the first time:

“you weren’t supposed to be good this year, [anuses]. Move aside and tell that douchebag Varlamov to [oh dear].” – Obscene Alex

7. ‘I took my friend Justin to this game. We’re not friends anymore, I don’t think.’: The Oral History Of The Worst Game In Conference III History (So Far) (April 16, 2013)

On April 9, St. Louis and Nashville played easily the worst game I’ve ever witnessed in person and I wasn’t alone in that sentiment as this 2,300-word crowd-sourced oral history demonstrated:

Andy Axel:There is what Ray Emery refers to as “a boring kind of hockey.” This was that, and then some. It was as though Bridgestone Arena was a large puck conveyor belt that only worked along the dasher. The Predators were content to work the puck clockwise along the boards during the first, counterclockwise during the 2nd, and again clockwise during the 3rd. It couldn’t have been sleepier if (Bridgestone Arena PA man) Paul McCann had been running a loop of Eno’s “Music for Airports” through the PA the entire night. Pass. Pass. Dump. Pass. Turnover. Pass. Pass. Dump.

6. Blue Peter: On Horachek, Heartbreak and Inside Jokes (May 21, 2013)

In May, the Predators fired long-time assistant Peter Horachek and replaced him with Phil Housley. Peter Horachek is a very Conference III guy (after he was fired, he landed with San Antonio’s AHL team and is now coaching the Florida Panthers) and we miss him:

He was intense when he needed to be, funny when it was right and self-aware all the time.

He liked to win. He liked toughness and his favorite players, as he’d repeat night in and night out, were guys who’d “go to the hard areas.” But he also knew that he came off as far more intense than maybe he intended, so he played it up.

He didn’t think of himself as a joke — and he wasn’t a joke — but he didn’t think of himself as Very Important To The World At-Large, either. Just like Conference III.

I don’t watch a lot of home broadcasts for other teams, but where else could an assistant drop inside jokes? In Montreal? Please.

There’s very few places a team’s number-two man could get away with such frivolity DURING A GAME and most of those places are right here in the NHL’s best conference. It’s not my place to begrudge Toronto or Montreal or New York or even our brethren in Chicago for their gargantuan fanbases or that their combined passion for their team is a cultural Leviathan. I am, after all, a former student and a current supporter of the University of Alabama, with its almost-mind-bogglingly large fanbase with their definitely-mind-bogglingly devotion to the Crimson Tide.

5. Introducing The Conference III Championship Belt (November 26, 2013)

The post that introduced the linear championship to Conference III, easily the most popular feature of this blog (if I counted the static pages as posts for purposes of this list, the Conference III Championship Belt page would have been easily the most popular post).

I started with the first-ever Conference III game of the Conference III era — Predators at Blues on Oct. 3. Some of you may say that the belt should begin in Chicago and I’m certainly open to that argument, except that Chicago won the old Central Division, which included the cowardly Red Wings and the very Not Conference III Columbus Blue Jackets. In any event, had the belt began in Chicago, the lineage would be the same, because, as you’ll see, Chicago’s first Conference III game was against the then-holder of the belt.

4. Trade Central Time Zone: Your Guide To The 2013-14 Trade Deadline (February 26, 2014)

We established some rules for the trade deadline, including one very important rule that a whole lot of GMs ignored:

3. Goalies are bad

Goalies don’t move around a lot on deadline day, but with Ryan Miller hanging out there, this year might be different. It’s important to remember a few things:

  1. All goalies are terrible.
  2. No goalie is as good as his save percentage.
  3. If a goalie has a good save percentage, it’s because he had one good year (or perhaps two or three) and it is unsustainable.
  4. All goalies eventually give up goals and rarely score any goals, therefore they are worthless.
  5. Goalies have terrible Corsi numbers and are frequently outshot, sometimes even by Doug Murray.

Therefore, all goalie contracts are bad. No GM in the history of the NHL has ever signed a goalie to a good deal. Signing a goalie to a multi-year deal is the second-worst thing a GM can do. The worst thing a GM can do is to trade for somebody else’s goalie, who is, by definition, carrying a bad contract. If a GM signs a goalie or trades for a goalie, he should be fired immediately for incompetence. The smartest possible thing for a hockey team to do is to never sign a goalie ever, because that’s the only way to avoid signing a goalie which, remember, will necessarily result in a team carrying a terrible contract, because all goalie contracts are the worst.

3. Rich Clune’s Ready…ARE YOU? (June 26, 2013)

Shortly after joining Twitter, Clune started throwing bombs:

Big news. Vern Fiddler and Antoine Roussel of @DallasStars will decline a visor and opt to wear a full cage next season #SOFT#uwishuhadme

2. We Are Don Cherry’s Raccoon (April 10, 2013)

Don Cherry encountered a raccoon in his neighborhood and Conference III encountered its defining metaphor:

Don Cherry is the example par excellence of the worst kind of hockey person: the kind that doesn’t think anyone outside the tiny geographic radius he’s drawn deserves to watch or play or enjoy the game. Of the seven cities in Conference III, a generous estimation would figure Grapes would be OK with teams in Winnipeg, Chicago and Minnesota. Obviously, Nashville and Dallas are out as being too Southern. Colorado is too far west and has legal pot, which Don is definitely not going to countenance. St. Louis was founded by the French, so they’re out, too.

Hell, Don’s probably suspicious of the Jets as still infected with the stench of Atlanta. Minnesota’s probably too new for him, as the Wild haven’t been in the league since before Confederation and he finds the lack of an S on the end of that name as a little too NBA. Chicago is alright for now – Original Six and all – but what if the ‘Hawks knock out some Good Ontario Boys in the playoffs? The way Grapes would tell the story, Illinois might as well be Puerto Rico.

As we explained to Cheer The Anthem, Conference III exists not only because of Red Whinging but because the NHL had to throw together these teams it couldn’t put anywhere else. Like it or not, we’re stuck with each other.

We’re going to fight and claw and steal people’s trash (that’s a metaphor for David Poile’s waiver wire addiction, by the way).

We’re going wound and bloody one another.

But remember this: Don Cherry doesn’t want us around. He’s afraid of what might happen if we infest his heavily-manicured, carefully-constructed gated community.

He doesn’t want to come home to see us, sitting in his Stanley Cup …

But let’s do it anyway. Let’s stick together when we have to and fight when we must and let’s aim to forever ruin Don Cherry’s day and the days of everyone who thinks like him.

Let Conference III be the raccoon that got released recklessly in Don Cherry’s neighborhood.

1. Rich Transit Gloria Clunedi: The Disappearance of @richcluneshow (July 23, 2013)

Rich Clune is the subject of three of the top 13 posts all-time here and none more popular than this one, the story of how his popular Twitter account kept disappearing and reappearing:

[W]e were left simply with our memories:

When Dicky burst on the scene in a series of quickly-deleted barbs fired at the Dallas Stars.
When he shared with us the last page of his new contract.
When he shared with us his unmet contract demands.

He loved especially to take jabs at the Stars (and to a lesser degree, his other former team, the L.A. Kings). He especially liked to poke Tyler Seguin, who he, kind of charmingly, called “a dork.”

During the Night of the Living Dead in Glendale, someone asked Rich what he thought of the situation in Phoenix and he replied with a joke about Charles Keating, for God’s sake. He was funny, clever, trolly and real — everything you’d want out of an athlete’s Twitter account.

The beauty of Rich Clune — both as a person and a Twitter personality — is that he is sarcastically, jokingly arrogant and delightfully self-aware. It’s why he was the inaugural Threero.