Thursday, February 21, 2008
Ralph Iannotti here, standing outside Allegheny County Courthouse,
awaiting the beginning of the Trial of the Season.
The litigants walked past me into the courtroom just a few minutes ago.
Neither man or his respective representation chose to comment as Judge Charlie stood in between them.
A jury of Pensblog readers has been sitting in the jury room since early this afternoon at Judge Charlie's orders, in an attempt to remove them from any media influence.
We have learned from The Pensblog that they have chosen certain e-mails as opening and closing statements.
They want to emphasize that they are showing no favor to anyone.
You will be able to see for yourself that all e-mails were unreal.
You can read all of the jurors' e-mails in the closing statements.
Wait a minute, folks.
Mr. Lowe! Mr. Lowe!
Mr. Lowe, what is your interest in this trial?
Lowe: We used to have Conklin.
We are prepared to extend an offer sheet to him following the trial.
Iannotti: So, you are staking yourself in the Conklin camp?
Lowe: Of course.
How much is KDKA paying you?
Iannotti: Well --
Lowe: I'll double it.
Talk to you after the trial.
[ Walks into courthouse ]
Well, Mr. Lowe just made his way into the courtroom,
and the constables have locked the doors behind him.
It looks like we're about to get under way.
We'll send you into the courtroom.
ALL RISE! The Honorable Judge Pensblog Charlie presiding.
PLEASE BE SEATED.
WATCH YOUR BUTTS.
THIS IS CASE NUMBER 6687ROBERTS108771 IN THE DOCKET.
THE PEOPLE VS. TY CONKLIN.
MRS. BROCKOVICH, YOU ARE REPRESENTING MARC-ANDRE FLEURY.
DO YOU CARE TO MAKE AN OPENING STATEMENT?
EB -- Yes, your honor.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury,
I come to you not as a lawyer, but as a fan.
Today you are left with one simple task -- to sort through all the useless facts that Marty the Chicken will fill your heads with, and come to one decision.
Who should the Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie be?
The facts of the case are these.
Marc-Andre Fleury was the starting goaltending for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He then was injured. Mr. Conklin has since stolen the job from MAF.
I can't tell you what to believe. I can only tell you how I and many others feel.
I received an e-mail I had to share from a Marc-Andre Fleury fan.
As counsel for Fleury, you must contend that no man should lose his job because of injury. It is a well known canon within the hockey world and should apply here. Fleury is the goalie of the Pittsburgh Penguins and a person whom we have invested considerable money and resources into. While the work of Conklin has been tremendous, it is not sufficient to deny the Penguins' goalie his job.
Ladies and Gentleman. That was from Josh M., a Marc-Andre Fleury supporter.
In the course of this trial, I will prove that very e-mail true.
THANK YOU, MRS. BROCKOVICH.
AND, MRS. BROCKOVICH,
DON'T THINK DRESSING LIKE THAT WILL WIN YOU POINTS IN THIS COURTROOM.
MARTY THE CHICKEN, DO YOU WISH TO MAKE AN OPENING STATEMENT?
MC-- Yes, your homoness.
Ladies, Gentlemen, and fellow chickens.
What is that smell? Do you smell it? It is my client. And he smells like victory.
My client has worked hard. He has given everything to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He has made them winners this season.
And while Erin Joke-ovich will cloud your minds with her breasts and false claims,
I demand you to listen your hearts, to your minds.
Can you say Ty Conklin doesn't belong in that net?
You can't, can you?
The following is from Jesse at [Faceoff Factor]
And I, too, can pull out the same tricks as Erin Breastovich.
To get an appreciation of where Ty Conklin is, you have to look at where he's come from. We're talking about a guy that didn't even play during he lockeout, came in the "new" NHL rusty, and then had a major gaffe that cose his team a goal in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Most goalies would struggle to recover from that. What Makes Ty Conklin so invaluable is his ability to constantly make the routine save, control the rebound, and play the puck.
Those waiting for Conklin to come back to earth. Don't hold your breathe.
Ty Conklin is averaging .46 goals against less than the average. He is also first in S%. Someting Fleury knows nothing about.
Right there, folks.
That is all you need to know.
Nothing more, your gayness.
THANK YOU, MR. CHICKEN.
THE PEOPLE MAY CALL THEIR FIRST WITNESS.
EB -- YOUR HONOR, THE PEOPLE CALL GILLES MELOCHE TO THE STAND.
Place your right hand on the Ice-Time Program.
Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give in this courtroom is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you Roberts?
YOU MAY PROCEED
GM-- My name iz Gilles Meloche, goaltending coach for the Pizzburgh Panguin.
EB-- Mr. Meloche, we could delve into your storied career as an NHL netminder, but that is not what is on trial today.
Would you please tell the court your impression of my client, having worked with him for the past two years?
GM-- Well, I took him under my wing when I waz hired by ze Panguin. He had already zeen hiz fair share of NHL ice time by then. In the time I have known him, Monseiur Fluree has blozzomed into a top-flight NHL goaltender.
EB-- What was his record last season?
GM-- 40-16-9. A goalz against of 2.86, and a save perzentage of .906.
EB-- Is this your first stint as the Penguins goalie coach?
GM-- Non. I waz hired in ze 1989 zeazon as ze Panguin goalie coach and held that pozition until ze lockout zeazon of 2004-2005.
EB-- 1989? Was there a still-developing goaltender under your tutelage during that time?
GM-- Yez, you can zay that. It was Tom Barrazzo.
EB-- Oh. What happened a mere two years later after working with Tom Barrasso?
GM-- The Penguin won back-to-back Stanley Cup Championsheeps.
EB-- Could you see this happening again with young Mr. Fleury?
EB-- Your witness.
MC-- Mr. Meloche.
MC-- Are you nervous talking to a chicken?
MC-- While working with MAF, you have also worked with Ty Conklin, correct?
MC-- What is your take on the man?
GM-- I feel he haz kept ze Penguin above ze water while waiting for Mr. Fluree to return.
MC-- How would you rate his goaltending performance?
GM-- Above average.
MC-- 16-4-3, .932 save percentage over 25 games. Above average?
GM-- Yez, that eez ze definition. He eez better zen average.
MC-- Do you feel Mr. Fleury would have done any better than Mr. Conklin during this recent stretch?
GM-- It iz pozzible to improve on zat record.
MC-- SIGH. No further questions.
EB-- Mr. Meloche, esteemed goaltending legend and goaltending coach in the NHL, who gets your vote for #1 goaltender of the 2007-2008 Pittsburgh Penguins?
GM-- Mr. Marc-Andre Fluree.
EB-- No further questions.
YOU MAY STEP DOWN.
CALL YOUR NEXT WITNESS.
-- THE PEOPLE CALL MARK MADDEN TO THE STAND.
EB-- Name and occupation.
MM-- Mark Madden, sports-radio talk-show host on ESPN Radio 1250. I have covered the Penguins for the better part of 15 years.
EB-- What was your advice to the Penguins as they headed into the 2003 draft with #1 overall pick?
MM-- "Take the goalie," referring to Marc-Andre Fleury.
EB-- Do you still stand by that?
MM-- Absolutely, chico.
EB-- What is your expert opinion on Ty Conklin?
MM-- He is a curtain-jerker, a flash in the pan.
MM-- Your witness.
MC-- Mr. John Madden...
MC-- Yeah. What was your occupation before becoming a talk-show host and hockey specialist in the field of journalism?
MM-- I worked as a color commentator and magazine writer for professional wrestling.
MC-- No further questions.
YOU MAY STEP DOWN.
CP-- Craig Patrick, and I don't know.
EB-- The court is aware of your Hall of Fame status as a hockey general manager.
CP-- I would assume so.
EB-- What did you do with your first-ever #1 overall pick as Penguins general manager?
CP-- I drafted Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003.
EB-- Your witness.
MC-- Mr. Patrick, first off, thank you for the two Cups in 1991 and 1992.
CP-- No problem.
MC-- But, gee, that was a long time ago, was it not?
CP-- It's all relative.
MC-- Whatev. Would you mind sharing with the court your draft choices since the 1995 season which in fact resulted in "winning" that #1-overall pick in 2003?
THE WITNESS IS EXCUSED. STRIKE HIS TESTIMONY FROM THE RECORD.
CALL YOUR NEXT WITNESS.
RB-- Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina Hurricanes forward.
EB-- We can make this short and sweet. Describe the events that transpired on June 5, 2006.
RB-- Ty Conklin relieved Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson late in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
EB-- Stop there. Your homoness, we would like to enter video of the event in question as Exhibit "A".
EB-- Your homoness, no one wants to look at Mr. Brind'Amour longer than absolutely necessary.
I'LL ALLOW IT
MC-- Stunned. I don't even want to talk to this clown.
LC-- My name is Chris. I run [ Taking one for the Team] and follow the career of MAF very closely.
EB-- Chris, should the Penguins goaltending job go back to MAF once he returns?
LC-- Not to take away from what Conk has meant to the Pens the last couple months, but MAF needs to play when he comes back. As things currently stand Conk may be the better option in net, but MAF has shown to have a higher ceiling when he gets hot and could easily outperform Conk if given the opportunity to play consistent minutes.
EB--In your expert opinion, does this decision loom large?
AND YOU'RE GOING TO BE EATEN FOR LUNCH.
LOSER CHRIS, PLEASE ANSWER.
EB-- Your witness.
MC-Chris, you are known as a MAF apologist. Just say it. You hate Ty Conklin. He should be relegated to backup.
MC-Chris, ADMIT IT!
MC-ADMIT IT, DAMMIT!!!
LC-- YES, HE DESERVES TO BE THE #2 GUY, AND I HOPE HE BURNS IN HELL!
CHICKEN, YOU'RE ON THIN ICE.
MRS. BROCKOVICH, CALL YOUR NEXT WITNESS.
MR. MARTY THE CHICKEN, THE DEFENSE MAY CALL THEIR FIRST WITNESS.
MC-- YOUR HONOR, THE DEFENSE CALLS DR. JAMES MIRTLE TO THE STAND.
Do you swear on [ Mirtle.blogspot.com ] that the testimony you're about to give in this courtroom is the absolute truth?
JM-- James Mirtle. I work at the sports desk at The Globe and Mail and have been blogging hockey on the internet since 2004.
MC-- Rather than meandering through countless questions, can you give us your take on the Fleury vs. Conklin debate?
-- The bottom line in the Conklin-Fleury debate
is that the team has simply played better with Conklin in goal.
They've scored more goals, at even strength and on the power play.
They've allowed fewer goals, despite having more shots against at even strength.
And, as a result, they've won far more games.
Bring Fleury into the fold, but ride the hot hand. And if Conklin wavers under pressure, as he's known to do [ see Exhibit "A" ] , at least now you've got a reasonable option to bring in.
I've prepared a document in spreadsheet form comparing the stats.
EB-- Mr. Mirtle, where is The Globe and Mail located?
JM-- Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
EB-- Your honor, given the brevity of the hockey atmosphere in Toronto, we move to strike the testimony of this witness off the record due to the mental anguish he has been exposed to as a probable fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His emotional state in regards to hockey makes his opinion unreliable.
EB-- Your honor, I strenuously object. Mr. Mirtle cannot be relied on, since he has most likely not watched every Penguins game.
MC-- Mr. Mirtle, in your expert, sports-journalism opinion, who gets the nod?
JM-- Stick with Conk. Bring Fleury into the fold, as you will have a reasonable option to bring in if Conklin falters.
MC-- No further questions.
MC-- We don't want to take up much of your time. What is your stance on this situation?
I read a columnist is the (nice) Beaver County Times recently who said that if Conklin falters, MAF will return as the "rightful No. 1 goalie." Maybe he was "rightful" last year, and maybe he'll be "rightful" next year, but this is Conklin's team. He fits too well within the system they're playing to still consider him a placeholder. Sometimes the right guy finds the right fit in the right system; and that's how Kurt Warner has a Super Bowl ring.
So it is with a heavy heart that I concede Conklin is for real and, barring a complete reversal of fortune before the postseason, the "rightful" goalie for the Pens. I do so mourning the fact that I much prefer the derogatory "ConkSuck" to "ConkBlock," and the reality that these 24 quality games for Pittsburgh all but clear his name as a postseason laughingstock for that goof in the Finals. I'm especially sad about losing that latter go-to punchline; it's like when the Rangers stole 1940 from the masses by winning the Cup.
MC-- Your witness. Bitch.
EB-- No questions, your honor.
CALL YOUR NEXT WITNESS.
-Spits in Bull's face-
ORDER! ORDER! MR. BOTTLE, YOU WILL BEHAVE IN MY COURTROOM!
WB-- Mr. W. Bottle, unemployed.
MC-- Please, sir, describe your affiliation with the plaintiff.
WB-- I was Mr. Fleury's water bottle, from his days playing for Cape Breton until the Game 5 loss to the Senators last year, after which, I abruptly quit.
WB-- He commits to his butterfly stance too early. He gets beaten over his shoulder, and the only place for the puck to go is right into my face. The book is out on him.
MC-- Why didn't you quit earlier in the season?
WB-- I'll admit. I had faith in Meloche turning Fleury around.
MC-- No further questions.
EB-- Mr. Bottle, you had faith in Meloche turning Fleury around?
WB-- Yes, ma'am, but it just didn't happen.
EB-- Oh? Does a one-season, 27-win improvement constitute as a turn-around?
EB-- Does a 0.42 improvement in GAA constitute as improvement?
EB-- A playoff appearance?
Please the court, we are not putting Gilles Meloche's coaching ability on trial. We are simply showing that Marc-Andre Fleury is rapidly turning into the franchise goaltender.
No further questions. Joke.
MC-- Am I a chicken talking to a water bottle?
YOU MAY STEP DOWN. CALL YOUR NEXT WITNESS.
EQUIPMENT MANAGER FOR THE PITTSBURGH PENGUINS.
DH-- You just said it.
MC-- Right. You've no doubt gained a knowledge of the equipment habits of Mr. Fleury, correct?
DH-- That is true.
MC-- We must now make the court aware that during Fleury's layoff, he has switched from his trademark yellow equipment to white equipment.
Any reason for this, Mr. Heinze?
DH-- Yes, he's been given advice by specialists that yellow pads give shooters the illusion that they have more net to shoot at.
MC-- I see. It has nothing to do with an apparent weight gain during his injury layoff?
DH-- Excuse me?
MC-- Your honor, we have a witness, a sports-medicine specialist, who can verify that Fleury's switch to white pads is a result of his lackadasical training regimen during his rehab.
His yellow pads simply are too small now after his weightgain.
EB-- I object. Your honor, we have Mr. Fleury's yellow equipment with us. If it pleases the court, we can simply have him try on his equipment in the courtroom.
I'LL ALLOW IT.
MR. HEINZE, PLEASE ASSIST THE PLAINTIFF.
[ Spectators gasp ]
DH-- Yes, actually. His equipment has shrunk due to the enormous amounts of sweat protruding from the sweat glands of his gleaming bodice during his extensive rehab sessions.
MR. HEINZE, DO YOU, UH, HAVE A PICTURE OF THAT?
MC-- This courtroom is a sham!
SILENCE! THE WITNESS IS EXCUSED! ANY MORE WITNESSES?
THE DEFENSE CALLS JASON SPEZZA, DANIEL ALFREDSSON, AND DANY HEATLEY.
ORDER! THIS COURTROOM IS NOW IN RECESS.
I MUST CONFER WITH THESE THREE GENTLEMEN IN MY CHAMBERS.
20 MINUTES LATER...
EB--Your Honor, this man was not on the list.
MC--Rebuttal witnesses, Your Honor, called specifically to refute testimony offered under direct examination.
MT--Check Ice-Time Log, for christ's sake.
MC-- We'll get to the forwards in just a minute, sir. A moment ago said that you ordered Conklin to go into the game and make incredible Saves, or his spot would be in grave danger.
MT-- That's right
MC-- And Conklin was clear on what you wanted?
MC--Any chance Conklin ignored the order?
MT--Ignore the order?
MC--Any chance he just forgot about it?
MC--Any chance Conklin left your office and said, "The 'old man's wrong"?
MC--When Conklin spoke to the team and Told them he would play the puck and help the defense, any chance they ignored him?
MT--Has you ever spent time in a team huddle, son?
MC-- I am a chicken, sir.
MT--Ever ran conditioning drill with Gilles?
MC-- Once again, sir, I am a chicken.
MT--Ever have your ass chewed out by me for playing soff?
MC-- No sir.
MT--We follow order, son. We follow order or goals are scored against. It'ss that simple. Are we clear?
MC-- Yes Sir. (mocking) Crys-sal.
MC--Coach, I have just one more question. If you gave an order that Conklin was to be such an incredible goalie, and your orders are always followed, then why would you be sending MAF down to WB/S so soon for a quick rehab so to return so quickly?
MT-- Ty Conklin is a sub-standard goalie. He was being switched in and out with Sabourin because of the Fleury injury--
MC--But that's not what you said. You said he better make incredible saves or his position is in grave danger.
Yes. That's correct, but-
MC--You said, "His spot was in danger". I said,
"Grave danger". You said--
MT--Yes, I recall what-
MC-- I can have the Court Reporter read back your--
MT-- I know what I said. I don't need it read back to me like I'm a damn--
MC--Then why the two orders? Coach? Why did you?
MT--Sometimes the goalie take matter into their own hand.
MC-- No sir. You made it clear just a moment ago that your men never take matters into
their own hands. Your men follow orders or goals are scored against. So Conklin’s position shouldn't have been in any danger at all, should he have, Coach?
MT-- You little bastard.
EB--Your Honor, I have to ask for a recess to--
THE COURT'LL WAIT FOR THE ANSWER
MT-- [SAYS NOTHING]
MC--Conklin turned this season around, didn't he? Because that's what you told Conklin to do.
MC--And when he gave up a bad goal on a rebound againstFlorida, you thought about cutting him, didn’t you?
EB-- Your honor!
THAT'LL BE ALL, COUNSEL
MC--You had Shero sign a phony waiver order--
MC--You doctored the Ice-Time books.
EB-- Dammit Marty!
MC-- I'll ask for the fourth time. You ordered--
MT--You want answers?
MC--I think I'm entitled to them.
MT--You want answers?!
MC-- I want the truth.
MT--You can't handle the truth!
MT--Son, we play on a rink that has nets. And those nets have to be guarded by men with masks. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Charlie? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Fleury and you curse the high-ankle sprains.
You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Conklin’s play, while remarkable, can’t be sustained in the playoffs. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, puts people in the seats. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that bench, you need me on that bench. We use words like poke check, rebound control, glove save. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a chicken who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very entertainment that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a set of goal pads, and stand between the posts. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
WE MUST NOW SHIFT OUR ATTENTION TO USER-SUBMITTED E-MAILS,
AS THEY WILL BE THE CLOSING STATEMENTS.
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY PROMOTERS, CLOSING STATEMENT?
[ Pensblog readers in MAF's Camp ]
TY CONKLIN SUPPORTERS, CLOSING STATEMENT?
[ Pensblog readers in Ty Conklin's camp ]
THE JURY WILL RETIRE TO THEIR QUARTERS AND REACH A VERDICT.
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