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Two – Spit Detroit

 

The fact of the matter is, Osgood is outplaying Fleury, and Detroit plays the best team defense I think I’ve ever seen.  They look like the Devils during the trap and smother days, but they do it without making fans feel like they ordered the Nyquil Big Gulp from the concession stand.

Random thought: Can Babcock win the Conn Smythe?

I gotta say, I loved seeing Malkin realize he was 6’4″ and give Zetterberg a little scare at the end of the game.  I can promise you, guys in the Red Wings room are dying laughing about Zetterberg engaging with Malkin, even throwing punches, but leaving one glove on.  If I may Don Cherry up this blog a bit, that really is something only a European player would do.

I’m pre-frustrated for the “Sid has been shut down” coverage that’s coming.  Sid was a flurry of skates and will, creating a couple great chances: Walking out from behind the net and hitting the inside post; feeding Guerin for a one-time in front that rattled off the inside post; slicing through the D at mach speed and throwing a quick snapper that Osgood kicksaved like only Billy Ranford could… he’s still damn near everywhere.

I made a comment to my Dad today, something to effect of “how long can they count on fourth liners for offense?” in regards to Detroit, but apparently they can do it all the way to the Cup.  Abdenflavour, or whatever that kids name is, is shooting rabbits feet with horseshoes I think.  That, or Fleury is single-handedly crushing the entire city of Pittsburgh.  Either or.

Zetterberg is making game changing, Stanley Cup earning plays, like drapping himself across the goal-line to stop Sid from making it 2-2 in the third, right before Allenskater scored to make it 3-1.  TSN turning point. 

Big game coming up in Pitt – here’s to hoping for a long series.

Friends and fam – I’m sans cell phone ’til I get to the States to buy a new one, probably on Friday.  I finally had to take Old Yeller behind the shed and thank it for the memories.

A Picture, a Link, and a Thought

 

The title says it all.  Enjoy one of each.

The picturemreow.

meow

The linkNHL Tries To Woo Fans By Increasing Scoring With Bigger Nets, 3-Point Line

The thought:  The finals continue today, and the Pens have a chance to get right back up on that horse.

Getting scored on first is deflating, but to have it be a bank-off-the-back-wall goal is like having holes in your parachute.  To top it off, King James and the Cavs lost to Dwight Shoulders and the Magic.  The only thing to do now is stare at kitten pictures, laugh at that link, and settle in with Mr. Redenbacher Salt ‘n Pepper popcorn for Game Two!  Enjoy folks.

Pittsburgh. Detroit. Stanley Cup Finals.

 

Alrighta!  The finals.

(2) Detroit vs. (4) Pittsburgh

Let me start by saying great move to Commish Bettman on moving up the first game of the finals.  Great move.

Hockey is a winter sport that runs too far into the summer.  If hockey were to be removed from the consciousness of borderline fans, they’d definitely welcome summer and forget about it.  Not only are the first two games on NBC (congrats to Americans on finally getting some coverage), but they come a mere three days after Detroit’s win.  Let’s soak it alllll in.

Here are my thoughts on this series:

As other people have mentioned, there seems to be a parallel between Wings/Pens and the Islanders/Oilers back to back finals matchups, one that not many people know.

The Islanders got thumped in the finals of their Drive for Five by the Oilers, but if I may defend… they were without seven starters from the year before due to injury.  These guys were sitting in the stands, while that young and dangerous Oiler squad playing what was basically a different team, but in the same jersey.  Oh, and um, Dad was one of the injured.  Not that I’m biased.

This year, the Wings seem to be limping into the final.  I can’t help but wonder if maybe what it takes to win the cup takes such a toll on your body that it gets harder and harder to stay healthy wth short summers and longer seasons, or if it’s just coincidence.  Either way, Lidstrom is back, but obviously hurt, Datsyuk is out, Ericsson is out… It sets up well for the Pens.

In goal, I like Pittsburgh.  I know that by now, we should all respect Chris Osgood.  I think he has like, 19 Cups or something, I just find it really hard.  He obviously does what it takes to give his team a chance, but I just don’t think he has that “next level” like Fleury does.  Ossy is either a Hall-of-Famer or an AHL all-star. 

I definitely like the Red Wings on D – their transition is super dangerous with Rafalski and Lidstrom, plus, Chelios brings the average age of the D corps up eleventy-six years, so they seem super wise. 

Without Datsyuk, Detroit still has good frontmen, but I think they’re over-achieving.  How long can you rely on major contributions from guys like Cleary and Helm?  Good players, for sure, but not as threatening as that other side.  Even defending Conn Smythe Zetterberg and Franzen don’t compare to Sid the Gretzky and Markgeni the Malssier.

I know Zetterberg will shadow Sid again, but this year The Kid knows what to expect.  Hockey has evolved to hinge heavily on special teams, so now a good powerplay can win you games.  Your goalie has to be your best penalty killer, and I just don’t believe in Osokay.  That powerplay is gonna win. Pittsburgh. The Cup.

Plus, I’m pullin’ for Guerin - the Red Wings have already had their turn.  Go Pens!

This, That, and The Other Thing

 

Let’s have a couple quick Friday night thoughts, shall we?

First, the “don’t touch the cup” theory, regarding the conference final trophy.

Hogwash.  Hockey is a sport, not a game.  Talent wins sports, luck wins games (with golf walking the thin line as a gort… possibly a spame).  Touch the damn cup.  Congrats to Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, who sent a message I like – that being, who cares?  Yeah, we touched it.  We aren’t reading tea leaves or reading horoscopes.  We touched the cup.  Now we play the Wings.  Next storyline, thanks.

*****

I play golf, hence, I have a farmer tan.  But recently, I got some sun in Phoenix, meaning everything got a shade darker, which is just a farmer tan, but, um, darker.  I got home yesterday, and played golf in 30 degree (celcius) heat, and burnt my face.  Undeniably, I look like walking neopolitan ice cream.  Sick.

*****

My brother Jeff, is organizing a Rick Hansen Foundation event in Kelowna, and thanks to the event holder, Sturgeon Hall (and Jeff, of course), it’s going to be a wonderful afternoon.  For a $20 dollar donation to the Rick Hansen Foundation (spinal cord research), you can get two pilsners, a Bourne Burger or a couple hot dogs, a couple hours with some good folks, 50/50 draws and auction items on June 27th in Kelowna.  Anyone interested, hit the guy up at jeff.bourne@gmail.com.

*****

Beef tenderloin, medium rare, with peppercorn gravy, onion and mushroom for dinner’s main event tonight.  Top that.

Get Fuzzy

 

Reeeemaaattttch!

My only real though from last nights game was how much I wanted to punchisize Patrick Kane’s face for free after his celebration on his goal.  The kid has one assist and is dash seven in the third period of game four, scores, and proceeds to one knee pump, hand on the ice, past his teammates and the Wings bench like he’s unstoppable.  If I were a pitcher I’d bean him the next time he came to the plate.

So, I’m sporting a fairly average playoff prediction record of 9-5 so far.  I was sitting decent until a 1-3 second round (If the Bruins score in overtime I’m a much prettier 10-4, so that didn’t lessen my interest in caning the Canes).  Regardless, I need to nail the final, so I’m gonna take a few days thinkin’ on that.

The Wings got out in five, which is great because we’re probably going to have two fairly healthy teams heading into the finals.  I realize five or six days doesn’t heal torn ligaments and broken bones, but in hockey terms, it’ll give the training staff the time they need to get those guys in playing condition.  Cortisone for everyone!

And, I have more good news.  This’ll be the first time since my blog readership is respectable that I’ve done this, so um, you new readers… bear with me, and enjoy a quick dose of fuzzy cuteness (“bulldog puppies” still leads the daily searches on my site with alarming consistency).

First, I think it’s amazing that sausages with eyes are a naturally occuring species in nature:

sammy

 

In a stunning upset, the mini-frazzled chick loses a nose to nose cute off with a St. Bernard:

frazzled chick

 

And last, I just wanna put him in my pocket and pet him and squeeze him like Lenny in Of Mice and Men.

ha!

 

Cute, right?  As a disclaimer, I swear to God I’m into girls.

Anyways, I’ve been neglectful of my work, I’ve got to get some stuff done for this years Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp (still spots available), and write some real estate copy.  Yipeeeeee…  Enjoy the hockey sabbatical folks, we’ve got a great final on the horizon!

Where Is This Relationship Heading?

 

Title isn’t about you Bri, deep breaths.  Brown paper bags are in the drawer under the utensils.

Home and on the couch, I’m finally back in my blogging office.  At last.

My blog is a strange beast.  For awhile there, I committed to being solely a hockey blogger – I made predictions, observations and insights on all things hockey.  That came naturally, because my life has been saturated by the sport.  I mixed in my usual doses of randomosity (including words like randomosity), but mostly I focused on hockey.

It’s sprouted into something I hope to turn into a career.  Having been labelled a “sardonic quipster” (AKA a cynical, witty prick) by Alaska Daily News reporter Doyle Woody in college, I’ve parlayed my experience of a life thickly entrenched in professional hockey to a life that involves relating it to others (while being a cynical, witty prick).

When I started out, I wrote about what I was following – namely politics, stand-up comedy, and football.  The increase in hockey coverage came with both my return to Canada, and my inner capitalist noting the correlation between blog hits and topic material.

So I’ve been thinking – I wonder what’ll happen to my blog hits this summer? 

I’m an avid football follower, but for some reason I think my opinions probably hold more weight when it comes to ice and skates than turf and cleats (note: this won’t stop me from writing like I’m Tom Freakin’ Brady every Sunday night).  In fact, I prefer watching football to hockey (Saaaannnccchhheeeeeezz!) - but the lull in sports is coming.  Here’s why it’s going to be great for Bourne’s Blog:

A new site – Before the drop of the puck on the 2009 – 2010 season, in which the Pens defend their Stanley Cup title (I was like Jim Carrey of “the God-damn pen is blue” in Liar Liar trying to type that, but I got it done), I plan on having a whole new, revamped website, full of all sorts of shiny stuff like pictures, archives, links… and maybe a podcast/video blog or two.

The sun - Apparently, I’m told, if you leave the couch, there’s this huge star circling super-close to Earth, so much so that you can feel it’s warmth.  I’ma hafta look into that.

The move - We’re doin’ it.  Bri and I are makin’ the move to Phoenix, and it looks good that the Coyotes will be in town for at least next season.  If all goes according to plan (they make me GM), they’ll hire me to contribute to their site.  That means increased NHL access for hockey fans of the blog, and a better in-depth look at a side of hockey I’ve never been involved in.

And last, My golf game – as soon as this hockey season ends, and Sidney is using his mustache as a wire-brush SOS pad to clean the cup when he kisses it, I’m re-devoting to my short game.  Judging by the overwhelming response to my Masters blogs, I’ll be sure to write about golf roughly every third visit of Haley’s Comet.

So cheer up bloggateers.  As hockey starts ramping up before winding down, there’s stuff to look forward to.  The future is bright for the site.  …at night… in the moonlight (why don’t you just go eat some hay?  You can lay by the bay… I just may… whattya say?)

IM SO F@$%$?NG TIRED FROM STUPID FLIGGGHHTTTS.

Hereee We Go Again…

 

Alright Blogosphere, it’s just you and me.

Anybody who knows me well knows I’m prone to bouts of tangled air travel.  This is my first one since I’ve had a blog.  Hurray! 

Join me, won’t you?

***

The situation, frankly, is a clusterf***.  To summarize a long story that involves flight times, rental cars, and an interest in spending an extra eight seconds with Bri, I’m officially at a different terminal from her and about to sleep in baggage claim, while waiting for my 6:15 a.m. flight (it’s 9:49 p.m.). 

In conclusion, I make poor decisions.

I’ll spare you the piss-poor logic that puts me in these situations, and set you up for a “what would I do?” type of game.

You’ve just housed your only Hershey’s bar w/almonds.  You have a full bottle of water, a 90 calorie Chewy Granola Bar, a laptop with wi-fi, and your bag to be checked – that means a bunch of great toiletries.  Fully equipped in a sense.  How do I make this un-suck?

Despite Bri’s “the bar is open on this side!” text, and your hatred of everyone through security in terminal three, you can still make this a not-awful night, right?  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

-There’s still a few hours of people-watching, aka people-judging, before the terminal is as desolate as an Alaskan beauty pageant.  I could wear my DiCaprio-in-The-Departed black-fitted real low and make up everyones life story while they bustle around…  but that gets dull quick.

-I have a few T3′s related to jaw pain.  I could take one of those, and welcome the loopy/sleepy onslaught and risk missing my alarm.  Probably not the safe play.

-I have Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road”, a fitting book for my travels, but one that’s about as appealing to read as getting my junk caught in the luggage belt so far.  There’s gotta be something better.

-I have a Time magazine with Michelle Obama on the cover.  Look at pictures and get bicep envy??  That can’t be healthy.

You know what you’d do?..  You’d write a blog – that’s what you’d do (look how alike we are.)

It seemed like a great idea, until I realized that 87.8% of my readers are hockey fans, and the last game I saw involved a Hurricanes team that wasn’t suffering from humiliation/reality-check-itis/much-needed-kick-in-the-stones-syndrome.

I’ve always considered myself a master of making terminal time disappear… but tonight I can’t decide.  A little help from my readers?  What would you do?

Congratulations to Brianna Lynn!

 

First, and least important, my meeting with Mike Bucek from the Phoenix Coyotes marketing department went great.  I’d love to put my touch on the interesting season ahead!  Waiting to find out what jobs are available for the upcoming year.  Refrain from leaving Hamilton related comments.

Even better news?  Brianna had a job interview at St. Joes Hospital in the heart of Phoenix today, a major neurological institute in the US.  Seven hours later, they offered her the job.  Our house hunt just got serious!

Congrats to you Breezy, we’re all proud of you!

Mindless Musings

 

I’m stressed out from missing so much hockey.

Granted, life has been carrying on without me having a major breakdown about it, but I’m looking forward to getting back to Canada with it’s Pierre McGuire soaked, Jim Hughson infused triple-dose coverage.

Since my hockey watching is limited to ESPN’s highlight packages (“Sidney Crosby shoots it past the goalie for his second of the night and the win, on to Professional Bowling highlights…”), here’s some other stuff that clutters my skull:

The Daily Show, my favourite source for fake news ran a hilarious piece explaining just who Barack Obama really is.  Turns out this whole time, the answer was Cliff Huxtable.  Please watch this:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=227364&title=Barack-Obama-Is-Cliff-Huxtable

*****

I just can’t get over how well fruit goes with meat.  Mango salsa on chicken?  Cranberry on Turkey?  Applesauce on pork? 

It’s a fail-safe formula.  Try anything.  Kumquat on veal.  Sold, right?

*****

How about rhubarb?  Not since Robin and Batman has something so obviously ridden coattails on the way to success, the way rhubarb rides strawberry.  Have you ever tasted that vegetable without the strawberry?  It’s a tart, unhappy piece of redness that found love and turned itself likable.  I’m happy for it.

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So, John McCain’s daughter has been making a little tour to promote… well I don’t know what, but I’ve seen her a few times.  I was a little caught off guard, because I think she might be normal.  And even more shocking… she might be hot.  Not sure on that one, she’s always sitting at a desk.

But she kind of attacked Bristol Palin’s abstinence tour, which isn’t the most difficult thing.  Watch:

Really, that pregnant teen felt, on her own, the need to sell the pro’s of abstaining from sex to American teens?  That seems sincere.  Is the Cookie Monster her opening act, preaching the detriments of chocolate chips?  For sure, her words hold a lot of weight.

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Bruins fans, I’m sorry your team was held together by duct tape, advil and tensor bandages against the Canes.  I would guess your “thank you” card from the Pens is in the mail.

*****

I’ll be back in action tonight, watching the Pens/Canes game, since I tracked down a sports bar.  Enjoy these next couple games, it looks like there’s gonna be a healthy breather before the final!

 

Pardon The Posting Interruption

 

Pardon the minor slip in posting frequency.

I’m rotating between seven hour shifts shopping for homes, and three hour pool-sitting ones with my bikini-clad, corona-sipping girlfriend.

I’m still following playoffs though.  Rematch hey?  I bet Guerin is pissed the Isles traded him to be Crosby’s linemate on a cup contender.  Tough break.

Full lengther to come tomorrow.  And, to my old college chum Richoras Rowe, I leave you with this:

 

nick lowe

Negotiating For Negotiations

 

Bill Simmons recently released a podcast where he and another sports pundit decided to fix hockey.  They spend 50 minutes bouncing ideas back and forth off each other about how to reclaim lost fans and become profitable again in the US.

Bill’s my favourite when it comes to sports, but sadly, that conversation was about 47 minutes of awful suggestions.  There was only one valid point, which he beat like a rented Johan Franzen (which is doubly clever because he’s both a “Mule” and “red-headed”… wonder if he’s a step-child?).

That point was that he wanted to watch the Bruins/Canes game seven and the Detroit/Anaheim game seven and literally couldn’t without paying $79 dollars to the NHL network, which he did (which clearly tainted his enjoyment of the game – he mentions it about 79 times).

He had a chat posted on his page where he was watching both games, a Celtics playoff game and a Red Sox game (he has four TV’s in his man-lair… Bri, that’s what you have to look forward to when I’m a sports media guru).  In that chat, fans from everywhere were commenting on how frustrating it was that they couldn’t get the game.

They could get the Detroit one on Versus (which I think is an 18 year old with a Handi-Cam, some free time, and access to Brian Engblom), which eventually switched to the Boston game, but due to piss-poor scheduling (really NHL, two premier game sevens and you’re running them damn near simultaneously?), most fans only caught OT of the Bruins game… unless they paid 79 bucks.

It’s time to re-negotiate with the major networks, hockey. 

Years ago, when I was mad at the lack of American coverage, I almost understood why they didn’t pick up hockey – hell, I didn’t like watching hockey in those days.

But high-def has been good to the sport, and as I’ve beaten over and over like… damnit, nothings as good as Franzen… the rule changes have been great.  We have a sell-able product now.

All I know is, if people want to watch the sport, and can’t, somebody is underachieving in advancing the game.

Why this rant now, for the 400th time?

I’m in Phoenix, AZ, with a basic TV cable package.  If it ain’t on NBC, I can’t watch it.  I didn’t see last nights game, but after looking at the box score, I want to leave you with a Nostradamus-esque quote I found somewhere randomly on the internet:

Fancy-pants Malkin is gonna wake up, and Sid is going to produce less, but regardless, he’ll still be a constant threat.”

Man… that guy was bang on.

Buzzer-Beater

 

I once had a theory that air travel was streaky – if it starts off poorly, it snowballs into a hellish day of misery that looks like a bad Ben Stiller movie (wow, is that redundant).

Usually, if you can catch a break early (“exit row?  Why thank you”), it’s smoooooth sailing from take off to touchdown.

I shattered my own theory into more pieces than my jaw five months ago.

For starters, I booked my flight on airmiles left-over from college.  Living in Alaska, we amassed so many I’ve been bouncing about the continent with hardly a thought.  With the airmiles trip, Northwest Airlines likes to make sure they apply the necessary amount of penny-pinching nad-kicks to even things out.

So, my free flight to Phoenix cost 113.00 bucks, six a.m. departure dates for the way down and back, and three flights each way, just to make sure I regretted having Silver Elite Status at their rinky-dink airline.  Enjoy your three middle seats, jackass… freebies don’t get to choose.  Huh.

NWA 1 – Justin 0.

I arrive just before five to a well-coffeed check-in girl who promptly changes all my seats to my preference, exit row aisles.

NWA 1 – Justin 1

I get in my roomy seat, to find out it’s the front row of exit row seating, which means it doesn’t recline.  It’s 5:45 a.m.  Sighhhh…

NWA 2 – Justin 1

While waiting in my own personal hell, the spacious, well equipped, wonderfully great Seattle airport that I’m forced to hate for a multitude of reasons (including the 44 hour Christmas layover), my flight gets delayed an hour.

NWA 3 – Justin 1

Then cancelled.

NWA 4 – Justin 1

I ran to the customer service lady like a one-timer off Ovechkin’s stick the second they announce the cancelled flight.  I was carrying no bags, alone, and with a vast knowledge of how airport rescheduling works - at least a half dozen people mistake me for Usain Bolt (or someone who reeeally had to pee).

Get this – The can put me on a flight in 40 minutes, directly to Phoenix, with time to get my bags on the right flight.  I would be in Phoenix two hours early and with one connection less on the rare lucky airline break.  Insane luck.

That’s a three-pointer and you know it is.

NWA 4 – Justin 4

The clock ticked down as I deplaned and headed for the baggage claim… NWA had the ball with the chance to score at the buzzer by not bringing my bag, but I heard the lady talking on the phone to someone… she assured me it would show up.  She realllly assured me.

It was a valuable bag – a money order, GPS, the laptop, all lovingly wrapped in bubble wrap amoungst clothes.  If it showed up, this would definitely be a victory for me.

I fought valiantly.  I fought hard.  The bag… and the game… was lost.

NWA 5 – Justin 4.

NWA should partner with Air Canada to form a super airline, where I envision their ultimate business model to involve relocating to the top of a high mountain somewhere.  From there, you pay them an ungodly sum of dollars, get a swift kick to the junk, then they strap you to a hang-glider and the pilot aims you at your destination and shoves you off a cliff.

And the flight crew chucks non-honey roasted peanuts at you while you fall.

Note: Justin is currently in Phoenix, AZ in luggage limbo, sans laptop. Stay tuned… -Brianna

Note: My new article will be up mid-Wednesday on The Hockey News at www.thehockeynews.com.  Thought I’d keep one a little lighter – enjoy!

Penguins/Canes, Game One

 

I came away from last nights Peguins/Hurricanes game thinking three things:

One, how hard are guys shooting the puck on their backhand nowadays? (If you guessed “as hard as people shot it on their forehands in the 60′s”, you were right)  Malkin’s backhander last night – and Kane’s third of the night against the Canucks - were shot hard and flat.  I used a Sakic curve – that shots not even an option.

A buddy and I developed a theory on curves and the type of players who use them, which was right about 90% of the time. 

- Players using the Modano curve (very mild) were puck handlers, great on the backhand, and made plays – usually didn’t have a great shot though (Crosby is in this category – his custom curve is even straighter than the Modano… gross). 

- Users of the Lidstrom curve can usually bomb the puck.  Truly a shooters wedge, this thing was built to saucer pass pucks and one-time slapshots.  On the downside, trying to shoot the puck on the ice still involves cracking the goalies collar bone.

- Us Sakic-curvers liked to have a bit of both worlds if possible, but tended to take more wrist and snap shots then slappers.  I used to love hooks like the Coffey and Yzerman, but to have a banana like those makes taking passes on the backhand (and shooting on the backhand) harder than admitting Carolina isn’t awful.

I forget where I was going with that, but um, nice goal by Malkin.

***

Next, I took away more of the Sidney Crosby effect.

He gives his teammates endless chances to score.  I’m thinking Guerin will see a couple of those chances in his nightmares.

After the game, SportsCentre was explaining how Carolina kept Crosby to two shots, which was seen as a positive.  But they lost, right?  So if they “shut Sid down”, and still didn’t win, that’s a bad sign, isn’t it?

***

And last, if Carolina has two serious injuries, like it appeared they did, they can start waving the white flag.

This is a team that thrives on hard work and balls; when you take a couple of the main offensive cogs out of a team that doesn’t have many, it’s hopeless.  It won’t be fun for Pitt to play them because Carolina will stay physical, but the Pens will never be in any real danger of losing if Carolina is without Ruutu and Cole.  Now, if somebody can just get Ward to go swimming with cement skates, they could put it in neutral.  God he’s good.

 

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