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Aimless, Arbitrary, and Awesome


On a daily basis, I scribble down random thoughts I have and dumb things I do.  Periodically I print a few. This, is a.d.d. at its finest:


A buddy came up with a great way to avoid misleading player stats in hockey, and now it seems so obvious.  Why is points-per-game a stat, when it should be points-per-minute?  Wouldn’t it be easier to dig up diamonds in the rough if you could prove that some kid who scores every tenth game is twice as productive as someone scoring every fourth game, simply because he gets a fraction of the playing time?  Seems like a practical stat, no? 

(Fact: using this simple theory, Sidney Crosby is still nine times as productive as Taylor Pyatt.  In other ground-breaking news, people like ice cream in the summer.)


Today, I remembered to answer a business call in my most professional voice while driving.  Unfortunately, I didn’t remember that I was pumping “Hot Steppa” in the car.  There’s a chance it detracted from my credibility.


An expression I recently heard and liked:  “If at first you dont succeed, try doing it the way your wife told you”. 

no she didn't.

no she didn't.

An expression I recently saw and loved: 








I just hate Carlos Mencia so much.  I just watched six hour-long DVD’s on the history of comedy, the pioneers, the classics, the gems.  The fact that he gets mentioned at all on a DVD with so many great names rattles me.  Who does he think he is, acting like he’s doggedly fighting to raise minority awareness or something.  Ha! to that.  He exploits them for a living.  He makes Mexican jokes that appeal to the slower class, and aren’t that clever.  He’s basically Larry the Cable guy without the likability.


An old joke from the “Make ‘em Laugh – The Business of Comedy” box set that I still love is about the trials and tribulations of Nelson Mandela, who endured 27 years of jail time and torture, to finally get freed to his home and his wife.  Six months later, divorce.  Chris Rock, fake-quoting Mandela:  “I can take beatings, abuse, torture and misery, but I just CAN’T. TAKE. ANY MORE OF THIS WOMAN!”. 


How important is having a solid pillow?  To phrase it like Seinfeld, who arrre these people who want the squishy, supportless pillow?  They must exist, since hotels strictly cater to these people who clealy enjoy resting their head on a napkin and six feathers. I hope you’re comfortable, because you’re RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF US.


Michael Vick got re-instated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, I assume because he believes that everyone deserves a second chance, except dogs that suck at fighting.  Those we drown permanently.


What is it about awful pants that’s satisfying the jones for booze in John Daly?  Maybe just feeling like an extremist again?  I hope this new image overhaul is panning out for him, cause I know it’s been a huge pain having to adjust the contrast on my TV everytime him and his pants make a cameo.


What was so immovable when they built the Houston Astros new stadium that they had to build an uphill slope in centerfield?  An indian burial ground?  Used PED needles from the 90′s?  Maybe hockey teams should look at designing some completely arbitrary features like this.  Maybe a random ramp at one of the blue-lines so guys can do freestyle skiing moves mid breakaway.  Canada would dominate that sport.


Has anyone heard an interview with the classic band “Spinal Tap”?  Can we get them a radio show or something?


Jimmy Fallon is money in the late night spot, but it makes me not want to watch when he has to do those awful “commercials” where he holds a Sprint phone up and talks about how and why he loves it for a minute or two.  They have to realize this is a major turn off soon. Embarrassing for Fallon, no?


I had no idea Hawerchuk was the first to jump on the Lemieux-Gretter ’87 Canada Cup goal pile until I saw a random clip yesterday.  I’m gonna ask him some question about that when he’s at our fantasy camp like “why were you an entire zone behind at the time”?



That cleans my idea locker out a bit.  What are your thoughts?

Pleasantries Gone Wrong


* I’m crazy-busy with final Fantasy Camp preparations, so I thought I’d run an old, rambling, classic that continues to plague my existence.  Enjoy.


WHAT’S UP, GOOD – Feb. 10th


How hilariously awkward and awful are pleasantries gone wrong?  There’s nothing worse than this moment.  It’s absolute buffoonery to answer “what’s up” with “good”, but man, does it continue to happen.  I can’t even watch someone else do it without blushing.  You just weren’t up to the task of that complex question, eh?  But I do it all the time.

“Hey, how’s it going?” 

“Not much, you?”

It’s just awful.  There’s not even a good way to correct yourself.  “AhhhhhI’m an idiot” is about the best you can muster.  We all just wanna get through that monotonous first part of the conversation because, ultimately, those questions just aren’t sincere.  Nobody actually wants to know how you are or what’s going on.  We’re all just trying to get to the meat of the conversation. 

And I know you’ve met the person who’s completely oblivious to these social laws.  They’re everywhere, and I cannot stand these people.  When the “how are you question” comes out, we all just say good, okay?  Everyone has agreed upon this, unless the relationship is family, or the word friend is preceeded by boy, girl, or best.

“Heyyy, how’s it going?”

“I fell on the ice a month ago shovelling the driveway and it put my back out so now one of my legs is shorter than the other and it gave me nerve damage so I have to sleep in a hyperbaric chamber”.

Tough break, but nobody cares.  Society has a deal.  We spare other people our miseries, because we all have them.  Maybe that’s not the same as the awkward pleasantries mess-up, but it’s worthy of mention.  How about the befuddlement Bri brought up:

“Enjoy your flight”

“You too”

You don’t even try to correct that one.  The person at the airline counter doesn’t care, everyone knows what’s happened.  It’s not even worth a 15 word follow-up to straighten out.  “Have a good” is usually preceeded by day, not flight.  You rolled the dice, you gambled, you lost, so be it.  Go get an US Weekly and an eight dollar pint and wait for your flight to board.

But you know what’s even more awkward than this?  The bad hand shake.  The knuckles thing has thrown it all off because old white guys do it so much now.  Not that this is a problem, but there’s still a few who opt out of the pound, so you never know what you’re dealing with.  As a 26 year old, I think old white guys assume I’m young so we should do the knuckles thing.  Maybe on the golf course after a good putt or something, I dunno.  We really have to set some guidelines for this debacle.






I think the handshake is perfect.  What’s to tinker with?  I get the germ-free quality of the pound.  But there’s a mutual respect to the handshake that I love.  What’s even more confusing now, is the people who want to do the upright handshake pull-in thing.  This works fine if the two guys are on the same page, but if you aren’t it’s a complete disaster.  It takes a thorough evaluation of your relationship with the guy to know if it’s a pull-in shake or not.  You don’t want to assume the pull-in.  But if you go level and the other guy is upright, it’s pure chaos.

The less popular back slap/handjob greeting

The less popular back slap/handjob greeting


It's cool if we go upright even though I'm white, right?

It's cool if we go upright even though I'm white, right?










You can taint an otherwise perfect day by leaving it on a bad shake. You need an exit strategy.  I spent a half hour trying to make a chart for this situation, but there’s too many variables.  Excitement.  When you last saw the guy.  How well you knew them before.  It’s definitely going to continue to remain troublesome, but you can apply a couple loose rules.

 The high five after a great sporting moment is way better than the pound.  Provided, of course, that you mix in a momentary clasp.  You can’t go beyond the guys hand with the five like you missed, and you can’t mutually push up after contact (whitest move ever).  Do the five, clasp, bring it low, done.  Not feminine, not too white, it’s okay. 



The pound should be reserved for the solemn positive moments.  It says: “nice, I knew you were gonna make that putt”, not: “sssiiicckkk 40 foot putt!!!”, pound.  Not the occasion.

If you’re unsure in any greeting circumstance, shake the hand.  No greeting is a solid as the firm, couple second shake with eye contact.  You only go to the upright-pull-in phase if you and the other person share a memory together.  You know, a night at the strip club, a round of golf, that night you drank Cuervo til you started chanting “Jose” like Euro soccer fans do “Ole”.  Any of those.  Acquaintances don’t do the pull in, okay?  It’s never assumed.

Bri and I were dying laughing about this last night when our cluster$#%& of a goodnight had to be red-flagged and laughed at.  We need Obama to come down with firm greeting rules that we’ll all agree to abide by.  I mean, I need to know - in New York they mix in the kiss greeting, and I’m gonna end up kissing her Dad if I don’t figure out the damn rules.  So I’m out of here.


“I love you too”

Three Things On The Way Up


ONE – Sledge Hockey: Murderball on ice.

I’ve played the majority of all wheelchair sports – basketball, rugby, hockey, bowling, kayaking, football and cow-tipping - if it exists, I’ve tried it.  And, I’ve been pretty decent at most of it.

My brother Jeff however, is downright good.  From being a gold medalist at the BC Disabled Games, to  dominating the occasional game of Shoot-The-Tennis-Ball-At-Your-Brothers-Junk, he’s always been pretty successful.  In following the family rules, he was always especially good at floor hockey.  Once you master minor complications like “how to move while holding a stick”, the game gets a little easier.

But obviously, hockey could never quite be the same for disabled players as stand-up guys.   Until sledge hockey.

These athletes are about to take the international sports world by storm.

In an exciting move, CTV has committed to showing all of Canada’s games in the 2010 winter Olympics.  Have you seen these guys haul yet?  You’ll be floored, unless (heaven forbid) you get in the way of one of them, in which case you’ll be iced.

Here’s what you need to know to fully enjoy the sport when you watch it on tv (because you will watch it on tv):

Hi, I play for Canada, and I'm better than you at this.

Hi, I play for Canada, and I'm better than you at this.

The sleds are balanced on two legit skate blades, with a third little one at the front.  The national team studs have the blades nearly touching each other under their bucket seat, where you’d need them to function like training wheels.  Your first time out on a narrow-bladed sled is like trying to balance in a wheelbarrow on a unicycle… not that easy.

The sticks are nearly flat (like a super-obtuse angle in geometry class), and have picks on the back to pull the sled around.  Only it’s less of a pull, and more of a “holy-christ that human is a missle in a bucket”. 

In a sentence, it’s a well-organized car accident.

And of course, it’s hockey.  The goalie has picks on the bottom of the trapper and blocker for mobility, and also (I assume) because they figured the only way to make hockey more interesting was to make the goalie be a human Swiss-army knife.  Less snow-spraying, more “yessir, no sir, my fault sir”.

Sledge hockey’s popularity is rising, and it’s rising fast.  Like all new sports, its taken awhile to come into it’s own, but there’s some extremely elite players out there that’ll make you feel really bad for doing so little with your four limbs. 

So here it comes.  Just another reason to enjoy a good ol’ fashioned Canada/US on-ice suckerpunch festival.  To complete my sale, give me 45 seconds of your time.  Click!  Sold.


TWO – The Crown Float: Tastes like liquified angels.

This, my American friends, is what’s known as a crown float.  It’s 50 percent Strongbow (dry cider), 50 percent Guiness, and 100% better than what you’re drinking right now.

I'm so good I look fake, don't I?

I'm so good I look fake, right?


The black and tan is nice (Guiness over Harp’s or Bass), but not nearly as refreshing.  And you know what?  It’s not alone in the ”strictly-in-Canada” category for popular drinks at our local watering holes.  Here, as you may know, it’s standard practice to drink your beer with Clamato juice.  Not V8, Clamato (yes, that’s clam and tomato).  I loathe it, but it’s everywhere, and, I’m told, is the hangover beverage of the pro’s (where the US cure is the Bloody Mary, Canada answers that as well with a slight variation in the Caesar).

I’m not trying to sell poutine here people.  I’m trying to help.  Strongbow and Clamato.  Call us and we’ll ship you some, it’ll be popular I swear.


THREE – My USA Today Blog: My voice to help save the US, one beer at a time.

And last, thanks to those of you who checked out and recommended my first posting on the USA Today website.  Down the left side of, is the “Bourne Blog” option.  The better reception it gets, the better for all of us, because hell, maybe they’ll send me to cover something cool one day.  I’ll start planning for my trip to the 2010 ESPY’s now, just in case.




I’m 6’3″, 200, I Swear


Here’s a comment/question from reader Far North:  

“A player who was listed as 6’3″, 200 pounds on last year’s college roster  is listed as 6’2,” 175 pounds by his new NHL team.  I’ve stood next to enough college players to think that the roster stats are often optimistic.  Does this continue at the higher levels?  Are NHL teams required to report those things accurately?”

The craziest thing about height measurement, in my experience, is that there’s no uniform, standard procedure for doing it, even in the NHL.  It’s like a slightly upgraded version of a mom putting notches on the wall as her kid grows.

Yes, I shoot with abnormally close hands.

Yes, I shoot with abnormally close hands.

My favourite year was the one in college where they measured us using the advanced clipboard-on-head method, followed by the measuring of that mark.  The guy taking the measurements that particular year was all of about 5’8″, so all the clipboards had a nice uphill slant to them.  I literally had to call the athletic administration to tell them not to list me at 6’3″, because I figured scouts would notice I wasn’t, and label me full-of-shit before I even had the chance to prove them right (I’m 6’1 and a half, but was always listed at 6’2″). 

But every year, in a split second, your height and weight were both measured and permanent, to be splashed on a dozen websites, in programs, on scouting reports, wherever.  All the guys tried to drink about a gallon of water (literally) the morning of the weigh-in, as to appear more muscle-dense.  I actually played with a defensemen who was drafted that was told to “beef up” in the off-season, so he literally had two 2.5 pound weights hidden on him for weigh-in (they didn’t make us strip down in college like they do in pro either, which is nice - wearing jeans tacks on at least a pair of crucial l.b.’s).

It’s probably just the lack of thorough measuring in college that leads to the misrepresentation of height and weight.  They want the guys to look bigger to increase their chances of moving on too, as it looks good on the program.  Once you’re in the NHL, there’s no advantage in lying about your size – results are finally what matters, not potential, so you tend to see a more honest representation of size (even though there are in fact no rules governing truth in advertising).

But sure enough, at Islander camp, in Hershey, wherever;  you simply took your shoes off and stood against a wall with heights on it.  I always managed to get my heels just that half-inch of the floor to make the 6’2″ mark.  Nobody cared (MLIA).


 There’s only one other thing I want to write about for today, and it’s of crucial importance to me.  I have a neat opportunity to contribute to the USA Today’s online hockey section, so starting today, I’m writing an occasional blog (every week or so) on a profile there.  If all goes well, it could be a great thing for the other sites I write for as well, bringing more credibility to what I do, while helping increase readership.usa today

Basically, it would be in my best interest if the blog did well there, so please, if you’re an avid Bourne’s Blog reader, click THIS LINK and feel free to contribute a positive comment or two.  The article is a more current re-packaging of my piece  ”A Love-Hate Relationship With Hockey” , and has a link on the main USA Today hockey page, (thanks to those of you who commented already – minor technical difficulties at USA Today have meant I’ve had to re-post the article, and lose the early comments).  Turns out there is hope in this writing world…

Exercising Two Legs and One Finger


I’m feeling refreshed and alive today people.

Still trying to get my hands on a priceless "after" picture to go with this "before" one

Cunning up.

I finally soaked in a little vitamin D in the midst of this gorgeous Kelowna summer we’ve been having (gorgeous, just no fires allowed.  Also, no: smoking, rubbing sticks together or dragons allowed in the park).  We chucked together a surprise birthday party for one of my best friends yesterday, Dave Cunning (  A few of us headed out for little evening of wakeboarding, swimming and Ogopogo hunting.

It reminded me of a little hockey nugget I thought I’d share, cause this is the type of thing not all hockey fans are around to hear: 

Less up.

Cunning less up.

Scott Hannan, a Kelowna resident, genuinely claimed that he stopped doing leg workouts a few summers back, because wakeboarding was his new workout.  I know it’s a leg burn, but it isn’t squatting 315 pounds 12 times.

The guy consistently showed up to skate minutes before we went out, fully equipped with his crazy long hair, uber-summer tan, and surfer-dude mentality.  Kinda strikes me as more of a “minus-five SPF-oil guy” than the “concerned-about-melanoma’s type”.

Not that I’m hear to pass judgement, but I’m not so sure his career has been heading in the right direction since I heard him say that.  But then again, maybe I should withhold criticizing his regimine.  Things have gone pret-ty decent for him over his 10 years or so in the league.


So… I stepped on the ice for about the third time since December last night.  The good news is, I’m still a decent player.  What wasn’t great, is that I’m in roughly the same shape as John Candy was while shooting ”Uncle Buck”.  I drove home looking worse than Nick Nolte before a mug shot.  I can’t imagine playing contact hockey (which, for those of you who don’t know, is only about 80 times as tiring as non-contact). 

But still, I got thinking… “yeah… yeah… I could figure this game out again real quick-like.  I’ve been getting some calls from teams for next year, maybe I’ll just whip my ass back into shape…”

And then I took the heel-end of a stick across my mustache, and starting planning my next blog.

I especially like having to pay to play now.

I especially like having to pay to play now.


Dear Hockey,

F. you too.



A Tear, A Curse, and a Link


I’ve got this weird soft spot for sports.  Like, I could watch a four hour documentary on blind people curing baby tigers with cerebral palsy and not flinch, but the second somebody is involved in some impressive sports feat, I tear up.

Mark Buerhle pitched a perfect game yesterday, that included a wall-scaling catch from his replacement center fielder, who was just chucked into the game to be a defensive specialist.  Nice call by Ozzie Guillen on that one.

Anyways.  Congrats to Mark Buerhle on accomplishing such an unbelievable feat, and receiving a phone call from the freaking president for it.  That’s the part that got me.  It was just… it was… so special… siiigghhh…


So, I try to keep curses out of my writing as much as possible, because I hope to someday do this for a living, and it’s generally frowned upon by reputable newspapers.  But, in order to keep it sounding conversational, I tend to slip the odd curse in, because, um, I slip the odd curse in in conversation.

Regardless of your stance on that, let this serve as a little disclaimer.  The following picture contains a well placed f-bomb, and I love it.


Half anteater, half Italian?

Half anteater, half Italian?



I love that somehow my blog in the NHL off-season has become the chuckle-hut, and people continue to send me hilarious stuff to include in the blog.  You’re really makin’ my job easy.  Keep ‘em comin’!


In other news, the fires in Kelowna have subsided.  Thanks for all the well wishes.  We had a little scare that our beautiful resort was about to be the Okanagan’s biggest bonfire, but she was saved!  The camp is ready to go as planned, and thanks to the fire, we even got a couple nice room upgrades.  Take a look at this picture taken from the lake that shows how close we were to losing The Cove:

The Cove fire


Phew.  It just barely made it.


As for a little real sports writing, my take on how the drafting of John Tavares will help Kyle Okposo out will probably be up in the next hour or so at  Check it outtttt.

Lawson Translation


The Islanders have signed a third starter, Martin Biron, to a one year, $1.4 million dollar contract.  I just. don’t. get it.

So then, we’re admitting DiPietro is beyond being a functioning goalie, right?

I mean, it makes no sense to sign someone to well over a million dollars if you intend for them to play in the AHL.  And we aren’t going to trade Biron or Roloson, both of whom we just signed, or we simply wouldn’t have signed them.  So this was the Islanders admitting DP is a no-go, wasn’t it?

Lawson reads the play before you do, and plays the puck like Marty Turco

Lawson reads the play before you do, and plays the puck like Marty Turco

The Sound Tigers had a stud in net last year in Nathan Lawson, who didn’t see NHL games at the end of the AHL season strictly because the BPST’s needed him too bad (truf).  If they were looking to lock up a talented kid with scads of potential starter for the Sound Tigers, they had Lawson in their hands (statline: 2.16 GAA, .927 Save %, 19 wins, 9 losses – better than Mannino in every category).  Who knows if he’ll sign without getting a NHL – AHL two way, which the Isles won’t do (15 years looked crazy, but 4 NHL goalie contracts looks bat-shit crazy).  So should we shuffle Laws into the “Islanders squandered talent” bin?  They better at least lock him up for Bridgeport somehow, and soon… or someone will.


Ahhh, the Red Sox got rid of Julio Lugo, at last.  He never really fit in there, did he?  Never quite had the swagger, always kinda looked weak.  I’m sure Sawks fans shed zero tears, and are already demanding results of the new guys.

By the way, has the Sox morphing into the Yankees over this decade turned anyone else off?  So much for the scrappy underdog taking down those Rockefeller-esque Yankees.  They’re just poured outta the same mold at this point.


Like me, you may find it hard to sit through 36 seconds of “metal”, or whatever we’re calling that genre of “music”, so you may want to mute this.  I think I actually like it better with sound though.


So good news, for those of you who have subscribed to the blog.  You’re about to get your first bonus offering from Bourne’s Blog!  I’m going to take questions from now until the Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp that you may have for any of our ex-NHL stars, ask those questions, and do a fun little question and answer write up for you.  I think I may do this throughout the year with current NHLers that I’m still in touch with too.

I feel safer when he wears gloves.

I feel safer when he wears gloves.


So, you have your pick, ask a question to any of the following:  Battlin’ Billy Smith, Dave Semenko, Bryan Trottier, Dale Hawerchuk, Doug Bodger, Steve Shutt, Ron Flockhart, Cliff Ronning, Larry Melnyk, Gary Nylund, Clark Gillies, or of course, my Dad.

Two weeks from now that crew will be on the ice with our guests, pulling groins, tweaking backs, and generally keeping ibuprofen providers in business.  Lookin’ forward to it!

Hey, Quick Question…


This whole Ben Roethlisberger sex scandal is just so odd, isn’t it?

I mean, you never quite know how to take it when you hear of a professional athlete getting acused of something so serious.  Or at least I don’t.

Naturally, we start by juding their prior behaviour.  You can pick through Ben’s history with tweezers and not find drama.  But that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.

As her account goes, she was the concierge at his hotel (he was at some golf event in Lake Tahoe), and he asked her to step into his room to look at his broken TV.  She comes in, and they (allegedly) have sex that only one person wanted to have, which, is sorta frowned upon by every person ever (not to make light of a potentially serious crime). 

It’s tough to form opinions on this stuff, because if he really did it, what an awful, sick, burn-in-hell human it turns out he is.  But if he didn’t do it, it still sucks for him - once “accused of rape” is on your resume, it always kinda mars your reputation, convicted or not.  It’s just such a shady situation.  It doesn’t help her case that you could see why she’d make something like that up if it turns out that she is slightly off-in-the-head.   There’s the national attention, plus, the guy is loaded.

I don’t think Ben’s guilty, for two reasons:  One, his prior record of misbehaving (never, aside from a sober motorcycle crash), and two, the fact that she’s listed something like eight people as defendants in a rape case, which unfortunately starts her off on the crazy-looking foot.

And other times, I think, wait… Isn’t my blog way too light-hearted for a topic like this?  And it is.  So I apologize.  Won’t happen again.  Let’s ask questions about more pressing issues…


One: Is there any stress that comes on quicker and stronger than being in the right lane with a “right lane must turn” sign (let alone the ominous “right lane ENDS” signs)?  Especially with the cars to your left being in a steady, packed line?  Sheer panic.  Inner-skull pandemonium.

Two:  Why won’t the CFL just accept its role as an NFL farm system?  Everything would work a whole lot smoother (and develop more players, and better), if they just used a normal sized ball, and had an appropriate sized field.  Like adults do.  Know your role, CFL.  Right?

Ay, my father was a tree.

Ay, my father was a tree.

Three:  Can you watch the pirate (with the four wood limbs) on family guy and not laugh?

Four:  What baseball player would depress you the most to find out did steroids during their career?  Gotta be Cal Ripken, doesn’t it?  Mr. Iron Man himself?

Five:  Is there any word in our language more homosexual word than the word ”prancing” (especially in fuschia)?  Not really the way any male wants any of his movements described.  Just a thought.

Ha, so yeah, there’s a non-hockey pop quiz for today.  Enjoy the lull and enjoy the sun, before you know it’ll be strong coffee, slapshots and saves allll over again.

Up In Smoke


Alrighty-o.  My newest entry for The Hockey News is up at if you’d like to take a look at that.  A little explanation of why this is the time of the year hockey players really start the grind for next season.

But first, a couple thoughts!


Anyone else watch the ESPY’s? 

If I was sick of Debbie Phelps after the Olympics (and I was), I need some Ginger Ale and Pepto again after that awards show.  This broad gets more airtime than Amelia Earhardt (though a “was never heard from again” ending wouldn’t be quite so tragic in this case).

The only known antidote to a Debbie Phelps sighting is Marissa Miller.  Thankfully, she was in attendance as well.


I’m calling for the head of the next person I hear use the expression “you know what they say here, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”.

It’s weather.  It changes quickly everywhere, not just in your town. 

At least come up with your own expression, like “You know what they say, if you don’t like the weather, there’s absolutely f***ing nothing anybody can do about it, so stay indoors.”

In 2003, Kelowna lost hundreds of homes on the outskirts of town.

In 2003, Kelowna lost hundreds of homes on the outskirts of town.

Plus, in Kelowna we have very little sympathy for all these places with intermittent rain, largely because every few years now I can here Nero fiddling away while our lovely summer city goes up in smoke like a Snoop Dogg/Dre tour.  Apparently, consecutive months with no rain isn’t cool if you live amongst a quatrillion pine trees.  Who knew?

We’re up to 11,000 evacuated as of yesterday, and The Cove – the resort home of our Fantasy Camp in two weeks – is currently evacuated too.  Awesome.

That’s not too far from where Heatley lives – maybe he’ll be smoked out of his own home and have to talk to the media soon.  We can only hope!

A Little Pick-Me-Up

My heart, she breaks for Tom Watson.  What an incredible tournament he played.  I need a pick me up, and you might too.  The following pics are the Gillies mammoth Newfs, and some ever-awesome cats.  Siiiiigggghhhh…

 Before the pics, I’d just like to point out how great it was to see someone play classic, respectful, gentleman’s golf for a weekend.  Having someone like Watson be a stroke away from winning the British Open speaks to all the things that are great about the game.  Truly, the ball doesn’t know how old you are.


Happy dog? Yes. Smart? Not so much.

Happy puppy? Yes. Smart puppy? Not so much.

The Bruce. A legend in his own time.

The Bruce. A legend in his own time.

Smart dog? Yes. Active dog? Not so much.

Smart dog? Yes. Active dog? Not so much.



And, two hilarious cats.  I want to marry the first one.


cat pvccat










Simply Style


I still live out of a suitcase, which basically means I wear about five shirts on loop.  It’s been seven cities in three years, and I just wanna hang my shit up.

Anyways, I figured it was probably high time I add a sixth shirt to the rotation - throw a little curveball at society.  So, where does a 26 year old go to buy a t-shirt?  I didn’t know either, so logically, I hit the mall.


Skulls everywhere.

Apparently, understated is out.  And apparently, overstated is not.  Flames, roses and daggers seem to be popular side dishes for this buffet of shirts that look like someone wore a glue-covered cotton “t” into an all-gothic car accident.

At least they had the decency to bedazzle it.

At least they had the decency to bedazzle it.

I wasn’t aware that Ed Hardy would be the leading influence in how The Bay chooses to use it’s buying power, but apparently they were quite taken with his LOOK AT MY SHIRT! line of tees, and tried to make them with lesser quality materials.  Very sharp.

There’s no secondary option.  No tasteful, minimally logoed, light summer t-shirt.  Your options are collared shirt, Hanes three-pack, or Ultimate Fighting enthusiast.  I can’t wait to look back at this era of men’s fashion the same way we now look at the 80′s. 

“How did we ever think that was okay?”

I bought nothing.

**Disclaimer:  I have a purple and light purple shirt with an embroidered rose and latin writing on it that I reserve the right to wear twice a year free from judgement.  No juding.  You’re judging me aren’t you.  I feel judged.


The famous lighthouse at Turnberry

The famous lighthouse at Turnberry

Ahhhh, the British Open at Turnberry.

How badly I want to go to Ireland.  My Irish roots are in Tinaheely, apparently (and actually, our family name was O’Burne a mere four or five generations back, before someone moved here and chucked the “o” in the middle “to avoid persecution”, I’m told).

But lets talk Watson.

Every year some blast-from-the-past hangs around for a few days in a major and lets the commentators reminisce on the days of yore.  That player is usually someone pushing 50 - Watson is two months from being goddamn 60, and is doing it against the best players in the world, with Tiger in the field, and has hung around for three days now.  Plus, he just had his hip replaced in October! <—- (Not a joke)

One of golf's true gentlemen

One of golf's true gentlemen

This would have to be the greatest win in the history of golf if he could slap it around Turnberry in a couple under par tomorrow (by the way, anybody else get the feeling that this event would’ve been a freebie for Mickelson?  With Tiger out of the mix and the leaders not going super-low… gotta believe he’d have been at least a in the hunt). 

Tiger winning a US Open by 15 shots has to be the most impressive win of my lifetime, but if Watson could get hot for just one more day… wow. 

Yup, I’ll do it.  If Tom wins, I’ll vow to give up all forms of the ageist slander I enjoying chucking at my parents for lent next year.  Come annnnn Tom!

By the way, has Watson not been the best-dressed guy in the tournament by miles so far?  I’m loving his classic sweaters, even the slightly risqué one he’s rocking above.  Little purple collar under it?  The guys on point this week.

Advantages in Hockey


In sports, being slightly better has major advantages.

As Malcolm Gladwell discussed in “Outliers”, a huge percentage of NHL hockey players were born in January, February, and March.

The reason for this is as follows: At the age where we start separating kids into the ”elite” and “for fun” groups, we separate the advanced kids from the ones who do stuff like re-tape their stick without peeling off the previous layer (if you’re reading this, and you do that, feel free to feel some shame).  At eight years old, a kid born in January has had a lot more time to develop than the nearly-eight-year-old born in December, yet the kids play the same “year” of hockey.

So, the older, probably bigger kid makes the cut – in turn, he gets more ice times, better coaching, and plays with better kids (I literally summed up 100 pages of Gladwell in four really long sentences).

Its not your kids fault, its yours.

Its not your kids fault, its yours.

He gets better, and next year, the gap between him and that kid born in December is wider (fine, five).  And now the December kid has started wearing yellow laces and taping his stick with multi-colour fun-tape.  It’s not okay.

Thus, that slight advantage snowballs into major gains for the early-year birth (which sports-obsessed fathers have become keenly aware of. There are plenty of Dad’s trying to time the early-year birth these days).

So, in the same spirit, I thought I’d mention how players in the higher professional leagues enjoy an advantage to those players trying to work from the bottom up (and I don’t mean the millions of dollars and groupies).

This is meant to be aside from the smaller advantages, which add up in their own right: unlimited sticks, so they’re always crisp.  Better medical and training staffs.  Flights over buses.  Better meals.

The advantage is that it’s actually easier to think and play in higher leagues.

As you move higher in the ranks, your teammates have better hockey smarts.  They tend to play their position, they tend to stay in their lane.  You know you can trust that they’ll be where they’re supposed to be, and it’s easier to play (no-look a pass to the point in the ECHL and you might be icing the puck into your own zone).

This is why NHL fans see a lot of AHL players come up, play fine, not hurt the team, but never stick – it’s actually easier to think the game when it’s more controlled, as the higher leagues are.

They don’t stick because, any half-decent player can fit into a system and do fine, especially when everyone is doing their part properly.  In the NHL, and AHL, if you aren’t doing something on top of what the teams system is, you’re expendable.

Returning to the ECHL after spending time in the “A” feels like you’ve gone back to play in your high school gym class’s ball hockey game.  The entire pack of people seems to chase the ball.

But the league is extremely talented… don’t get me wrong.

People assume the NHL is comprised of the most talented players – it’s really just the most talented that managed to avoid the idiot gene.

What this means is, there are plenty of players that are just as talented, but sadly, did get beaten with the genetic idiot stick.

God I hope I never have to play with that Bourne kid.

God I hope I never have to play with that Bourne kid.

And what that also means, is that for a lot of ECHL’ers (or CHL’ers, SPHL’ers…) trying to move up the ranks, you’re trying to figure out where Gretzky the Clown on your line is headed to next.

This is a unique problem that a guy like Kyle Okposo will rarely have to deal with (I say rarely, because he did get stuck with me as a linemate for a weekend), whereas some kid playing in “the Coast” trying to prove himself to scouts can end up minus three simply by having brain-dead linemates.

I played with a number of kids who must have had promise in junior, because they had been signed to three-year NHL deals out of junior (sidenote: all these kids get the same contract now – can we not flip Tavares an extra 20 bucks for helping the Isles sell 53,000 jerseys?).

Frankly, a lot of them (most?) weren’t very good.  But by signing that deal, it gave them the time at a high level in a more controlled game to develop their talents – an opportunity not afforded those who weren’t ahead of the game by junior.  The good thing for them is, the organization is invested in them, and doesn’t want those contracts to look like bad decisions. 

Hey, I'm here to help.

Hey, I'm here to help.

So yeah – there’s some Earth-shattering insights about a few advantages some players are afforded over others, take what you want from it.  Maybe not ground-break stuff, but hey.  The More You Know.
So, pretty soon you’ll start seeing some ads on my site.  I like it pure as much as the next guy, so I hope you can understand that I put a pretty good chunk of daily time into this blog, so it’d be nice to collect six or seven cents on it occasionally.  Apparently, engagment rings don’t pay for themselves.  Thanks for your understanding.

The Plight of the Oiler fan


Edmonton - Birthplace for the no-trade clause.

Sacre Bleu! C’est Armstrong de Lance!


The NHL schedule is out today.  In a related story, the Islanders were just mathamatically elimated from the 2010 playoffs.  Tough start.


Livestrong, Lance Armstrong (or live really strong, with slightly elevated testosterone levels):

I’m not sure what to make of this “nearly-leading-the-Tour-de-France” thing he’s throwing at us.

In regards to steroid use, you have to believe there’s no way he’d be using during this years ride for charity.  He wouldn’t put every previous win he’s ever had at risk by getting caught in the twilight of his career.  He wouldn’t be stupid enough to roll that dice now (if he ever was).Lance

So then I’m left to assume he really just dominates that race, and is legitimately in the mix again, which makes “impressive” an understatement.

It’s made me reflect on his career a bit.

It’s tough to say if he was ever a cheater or not.  You really hope not, for one obvious reason.  If he did, he’s been exploiting his own cancer, holding himself up as a hero, “guiding the way” for those who need a leader.  And somehow, in the last few years, Lance has gone from an abrasive, cheating-accused Texan cycling champion to a celebrity-dating, movie cameo’ed, Mother Teresa brand name.

The upside is that, even if he did cheat, he’s made a ton of money for cancer research.  But then again, how awful would it be to find out some guy has been using his cancer as a platform to celebrityhood, willingly accepting the praise (and book sales) that come with actually overcoming such a hardship? 

I like Lance, and want it all to go down as pure (a little late for “pure” maybe.  This guy’s been accused of drug-use more times than Ricky Williams) strictly because you know the French are pulling out their hair every time he succeeds, yelling “tabernac!” and tearing apart their croissants like Tommy Boy does his pretty little pet.

At the very least, it’ll make for interesting TV, which I’d watch, if it weren’t cycling.


If you hire a financial planner who looks like this, and is on record as saying he doesn’t like reading because “all them little words confuse me”, then you lose all your money, who’s the idiot?

Lenny Dykstra – $31 shmill. in debt.  Thanks for playin’.


I’m issuing a cease and desist order on players calling their fans “the best in ______”.  Albert Pujols called the St. Louis fans “the best in baseball” yesterday, which seems unlikely.

Go... Mets?

Go... Mets?

Maybe he’s right in this particular instance (anybody else skeptical out there? Anyone..? Bueller… Bueller…), but it’s got to stop.  I played junior B hockey against a kid who called the Beaver Valley Thunder Hawks fans “the best in hockey”.  Probably not.

Players get stuck on loop, not because they’re incapable of thinking of something good to say, it’s just the nomenclature of the business, the same way the Bush administration would call my shattered jaw a “puck-assisted bone reorganization”.  I understand it at sports’ highest levels:  They get asked 13,000 questions a day, so they put it on auto-pilot.  Plus, any semi-inflammatory thing that crawls out of their mouth is on 98 different talk shows before it’s halfway out, so you can see why the daily message would stay bland.

Part of the job of a professional athlete is talking for the sake of sound bites, but please, lets try to think before declaring something unoriginal (and simply not true).

But on a more serious note… my readers are the best in the world.  Best readers ever.  I just love these guys.  Proud to be a part of something special with ‘em.  It’s a team game.

Bowling for Kneecaps


Hockey fans, a general inquiry from a player, to you:

Why, oh why, do you all love short players so much?

Why does being 5’6″ guarantee any player an instant, devoted following?

My father was been widely cited as the “fastest skater of his era” – a nice quote considering he played during the Gretzky days with teammates like Bossy and Trottier.

It’s one of his favourite rants:  Shorter players look like they’re working twice as hard as tall guys, because their little legs have to pump more reps to keep up with us long-legged folk.  And people see the increased reps, and say things like “that little guy just never stops working”.

Punching downhill sounds fun.

Punching downhill sounds fun.

At 6’4″, it takes a tad more effort to get one of those stems up-and-through than it does when you’ve got the legs of a Pembroke Corgi.  We’re working here too, alright?  We’re trying.

Every year at fitness testing, there’s some kid with T-Rex arms that can do 45 pull-ups and only stops because the trainers like “fine, fine, we get it, enough”.

They aren’t skating faster, they just have really short legs!

I get that fans like to watch them play physical – as a taller guy, you always want to thump that little bastard that’s running around like a possessed bowling ball, but the odds of running over a guy with a lower center of gravity than a flat-side-down bosu-ball is unlikely.

Of course, all sports are, to quote Al Pacino “a game of inches”.  Two guys reach to poke the puck, or a forward drags his leg to stay onside, whatever.  The small guys are disadvantaged there.  So sure, love them, they do have a few little hurdles to jump.

I have a feeling St.Louis drew a lot of walks in Little League

I have a feeling St.Louis drew a lot of walks in Little League

Just do us lanky-leggers a favour:  Don’t say they’re working harder.  And don’t applaud the (rare) small guy who (lacks respect and) goes low (fans love the front-flip after a sub-hit, but half my college team would give their left one for the chance to beat the piss out of Nick Licari from Wisconsin.  And unlike fighting, low hits don’t come with smiles and respect at the bar).

Do you know how hard it is to co-ordinate 15 miles of limbs?  I’m not even quite at the 6’2″ line and it took me to 20 before I could get them working in the same direction.

So why, hockey fans? 

Where’s the love for the gangletrons? 

Cheering for the small guy is like being a Yankees fan.  How’s that beaten path feel under your crocs?


* The final piece of my series “A Hockey Players Life” for Max is up on their site, or it can simply be found as the latest article under the Max button at the top of this page.

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