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Reader Stories and Tips For Hillen

 

If you didn’t catch it, yesterday’s post on my buddy Neil owning me at basketball came with one of the best stories of all-time in the comment section.  I suggest you check out the comment by The Franchise here.

Along that same topic, I’d love more of the same.  I have my stories, and I generally tell them as they happen.  But every person on the planet has “that story” – the one they tell after a couple drinks, or in the utmost comfort of a situation.  The most crazy, “is that really true?” story of their life.  I’d love to hear them.  If you post yours in the comment section, I’ll post mine next week.  My non-hockey one is pretty decent too.  Step your game up.

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Quick thought: who the f**k thought it’d be a good idea to perforate parts of price stickers, so when you go to rip ‘em off, you can’t get a smooth, whole sticker peel?  It has to come off in those frustrating, divided, blood-boiling parts.  Everything in the last ten years has gotten quicker and easier, but stickers, for some reason, need to be twice as binding and in tiny little sections.  If this is the path humanity is heading down, the world is devolving into a fiery hell-hole of evil.

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I bet Iginla thinks Phaneuf is a joke, in every way possible.

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You hear about the Paul Shirley fiasco?  What a shame.  He’s always been good about corresponding with me, giving advice and all that stuff.  I ran an interview with him recently on this very blog.

Shirley writes a column on ESPN The Life about music.  Or rather, he did.

He also runs a website called Flip Collective - a daily compilation of essays from what he deems to be worthy contributors (friends, brother, etc.).  It was on Flip Collective, I believe Tuesday, that he ran his thoughts on the dire situation in Haiti.  To summarize, his point was “they kinda f***ed up by living in crappy conditions on the fault line of tectonic plates in the first place, lets not send them money” – or as a big picture analyst would call it “burning every bridge you’ve ever crossed by being a heartless dick”.

Sorry about the awful language in this post. 

I’m okay with him presenting the idea of “giving with a plan”, but most of it comes off as pretty insensitive.

Anyways – for a summation of the events, check out Deadspin.  They’re all over any drama they can get their condescending keyboards on, as per usual.

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Jack Hillen is out 6 to 8 weeks with a broken jaw.  A few quick tips for Jack, from a guy who knows:

*Campbells makes “Soup at Hand” – just over a minute in the microwave, and plenty of noodle-less flavours to drink.  You WILL develop an aversion to all smooth foods eventually, so enjoy ‘em now.

*Don’t try to blend solid foods into liquid.  I tried Hamburger Helper, chicken noodle soup, cheesecake (see page bottom), you name it.  It never turns out well, as many times as I lied to myself.

*To keep weight on, I made ridiculous blended shakes.  After the fruit, juice and yogurt base, I was adding protein powder, oatmeal, peanut butter, eggs, you name it… all at once.  If you can force it down, it’s for your own good.

*Carnation instant breakfast is a nice change from all the Boosts and Ensures you’ll be chugging.

*Enjoy the delicious liquid painkiller.  Chasing food with a shot of percaset makes it allll better, buddy.

*You have to stare at the TV forever, so you might as well learn some shit.  I watched documentaries galore (and lots of stand-up comedy, just to feel positive about something).  But the best thing you can do, is have a box-set to watch.  As this blog recently discussed, Lost, 24, Dexter, Entourage, whatever — just be sure to keep lots of entertainment nearby.

*Puzzles.  Board games.  Stuff you thought you’d never do again.

*Take a page from Louis CK, and hate random people for no reason.  Just sit there and actively hate them, even though they don’t deserve it.  “Positive thinking” is for hippies.  Your situation blows.

*Blog.  You should start writing a blog.  It can be a career option if the whole hockey thing doesn’t work out.  Okay, “career” is an overstatment.  But it’s cathartic!

 

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Okay, time to tidy the place for the in-laws.  They’ll be so glad to get out of NY this time year, to Arizona where it’s…… raining.  Damnit.

Pick-up Basketball: A Confession

 

First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my lovely bride-to-be, Brianna Lynn.  I’ll begin catering to her every will today by not blogging about hockey (sorry dear, still sports.  Jersey Shore blog is in the works though.).  Love you lots!

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I love playing basketball.  For a brief, responsibility free period of my life, about 15 friends from high school did too.

For those years on the Lakeview Courts, it wasn’t too hard to scrounge up enough guys to get a competitive game going.  And we took it pretty seriously – probably too much, sometimes.  Y’know, the times where you can’t invite a certain two guys to the court on the same day for fear of a fight?  Yes, Neil, I agree – Patterson did have the tendency to charge and play just a tad physical.  And yes Matt, Neil was a huuuge smartass.For those of you who’ve played your own versions of what we called “ghettoball”, (which in hindsight was probably not the most PC name for it), you know there’s supposed to be golf-level etiquette.  You call your own fouls, keep the teams fair and try not to be the guy who shoots every time the ball gets worked over to him.

The problem with street basketball was that, if you were tall, you usually won.  Nobody was running a play to draw the big guy out from under the hoop in our fun-and-run style of play, I can assure you that.  Especially in a game solely comprised of white Canadian kids.  So for that, I say damn you, Paul Atkin.  Rebound, miss.  Rebound, miss.  Rebound, elbow you in the face, miss.  Rebound, basket.  Count it!  Our tall friend happened to be the nicest guy on the planet and an international Karate champion, so we tended to just wait out the misses ’til he coaxed the ball through.

Now the tough part.  The reason I’m writing about ghettoball is to make a confession.  It’s been weighing on me for years.

One of my best friends is occasional blog commentor, Neil.  Neil and I were both points guards in high school (to whatever extent you can claim to “be” something while being inadequate at your job.  Oh, I’m an accountant, the only thing I’m bad at is math.  I thought we were good until I saw US high school games), so when it came to ghettoball, we rarely played on the same team.  We guarded each other, and I claimed it was a pretty even duel.

But truth be told…. it probably wasn’t. 

Neil, you were just better than me.  I tried to argue my side for years, but you were just too good.  That finger roll (with the white guy heel kick at the end) was unstoppable.  Your consistently intense defensive prowess was unrivaled (and often intimidating).   And your vision?  Man…. eagle style, with the peripheral vision of an owl (they probably don’t have any, since they can go exorcism-style-head, but whatever).

So there you have it.  A public forum for a heavy confession.

As much as that was a weight off my shoulders, I think we’d both agree we were no match for the sheer will of Hampson.  I mean, that one’s a given.

Pick-up games, in any sport, are when sports are at their purest.  You’re not playing for a damn thing but fun and some pride.  I miss those days.  As you get older and try to assemble a dozen buddy’s for a pick-up game of anything, tiddlywinks, it takes cancelling plans, finding babysitters, booking time off, getting spousal permission, just entirely too many things to make it work.

Those were the good ‘ol days, and I miss them.  Even if I was only fit to be Neil’s backup.

{Writers note: not nearly enough people referred to me as “Air Bourne” in those days.}

Like this, but with less diversity

Western Conference Playoff Spots

 

The battle for playoff spots in the West is always a little more intriguing when some unexpected teams blow up and have good seasons, and this is one of those years.  Phoenix, Nashville and LA are all better than I expected, and I think better than the rest of the West had hoped.

So without really any ado, here’s how I see the bubble teams finishing up:

4th, Vancouver Canucks, 52 games played, 66 points

The only reason the Canucks get a blurb in the “bubble teams” section at all is their upcoming road trip.  They set an NHL record by being gone for something like six weeks, and playing 14 straight road games (Olympic preparation in Vancouver).  They’re 22-7-1 at home, but below .500 at 10-11-1 on the road this year.  If they survive the trip at .500, they’ll be in great shape.

{Only Washington, Pittsburgh and San Jose have scored more goals than the Canucks this year, and only New Jersey, Buffalo and Chicago have given up less.  Not bad, VanCity.  Not bad.}

5th, Phoenix Coyotes, 52 games played, 63 points

The ‘Yotes have played the majority of their games to date at home in the friendly confines of Jobing.com Arena (29), where they’re a dominant 19-8-2.  On the road, the Coyotes are an even 10-10-3 (23 games), sort of how your record is supposed to look.  With a third of the season left to play, they’re in position to push for a quality playoff spot.

Have you noticed a trend in the teams that are “overachieving”?  The Coyotes, Sabres, and Avalanche all have similar team builds, to some extent.  They’re fast over big, mostly young over mostly old, they’ve got great goaltending and most importantly, their top six forwards are almost all interchangeable as ”first line” guys.  Instead of the NBA method – pay one player to be your star and build around him – they all seem to be deeper teams without “that guy” to watch out for (the top two scorers from the teams I just listed are Tim Connolly and Paul Stastny, both below a point a game at 48 points in 51 games).

The Coyotes are going to make playoffs this year, but to have any hope of moving beyond a quick round one exit, they need to finish in 5th or 6th – 7th or 8th (versus San Jose or Chicago) would be hopeless.

6th, Los Angeles Kings, 51 games played, 61 points

The Kings seem fragile, don’t they?  Points are always easier to come by before Christmas, just like wins.  When Anze Kopitar has Ryan Smyth to help him out, he’s useful, but his production has seriously slowed down.  He just doesn’t seem like a guy who can get it done when his opponents key on him, they way the real elite stars can.  That says to me he’s not ready to be “the guy” on a team that needs one.  They’re good enough to win even with him struggling, so they’ll hang on to playoffs, but you certainly get the impression they aren’t headed the right direction.

7th, Nashville Predators, 51 games played, 61 points

I almost included the Preds in the group of “overachieving teams with the same build” from the Coyotes paragraph, but in the end, I didn’t think their Dan Ellis or Pekka Rinne deserved to be in the same class as Bryzgalov, Miller and Anderson.  Nashville could be the best team to miss playoffs this year… and I see it happening.

8th, Detroit Red Wings, 51 games played, 58 points

The depressing part for the teams on the wrong side of the playoff cutoff line looking in right now is, you’re not trying to catch Detroit’s 58 points, you’re looking at Nashvilles 61.  Detroit has played with half a team all year.  They’re the best coached team in the league, with some of the best names in the entire NHL in their dressing room (even with all they lost from last year).  The Canucks and Avalanche can start stressing now about which one of them is going to get unfortunately stuck in a (4) vs. (5) battle with Detroit.

9th, Calgary Flames, 52 games played, 58 points

What the hell happened to the Flames?  I feel like I fell asleep for an hour and they dropped a half-dozen spots.  Hmm.  1-8-1 in their last ten, with six straight losses.  By all logic, the Flames should be okay:  great goaltender, maybe the best defensive trio in the league, and a couple of guys up front who can score.  For me, the major difference between their offensive firepower and the teams “overacheiving” this year, is that their goal scorers aren’t young and energetic.  They don’t have that legs churning, relentless effort type threat right now – they’re scary in the “HolyCrapDon’tLetHimShootFromThereAWww.  They scored.” type of way.

10th, Anaheim Ducks, 52 games played, 55 points

This is the difference between the Eastern and Western conference.  The 10th and 11th place teams in the West are still really good (so are the Isles, but um, I just…. crap).  The problem is, they can’t all make playoffs, and Anaheim didn’t get off to a great start.  I don’t think they’re good enough to have a huge second half and make up for it.

11th, Dallas Stars, 52 games played, 55 points

I was waiting for them to end up in this spot in the conference, and here they are.  Dallas is a good team, but when teams like Phoenix and LA are good too, it toughens up their usually soft division.

12th, Minnesota Wild, 52 games played, 54 points

I don’t know a lot about Minnesota this year, and that’s not a good sign.  I do know when you’ve pinned a chunk of your offensive hopes on Chuck Kobasew and Andrew Ebbett, you’re in a whole heap of trouble (both are good enough players, but very shutdownable.  Yep, I can make up words on my blog.)  I guess their go-to guy is Havlat, I’m just not sure what else they’ve got.  I’m sure my oddly heavy Wild readership can fill me in on them, but from what I can tell, they don’t have a hockey teams chance in Phoenix snowballs chance in an oven.

13th, St. Louis Blues, 52 games played, 54 points

I’m sticking to my guns on the Blues, especially with the addition of Davis Payne.  They’ve got good top six forwards, good goaltending, and hopefully enough D to get into contention during the last few weeks.  I still think they’ll make a push.

 

Eastern Conference Playoff Spots

 

Bear with me, hockey fans… In my last blog, I made a couple football predictions – I said the Colts would beat the Jets 24 – 17 with a late pick thrown by Sanzchez:  Colts beat the Jets 30 – 17 with a late pick thrown by Sanchez.  I also said the Saints would win on a late field goal, 31 – 30:  The Saints won on a late field goal, 31 – 28.  Damn.  I should make this a football blog.

Now that my back has been sufficiently patted, I’ll move on.

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Dennis Wideman, a member of my fantasy hockey team, was minus three when he got hit in the face with a puck last night.  He celebrated by returning and moving to minus four.  I’m celebrating by publicly chastising him on my blog.  Dennis Wideman sucks.

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Spots 6 – 13 in the Eastern Conference standings are separated by three points right now (55 points to 52 points), with the Senators in 5th, ahead of the pack by five points (60).  Unfortunately for Ottawa, they could be on the wrong side of the line come playoffs. 

If we bring them into the mix, because lets face it, they are in the mix, that means there’s nine teams vying for four spots.  Here’s the who’s out/who’s in predictions, according to my dumb self:

5th, Ottawa Senators, 53 games played, 60 points

As I just alluded to, I don’t like the Sens team this year.  They’ve got one of the best lines in the NHL with Spezza and Alfredsson, but that’s really the only leg they’ve got to stand on.  Mediocre goaltending, suspect D, and just not enough firepower to get it done (also, they have to play essentially shorthanded when Kovalev is on the ice notgivingafuck for a living).  They’ll be in the battle for the eight spot in April.

6th, Philadelphia Flyers, 51 games played, 55 points

Didn’t I just write about them being a scary low seed?  Apparently they made a push.  Philly is definitely one of the teams who’ll stick, and with the return of Emery, I think they’re looking at the five seed, just high enough to “upset” a then-staggering Buffalo or New Jersey.

7th, New York Rangers, 52 games played, 55 points

I remember thinking the Rangers would finally be one of the leagues top teams this year, but with Torterella proving himself to be more of a yeller/motivator than a guy focused on strategy and keeping his team level, I’m not sure what to think.  I can see them getting into playoffs as a seven seed, and, anytime you have a legitimate goaltender in playoffs, you’re going to stress out your opponent.  Maybe they can pull it together by then.

8th, Montreal Canadiens, 53 games played, 55 points

I’m calling them “in”, but if I’m wrong anywhere, it’s here.  I think we knew they’d be a team fighting for a playoff spot this year, so every night matters.  That means they need to stay healthy to squeak in – either way, the Capitals are going to ROLL OVER them if they earn this spot.

9th, Boston Bruins, 51 games played, 54 points

The Bruins will make the playoffs, probably as a six seed, and why not: proven goaltending, some good d-men including shut-down defender and Norris winner Zdeno Chara, and enough pieces up front (when healthy) to put the puck in the net.

10th, New York Islanders, 52 games played, 54 points

My Isles need to fight tooth-and-nail to win every possible point on every possible night, cause it’s a long-shot.  Coaching and goaltending are keeping them afloat right now, so two things have to happen down the stretch for them to have any hope (barring trading for Kovalchuk or someone else substantial):  The d-corps will have to play way over their collective head (after Streit, their D are basically all 5th/6th d-men on most teams), and the young guns (Tavares, Okposo, Bailey, Moulson) need to find some way to keep/improve their pace as the point-getting gets tougher after Christmas….  It always does.  Here’s to hoping!

11th, Florida Panthers, 52 games played, 53 points

Losing David Booth buried the Panthers this year.  They’ve actually got a pretty squad over there – not many teams can afford to have a 30 goal guy miss the season (while banking six million of your teams money), especially not perennial strugglers like Florida.  Their hopes hinge on him returning sooner than later.

12th, Atlanta Thrashers, 51 games played, 52 points

Only Carolina and Toronto give up more goals than the Thrashers, and they’re talking about trading the major cog in their offensive machine in Ilya Kovalchuk.  They need Kari Lehtonen to be who he can be ASAP if they’re to have any hope.  Which they don’t have much of.

13th, Tampa Bay Lightning, 51 games played, 52 points

Tampa’s a good team.  I mentioned my “Tocchet is a bad coach” theory before, and after a little roster evaluation, I’m even more certain of this.  Lecavalier, St. Louis, Ryan Malone, Stamkos, and Tanguay can all play, while they’ve got some good role players, average d-men and good goaltending.  I see them battling for that 8th spot with Ottawa and Montreal come April.

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That’s all folks!  Agree?  Disagree?  Let’s hear it!

Some Hockey, Some Football, Some Weekend

 

You catch the highlights of the Flyers/Rangers game last night?  Can we kindly ask Carcillo to go play in a different league?  What an embarassment.  No better fit for that orange and black though, I guess.

Ugh.

He fought Avery and Gaborik, saying after the game (about the Gaborik fight): “I didn’t really expect to fight who I fought, but it worked out okay.  I don’t know who on that line would have been able to help him though.  Once he dropped his gloves, I was pretty much just licking my chops.”

He looks like some creepy Spanish explorer with that dumb mustache. 

And they call me, El bagodouche.

(Abba) Zaba

You know what’s crazy about watching highlight packages these days?  Last night, two huge rivals, major NHL teams going head-to-head in Madison Square Garden, Sean “Celebrity First” Avery fights El bagodouche Carcillo, and and as he’s getting off the ice, I see the back-up goalie open the gate for him.  Wait, who’s that?  It was, from small town Yorkton, Saskatchewan, a quiet, polite and funny ex-junior-teammate of mine, Matt Zaba.  It always takes a few seconds to process when you see someone you know where you don’t expect to, like when two TV shows do a crossover and suddenly Ray Romano is on King of Queens.  But that’s the way it is now.  Buddies and teammates just make ESPN cameos.  Crazy.

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I’m not sure what I liked more about this clip: How much Rafa likes it, or how much the commentator is enamoured with the whole situation (he can barely breathe he gets so giggly).  Either way, it’s a great clip. (By the way, how did one jagoff from Jersey get me to think about him everytime I use a commonplace word like “situation”.  It’s just such. a great. nickname.)

 


 

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I could poop I have such a great weekend ahead:

A tad bloody, admittedly

Tonight: Another Dexter-athon. 

There is simply no better way to watch TV than a box set, and if you stumble upon a show you like, what a treat.  I was fortunate enough to have not seen a SINGLE STAR WARS before 2009, so I got to take them all in, one at a time, over a couple weeks with Bri.  I still haven’t seen more than a show or two of Lost either.  It’s just the greatest, commercial-free, plot-following hidden pleasure a TV can provide.  So yes.  Dexter tonight.  And wine.  Muchos, muchos wine.

Saturday:  ASU/U of A college basketball

Tolja.

ASU is number one in the Pac-10, and is playing their crosstown rival, U of A.  Around here, you pick one horse and ride it, so after buying ASU gear to attend a football game earlier this year, I’m currently aboard a horse named Sparky (plus its twice as sweet cause the Sun Devil hand sign is, essentially, The Shocker).  My uncle/editor/mentor/business-advisor/unpaid-slave Ken got me tickets for my birthday, so Bri and i will be hitting that game up!

Sunday:  J   E   T   S   JETS JETS JETS!  …..And Vikings Saints is gonna be S -I-C-K   SICK SICK SICK! 

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Football predictions:

Saints 31, Vikings 30

This game is going to be epic. 

It makes some sense to pick the Favres Vikings.  Their pass rush should be able to put enough pressure on Brees to limit the time he needs to find a receiver, and by all logic, the Vikes deadly offense is playing a sub-par defense.  I could see the Saints stressing about Favre and forgetting Peterson can do serious damage everytime he touches the ball.  (BTW, is there a better celebration in sports than Jared Allen’s “calf roping” move?  No.  There’s not…. sorry for the grainy video)

 


 

That said, it’s amazing how quickly everyone writes off the Saints success from this season like they’re a tenth place team that got lucky a bunch of times.  It’s tough to win every night in the NFL no matter who you’re playing, but they damn near did it…. every night.  We saw the Vikings have a few horrible tackling games this year and lose – the only times we saw the Saints lose, they were depleted with injuries or mailing it in (er, sorry, resting guys for the playoffs).  They’ve got a ton of weapons, and Brees knows how to use ‘em.

The game will be high scoring, and close, but a field goal wins it after a late game push by Brees and the Saints.  And Favre retires after the game, only to un-retire before leaving New Orleans.

….sighhhhhh.  Here it comes….

I'll make the first "JarMarkus Sanchez" joke. There, done.

Jets 17, Colts 24

The Jets are going to end the season by torturing their supporters, as per usual.  Colts will score to go up seven, but the Jets will have the ball and ample time to get downfield and tie the game up.  Sanchez will finally be put in a situation where if he doesn’t get it done, we won’t get it done.  And then he’ll throw a pick, just so everyone in the entire state of New York can question him and the Jets for the entire off season.  Ouch.

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Post houseguests/New Years/Christmas and all that, life has finally settled back into something normal.  I’m back to a fourty hour writing week, and need more work to fill that time (and money to pay those bills) - if you, or anyone you know could use some Bourne-infused text, hit me up at jtbourne@gmail.com

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That’s all folks.  Thanks for another great week, and hope your weekend is full of Jet chants and booze!

B-Side Thought Barrage

 

Sorry about the late start today – the mornings after I play hockey are usually a little sluggish, not because I drink after, but because I NEVER EXERCISE EVER AND I HURT.

Sadly, my rec league team lost it’s first game, giving up an empty netter in the dying seconds to lose 12-10.  In our defense, our team racked up 10 man-games of suspensions the week before, so we had six skaters and a replacement goalie.  I also felt two strides away from having massive cardiac issues. 

It’s time to clear out the thought locker – that’s the place in my phone I store genius topic ideas, essentially adding three of them a day, and writing about two.  What I’m saying is, here come the B-Sides.

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I love that Carey Price went after Cam Janssen after getting run over last night….

….but it got me thinking.  Has any goalie EVER taken their helmet off to fight a player? (I know they do to fight each other)  …But it’s like they forget it’s on.  Or they figure since they’re at an over-padded disadvantage anyway, they deserve to leave it on.  For the record, I’m on their side.  Swing away, f**kers.  (Harding did the same a few nights earlier against Ott, I believe)

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Beer of the seemingly-random-length-of-time:  Jewbelation 13 by Shmaltz Brewing, strictly because it’s got a hilarious name, 13.5% alcohol, and is so dark and thick they serve it in a snifter.  I’ve never ordered one, but come on, that deserved a shout-out.

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When I was in Vegas, it was during the Fancy-New-Electronics Convention Thinger (or some similar name).  It was like being in Vancouver, if you get what I mean.  …..Ya know?  …..Feel me on that?  ….ASIANS, PEOPLE!  ASIANS EVERYWHERE. 

If he's not sleeping, he's nom-ing toes.

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I get claustrophobic when my cat falls asleep in my lap, because I want to encourage the whole affection thing, but I feel like I can’t get up/move/flinch/do-anything-ever-again.  Anyone esle feel trapped by their sleeping pet?

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As I’m sure generations did before us, we tend to think we have most universe/Earth related things mostly figured out.  Ideas that were common knowledge like “the Earth is flat” periodically get debunked, and they change our views on major topics just like that.  In TIME this week, there was an article that reviewed the discovery of a fossil that showed some four-legged creature was walking the earth 400 million years ago, long before we thought animals crawled out of the sea.

Which got me thinking: I wonder what the next big thing will be.  The next crazy, “holy crap, the Earth isn’t the center of the solar system” type discovery.  Hope it’s in my lifetime.

Wrong pic for the ProBowl blurb? Naaa, SANCHIZE!

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The NFL’s ProBowl is such a joke.  You can take the physicality out of hockey and still leave entertainment, but not football.  Why don’t they just shut that event down?  Who’s trying to maul the quarterback when it makes no difference what happens on the play?

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Washing a hat is like reincarnating it.  You end up with a totally different hat if you wash and dry it.  It makes the immediate transition from new, stiff, fancy hat, to old, worn, comfy hat.  Do you dishwasher wash yours, never wash, or washing machine them?

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Hey, pro sports leagues, guys do their ‘roids after the season to get a cycle in before they get back to testing ….can we look into some off-season bloodwork or something?

Stop. Slammertime.

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Bill Simmons wrote a wonderful article on Lebron James – We Are All Witnesses.  Read it if you like basketball in the slightest bit.  {Is it just me, or are more hockey fans one-sport-lovers than any other sport?  I feel like guys who like basketball can like football, or baseball and football, whatever, but people who like hockey like HOCKEY.}

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As a Deadspin article mentioned yesterday, shower beers rule.  Y’know, the nights you’re going out to really tear it up with your friends (see: college), so you bring your beer with you into the shower.  That’s exciting man.  You know it’s gonna be a big night.

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And just like that, we’re done.  Thanks for assisting in the tidy up!

Three Blurbs, Plus A Look At Canadian Olympic Rosters Part II & III

 

I thought I’d chuck out some vague, teaser-style sentences about what’s been taking up some of my time lately:

I’m working on a TV show with a couple producers – guys that’ve made more good movies than I’ve even seen.  Of course, if it doesn’t get bought, I (and they) make no money.  So, it’s a gamble, but it’s a fun gamble.  Like my pre-NFL season bet on the Jets to win the Superbowl.  REALLY, MGM, ONLY 22-1 ODDS FOR THIS SHIT?  Ridiculous.

(Much) More info to come in the future.

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So, I was made aware via Twitter (thanks to follower @mdamore4), of the following comment on Chris Botta’s highly read Islander blog “Islanders Point Blank”, written by the cleverly-named “orgaNYIzation”:

Publicity, Charles...

Cant wait for Gillie’s daughter and Bourne’s son to bear a son (and may he be a masculine son). If that kid get’s Clark’s size and toughness and Bobby’s speed and stickhandling ability..look out. Can we use a #6 this June and draft the future Bourne?

Yes.

I’m not sure if the bulk of my new followers are aware, but early (early) on in my writing days, I made this proposal to Islanders owner Charles Wang.  I’m baffled I didn’t receive some response (like “Haha, beat it kid”?), but the offer still stands…. Help pay for what can be a well-publicized, orange and blue wedding, and we’ll promise the Islanders the rights to our first born male.  Or female, if the girl gets all Hayley-Wickenheiser-times-two up in this biatch.

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 Next on my list is a hilarious website courtesy a couple of my high school buddies called “How Many Beers?”  It’s a pretty simple concept – a picture is shown, and commentors answer the age-old dudes-on-a-couch question…. “How many beers?”  If you don’t get what HMB refers to, don’t go to the website.  If you do, you’re liable to get a few laughs. 

I was the item for discussion yesterday under the heading “Something for the ladies…” – Again, and less subtley, it’s not a PG site, so those of you who read my site for kitten pics, maybe stay away.  Or go here.  The rest of you,  Check it out.

*****

I played hockey with a guy named Josh Ciocco – He’s an American guy from New Jersey, who captained the University of New Hampshire hockey team, and is now some sort of sports agent.  He wrote me with what I thought was a really good point:

Occasionally you’ll hear someone say “other countries are catching up to Canada in hockey”, or something of that ilk – his point (one a few other people have made), is that simply, no, not quite.  Whether the top Russians or top Americans go on to beat our top Canadians at the Olympics or not, how would a second Russian team look?  Or American?  It falls off pretty steep after the top tier.

Canada is so deep, he went ahead and made the list of what our second team would look like, and it’d be a medal contender for sure.  The fun part, is that he made the third team too (by the way, the point is to demonstrate depth, not argue about who would be on which roster).

Josh:

“For whatever reason, I like Canada’s team, but I dont love it. I actually really like the US simply because of Miller. Canada does have the best roster though, and it got me thinking, Canada would also have the second best roster. I mean seriously….”

I thought Stamkos mighta snuck on Team One...

TEAM NUMBER TWO

Jeff Carter
Marc Savard
Stephen Weiss
Vincent Lecaivilier
Martin St. Louis
Steve Stamkos
Brad Richards
Dustin Penner
Mike Cammellari
Wojtek Wolski
Jordan Staal
Ryan Smyth
Shane Doan

Jay Bowmeester
Dion Phaneuf
Mike Green
Brian Campbell
Ed Jovanovski

30 goal scoring d-man doesn't make team one. Right or wrong, it's crazy...

Marc Staal
Brayden Coburn

Steve Mason
Cam Ward
Marty Turco

“And because im bored and in class… If this was any other country, people would say they would be in medal contention – I present Canada’s third team.. (a little light in the pipes)”

Travis Zajac
John Tavares
Matt Duchense
Nathan Horton
Alex Burrows

Maybe in 2014, buddy...

Rene Bourque
Derek Roy
Andy Macdonald
Patrick Sharp
Matt Stajan
Simon Gagne
Daniel Brierre

Bryan McCabe
Michael Delzotto
Derek Morris
Kyle Quincey
Dennis Wideman
Dan Hamhuis
Rob Blake

Carey Price
Jose Theodore
Chris Osgood

Post your thoughts below!

Scott Gordon and Halle Berry (…No Connection)

 

So, I’m sure I’m not alone in periodically liking (or disliking) something for reasons that are unbeknownst to even myself.  When the Islanders hired Scott Gordon, a guy I’d never heard of, I liked it, but wasn’t sure why.  Let me try to explain it to myself:

Part owner of a "waste management" company in Jersey?

Some owners hire coaches to give their fans the impression they hired a good coach.  You know, a guy with a name, something that won’t cause a huge negative ruckus.  This means you end up recycling coaches based on fame, not success, and before you know it, Mike Keenan is running your franchise.

I’d love to see more coaches with lower level success work their way up the ladder.  Mike Babcock didn’t get the Red Wings job based on his days as a player, he got it cause he won with every damn team he coached.  I think the game today is well-suited for a young coach who understands the more free-wheeling NHL (hint: defense-first is still your focus), and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the hiring trend in this direction continue (again, St. Louis hiring Davis Payne was exceptional – he’s doesn’t have Babcock’s NHL success yet, but I believe he’s got the same ability).

So good for teams that hire Davis Paynes and Scott Gordons – if Tampa Bay would do the same, they’d find out real fast what sort of team they’re actually dealing with.

Islanders are in a playoff spot in the middle of January, Rick DiPietro just got a shutout, and a 19 year old is leading the team in scoring.  And the Red Wings are currently in 9th in the West.  AND THE COYOTES ARE TIED FOR HOME ICE ADVANTAGE AT FOURTH.  I’m dizzy.  I need to sit down.

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I doubt many of you watch much ECHL hockey.  So far this year, I’ve watched zero minutes and no seconds, so I know where you’re coming from.

Well, the Victoria Salmon Kings (real name) scored a goal so ridiculous it ran on ESPN SportCenter yesterday.  Yeah, it’s that good.

The goal made me think two things – one, that at that level, there are a few kids that are going to be legit NHL studs mixed in with a few who’re going to be legit rec league duds (though not many, you’d be surprised at the quality).  What that means is, occasionally, someone gets burned so bad they should be forced to take their gear off and quit.  If that were the case, the Islanders Andrew Macdonald would’ve put entire teams into retirement during his months in Utah.

Secondly, it made me shudder at the sound of their goal song.  I was twice on teams that eliminated Victoria from playoffs, but when you’re on the wrong end of a game there, and that crowd gets fired up, it’s real easy to post a plus/minus that looks like Tiger got hot at The Masters. 

Oh, minus five, good hustle Bourne.

*****

Really, Dwayne Johnson… “The Tooth Fairy”?  I guess we can finally start calling him “The Rock Bottom”.

Goddamn.

*****

I watched the Golden (Halle Berry’s) Globes on Sunday night, and thought it might be worth mentioning that I, like pretty much everyone else, love me some Ricky Gervais.  That guy is money.  Also, Halle Berry continues to defy human aging laws.  ———->

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Puck Daddy wrote an interesting bit on Mike Richards battle with the media.  The guy is the perfect captain for that team o’ douches. 

Here’s what sucks about how fun it is hating them: if they can get some GD goaltending (I feel like I’ve written that before), wouldn’t you not want your highly rated team to play them in the first round of playoffs?  If I’m Buffalo or New Jersey, I’m praying the Isles or Panthers sneak in.  I’d be interested to see the betting lines on them come playoffs, they might make for a sneaky round one money-maker.

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That’s all for today!  Sorry no Monday post – I was super busy watching FIVE STRAIGHT HOURS of Dexter with Bri. 

Behind Brodeur

 

I watched the Coyotes/Devils game last night from all of ten feet behind Martin Brodeur’s back (and Bryzgalov’s in the second), standing in the zamboni doors with Stan (The Man, The Maven) Fischler.  I love that man, and watching from there, with him, was amazing.  Huge thank you to the great people at MSG+ for including me in the production of last nights broadcast.

Surprisingly big dude, actually

Even when I attend Coyotes games as a member of the media, I can’t handle sitting in the press box.  Honestly, I can’t fathom how anyone can give insightful game reviews from up there.  Not a dig to those that choose to, and are able to, I just can’t get a feel for the game if I’m not closer to the speed of it.

Sitting where I was, I could see Yandle make a look-off with his eyes before firing the puck at Lombardi’s stick.  I could see Mueller’s eyes down before he (luckily) beat Brodeur five-hole (who goes five-hole on a padstack?).  You can get a legitimate idea for who’s doing what out there, instead of watching for strictly x’s and o’s like you have to do from eagle perspective.  Maybe it just doesn’t work for my type of writing.

The point is, sitting back there was one of my favourite hockey-watching experiences ever. 

I was shocked to note two things I should’ve long-ago noted: Marty’s simple helmet design is really sharp, and for some reason, it’s never registered with me that Brodeur wears #30.  I bet if you’d asked me yesterday pre-game, I couldn’t have answered that correctly.  Embarrassing.

Watching his huge two-pad jammer on Upshall from mere feet away was surreal.

*****

I still get super nervous before doing stuff like this, so cut me some slack:

 *****

So, no girls-in-skirts cleaning the ice, huh Phoenix?  It seems to me like this is the exact market they’d have that going on, so I asked the guy running the crew there what the deal was (ice crew also stands in zam gates – paid $8.50 an hour to have the best seats in the arena).

Here’s the end of a conversation I had with an unnamed staff member, explaining why the girls-in-skirts got outed for dudes-in-tracksuits:

 ”Girls are too unreliable.  They would call an hour before the game and bail out.”

“…Girls are too unreliable?”

“Well, the type that want to be displayed in skirts in an igloo are.”

“Ahhh, yep.”

*****

John Tortorella has the exact personality you want your head coach to have, but I’m starting to think he might be a “work ethic” coach over a “systems” guy.  In translation, he’d be a great junior coach, but maybe not so much of an NHL one.

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I had an awkward, hallway walk-by with Brodeur after the game.  Just him and I, going in opposite directions in a smallish hallway where you should probably at least acknowledge the other person.  I had roughly seven seconds to think of something clever to say to him once I saw him coming down the hall.

I nodded.

*****

I tried to explain the player-ref on-ice relationship in an article for The Hockey News - It’s a tad long, but I think it includes the funniest thing I’ve done as a writer…. I convinced them to link the words “stubborn ECHL refs” to something awesome.  Enjoy.

Sutton, Bergeron, and NYI Training Camp

 

Today, I learned that my beliked hometown Phoenix Coyotes really, really didn’t appreciate the pre-season article I wrote on them.  And in turn, they really, really don’t appreciate me.

I’ll admit, today’s blog is late because of frustration.  This is the fourth time I’ve started today’s entry, and I’ve decided to just keep it light as usual.  I’m going to do my best to win my way back into their good graces.  It’s probably worth mentioning that the facilities in Glendale are spectacular, the Westgate shopping area is scintillating, the Coyotes are Cup-contenders and I’m heading out to buy a jersey.  :)

And that Shane Doan is super handsome!

*****

Here’s a fun story:

I’m trying out for the New York Islanders in Moncton, New Brunswick.  It’s our first intrasquad game, and my team is pretty decent.  I’m on a line with Jason Gregoire (who I suspect Isles fans will know in a matter of years) and Tyler Haskins, a potential grinder-with-skill that could easily replace, say, Sean Bergenheim in a matter of…. hours.

Early in the game, the puck gets dumped in deep, and I get on my horse to make sure I finish my check.  Head up, I notice that the defenseman going back on the puck is 6’6″ Andy Sutton, who has the common sense to move the puck quickly and effeciently, as a good NHL d-man should do.

Being the hustle-pot tryout kid that I was, I continued on to finish my check a few Mississippis later than necessary, and bounced off Sutton like someone threw a rock at a trampoline.

I head back to back-check, and their team dumps it in.

As the right winger, I hustle back to my wall to get my skates below the hash-marks, open up and provide an option for my defenseman (and friend and future roomate) Jordy Hart who has solid possession of the puck behind our net.

Yep!

YEP!

HARTY, YEAH!

Nothing.

We’re moving up the ice, him weighing his options like he’s picking which door the prize is behind, getting way too far up the ice.

By the blueline, he decides I get the prize.

The prize happens to be Andy Sutton’s shoulder, moving at a speed of WHOCARESITSANDYSUTTON (who, total random sidebar, treated the rookies like dogmeat).

They whistled the play down and gave Sutton a charging penalty, while I tried to stay away from the light.  Once I pulled my visor up from around my chin, our coach asked if I could go with my line on the next shift.  As a Canadian kid who played for a hockey Hitler in junior, I knew the answer was yes, regardless of truth.

When I jumped the boards a tad weak-kneed, I was lucky the play was in the offensive zone.  I headed straight for the net.  As I got out there, the puck was being cycled up from the corner to Marc-Andre Bergeron, he of the unnaturally hard slapshot.  I opened up and faced him to screen the goalie as I got to the crease.

Between my glove and my elbow pad, I helped their goalie by saving the puck with my wrist.  The puck then dropped at my feet, where I grabbed it, then blindly spun and fired.  And scored.

Half-concussed, and with what felt like a complete absence of sensation in my right arm (but lots in my wrist), I had scored a goal on my second shift of NHL training camp competitive play, complete with the knowledge that you should never hit Andy Sutton, and never try to screen a MA Bergeron howitzer. 

And that it’s probably time I think about becoming a writer.

Burrowing With An Auger. Plus Ovy and Conan.

 

As we discussed in the comments section of yesterday’s blog, Alex Burrows had a chat with referee Stephane Auger before their game vs. Nashville on Monday night.  Supposedly, that chat involved Auger telling Burrows that he intended to even the score with Burrows who had embellished a hit in an earlier Auger-reffed contest.  You all know the story by now.

I'm agitated looking at him. He's good.

Refs and players talk with regularity.  It’s probably the least-seen relationship that affects the outcome of games.  There’s only so many refs, and over the course of 82 games and multiple years, you talk with, yell at, and generally get to know each ref and their tendency’s.

Some let you play, some call it tight, but in general, you know which is which in advance.  At the very least, someone will, and they’ll tell the rest of the team.

I frequently talked with refs because I was a perennial Lady Byng style player, and thus, had a good relationship with them (one college year I had SIX PIMS).  I have a hunch Burrows chats with refs are, in general, less genial.

For an abrasive player, you have to think it’s only a matter of time until you run into an abrasive ref.  And in turn, only a matter of time before you get red flagged, targeted, and penalized more.  Thats human nature.

We don’t know what happened – it wouldn’t shock me to hear that Burrows pulled it completely out of nowhere because he hates the ref.  He might be like Milhouse when he wants Bart to go home, so he yells “MOOOMMMM, BART’S SMOKING!”.  Whatever – it’s possible, but who knows what the real story is.

All I know is, I’m okay with the human element side of this story (wanting to stick it to someone who stuck it to you).  I’m okay with the way Burrows plays, but because of that, it’s only natural that a ref would be quick to give him an extra look.  What I’m not okay with, is calling something that isn’t there for revenge.  Plus, telling him in advance reminds me of a Bond villain explaining his plan to a captured Bond, when I’m screaming at the screen JUST SHOOT HIM.  IF YOU JUST FUCKING SHOOT HIM HE’LL DIE!

But there’s my point.  By playing the role of human sandpaper, you’re going to attract the refs attention more than anyone else.  Your penalties will increase exponentially.  That’s organic.  The moment any ref consciously acknowledges their need for a vendetta, the game’s aren’t being decided organically.  Auger is clearly at fault here, and needs to be penalized for even getting caught up in crap like this.  A ref is supposed to be above it all, supposed to govern fairly.  He didn’t.

Talk amongst yourselves.

*****

 Yesterday, Alex Ovechkin agreed to fight Steve Downie, but Matt Bradley swoops in.  It was the best thing I’ve seen in the NHL this year:


 

So many bad things can happen in a fight – if it goes well, you can break your hand, if it goes poorly, you can break you face.  You can land melon-first on the ice and get concussed.  There’s very few positive end results.

By Ovechkin squaring up to fight, it legitimizes his status as a guy not just running around and blowing guys up, but as someone who’ll actually answer the bell.

Better still, is that Bradley knows the last thing their team wants is for him to be legitimate in any category other than scoring goals.  And really, better Bradley be suspended than Ovechkin be hurt.  Ooooo, so old-school.

*****

CoCo might gogo

 I love Conan O’Brien.  Admittedly, I’ve gotten away from watching his show since I’ve moved to Phoenix, because I go to bed before the sun sets half the time, but I still love when I can catch it.

It really does seem like Conan didn’t get a fair shake (seven months?) – if you didn’t hear, NBC is putting Leno back at 11:30 and wants to bump Conan to a later time again.  Conan isn’t having it, and has handled the situation like a pro.  I’m on Team Conan – check out his statement, and I’m sure you’ll join too.

*****

 

 What’s your drug of choice?  I hope it’s not acid, cause the following LT video would EFF. YOU. UP.

*****

After watching the Islanders/Red Wings game last night, I think I might have taken my first step onto the Josh Bailey bandwagon.  I was impressed.

*****

Lane Kiffin left Tennessee for USC, and UT fans reacted with class.  Sorry, did I say class?  I meant they rioted.

 *****

Also, *yelling* “What was I supposed to say honey?” —- I’m overjoyed with the return of my lovely fiance.

Mark McGwire is Really Really Muscley

 

Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids, and I have trouble working up any sort of furor over it.  I’m supposed to feel personally offended, right?

I love people that tell me they stopped watching hockey after the strike, but they still watch baseball.  Which, I might remind you, is a sport that sprinkled a strike in between games featuring players deploying varying levels of unadulterated cheat.

It was a well choreographed admission by Team McGwire though.  Blow it all up on one day (the anti-Tiger method), talk to every news outlet on the planet, address it, then let us get overexposed/numb again and forget.  Also, don’t admit steroids helped your stats, because, they obviously didn’t.

 

On the upside, baseball fans, you can sleep easy knowing that Sammy Sosa wasn’t using, and if he was, he speaks too little english to give a Bob Costas exclusive.

*****

 I heard Curtis Joseph is announcing his retirement today (from not playing?).  I gotta say, I was a big fan.  One of those goalies that you can’t really explain why you like him, you just do.  I also unabashedly rooted for Kelly Hrudey and Glen Healy, which made it doubly cool when both got hired by HNIC.   

Anyways, good on CuJo, even though it was paiiiinful to watch him try to steal paychecks from teams at the end of his career (or as it will officially be known starting in 2011, “Osgooding” a team).

*****

So, Alex Burrows has scored twice since I started writing this sentence, I think.  Here’s his stat line from his last three games: 9100 G, 0 A, for 9100 PTS.  Okay, it’s just eight goals in three games, but still, you’re impressed.

*****

If you’re feelin’ like reading a good ol’ Bourne column, check out my latest for USA Today!

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MORE MCGWIRE, THEN AND NOW

 

 

One Night in Vegas

 

So, I need better (or more) sites to read for sports info and entertainment, so I’m soliciting your advice – what are your “must-hits”? 

Why isn’t there a less-pc ESPN?   I’d love to have the information of ESPN, but without the politically correctness of a major news station.  Just a bunch of guys who can deliver news articles with headings like “Kurt Warner is playoff hero, douche bag.”

In fact, I wouldn’t even need actual sources.  I’d like to read someone who takes every ESPN article, and the second it comes out, funnies it up.  It’s sports, not CNN fellas.

CC Sabathia signs 165 million dollar contract, receipt at Krispy Kreme.

*****

So, I went to VEEEEGAAAAAAS! this past Thursday night, one night only.

The miles you put on in Vegas is breathtaking.  I literally wore through my sandals when I was there with Bri, and would have done the same this time if the new ones weren’t the type where they pour cheap rubber into a mold - they end up lasting for ALL ETERNITY because there’s no fabric on them.

This happens because you can’t just stay at one place.  Staying at one place in Vegas would be like going to Vegas and only seeing one place.  It’d be really, really like that.

So like the Jay Z song, you’re “on to the next one, on to the next one”.  And of course, Vegas is unlike anywhere in the world in terms of cost range.  You can do it on the cheap, or you can do it on the HOLYCRAPLOOKHOWRICHIAM, which is a slightly different level.

Bri and I were patient.  We’d hunt down the cocktailer (remember the Friends where Joey thinks it’s normal for his tailor to move his junk from side to side to measure his inseam?  He was a different type of cocktailer), get in front of her, put a buck in a slot machine and order two beers.  “We’re playing, see?”  Buck in the slot, two to the girl = three bucks, two beers and the chance to win something (you drink free when gambling, if you didn’t pick that up).

Thursday night, we were a little more rushed, so we just stopped by one of the mid-casino bars.  Two shots.  Two beers.  38 dollars.  BEFORE TIP.  What’s worse, is that no lube was provided.

As you can imagine, the morning after a Vegas evening feels a little like fighting one of those Mexicans boxers in the 103 pound weight class, where you never really get knocked out, but you JUST. KEEP. GETTING. HIT.

My morning after involved sitting at an RV auction where the auctioneer JUST. KEPT. TALKING. and the lady acknowledging bids just straight yelled.  Hangover worst-case-scenario.  I guess I deserved it.

*****

With my fiance gone, I find myself doing shit I don’t even like doing, cause this is my big chance, y’know?  Like not making the bed or doing the dishes, when in reality, I love a clean kitchen and tidy bed.  I’m leaving clothes around just because, as a male, I feel obligated to.  I dunno.  I’m not sure what I’m trying to prove here.

*****

Now’s the time to sign up for the Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp if you’d like to save yourself some dough.  Check out www.bournevents.com.

*****

And last for this morning — I’ll be on MSG+ this Thursday when the Devils take on the Coyotes, between the second and third periods.  Strong chance I heap praise on both teams, then launch a verbal blitzkreig at Jovonovski for being a crappy, cheap excuse for a defenseman. 

At A Glance

 

Did Dany Heatley just call Jody Shelley the “best in the league at what he does”?  Maybe he juggles behind the scenes or something.

*****

I think we can put Mike Johnson on our Potentially Good Analyst Watch.  Lets track his development.

*****

The wife is currently en route to JFK to catch up with her family for five days.  I’m currently at my destination until her return, our couch.  What are the best (and worst) parts of having the house to yourself for extended periods of time?  Show your work.

*****

Anyone else skeptical of Tocchet’s ability as a coach in Tampa Bay?  Their team isn’t that bad, man.  Not this bad anyway.  Good tenders, couple stars, “extras” like Malone, Hedman…  I’m thinkin’ they need a real coach.  I hear Barry Melrose is available.  Or maybe Don Cherry?

*****

After writing the Don Cherry bit, I just thought – wouldn’t it be sweet if some struggling US team in a non-hockey market just went full-on sideshow to make money?  Hired Don Cherry, Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire, traded for Avery, Carcillo, Boogaard, and like, George Parros, picked up some tiny little thrill guys who suck defensively like Afinagenov and Kovalev, put Ron Hextall and Billy Smith in net and just sold the shit outta tickets?  Vince McMahon could be Director of Operations.  It’d be like watching Jersey Shore — “I know I shouldn’t be supporting crap like this, but I just… can’t… turn… away.”

*****

I think my cat is sneaking acid tabs.

*****

Yes. 

If this goal was by Crosby or Ovechkin, it’d be being called the goal of the __________ (fill in the whatever length of time you like).  To me, these types of goals aren’t as cool as beating a bunch of opponents with moves, but it’s so awesome it deserves this simple review:

Yes.

 

*****

I may add to this as the day goes on, but I’ve got a few things to do first!

US International Hockey

The gold medal game of the World Junior Championship that featured Canada and the US was everything fans could hope for.

Watching the respectful applause that spread throughout the Canadian crowd after the overtime loss to the Americans, I could not possibly have been more proud.  Excessive nationalism is part of the reason so many countries resent the US, and is therefore something I need to be careful with, but I just can’t see that happening in very many other places.  Props, Saskatoon. 

Aw, they's just yittle guys...

But anyway…  eff me, was that a good game.

I’m generally not a huge fan of watching hockey with the word “junior” in it, but the quality of the WJC hockey is always pretty insane, and this was no different.  You can’t help but think that if hockey is headed in that direction, we’re in good hands.  Literally.

The Americans undoubtedly deserved to win (much like they did the game on New Years Eve).  That said, that was some of the grossest goaltending I’ve seen in a big game since Luongo projectile vomited on all the fans in Vancouver against the ‘Hawks last year.  The goal the American tender (Lee) got pulled on was such a nauseating unforced error you just got the feeling “you can’t survive giving those up in a big game”.  Apparently, you can.

I’ve had one major thought about “the good of the game” lately – and that’s that the Americans need more international success, if for no other reason that to create a taste of the mania that ensued in Canada in ’02, when we won the Olympics (men and women), World Juniors, Spengler Cup, and I think the Superbowl.

Ironically, the best thing for Canadian hockey fans that love the game would be for the US to win this years Olympics, so maybe they’ll up their coverage or do something more thorough with the sport.  Congrats to the American boys on the win, and congrats to the Canadian kids for silver – disappointing in our home country, but a medal to be proud of nonetheless.

*****

Less anger, more hockey, David.

I haven’t been very active in my comments section lately, but I thought I’d chime in on the US olympic team:

Choosing Backes over Okposo isn’t a bad call at all – I’d make the same one.  Opo is a bull, sure, but Backes is even bigger and stronger. Careers to date, Backes has put up a 30 goal season, been in the playoffs and works just as hard as Kyle.

What really boggled my mind is Roenick saying the US team should have Oshie over Chris Drury.  I love that he speaks his mind on stuff like that - that’s what an interview should be.  Someone wants to know his thoughts on the makeup of a team, and those are his thoughts.

Still, you don’t have to name players that shouldn’t be on the team.  You can name guys you’d like to see on the club and be vague about who should be off the squad in their favor.  As a general rule, you probably shouldn’t carve the exact guy people relate to your country’s international program.  I mean, he’s probably scored a big goal or two in his career, right?  Not sure though.

*****

This has been on my mind for awhile, so I’ve gotta ask:

Has anyone else noticed how many female readers/commentors I have?  Its certainly not a bad thing, it’s great — thanks for your support.  I was just thinking, what percentage of people reading about hockey on the internet are female?  Ten?  Twenty?

What percentage do you think my commentor base is, 35? 45?  And they aren’t “hey you’re cute” comments, they’re serious analyses of the sport.  So I wanna know – what is it about my site that has earned me such a solid female hockey base? (If you say cat pictures you’re banned, don’t be a cliche.)

*****

As I tweeted yesterday, Monday marked the first 1,000 visitor day for Bourne’s Blog.  We’re on the rise people.  We’re on the rise.

Also, I’m taking votes for a Deadspin-esque sign-off phrase (thanks for your continued support of Deadspin).  I like to have closure at the end of posts.  Y’know, “Stay classy, San Diego” or “And thats the bottom line” or Jon Stewarts “F**k that chicken”.  Okay, it’s not a sign-off, but it’s still a great catchphrase.

For now,  thanks for your continued classy support of our bottom line: F**k that chicken.

{Holy crap, googling for decent, recent pictures of USA international hockey reminds me of this:

WE DON’T PLAY INTERNATIONALLY!  UNTIL THIS YEARS WORLD JUNIORS!  WE JUST STARTED PLAYING!

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