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Kesler vs. Morris, O’Brien vs. The Roxy, Twitter

 

Let’s start this thing off right today: 

First, happy three-year anniversary to my loving bride-to-be.  The fun part about a pre-marriage anniversary is picking the arbitrary date that the two people became an item.  We picked the day Bri flew to Alaska on her spring break instead of Florida, cause lets face it, that’s a pretty big commitment.

Second,

Cat food sound bite…because, frankly, it does.

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Let’s crank out the NHL relevant stuff before we lighten my TBAF (final explanation, that’s “to blog about files”.  Anyone who joins us after this can stay in the dark on that acronym).

Kesler vs. Morris

Hmm, there goes any "from the side" argument.

Saying the hit is entirely Morris’ fault (as some people are) is a dash of wound seasoning (squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt) that the guy probably doesn’t need.  What he does need, is to know that the hit was just as much his fault as Kesler’s.

As much as we want them to be, these hits are rarely one guy’s fault, black and white.  This one was the perfect example. 

Morris’ error is obvious – “take the hit to make the play” is an age old expression, and he tries to turn away from it (to me, it kinda highlights the way Morris plays, like the guy in shinny who’s annoyed at the guy on the other team who’s ”trying too hard”).  Kesler has a ton of speed going on the forecheck, takes about four more hard strides (charge, board, call it whatever you want), then finishes a guy in a sort-of-questionable-but-not-really spot.

Morris’ penalty is the pain, and Kelser got ejected, which I’m fine with.  Issue over.

You know what I couldn’t help but think?  Man… that’s some great work ethic by Kesler.

Shane O’Brien vs. Being Awesome

Okay, the picture kinda ruins it, but still a fun story

I have such a soft spot for this story, because as the heading indicates, I think it’s awesome.  I feel like I know which guy in the dressing room O’Brien is now.  The guys probably love him, but in the “you did WHAT, you idiot??” type of way.  Also, I guarantee he wasn’t alone, but the other Canuck was responsible enough to make it the next day.

I also love the vague, parent-like comment by Alain Vigneault: “we have a plan for Shane O’Brien”.  It’s just a fun story made more fun by the not-so-subtle clues that that SOB (Shane O’Brien) likes to have a good time a little too often.

Deadspin’s take is here – it’s entertaining, but I’ m not so sure how I feel about their assessment of the Roxy.  It tries to be a dive?  I kinda feel like it tries too hard not to be one.

Prust vs. Tavares

Now THAT’S being dumb.  Broken neck territory on that hit.

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It’s TBAF Time!

Started my “100 Pushups” quest yesterday – turns out I won’t be able to report on progress, cause you never really bang out as many as you can until the last set when you’re SPENT.  So expect less frequent updates, but know that’s it’s damn hard, and happening.

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Yes, I think your stupid. Funny, but stupid.

I received a question yesterday on the value of heckling (thanks for the email, Mike): it’s a rare, rare, rare case where you can make any actual difference.  Group heckling is sweet, but for the most part, all of it serves no purpose other than being fun to do and entertaining for your fellow fans.

Some players say they “love to get boo’ed” and I’m FULLY one of those guys.  100%.  For a confident guy, there’s something so satisfying about being the villain.  You know you’re doing something right if the other teams fans have reasons to hate what you’re doing.  Boos are identical to home cheers, just translated to road language.

{The only really unwelcome fan behaviour is the guys who yells a running dialogue of advice.  “Shoot!”  “Pass!”  “Dump it in!”  “C’mon coach, get Jovonovski out there!”  HEY, THAT GUY.  FROM A PLAYER, AND YOUR SURROUNDING FANS, GO HEADBUTT A PITCHFORK.  THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU AND WE’RE NOT IMPRESSED.}

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Twitter is only as valuable as you make it.  As in, you need to put the time into adding the right people for it to be productive and fun.

And, you can’t follow too many people, or you get so bogged down that scanning your Twitter Feed feels like ACTUAL READING, which isn’t as fun.  I spend every morning cruising through, looking for the good sports links, so I wanna use today to make sure I’m not missing anything or anyone great.

cheep cheep... don't you wish I was marshmallow?

I’m gonna close out today with a list of the top people I recommend you follow to help you enjoy Twitter.  In turn, I hope you give me a couple really quality names.  Here goes:

Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33)
Down Goes Brown (@downgoesbrown)
Time Magazine (@TIME)
The Onion (@TheOnion)
Sport Illustrated Classic Pictures (@si_vault)
Steve Rushin, Writer (@SteveRushin)
Drew Magary, Deadspin (@drewmagary)
Stu Hackel, NY Times (@STUHACKEL)
Stewart Cink (@stewartcink)
Fake AP Style Book (@fakeAPStylebook)
Shit My Dad Says (@shitmydadsays)
Shit My Darth Says (@shitmydarthsays)
Chris Botta, FanHouse/Isles Point Blank (@ChrisBottaNHL)
McGruber (@grubes69)

You can add me at www.twitter.com/jtbourne

Your turn, folks. Whatcha got for me?

100 Pushups, Injury Anguish, and the Presidents Trophy

 

When I retired from hockey, I was PUMPED to not have to work out.  I knew I would want to, someday, but I needed some time where I didn’t have to shower three goddamn times a day.

I had always envied that about people not playing hockey – for the most part, you wake up, shower, and that’s it for the day.  You’re done.  Hockey players never get to do that.  Minimum two a day, and on game days, three (post-morning skate, post-nap wake-up shower, post-game).  You’re day has too many starts and stops.

So for my first summer out of the gym, I just enjoyed getting up, showering, and having a full day.  That formula, for those of us who consume like gluttons, equals gaining a bit of mass.  So, I’ve been making a committment to working out the past month or two - and by working out, I mean cardio, because I could care less about being jacked…. I just don’t want to have to buy all new clothes.

It is time, friends.

That said, it’s probably time I try to get some muscle tone again.  So, at the recommendation of Deadspin’s Drew Magary, I’m going to take up the program from 100 Push-ups (assuming my sterno-clavicular joint doesn’t get too angry – it doesn’t like when I lift too often, after the abuses it suffered.)  The goal being, obviously, to be able to do 100 consecutive pushups after seven weeks.

I’ll be doing the push-ups Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and will be reporting progress the following days .  I took the first test yesterday (as many as you can, to fatigue) to see which program I’d be on, and busted out 38 (a far cry from the 80 I once did at an Islanders camp).  So here we go! 

Day 1:  38

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Any other Isles fans out there as worried as me about them becoming the Montreal Expos?  Y’know, drafting well, developing talent, then trading those guys for picks once they’re ”ready”?  What’s the status of the Lighthouse project out there? I haven’t kept up on progress — lord knows Wang ain’t gonna pay to keep all these kids if the team’s future isn’t the one he envisioned.

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It's no fun showing up to the rink everyday to workout and watch practice.

Can you imagine the mental anguish of being injured so badly you may never get to prove you’re worth the big contract you signed?  I know lots of you will joke that you’d take the big contract, but it must be a horrible feeling to be Rick DiPietro or Greg Oden, and to think – “If I got the chance to be a bust, and was one, I could handle this – but being called a bust after never physically getting the chance to play feels horrible.”  I definitely have sympathy for those guys.

I think Garth Snow has done a great job with the Islanders.  He’s in an Obama-like situation - digging the Islanders out of the mess made by the previous administration.  But still, there’s just too many uncertainties in life to ever sign an employee to 15 years.  Too much can happen to think you wouldn’t need a review after say, five, where you can say ”hey, nice work, let’s re-up your deal.”  It’s like my Arizona drivers license that expires in 2047.  Really? I don’t have to take a single eye test between now and when I’m 65?  That seems safe.

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The NHL’s Presidents Trophy has an offensive bias.

Already seven 20-goal players (Green has 17)

Lets face it – if two teams come into a game lethargic, you can play smart defense and work less hard.  If your team scores mucker-style playoff goals, you need to have the throttle down to be effective (and you need some bounces).  So when you can’t be at that 100%, teams that have dangly skill guys (who are dangerous at half-speed) can still put enough pucks in the net to win.

And over the course of an 82 game season, plenty of games are played by two worn down teams.  Which is why, when you have the natural firepower of a Washington, you can score that extra goal or two without the extra effort, and collect your two points.  In the past, it hasn’t been that the Presidents Trophy winning team has the best team, they’ve just had the best skill guys.

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Tampa Bay has the 8th best powerplay in the NHL, the leagues 5th, 6th, and 26th leading scorer, the number two overall draft pick from last year, and what should be good goaltending.  They’re currently three points ahead of Toronto, who hold the title “dead last in the Eastern Conference”.  Ooo, idea for who to replace Rick Tocchet with:  Amazingly, he’s still available — Barry.  Melrose.

Your Unnecessarily Happy Monday Post

 

Few things make me as happy as when Down Goes Brown tweets that he has a new entry up.  He is, unequivocally, the best provider of hockey funny on the ‘net, made better by the fact that he seems to be well informed.

The best part is, his type of infotainment (mmm, buzzwords…) represents the direction sports coverage is moving.  Thanks to the internet, there’s alternatives to ESPN’s ”pre-season-baseball-is-something-to-be-taken-seriously” tone.  Sites like his (and hopefully mine) are like sports version of The Daily Show.  You don’t always tune in to learn about politics (or sports), but you can’t help but pick up a few things as you go.

If you want a hockey blog that’s basically the CNN of what’s going on with the NHL’s major topic du jour, Stu Hackel runs the NY Times Slapshot Hockey Blog, and does a great job of providing the big picture.  I like to read his daily entry, right-click all the links, open them in new windows, and spend the next hour catching up on whats going on with the more serious side.

So imagine my delight (and jealousy) when today’s Down Goes Brown post revealed a partnership between the two blogs.  Well played, NY times – good to see you working to meet the interests of more hockey fans.

Also, the Down Goes Brown partnership with Bloge Salming has provided us with a number of hilarious hockey videos (remember the Olympic hockey rap?) it’s a shame they usually pertain to the *gag* Maple *dry-heave* Leafs.  Here’s one of the more recent gems, an “NHL on NBC promo spot”. 

 

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As for your own resident (and often cynical) hockey blogger, I say good morning!

If a week could be an “eve”, this week would be BestSportsWeekEver Eve (rolls off the tongue, eh?). 

The good thing about “Eve’s” (Christmas, New Years, um… Labour Day?), is that they’re usually fun too.  So lets have some.  Here’s some stuff that’s great right now, to set you on a positive course for your week:

*Fans are actually attending games in Phoenix….  Because they’re winning….  Like a certain blogger once wrote would happen.  Be prepared - I fully intend to go “Fire Joe Morgan”-style on my own pre-season article to validate myself.  Go Coyotes!  (Today’s all-too-obvious tidbit for Coyotes fans: Catching San Jose just because the most important thing in your world.  You should start cheering like it’s playoffs, for real…. You know Detroit is gonna pass Nashville for 5th.  Nobody wants to play one of the best teams in the league as a five seed).

*It’s spring.  I haven’t exactly been suffering over here in Phoenix in the winter, but damn, is it nice out these days. 

*We’re a few days behind Puck Daddy over here, but I wanted to boost our egos on my blog today anyway - sometimes even the best players eat it, just like you!  Enjoy these two shootout fails:

 

(I love that the ref waves his arms, signaling “no goal!”  Thanks, Judge Judy.  That was a tough call.)

*My TBAF (to blog about files) are stuffed with awesomeness.  It’d still be a good week if the NHL wasn’t heading to playoffs, college hockey wasn’t headed to the Frozen Four, March Madness wasn’t headed to the Final Four, the Masters weren’t coming up, baseball season wasn’t starting, NBA playoffs weren’t starting and all that other stuff…. but it’s all happening, so buckle in.

*Bourne’s Blog recieved a couple much appreciated donations this week, with a bonus:  One of them was it’s first from an NHL Hall-of-Famer.  So just think, when you’re commenting, some legit hockey people are reading your opinions (and probably fully judging you).  So keep up the good work, my entries are nothing without your follow-up. {A lot of my buddies that still play at the highest levels periodically check-in and recommend topics, so they’re judging you too.}

For those of you who’re thinking “eff you with the positivity, it’s Monday”, that’s fine.  I’m a prick too.  But just relax for today, and we’ll get to hating stuff tomorrow.  Like 3D TV’s (I just bought a TV, in September, you a-holes) and Rick Dipietro’s structural make-up (At least Roloson’s catching Chelios in age!).

Happy Monday.  YOU KILL THE JOE, YOU MAKE SOME MO!

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UPDATE: Go read my thoughts on implementing a transitionary visor rule for The Hockey News.  St. Louis Blues defenseman Tyson Strachan already wrote me to tell me it’s a dumb idea, soo….. hot start, Bourne.

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Also – a couple requests for the “Jim Playfair melts down” video, so here ya go.  Dude looks like my college coach Dave Shyiak, if Shyiak was full of meth, speed and malt liquor:

Broken Noses ‘N’ Newfoundlands

 

Is it Friday again, already?  Man, quick week.

{Anyone know how to fix a stuck BlackBerry rollball?  I’m about to throw this thing through my TV.}

Sooo, David Booth got thumpersized again, but this time on an actual hockey hit, delivered by a shoulder that was in front of him the whole time.  I took the almost the exact same hit against Binghamton a couple years back, and feel the guys probably-broken-nosed-pain.  Equally painful, is the feeling of “no one to blame but myself.”

Oh, pre-broken noses are so pretty.

That hit was the exact hit I was pushing to keep in hockey.  Guy buries his head and waterbugs it in transition, defenseman sees the guy coming for about a decade, and flattens him with a shoulder.  Because the head is down, the head gets hit, and “facial lacerations” ensue.

I feel really bad for David Booth.  The guy had such a tough injury early in the season, but came back like a house on fire – I watched parts of his first game back after getting clipped by Richards, and he was taking the puck to the net with no fear.  I only hope he’s as confident coming back after this second one (Yahoo! reports he will be going with the team to Ottawa for tonights game).  Actually, I need him to be that confident, as he’s on my fantasy team, and it’s playoff time.

On the broken nose front (I have no idea if his nose is broken, but it sure looked like it), my favourite tale of nose woe:

My Dad’s career NHL totals should include a “broken noses” column (his own), and he’d crack the Hall, I’m sure of it.  It’s something like eight.  I’m still trailing by about five.  Either way, other than losing your teeth (which we’ve both done), few things are as unpleasant as breaking your nose.  The scariest reason?  Sometimes they have to re-break it to set it.  Like, literally with a mini-hammer – this never happened to me, but according to Dad, he’s been on the wrong end of that hammer a few times.

Lookin' forward to next years Isles uni's

Anyways, after a broken nose towards the end of his career, he had to have a little touch-up surgery on it.  They packed his nose full of gauze, both sides, and sent him home for a few days to let it heal.

When it was time to take the gauze out, Dad needed someone to drive him home after, as it’s apparently not the most fun procedure that involves some pain killers.  Naturally, Dad asked his next-door neighbor, Clark Gillies, to drive him.  Clark obliged, waited in the waiting room, and Dad went in to get the gauze removed.

The doctor pulls out an ungodly amount of gauze with Dad on the table, and steps out to grab something, saying “just don’t get up for a few minutes”.  Dad doesn’t listen.

Whatever the reason for the light-headedness, I don’t remember – but he stood up, and passed out.  And fell on his face.  And broke his nose.

90 minutes later, Dad walks out of the doctors office, looking exactly the same as when he went in, packed full of gauze.  Clark: “Bourny.  What the hell happened?!?”

Ouch.

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Feel like having a few chuckles?  Check out the annual Name of Year bracket, including only actual names - these gems include Nohjay Nimpson, Dick Smallberries Jr. (yes, jr.) and X’Zavier Bloodsaw.  Enjoy.

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Regarding Gary Bettman:  Why is he so defensive in interviews?  It’s always SO tense, cause the guy acts like every topic is off-limits.  It’s not like the host is calling your just-dead friend an idiot, Gary, we just want to know about the new rule.  Don’t act so indignant.

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Happy weekend friends.  I’ll leave you with happy time, as the boys at PTI say.  Except in my case, it means pictures of Bri’s dogs and our cat.  Enjoy!

 

Isles Get Thumped In 3D, But Moulson’s Hair Is A Win

 

A few blogs back I asked the question “I wonder which team has played (against) the most back-up goaltenders this year?”  I figured there’d be some correlation between that stat and the standings.  Well, our friend Wychwood crunched the numbers for us.  Check out the answer (bottom comment) here.

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Not much help for Rolly in MSG

Last nights 5-0 Islanders loss at the hands of the Rangers was broadcast in 3-D, as I hear a lot of sporting events plan to be in the near future.  I don’t even get what that means…. do you have to wear glasses?  Have a special kind of TV?  See it at an IMAX?

Whatever steps you need to take to make it work, thank god I didn’t take them last night.  5-zip in the Garden?  At least us Isles fans got this far without having to wish for next year.  Time to bring out the old 4-0-1 forecheck, entertain the fans and lose every game, methinks.

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Player insight: y’know what’s horribly frustrating?  Taking a good, long run at a guy – usually a defenseman – trying to pound him into the glass, but the guy gets pressed up against the boards so not only is there no loud sound, but you bounce off him the other direction like a trampoline.  That’s really frustrating.

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It’s hard to tell if a guy is a good coach when he’s got Washington’s roster.  Or the ones Al Arbour had.  Or some of Scotty Bowman’s, Phil Jackson’s ….guys like that who’ve had stacked teams.

Yayyyy for us!

There’s something to be said for recognizing you have the most talent, and generally backing off to let them do their thing.  You stay valuable by being less involved, and letting the talent flourish organically.  You know a guy like Tortorella could never coach a team like the Capitals, cause he wants to do too much.  At the same time, we never really got to see Bowman/Arbour/whoever make chicken salad out of chicken s**t, because their rosters were already chicken salad…. weren’t they?

Anyways, that was a bit of a detour to get to “I wonder if Bruce Boudreau is a good coach?”  I’ma text college teammate Jay Beagle who’s got some games with Washington and try and get an answer for us.

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You know those young kid hockey players that are so cocky that you wanna break their $200 Synergies over their skinny little necks?  Like, by the age of 12?  Some of them are so crazy good that it’s hard to put them in their place.

Well, my theory is that those kids (as hockey players go) have a huge advantage.  Guys like myself, or my buddy Charlie Kronschnabel (Syracuse) weren’t exactly thrillers at a young age.  We were good and got better - we worked on the game until we were valuable enough players, but we were never the best player in our towns growing up.  There’s still bits of doubt coming from that.

Those cocky little bastards have the advantage because hockey takes a crazy amount of “f**k-I’m-good” to have the puck with your head up, move and think quickly, but stay relaxed.  When you see guys make a play in the NHL and think “I wouldn’t even try that in rec league”, it’s a good chance that dude’s still got a healthy amount of “f**k-I’m-good” in him.

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Can I get a ruling on Matt Moulson’s hair?  I mean, I myself was once a proponent for “hockey hair”, but homey’s kinda taken it next level on me:

How long until it crosses the line from "flowing" to "Hartnell"?

Actually…….. actually, it’s sick.  I just made up my mind without your help.  Either way, I’ll leave the picture there for you to enjoy.

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In looking for a long-hair pic of my own, I came across one that touches yesterday’s visor topic as well (full length article on that in THN next week).  In college, I would come home for summer hockey visor-less, and take my cage off.  My mom, being the ever-intelligent woman that she is, protested constantly.  She offered to buy a visor, if I’d just wear one.  I agreed.

I took the visor money and went to the sports store I worked at.  With my employee discount, I noticed that if I got the crappier visor, I could buy that basketball I wanted too.  So, I did.

The problem was, the crappy visor looked crappy.  So, before I went out to use it, I took it off my helmet with a dime from my pocket, intending to go get the good one before next time out.  Here’s the resulting picture, courtesy a Mike Ridley (the ex-NHL one) snapshot in shinny, demonstrating both my slightly longer hair (it got real bad at one point), my need to be in a Rocky movie, and the fact that NOT WEARING A VISOR IS DUMB:

 

 

 

Happy Thursday.  Take some time to enjoy your unshattered face. 

 

Phoenix Coyotes Talk / Time For A Visor Rule?

Last night, the Phoenix Coyotes had a chance to win a game and be tied for FIRST in the WESTERN CONFERENCE, a mere 15 places higher than where you picked them to finish this year, right?  Admit it.  …I know I have a million times already.

Why aren't we wearing visors again?

Unfortunately, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to restore the natural order of the world, and all feels normal again for another day with them atop the standings.

After the Coyotes hot start, I repeatedly said what I thought was a simple truth – “their roster will catch up with them.”  You can only overacheive for so long, and over the long sample size of the NHL season, reality sets in at some point.

I actually stood by that concept until March third, when the Coyotes emerged from the shadows and killed the league in terms who made the most quality trades.  All the sudden they had a great start (“start” is a tad of an understatement), and a much improved roster.  Well ho-ly-crapsticks.

They still don’t have a Stanley Cup team, but the right draw could make them a favourite to get to the Conference Finals, which is only slightly more impressive than building an ark and putting two of EVERY kind of animal on it (especially after watching shows like Planet Earth and Life).  I hear you Yotes fans yelling at me for saying they won’t go the finals, but whatever, I’m right.

{Tangent: Watch ”Life” on Sunday’s, Discovery Channel at 5:00 and 6:00 PM.  You’ll thank me later.}

Nice white uni's. These? meh.

My buddy down here just bought a kamillion playoff tickets, so I’m scrapping press row for WHITE OUT seats (the way it should be), where I can feel the emotion and energy of the game, unlike those “actually” covering the game.  I’d love to see them make a deep run, especially since the team could probably use the ticket sales, and I kinda need them to stay in Phoenix.  I also (clearly) need to form a stronger bond with my hometown team.  Wolski and Stempniak have been the push I needed to find them watchable entertaining.

For those of you wondering why the Coyotes haven’t been sold to their hopeful new owner yet – Ice Edge Holdings – it’s apparently not the group holding up the sale, it’s the banks.  And for pretty obvious reasons, actually:

The Tampa Bay Lightning were recently sold for something like a hundred million.  Bettman is trying to sell the Coyotes for something like $160 million.  The banks, as they do with real estate, are looking at the comparables, and saying “wait…. why would we finance the Coyotes for this amount, when they have less attendance, no parking and no concession?”  Soooo, I guess they’re still trying to find someone willing to finance the deal (is the completely unsubstantiated rumour I heard from a guy who knows a guy in the Ice Edge Group).

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Of the top ten teams in NHL attendance from 2009 (top 13, actually), only four teams have won a Cup during my lifetime (and one was in 1989). Ahhh, the joys of fanhood….

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Once this head shot rule hits stores (maybe tonight, according to a Darren Dreger tweet…. he’s our Adam Schefter hey?  Kinda knows what’s up), the next issue we’ll end up being forced to tackle is visors.

And once the mandatory-visor rule is implemented, it won’t even be a year before we go “how was this not a rule before?”  I like getting to see player’s expressions and all, but HOLY CRAP WEAR A VISOR YOU F**KING IDIOTS.  It’s mind bending.  Not to chuck salt in Travis Moen’s 50-stitch wound, but really – was that risk worth “better” vision?  The game is getting faster and more dangerous, so it’s time to grandfather-rule this thing in (did the AHL ever do that?).

 

I went through about three visors a year, because I couldn’t see through the scratches and puck marks that would’ve been on my face.  But I guess you can’t blame some of the players that choose to play without, when you see how badly it’s damaging the careers of guys like Crosby and Ovechkin.

So, I’ll start the push now, since there’s gonna be nothing head-shotty to get on my soap box about soon.  MAKE A VISOR RULE MANDATORY!

Happy Wednesday. 

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A Link:  USA Today Power Rankings (Top ten teams, top five MVPs, Rookies, Goalies, Defensemen), and some Crosby/Ovechkin pre-game discussion: Who’s gonna win the Hart?  (Hint: Ovechkin is).  I weigh-in with comments in the left margin.

 

Thoughts From A Hockey-Centric Mind

 

Hockey-centric, because “boob-centric” isn’t generally considered class “a” journalism.

I’ve decided to spare you my weekend golf tale of woe, because you have zero reason to care about my double bogey on the par 5 18th to shoot a +1 (73) after making seven birdies as a six handicap.  Oops, so you got the Coles Notes version.  I’m still rattled.

Hockey’s gettin’ good, and here’s what’s on my mind….

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Yesterday, I had a friend of the blog send me a gambling tip – as in, he’d found an extremely fair line to bet.  I misunderstood the bet at first, but now I’m wondering….

Gamblers of the world, unite!  Have you seen any great odds for the playoffs or rest of the regular season?  Let’s track ‘em down for each other.  I haven’t bet online since last season, but I’ve followed way too closely this year to not put a couple down before playoffs.

And if you haven’t seen good odds…. confident in your team?  Care to make a bet?  I’m sure it’s illegal, so we won’t bet money (wink), but chuck it out there and see if someone else’s team wants to take the other side of the bet.  For example, I bet the Islanders don’t lose a single game in playoffs this year.  Any takers?

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Mouthguards, you may know, are spit-out-able.  To be sure you always have one amongst all the travelling, misplacing and chewing on them, when you go get a custom mouthguard in professional hockey, they make you up a couple.  In the NHL, I’m sure they have stacks of them on backup.  And when they do come out of your mouth, you can pick them up.

So why was Sidney Crosby jawing at Jimmy Howard after the whistle with that stupid clumsy thing in?  Afraid he was gonna get suckered?  Or just prone to really awkward looking confrontations? 

You guessed it.  Angry-Faced Sid (AFS from here forth) is awkwaaaard (but not super awkward, like it must be every time Tiger’s phone vibrates for a text, and he and Elin look at it, then at each other, then back at it…. and he grabs it).

 

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Is it just me, or is “hockey is for everyone” the most obscure slogan ever coming from a sport played predominantly by upper-middle class largely white kids from cold-weather climates?

I like “history will be made” a lot though, because, frankly, (hockey) history will be (Max Talbot!).  Legends are built, as demonstrated by how nobody scoffs when you imply Ruslan Fedetenko is an effective player – because of all his game winners in playoffs with the Lightning (jokes, jokes, he’s a great person and good depth guy).

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I still think overtime should go to three-on-three before the shootout.  In that 3 on 3, penalties are penalty shots, it’s 2-on-1 after 2-on-1, and wins come by a more hockey-like and awesome fashion.  Haters be damned, if they saw it in action, they’d pee their old wooden Montreal Forum seats they bought off eBay and sit in to watch road games on their old bunny-eared no-def TV’s.

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I’d like to see a stat on which team has played the most back-up goalies in the league this year.  Gotta be Toronto or Edmonton, right?

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 In defense for some bad looking hits: it’s really hard, if you’re forechecking a defenseman going back on the puck with intent to finish your check like your coach wants (and get the puck), to pull up or recognize he’s put himself in an unsafe spot.  It just is.  Just ask my no-longer intact sternum & clavicle, sometimes you’re just gonna. get. hit. hard. in hockey.

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Recently added to the list of things I never knew existed but I now co-own by the rules of common-law living:  “Sconces.”

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Happy Tuesday – it’s pouring here, a perfect day for writing.  Expect a flood of articles in the near future.

NHL Standings Chat

 

Happy Monday morning, friends!  Hope you had a good weekend – it was a beauty in PHX, minus my double bogey on 18.  More on that tomorrow..

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NHL standings talk!  First, the West:

LEGEND ›

 

    DIV GP W L OT Pts GF GA DIFF Home Away L10 Streak
1 CEN 71 45 19 7 97 234 179 +55 26-7-3 19-12-4 4-4-2  
2 PAC 73 46 22 5 97 201 179 +22 26-10-2 20-12-3 9-1-0 Won 9
3 NW 72 44 24 4 92 236 187 +49 26-8-2 18-16-2 6-2-2  
4 PAC 72 43 19 10 96 232 192 +40 22-6-8 21-13-2 3-6-1 Lost 5
5 CEN 73 42 26 5 89 206 203 +3 21-12-2 21-14-3 7-3-0 Won 6
6 PAC 70 41 24 5 87 207 185 +22 20-12-3 21-12-2 5-4-1 Won 1
7 NW 71 40 25 6 86 213 190 +23 22-11-2 18-14-4 5-5-0 Lost 2
8 CEN 71 35 23 13 83 193 192 +1 19-10-5 16-13-8 7-2-1 Won 1
 
9 NW 72 36 27 9 81 184 181 +3 18-16-3 18-11-6 6-4-0 Lost 1
10 CEN 72 34 29 9 77 196 199 -3 12-18-5 22-11-4 6-4-0 Lost 1
11 PAC 71 34 29 8 76 203 217 -14 23-11-3 11-18-5 5-4-1 Won 4
12 NW 72 35 31 6 76 198 211 -13 24-9-3 11-22-3 4-4-2 Won 1
13 PAC 72 31 27 14 76 208 230 -22 20-10-7 11-17-7 3-5-2  
14 CEN 72 29 31 12 70 187 229 -42 18-11-7 11-20-5 4-3-3  
15 NW 72 23 42 7 53 184 248 -64 15-18-4 8-24-3 4-5-1 Won 2

Since none of us believe that Detroit is going to miss the playoffs – y’know, cause they aren’t going to – the real number for Calgary, St. Louis, Anaheim, Minnesota and Dallas to shoot for is the Avalanche’s 86 – ten points ahead with ten games to go.  We could very well be looking at the exact same teams above the cutoff line ten games from now.  In fact, I think we will be.

Because of that, this is the first year I’m thinking more about the playoff seeding of our eight qualifiers than who they actually are.

For San Jose, the best thing that could happen to their Cup chances would be to finish fourth, and play at least one of the “happy to make it this far” teams – that being Los Angeles, Nashville, and Colorado.  All three of those teams were predicted to miss the playoffs at the start of the season, and when contrasted to their expectations, I think they’d be far more likely to roll over and die (or better put, be too content with their over-achieving regular seasons) than, well, any of the other four opponents in the West.

Will Phoenix finish above San Jose?  It’s gonna be close – Phoenix has a tough road ahead with six of their last nine on the road (road gmes: Chicago, Nashville, Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles and San Jose), but I’ve finally learned my lesson on betting against them.  The best part, as demonstrated in parantheses above, is that the last game of the year is San Jose versus Phoenix, and it could very well have huge who-plays-who implications.

As for the East….

LEGEND ›

 

    DIV GP W L OT Pts GF GA DIFF Home Away L10 Streak
1 SE 72 48 14 10 106 283 203 +80 26-4-4 22-10-6 7-1-2 Won 1
2 ATL 72 42 24 6 90 224 205 +19 21-10-4 21-14-2 6-2-2  
3 NE 71 39 22 10 88 200 180 +20 21-9-6 18-13-4 6-3-1 Won 3
4 ATL 71 42 25 4 88 189 169 +20 24-10-1 18-15-3 5-4-1 Lost 1
5 NE 72 37 30 5 79 194 212 -18 23-10-4 14-20-1 2-7-1 Lost 5
6 ATL 72 37 30 5 79 212 199 +13 21-13-2 16-17-3 4-4-2 Lost 2
7 NE 72 36 29 7 79 196 198 -2 18-13-4 18-16-3 7-2-1  
8 NE 71 32 27 12 76 176 181 -5 15-14-6 17-13-6 5-4-1 Won 1
 
9 SE 72 32 29 11 75 218 230 -12 18-13-5 14-16-6 4-5-1 Won 4
10 ATL 72 31 32 9 71 186 197 -11 15-17-6 16-15-3 3-5-2 Lost 3
11 SE 71 29 31 11 69 186 209 -23 15-13-8 14-18-3 5-4-1 Won 1
12 SE 72 30 34 8 68 201 226 -25 19-15-3 11-19-5 5-4-1 Lost 1
13 ATL 72 29 33 10 68 189 222 -33 19-13-3 10-20-7 4-4-2 Lost 1
14 SE 72 28 32 12 68 188 225 -37 18-12-6 10-20-6 2-7-1 Lost 5
15 NE 72 26 34 12 64 192 238 -46 16-14-5 10-20-7 7-2-1 Won 3

 

A few things surprise me:

1)  To teams on the bubble that have been trying to crack playoffs and be taken seriously for years (Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Florida…. okay, you too, New York teams):  How bad do you need the other teams to be?  They’ve done everything they can this year to lose and fail.  Perennial playoff teams like Boston and Philly CANNOT be any worse than they’ve been.  At some point, you’re gonna have to grab the bull by the horns and win some big games.  To quote Floyd Mayweather, “step ya game up”.

Ooo, almost had it.

2)  As far as I know, neither Boston or Montreal has played consecutive good games this year.  I’m amazed they’re in 7th and 8th.  And poor Philly – better than Buffalo at every position, if you entirely ignore the fact that they have to play with AHL goalies.  AGAIN.  

Yep.  Poor, poor Philly.

3)  The crazy divide between the top four teams and the bottom four in the East is weird – it basically means the top four teams get a first round bye, which is nice in the NHL playoff marathon.  The only team I’m not fully sold on that’s up there is Buffalo, simply because if Miller has a couple bad games, they can be beaten.  Actually, y’know what might be fun?  A Philly/Buffalo playoff series where Philly beats Buffalo like a drum for 50 of the 60 minutes every game, and loses 3-2 and 2-1 four straight times (after Biron Eche Cechmanek Boucher lets in a few soft ones).

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Kudos to Teemu Selanne for scoring 600 goals…. crazy that I’m old enough to remember his amazing rookie year.

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Even crazier?  Kudos to ME for crawling from 16th out of the Bourne’s Blog Hockey League 20-team alley-fight (yes, that’s even crazier than Selanne’s 600 NHL goals, apparently), and climbing into a playoff spot the last week of the year.  I chipped all the way up to seventh, and it’s a new season kiddies, look out!

Only five more days til Friday.  And only a few more pounds til I go on Drew Magary’s twitter public humiliation diet.  Dude is down 45 pounds so far.

Seabrook/Wisniewski, Campbell/Bourne, Cooke/Bruins

 

Yesterday, Mike Wazowski James Wisniewski got suspended for eight games.  I guess we all really worked Colin Campbell to a climax on that one, huh? 

Whatever – if you saw the Wisniewski interview, he looked like he felt really, really bad…. that he got suspended.  I’m not saying the guy’ll play like an angel the rest of his career, but forfeiting the price of a nice house in Phoenix might give him pause for a few seconds, I would think.

I messed up by not running the hit yesterday, and by only commenting on it in the comment section.  Here’s me making up for it, if you haven’t already seen it…. which you have, so umm… move on.

While we’re discussing Colin Campbell, as we often to seem to be….

My Dad and ol’ Coley couldn’t exactly be described by the phrase “BFF’s” back when they played.  ….Oh look, two clips – and by the way, they’re awesome – the commentators crack me up.


Colin Campbell vs Bob Bourne

Ahh, that felt good and it wasn’t even me.  I love the casual nature of the color guy in this one, doing the math on PIMS.  Just another whistle between plays…

Apparently they also score fight wins by take-downs, as Campbell was the “clear winner” against Sutter.  PS, that first left from my Dad was a bomb, thank god it didn’t land, for everyone’s sake.

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Okay, on to Matt Cooke vs. the Boston Bruins:

What did people think was going to happen? 

The circus demonstrated how badly some people are out of touch with the realities of professional hockey.  This was the type of thing that emphasizes to the guys in the room how much certain fans and media outside that room don’t get their job.

Every night some guy has a target on his chest, which is of secondary importance to the win.  Every night. It’s a long season, and you play the same teams plenty of times over the year, hell, over a career.  And, it’s not a cliche - their jobs ACTUALLY depend on winning.  And people flew in to catch this game expecting to see fireworks while the biggest fight is their battle for eighth? 

Granted, this one happened to be an extreme case (due to it’s blatant nature, followed by no suspension), and the guys are well aware of that.  But the night unfolded the way it did to appease those that went out of their way to be a part of the “event”.  Cooke had to fight if he didn’t want to be crucified in the (for once) vendetta-aware media, and the Bruins were no different.  In no way am I saying they wouldn’t have fought if not for the media, I’m just saying it wouldn’t have gone down like a bout at Caesars Palace 1:58 in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fact is, these are professional athletes, and though they often act spontaneously, you don’t get to that level without some measure of discipline.  Many-a-nights you leave (frustrated) after taking a number and just playing the game.  Just because the media sniffed out the obvious “hey, their gonna be mad at that guy, right?”, this all seemed a little…. forced.  It doesn’t usually happen the quarter-second after a guy’s skates hit the ice, but eventually, guys get found.

And it’s not always a fight – a late hit, an extra shot, whatever you can get in there and not hurt your teams chances.  As soon as a guy puts his vendetta ahead of the team goal, he sits.  He may get healthy scratched the next day (and the coach will tell the media its because a guy wasn’t “effective” to avoid the circus.  Read: Avery), and if it happens enough, he may get dealt.

For those who thought they’d fight Cooke everytime he stepped on the ice, chase him around and make highlight-worthy plays on him…. with Colin Campbell and every east coast media guy there?  To quote NFL Countdown, C’mon, man.  In the end, they may not be done with him, but they aren’t idiots.  They put on the show people came to see, right away.  But they’ll find him again when it’s not mid-playoff push.  They’re disciplined.  They’re pros.

Hockey Snippets

 

Bottom O’ the mornin’ to lots of ya, today!

It’s time for our regular feature, the yet un-named blogs where I mind-puke random mostly-hockey-based thoughts (thoughts on the Wisniewski hit in the comment section).  Let’s do this.

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St. Patrick Elias

You know what’s gonna be unfortunate?  The inevitable Devils fans heartbreak when they lose a best of seven series to Pittsburgh.  It all looks so pretty right now.  SIX AND OH against the defending Stanley Cup champs this year.  I know a good chunk of you fans will disagree, and you have every logical stat backing you up. 

Which is why it’s gonna hurt so, so bad.

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Is it just me, or are Simeon Varlamov and Jose Theodore basically Kyle Orton?  Spent some years on a good team, nobody thinks they’re that good, only nobody can prove they aren’t, cause all they do is win.  I remember early in the NFL season watching Orton grenade the ball around the field for some wins, and people were going “hey, maybe we are better off with Orton than Cutler.”  …until they realized they were huge liars, to themselves.  Same with Huet.  I’m sure he’s going “What more do you want me to do than win?” and Chicago’s fans are thinking “BE BETTER AT PLAYING GOAL”, because he’s not Nikolai Khabibulin (…..but at least he’s sober, zzzzzzzing!)

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The Phoenix Coyotes are five points out of FIRST IN THE WESTERN CONFERENCE.  Thank god I wasn’t the only tool to pick them to finish 31st out of 30.    Good on ‘em.

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Weee, goals are fun!

I’d be interested to hear Ponikarovsky talk about the difference in mood/daily stress going from the last place Maple Leafs to the dressing room of the defending champion Penguins.  I’ve been on teams at both ends of the standings, and it’s amazing how much your start builds momentum.  The season snowballs, good or bad.  You start winning, people are in a better mood, you’re more relaxed, you play better, and you win more. 

I can’t imagine being in a negativity vortex with Brian Burke and Ron Wilson.  They’re like the car or cow that flies out of the tornado and wrecks your house.  Shit was already gonna get damaged, but you know those two are major forces of destruction just waiting to happen, flyin’ around inside that tornado (BTW, I’m a major Burke fan with mad respect for him, but that’s a firey dude that I’d hate to explain my plus/minus to after a loss).

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Promotions that need to be stopped:  colored ice for anything.  I think Ms. Conduct mentioned playing on (or seeing) green ice the other day.  All I know is, it’s an effing nightmare to play on pink “breast cancer awareness” ice.  Maybe for a charity or exhibition game, but if I got hit with my head down in a real game, trying to fish the puck out of the hallucinogenic colors below me, I would’ve punched the first woman I saw in the breasts.  We’ve all been affected by it, it’s a great cause, but making my job frustrating and less safe kind of defeats the purpose of being charitable.

A tad gimicky, even for the ECHL

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The elusive brandless twig.

I like that announcers are trying to carry on the “boy these one-piece sticks breaking is an epidemic!” tradition that they all loved to shout when the transition from wood happened.  You couldn’t find a single player in a single NHL dressing room that would say a wood stick lasts longer (secretly, I think it’s the cost of the sticks that blows the commentators minds – they should never break at that price!). 

The rare guy still using wood (Paul Stastny) would tell you the exact same thing.  For him, it’s a feel preference, but I’m sure he still uses a stick a game, minimum.  Guys on the mic know those are 200 pound muscular men swinging them as hard as possible at the ice and a frozen puck simultaneously right?

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That’s all today guys!  Hope you enjoyed the video blog yesterday, and go check out my latest column at USA Today when you get a chance!  It’s on the Common Sense Rule for Head Shots, which means it has very little chance of being successful in professional sports.

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Random picture I like:  C’mon Cristobal, you can this!  (I actually believe that, for what it’s worth.)

A Player Appearance Gone Wrong – Video Style

 

Hey team – Happy St. Patricks Day! 

My family name, a handful of generations ago, actually used to be O’Burne, til my however-many-great Grandpa moved across and chucked the “O” in the middle to avoid persecution.  Or so the story goes.  Either way, I claim to be fully Irish today (as does everyone else), partly because there isn’t a Ukranian celebration day where I can shamelessly drink beer.

So, something different for ya!  A video blog.  It’s been a long time.  (I shouldn’t-a left you.  Without a dope beat to step to.)

I was going to write about player appearances, so instead, I just told the story.  Hope you likes!

{By the way, if you’re looking for reading to do, my column for USA Today is up.  I weigh in on the GM’s freshly pressed blindside rule.  Recommend and comment ’til your heart’s content!}

A Brief Wander, Followed By A Serious Rant On Agitators

 

ohmigodTigerscomingbackatthemasters

Ahem.  Sorry.  I finger-puked on the keyboard.

He shoots, he scores!

Tiger Woods has confirmed the speculation.  He’s making his return to professional golf at Augusta.

You may have noticed by now that I kinda sorta enjoy that golf tournament.  When he wrapped his Escalade around… well, pretty much everything (animated graphic here), I became immediately panicked about the undisputed best weekend in sports.

But today, proper order has been restored to the world.

What’s that you say?  The Masters, NHL playoffs, NBA playoffs, college hockey playoffs, March Madness finals and the start of the baseball season?  Hmm.  Thank youuu, April. 

I’ll be live blogging the weekend on one of those “Cover It Live” things, and anybody who wants to watch “with” me and entertain each other (that guy spends more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff), I welcome your company.

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I’ve become more fluent in the language of internettia since I started working on the damn thing for a living.  After watching a TIME video on tech trends, I decided it was time I add all the “share” buttons to the top of this blog.

Basically, they were explaining to simpletons like me how the reader is becoming the distributor.  Good writing, entertaining stories and all things viral are passed about by people like you recommending stuff through Digg, Twitter, and any of the million other options you have for sharing.

So, on those days I write something of significance (not that OMG TIGER WOODS IS COMING BACK isn’t), please share share share!  You can also grab my RSS thinger, follow me on Twitter, or just come to my site and read stuff the old fashioned way.  Whatever tickles your pickle.

{Also, thanks to Kyle and Fiona for their recent donations to the blog.}

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Alright, I’m on to hockey, calm down.

BREAKING DOWN AGITATORS

We’ve all accepted that agitators are a part of hockey.  They always have been.  But let’s call a spade a spade today, because frankly, it’s fun to do.

They’re phonies.

A legit NHLer that doesn't need to play so douchey.

Their style of play is a cop out for effective hockey.  When they aren’t performing well, they always have the fail-safe option of flapping their gums in the direction of their opponent, and suddenly everyone thinks they’re “in the game”. 

Even their coach might say “Look at that guy, he’s the only one who cares tonight.”

Really?

O-VER  RATE-ED clap-clap-clapclapclap. 

For some reason, the fans love them, yet they have zero positive effect on their teams chances of winning, unless they’re actually playing the quality hockey that so many of them are capable of.  Zero percent, because for every time their antics help a team win, it’s balanced by them costing their team a game.

In this sport, what does “rattling” your opponent do?  Fire him up?  — It’s hockey, not golf.  I understand head games when you’re playing a guy who has to stand over a four foot million dollar putt, but getting someone more involved and revved up in a physical game?  All these idiots do is wake sleeping beasts.

There are times when they draw penalties, sure.  But to do that, you need to sneak in a few spears and trips, which means they end up taking a few along the way themselves.  These guys hear “poser” and “clown” and “phony” on repeat, because their peers know what they are.  They’re doing whatever they need to do to draw a paycheck, but it’s not in a respectable way.  It’s indecent proposal on skates – would you intentionally injure people for a million dollars?  Apparently, yes.

Name me a completely clean agitator that’s get devoid of a “questionable” play in their career.  Cooke?  Burrows? Hartnell?  Downie?  Carcillo?  Avery?  Somewhere along the line they all take it too far. (Honest question: I rarely see the Wild play, but Clutterbuck is getting a bit of a reputation for being effective.  Is he both an “agitator” and still without incident?  Maybe he’s the rule’s exception.)

Thanks for the pixels, person I stole this from.

In playing that role, you know that’s the case.  You know at some point you “might” hurt someone.   Your coach knows that’s probably going to happen too, so he lives with his fingers crossed that it just doesn’t cost the team a penalty.

How many times can you watch a forward make a just-a-split-second-later-than-necessary attempted hit, miss the guy and make a ruckus on the glass, and still rise to your feet and applaud?

The difference between those worthy of our respect is just so unmistakable: If Jerome Iginla feels someone did something that needs answering, he drops the gloves from his Hall-of-Fame 50-goal scoring hands and fights.  If Vincent Lecavalier needs to get his team going, he’ll do the same.

But when Sean Avery goes to fill his role, he skates by the opposing bench, taunts someone, hacks someones laces, agrees to fight then leaves his gloves on to draw a penalty.  There’s no honor there.  But enjoy your celebrity, dude.

These guys have always been in the game, from my Dad’s day to mine.  They aren’t going anywhere, and I’m not proposing they do.  I’m just proposing we open our eyes and stop cheering for them.

Don Cherry, Get Fuzzy and Video Review

 

Before I let the Matt-Cooke-on-Mark-Savard-hit go (and keeping in mind that once I do, Savard will still be dealing with weeks/months of photo-sensitivity and inability to exercise without dry-heaving for few minutes), I thought I’d run the Coaches Corner where Don Cherry addressed the situation better than anyone so far – it’s a must-see.  This is the rare issue worthy of Cherry’s intensity, and really puts Matt Cooke (and the situation) in perspective:

Okay, sorry to start off on that note – let’s get happy! (© Pardon The Interruption)

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I’m a cartoon guy. 

Not like a “Saturday morning” cartoon guy, or a “Superman” cartoon guy, but a comic strip dude.  I can get pretty passionate in either praise for The Far Side, or in VILE PULSATING HATRED for Family Circus (I’ve been thinking about running their daily cartoon and just viciously shredding it like Fuck You, Penguin does to cute animals pictures, only my version would lack the redeeming quality of having cute animal pictures). If you’re a comic-sseur like myself, you may enjoy the following daily comic strips (your suggestions welcome):

Get Fuzzy

Dibert

 

 

 

 

 

Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine - March 12, 2010

(Also, in college I quite liked the Strong Bad emails and Teen Girl Squad at Homestar Runner.com.)

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Okay, back to hockey – one quick thought:

Devils win a possible playoff preview

A colour guy made a great point on the weekend:  Ilya Kovalchuk took a lazy wrister from just inside the blue line, and Marc-Andre Fleury went to catch it.  Travis Zajac came from the side of the net, and simply pushed in Fleury’s glove with his stick, allowing the puck to go, y’know, in the net.  From the refs angle, he couldn’t see the interference.

Why not make goalie interference video reviewable?  I understand the “it’d hold up the game” argument, but isn’t that one of the few places you’d like to be sure you got the call exactly right?

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Oh wooden legs.  Are you ever un-funny?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And last, let me continue to siphen away those painful Monday minutes for ya.  This is “Really?!?, with Seth and Jerry” —- aimed at Eric Massa.

 

Jeff Bourne: 2010 Sledge Hockey Preview

 

For those of you who’ve been long-time blog readers, you know my brother Jeff is one of those people you’re blessed to get to know.

Us, with our fantasy camp's VT Cup. Familiar? --->

A number of months ago, Jeff was accepted to be one of Canada’s hosts for the Paralympic games – it took an interview process, and he was picked based on the pure fact that he’s so likable you want to punch him in the face (which I’ve often wanted to do for my own brotherly reasons).  Sadly, Jeff when through a tough time after visiting me here in Phoenix, and had an extended stay in the hospital.

Since “Jeff’s Ordeal” as the blog I wrote was titled, they found the root of the problem – a major surgery, endless staples to the head and chest, and a few weeks of recouping later, and the dude is good as new.  It’s not like he was a pretty canvas to disfigure anyway, if you get what I’m saying :)   {Kidding bro, kidding. …ish}

Anyways, what he is doing, is covering the Paralympic Sledge Hockey Tournament at his personal website.  If you’re remotely interested in sledge hockey (if you aren’t, you should be.  Check out the video I posted halfway down this blog for a convincer), Jeff will fill you in on everything you need to know as a tournament warm-up.

Jeff, post near-death, enjoying two of his fave things in the world. ...At once.

For those of you too lazy to click the link to his blog, grow up and CLICK THE LINK TO HIS BLOG.  Also, comment on it and contact the guy.  He’s just a fun person to get to know.  Learning Jeff-speak is like learning a whole inside-joke-laden language.  You won’t regret it.

Now, for those of you who were to lazy to click it, here’s what the Bourne’s newest blogger wrote.  ….But seriously, go read it on his site.  I don’t need any halfway committed sledge fans peeking in.  You’re in or you’re out:

Oh weird, Canada scored.... ;)

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2010 Vancouver Paralympic Sledge Hockey Tournament Preview

-by Jeff Bourne

(Note – before you read this, check out HOCKEY MONKEY COUPONS.)

As the 2010 Oylmpic winter games come to a close, we now look ahead to the 2010 Paralympic games.

The Paralympics doesn’t have quite as of a rich history as the Oylmpic games, but still, it is a valid evolution of the acceptance of disabled people.

Here’s a Brief history of the Paralympic Games for those of you that aren’t as informed:

The games were started in Stoke, Mandeville, England in 1948, as a way to get soldiers returning from the 2nd World War up and moving again. The current winter paralympics did not start until 1980 in Geilo, Norway. There was only 3 events during the 1st winter Paralympics which where: Alpine Skiing, Ice sledge speed racing and cross country skiing.

Today the winter paralympics consists of five sports which include: Wheelchair curling, Cross country skiing, Alpine skiing, Biathlon and Ice sledge hockey.

I myself have been playing Sledge hockey for 7 years now, and have grown to love the sport.

Crazy. Intense. Sport.

For those of you that do not know what sledge hockey is, sledge hockey is pretty much exactly like regular hockey except it is played in “sledges”.  Sledges consist of a bucket seat with runners to hold your legs out straight and ice hockey blades on the bottom of the sledge.  Players use two smaller sticks with ice picks on the bottom to propel themselves around the ice.

During the 2010 paralympics there will be 8 National teams competing for the gold medal.  Pool A will consist of: The Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea and The USA.  Pool B consists of: Canada, Italy, Norway and Sweden.

In my pre-paralympic predictions. I am going to take the USA coming out of pool A on top followed by Japan in second place followed by South Korea and the Czech Republic. You may be wondering why I predict the Czech’s to finish in last place in pool A?  The Czech republic has only recently begun to play the game of sledge hockey, and South Korea’s world ranking before the paralympics was 5th.

Pool B is going to be a more exciting pool to watch, especially for Canadian fans. I am going to predict that Canada with it’s home ice advantage will come out of pool B on top followed very closely by Norway,with Sweden and Italy rounding out the pool.

Some of the players to watch for in pool B are Norway’s Eskil Hagen as well as fellow Norwegians, Helge Bjornstad, Rolf Einer Pedersen, Tommy Rovelstad, and Norway’s goaltender Roger Johansen. As for the Canadian national team, be on the look out for players such as Billy Bridges who has been dubbed the Sidney Crosby of sledge hockey. Also, Bradley Bowden is a player who I would compare to Crosby’s teammate Evgeni Malkin. In goal for Canada is Paul Rosen, who is one of the top two goalies in the world today.

In Pool A, watch out for the USA’S Steve Cash and Taylor chance, who have a really good chance of being in the top five in scoring when the tournament is all over. For the Japanese team, be on the look out for Takayuki Endo and goalie Shinobu Fukushima.

My final predictions for the Gold, Silver and Bronze medal would have to be Canada winning gold — I’m not trying to be bias here, I just think that because it is in Canada I will give them the edge. As for the silver medal I would think Norway has a great chance as finishing 2nd with the USA rounding out the top three.

Well paralympic fans, i hope you enjoy the next 10 days of paralympic competition, I know I will!!

We're my "glue-of-the-family" lovely mother away from a really great pic here. The day after I re-met Bri, and the same day I vowed to never be photographed in Fonzie's old jacket again.

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Justin again …Fine, here’s the video:

 

Chris Chelios: Double U. Tee. Eff?

 

{Qualifier: the author of this blog respects the career and accomplishments of NHL great Chris Chelios.  But, you know… come on now.}

Okay, let’s talk about this:  Does he need money, or hate his family? 

Give me a third possible reason for why he’s still playing, and know that saying “for the love of the game” will get you called an idiot.  Unless of course, you’re right, in which case I’ll call him one.  Someone’s gettin’ called an idiot here.

Can I get a review from someone who actually got to watch his game last night? 

I only saw the ESPN highlight package like a lot of you, where they mispronounced his name (like he hasn’t been a Hall-of-Famer since the early fourties), showed a clip of the bad-bounce-off-his-leg goal, a clip of a bad pinch/slow chase, and then ran his “dash one” stat line before moving on to an extended segment of women’s Div. III bowling or whatever it is they prefer to cover.

You know what stat-line I wanna see?  His pension.  What does 26 NHL seasons (x) ”lots of money” pay out when you retire?  Probably still “lots of money”, right?  He played during the financial glory days.  ….and the decade before those glory days.

Also from the “things I want to see” file, is him sharpening knives on his 100% rawhide leather face.  But I doubt they’ll show either of those things.

Twitter blew up after Chelios finally re-cracked the big leagues.  And why not?  It must have been so exciting for Mr. Chelios to get a chance to play at the same level with NHL heroes of his like Rob Schremp, Carlos Gunnarson and Vern Fiddler.

Here’s a few of finest #CheliosIsSoOld jokes Twitter folk were dropping:

#CheliosIsSoOld he tried to block the shot that killed Lincoln.

#CheliosIsSoOld when he was a kid, rainbows were black and white.

 #CheliosisSoOld That the Thrashers are changing the name of their arena to the Jurassic Center.

 #CheliosIsSoOld his first call to the NHL was delivered by a burning bush.

  #CheliosIsSoOld He has a bowl of Werthers Original at his locker, just in case the kids stop by.

 #CheliosIsSoOld that he himself was the greatest thing before sliced bread was invented.

and my personal fave….

#CheliosIsSoOld that his last hip check was at the Orthopedist’s office.

Ahhhh, classic.  Just classic.

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How much has the one-timer been revolutionized by Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, and most recently Steven Stamkos? (Who, by the way, should be just about ready to drop the “n” and go with Steve.)

A one-timer used to be a way to shoot while the goalie was moving, so there’d be more holes to hit.  But guys couldn’t knock precise one-timers of the post-crossbar elbow like they can now, even as recently as a decade ago.

First off, these guys wheelhouses are about half-a-zone big, compared to someone like myself, where, if the pass isn’t exactly one inch ahead of the direct center of my one-time stance, somebody is getting hit in the neck.  They can pure the thing from anywhere.

And if the person passing puts it ahead of them, and slow enough that they can adjust, holy-good-night-crap-bricks, they damn near put it through the goalies chest with that little bit of all-star-contest-skate-into-it speed.

It’s going to become a standard feature of every new prospect from here forward, like power windows.  If you can’t bomb the one-tee, you can’t score goals.

{Semi-tangent:  Remember how great it was in the NHL 90-whatever games, that you could hit pass-then-shoot, and it’d pass the puck to the best choice guy then bomb a one-timer?  Every goal was a one-tee.  Back-hand slapshot, top corner…. it didn’t matter.  There was no other way to score, unless it was 93, in which case you could just skate across the crease and the goalie would get stuck on the post.}

Disclaimer: the maker of the following vid seems to be pro-Ovechkin’s slap shot.  Call it a hunch.

 

Definitely.

 Really, just go have a YouTube party watching those guys shoot.  I may add more later in the day.

 

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TGIF – Have a great weekend everyone!

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