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Chad Brownlee’s Album, and My Writing Schedule

 

As I’ve been twitter-plugging all morning, Chad Brownlee’s album comes out today (www.chadbrownlee.com).  If you’re new to the blog, I’ve written about Chad before

Downtown Browntown.

Quick refresher:  We were junior teammates for two full seasons, we’re both from Kelowna, BC, and just in general, buddies.  He got drafted by the Vancouver Canucks, was named the captain of his WCHA hockey team (Minnesota State @Mankato, with David Backes/Ryan Carter etc.), then turned pro. 

As nagging injuries started to wear him down, his other gift – check that, gifts – took him in a different direction.  He shut down hockey and committed to music, and here he is today.  A year or two after making the transition the kid had a single on Canada’s country music chart (top 20, I think?).

Anyway, give him a listen at the very least, and hey, feel free to support not only a talented kid who writes/plays/sings quality country music (a feat in itself), but is also just an all-around good guy.  There’s not a whole ton of those around.  DO IT NOW OR I’LL HUNT YOU DOWN AND MAKE YOU LISTEN TO ACHEY BREAKY HEART.  (Buy his stuff on iTunes)

Random sidenote: I love the pic of him that’s on the front page of Bourne’s Blog, all in a barn with rusted chains ‘n’ stuff.  So country.  ….Except we grew up in nice, suburban Kelowna.

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Okayyyy, so it doth appear my NHL season schedule is finalized, and guess what?  I have a column out every day!  Suck on that, thin hopes of having a social life.

Here’s my schedule:

Mondays: Alternating weeks, my Monday column will be written for USA Today, or The Hockey News.   Baaack and forth, all year long.

Tuesdays: Puck Daddy.

Wednesdays: Hockey Primetime

Thursdays: Puck Daddy

Friday: Puck Daddy.

While I love and respect all of my outlets, as you can tell, Puck Daddy will sort of be my home this year.  Two of those columns each month will be with interviews with current or past NHLers, and one of those monthly entries will be a video.  I’m hoping to two-birds-one-stone the interview/video once by drinking at a bar with @BizNasty2point0.  He seems fun.

The blog will live on – I’ll provide links to that day’s article, and write all the nonsense stuff and curse words that are cathartic to get out. 

I’ll also be doing a lot more radio.  While I don’t have dates/times pinned down yet, it sounds like I’ll be a weekly guest on Kelly Hrudey’s show, then occasionally on wherever need be, like this past year.  I’ll try to do a better job of letting people know where/when/how they can listen.  If you don’t have it, TWITTER WOULD HELP YOU GET INSTANT INFO LIKE THAT.  So, yeah, um, do that.

Thanks, thanks, thanks to all of you who supported me throughout this past season and made my blog such a success.  I now have a GD career because of all of you, and for that, I’m forever indebted.  And also for that, I reward you with a short video of my cat – not at his cutest, but havin’ a scrap with his old man.

Keep in mind, this cat is a kitten – 11 months old, and already at the top of the “your full-grown Scottish Fold/American Shorthair cat should weigh between 8 and 15 pounds” chart, with a year of “filling out” to go.

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 Short one today!  Back at ‘er tomorrow, and I’ll letcha know when the Puck Daddy gig begins as soon as I know.  You can read my latest piece for Hockey Primetime here, on how twitter may just create even duller superstars (if you can fathom it).

And now, just to balance the country music in the post, here’s the latest Big Boi single.  I wanted to run “Tangerine”, but it’s kinda filthy, sooo… SHUTTERBUGG!

My “Encounter” With Mario Lemieux

 

Sorry on the late post today folks.  The good news is, my latest column is up on The Hockey News, about “the numbers game”, and how trying to figure it out in the off-season makes you crazy.

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Friend of the blog Hooks Orpik was headed out to meet Mario Lemieux the other day, so I wanted to tell my Lemieux story, but um, twitter only tolerates 140 characters.  So…. here. we. go.

Le Mieux, indeed.

Mario attends the Clark Gillies Charity Classic, which if we’re being honest, is a yearly golf tournament in which everyone gets “tipsy”, then gives fistfuls of money to sick and dying kids.  The program is this:  it’s an absolute blast, then Clark cries (and means it), then there’s an auction, then it’s a blast again.  Essentially, you can re-create the experience if you just drink a bunch of red wine and send the foundation a blank cheque.  (www.clarkgillies.org).

Well, as you probably know, Mr. Lemieux has a bit of an aura about him.  And, I was never a crazy hockey fanboy or anything (cough*Sean Leahy*cough), but 66 was my favourite player, so that kind of adds to it.  (Honorable mention to Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman.)

So, he had won the long drive contest at Clark’s event for three or four years running.  This particular year, our group was the last one through the LD hole (and had consumed a few barleyhops sandwiches by then), so I teed one up high, took a Jason Zuback swing at it, and caught it on the screws – it passed the marker by a few feet.  Which, yet again, had Lemieux’s name on it.

Now, to back up a little bit, it’s like $1500 a group (or maybe a guy? I think per guy, yeah) to enter the tourney.  I was dating Bri and the time, and had promised to hang out with her and watch a par three for an ace or whatever it was volunteers did to help the charity then.  But when there was a spot open…. why, yes, I do have a collared shirt, golf shoes, socks, clubs, balls, tees and an interest in playing.

So, Freebie Mooch Bourne was hesitant to write his name on the long drive marker.  My drunken group however, thought it was an awesome idea.

Lottttta leverage when you're 6'6"

Sooo, when they announced the winner of the long drive contest, and most people had seen Mario’s name on the marker while golfing, they started to clap during the introduction.  Before even hearing the name. 

Well, my name killed the buzz, and quick.  I awkwardly sauntered up to the podium, took the driver I won, and sat down.  I then immediately saw said driver get re-shafted and put in Clark Gilles golf bag.  But hey, he more-than-deserves it for all he’s done for me. 

….Back on track here….

Mario was waiting at the bar for a drink, so I decided to go say hello since I finally had a good topic to BS on at that point.  I stood beside him while he talked to someone else, and I ordered a drink.  As I did, I turned to talk to Bri (or whoever it was) and planned my intro.  Always good to incorporate Dad in there at these things, I figured.  “Hey, I’m Justin Bourne, you played against my Dad in blah blah blah.”  Yep, that was it.

I turned back around to go for it and *poof*  ninja dust, he’s gone. 

Not even just like, walking away, but he Houdini’d his way right out of the building somehow.  To this day, I have no idea what his escape route was.  He had gone home for the night, and that was the last time I saw him (I missed Clark’s event this year with brokebloggeritis). 

Still never met the guy.  Eff me.

Bill Guerin’s Value, and… Tiger Woods Hid Some Money, Right?

 

Quick question first…. anyone know the latest with the Coyotes ownership situation?  Does Ice Edge own the team, or does the NHL still?  I’m totally unaware of what’s been going on.

(Update: just saw on twitter, Ice Edge is holding a press conference in Thunder Bay tomorrow.  To which Bruce Arthur responded “Why, is there a team there you’re not buying too?”)

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I had a couple Bill Guerin debates this morning - basically, here’s my thinking on one of my favourite players of all-time:

He does have Cup experience though, that helps

He’s probably a bad signing by anyone who’s not like, Columbus, and he won’t go play for a team like that. 

Sure, he had 21 goals last year – but he’s slowed a step or two (age will do that), and he put up those numbers playing alongside one of the best players in the history of ever (Crosby).  Also, 11 of his goals were PP ones, sooo, take him off a PP with Malkin/Crosby/Gonchar/Goligoski….

Before I explain myself further, the disclaimer: I do think he still has some value.  He’s not washed up or anything.  I just don’t see him being near as dangerous as he used to be.

Point is, if you want him to be a 3rd/4th line grind guy who plays less minutes, you’re better off spending your money on some young pup energy guy who’ll play for the same amount or less, and pour his heart and soul into his role while getting valuable experience. 

If you put him on one of your top two lines, he just doesn’t have the wheels to keep up with guys like Crosby anymore.  He’s hands aren’t quite as smooth as some of the young up-and-coming dishers, and while his snapper is still a weapon, honestly…. you’re just better off pulling some kid from the AHL who may be less of a natural, but plays in go-go-go mode like “the new” NHL demands.

Sorry Bill.  Again, you’re still one of my all-time faves, and wherever you end up, I wish you the very most luck.

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The Onion made a little joke this morning about Tiger having stashed some assets offshore in case of a divorce, buttt….. no joke, he must have done that.  C’mon.

*lightbulb* "The Caymans money!"

I mean…. isn’t that sort of a no-brainer? 

For starters, you know he had money Elin didn’t know about so he could use it on his mistresses.  Not to like, buy them stuff, but just get flights/hotels, all that other shady stuff he was doing that he had to hide.  Second, he had to know that if he were to get caught cheating, that means divorce.  Which means he had to have tucked money away somewhere just in case, cause he was cheating a lot.  

It’s not like Elin didn’t get her fair share of dough (if the rumours are true), but c’mon…. dude had extra hidden somewhere didn’t he?

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Thanks for all the love out there yesterday, blog community.  And if I haven’t mentioned this in awhile, thanks so much to those of you who’ve donated.  You’re keeping the lights on here at “the office” during hockey’s off-season. 

If any of you fellow writers would like to propose a blogroll link exchange, drop me an email at jtbourne@gmail.com.  Gonna try to blow this thing up this year!

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Ooo, I forgot something fantasy hockey related - The BBHL (Bourne’s Blog Hockey League) is sticking with the head-to-head format.  20 was too many teams last year.  What’s the ideal number?

How Much Access Should Bloggers Have?

 

Puck Daddy’s editor, Greg Wyshynski, busted out a gem of a column on the NHL and it’s changing relationship with bloggers (not necessarily for the better). 

I find the discussion interesting, since I write on both sides of the fence – on the one hand, I write for an undeniably MSM outlet in USA Today.  I’ve contributed freelance work to others, such as the Arizona Republic.  And what are we calling The Hockey News?  They’re a mainstream print-and-online magazine that files my work in the blog section but occasionally runs the same pieces in print as columns.

Equal access for all!

On the other, there’s this site, where I sit down, and literally start typing whatever I’m thinking about the NHL (conspiracy! Bias! Kitteeennnnsssss!!). 

The point is, where do we stand on offering different levels of access for different mediums, when really…. how do you qualify anyone these days?  What do you call what I do?  Blournalism?

In many cases, the line is just too blurry.

The biggest grey area of all (and my other home), Puck Daddy, makes no bones about the fact that it’s a blog, but…. it doesn’t really walk or talk like a duck, so….  is it a duck?

It seems to me PD has a higher journalistic standard than a number of established mainstream sources (they cite references via links, they don’t hide their biases which is more honest, they often cover games in person, they run original interviews, and have a high level of access and respect).

Shouldn’t there be some sort of elite qualifying status for bloggers to get full access (if they want it)?  Some sort of case-by-case, team-by-team review process?  Sure, it’s silly to say “blogs aren’t worthy of credentials” (as the well-covered Rangers and Oilers have), but at the same time, I actually would be wary about letting too many guys/gals into the press box or dressing room.

No reason to beat around the bush here, just sayin:  I know the etiquette.  I’ve watched games from press boxes, dealt with reporters, and been in the dressing room a thousand kabillion times.  I’m not going to cause problems, start a confrontation, or embarrass the name of bloggers.

This sort of thing is a bit too intense for my taste.

But I can’t say that a guy who’s never done it before would know how to conduct himself in the proper manner.  I’m sure teams are afraid of a guy taking up space that doesn’t know you shouldn’t ask the guy still punching holes in the wall why he didn’t bury that breakaway. 

And like any job or walk of life, there’s certain etiquette that needs to be followed to be taken seriously.  If we go golfing together for the first time, and you walk through my line, I’ll immediately take you less seriously as a golfer. 

Maybe getting access should take a combination of proving your page views and having a one-on-one meeting with the PR people (like a job interview) to qualify.  It’s tough to lump HockeyBuzz in with Puck Daddy in with Bourne’s Blog in with hockeywhatever.wordpress.com. 

Maybe you make a “no slandering the team” policy and try to sanitize it, the way it happens in other media forms.  Lord knows when I wrote that “nobody goes to Coyotes games because they’ve always sucked” in the Arizona Republic, the ‘Yotes would’ve loved to sanitize me straight out of the building, and probably would’ve preferred the state.  I mean, I’m opposed to sanitized writing, but we need to have criteria laid out so serious bloggers know what to aim for.

Whatever it is they do, I just don’t think a blanket policy would cut it.

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Hey, you.  Yeah, you.  Go have yourself a nice Thursday.  And while you’re at it, follow me on Twitter.

Should the League Allow NHL Players To Go To Sochi?

 

I’m blinded by emotion when I try to discuss NHL players going (or not going) to the Olympics, so I’m not even gonna try to pretend that my “they should go” mentality is all that well-founded in logic.

But still, I’d like to understand the issues that are creating the league’s hesitancy (Bettman says their research shows support for players going is a “mixed bag”.  I presume the “mix” is a whole bunch of “well yeah, of course” and a dash of Bettman lies).

Team Canada, 2010

Since I’m not really up on all the ins-and-outs of the decision, I’m going to ask three questions, and maybe some readers can help me out:

1) Business is supply and demand.  The demand (from everyone who isn’t the league) for NHL players to be in Sochi in 2014 is insane.  Thus, there’s lots of money to be made there.  As of today, a major problem is that while some people are making money, the NHL does nothing but lose it.  And, of course, they’re the people taking the biggest risks.

If the IIHF and everybody else badly wants the best players in the world there, and that costs NHL owners money, is there not some sort of compensation that can be given from party A to party B so everybody can make some money, instead of just having party A make a ton of money?

2) I batted this about on Twitter with Bruce Arthur yesterday:

One of the reasons the owners give for how it costs them money is the “loss of momentum”.  As in, the 17 day lull in the schedule means some fans don’t know their team is back playing again, and thus, they miss out on ticket sales.

The US had plenty to celebrate in the 2012 Olympics

Obviously, this isn’t a problem in cities like Toronto, St. Paul, or Vancouver, but might be in cities like Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta or Nashville.

My question then is…. how much is that supposed lull really costing them?  Is “loss of momentum” a proven thing that they’ve established a value for?  The break is like, 17 days – just for the sake of pointing it out, most teams take a couple two-week road trips over the course of every season.  This is really that much different?  It’s certainly a lot more meaningful. 

And by the same logic, wouldn’t the lull end up bunching other games together, providing a “gain of momentum?” 

Basically, I’m skeptical that this is an important reason.

C) Isn’t this “should we let the players go?” talk from Bettman strictly to create a bargaining chip in the next CBA?  (Here are the thoughts of Jeff Marek from CBC, whom I’m in the process of agreeing with).  We all agree that Bettman’s “hesitance” is just to create an ”okay, you can go to the party, but only if you clean your room first” situation, when the parent was going to let the kid go all along I would think, no?

Shouldn’t the players be countering (as much as I hate these games) with a ”meh, whatever” response to that?

The whole thing is just like how I let Bri watch “Cake Boss” or “Ace of Cakes” in exchange for an episode of Sportscenter.  I freakin’ love Cake Boss.  Shhh.

As for the other reasons….

Risk of injury, star player fatigue, that sort of thing: I totally, totally get it.  I know it’s not all roses, this whole degrading the NHL schedule for something “bigger” thing.  But to me, and I said this on Twitter yesterday, there’s just zero/none/nil/no way you could convince me it’s not worth it, or that it won’t happen.

Hockey fans are just too in love with that tournament, and I honestly believe the NHL loves it too. If the players don’t go (hint: they will), it’ll be pitchforks and torches for months.

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Good news!  It’s a double post day.  Well, only because this one went well into four-digit words so I split it up, but whatever.  It looks like two posts.  Go read the other one!

On a Viral Song, a Conspiracy, Stand-up Comedians and New York City

 

Join me for a hockey chat at 1 PM EST on Puck Daddy.

Heyyyyyy, it’s finally “back-to-normal-for-good” time!  I ain’t goin’ nowheres, no-mores.  Just straight weekday bloggin’ for the rest of the NHL season.  Let’s strap in and come out swinging this morning, with the infectious, oh-so-viral Cee-Lo Green song you’ve probably already heard. 

Mom, if you’re reading this, you have two options:  skip hitting play on that song because of profanity, or listen to it and love it, because profanity doesn’t actually bother you as much as you pretend it does.  (Love you and hope your feeling better, BTW).  ….Just hit play:

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And now, for your tongue-in-cheek, NHL duh-duh-duuhhhhh conspiracy talk of the day….

Friend of the blog Paul Grundy wrote me an email about the Kovalchuk contract situation, volunteering some form of this theory:  is it possible that Lou intentionally drew up a contract so ridiculous that the NHL would have to red flag it?  Y’know, so the league, owners and old-school GM’s could get the stupid-contract insanity to stop?

Kovy trying to sell soul to this Devil

Paul’s theory was more along the line of “maybe Lou and Brian Burke were in cahoots to stop the madness and force the league to revisit other team’s stupid deals”.  Mine (if I were to swing at a wild pitch) would be more that “maybe Lou and the league had some sort of mutual back-scratch agreement on that 17 year thing”. 

(Note: judging by the NHL’s rejection of a follow-up contract, it’s safe to say there’s no “agreement” there, Bourne)

Paul’s idea stemmed from Lamoriello admitting at the presser ”contracts like these” shouldn’t be allowed (did he know at the time that the Kovy one wasn’t going to be?), and Burke’s testimony against the deal (as a GM with a relationship with Lou, who also hates those contracts).

Of course, I don’t actually  think this is why the Kovalchuk contract thing happened.  But it’s fun to think maybe Lou used it as an add-on to the “hey, why not” flavour the deal had - basically, they either get away with a criminal deal, or he gets the criminal deals stopped.  Who knows, maybe that did cross his mind.

Either way, it’s fun to bat around (because remember, this blog isn’t exactly a news source).  Especially since, if there’s any three NHL names you’d expect to be a part of some Skull ‘n’ Bones society, it’s guys like Lamoriello, Burke and Bettman. 

What’s up tinfoil-hatters?  They cook up this scheme on purpose?

Also…. JOSE BAUTISTA MIGHT MAYBE BE POSSIBLY ON STEROIDS.

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Y’know what’s awesome?  Those walking cane things with seats that fold down.  Every time I’m in the lineup at like, the Post Office or something I immediately curse not being old.

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I only spent about four hours all-told in the city when I was in New York last week, but man-oh-man do I love it.  I took a few pics on my fancy new phone, so I’ll run those at the bottom of the blog if you’re interested.  I immediately knew I was back in the heart of the city when a six-foot gender-neutral human passed me on a crosswalk, turned around and said “haaay white boyyyyyy”.

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As a long-time stand-up comic connoisseur, I’ve thought about this before, but never really jotted it down:

Being a well-known, top-end stand-up comedian is goddamn hard.  Well, you knew that.  Let me elaborate.

"I'm Telling You For the Last Time" is my all-time stand-up favourite.

It’s like trying to be one of the world’s best soccer players versus trying to do the same in hockey – the odds are against you in soccer based on sheer numbers.

What’s the ratio of people who grew up playing soccer versus hockey, like, 859:1?  Had everyone in the world grown up on skates, we surely would’ve found a bajillion more talented people who were built to be studs at the game (and I’d be even less relevant).  We even play soccer in Canada.  That’s how big that game is – it’s played on frozen tundra.

Thus, stand-up comedy is closer to soccer than hockey.  Think in high school – in every clique, the most well-liked kids are usually the ones that make their friends laugh.  Goths, nerds, jocks, band kids, nerdy goth band kids, whoever – funny matters.  And that’s where stand-up comics come from.  The funniest of the funny.  The cream rising to the top of all the crappy swing-and-a-missers in each and every group.

Whether you realize it or not, we spend years weeding out the funny people, making it part of who they see themselves as being, and thus, all of life has basically been a comedy tryout for everyone.  Comedians were originally found by their friends.  You’re so funny.  You’re hilarious.

Comics epiphany: Wait a sec – maybe I’m really funny.

Sure, any socially unaware idiot can go try to be a stand-up comic (which is why small-town comedy clubs are a crapshoot for your fun factor), but none of those people actually make it.  The best of the best – your Seinfelds, say - had to overcome insane “funny odds”, since everyone has tried to be funny.  Except I assume, in like, North Korea or somewhere.  Maybe they keep the guffaws to a minimum there.

I dunno.  That was rattling around in my head.

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Okay, my New York visit.  I try not to do too much tourist stuff there (because I am one, thus, I’m hated) – instead, my preference is to wander aimlessly and people watch. 

But this time, just to say I did it once, I happily “got robbed” for 20 bucks and went to “The Top of the Rock” (Rockefeller Building), so that’s where those pics farther down are from.  The rest are just random pics, mostly of the Gillies’ dogs, soooo…. enjoy.

St. Pat's Cathedral

 

Clearly doing renovations, but still, love that place.

Bri's niece Autumn with the eldest dog, Hunter

My cell phone takes panoramics. Badass.

 
 

Honestly, glad I went up there, tourist trap or not.

 Mmmm, long-distance cell phone video of NYC…. 

A few seconds of my playing wit a wittle puppy named Cash.

Cash is over a year old now, and over 150 lbs, I’d guess.

This is Bruce, the “small” one of the three.

Mmmmarf!

That’s it that’s all.  See ya tomorrow!

A Quick Thought on the Advantage of Florida State Tax

 

Gooooood morning everyone.

Glad I was able to get a post up today - we leave Long Island to head back to Phoenix tonight, so the lady girls are dress shopping today.  Thus, I’m home alone with the laptop and some time (truth be told, there’s a sleeping baby somewhere in this house, and I have a monitor.  If she flinches, I’m to call her mom to have her come back.  I’m petrified.  Young Justin Bourne hated babies.  The new one is scared of them.) 

Real quick before my NHL money rant - for those of you who follow my Yahoo! Sports colleagues on Twitter (and you should - @wyshynski, @sean_leahy, @dchesnokov), you know they had their “meetings” in Toronto this weekend.  I’m grossly envious, as I was not there.  I was able to get together with Sean Leahy at Christopher’s in Huntington for all of two beer on Thursday, which really served as more of a fun-tease than anything.  Anyway, hope it was a good time fellas.

So ya, interesting tidbit of the day:  Dale Tallon in Florida was the other major bidder for a one Eric Nystrom.  The offer was for less money, but with the lower state tax, of course, so it was for worth roughly the same amount of cash to Eric.  With that in mind….

How great (financially) must it be to play in Florida? 

Leading to…. Shouldn’t Florida teams be able to consistently put together contenders?  They essentially have a bigger salary cap than other teams, if they’d be willing to spend to it.  {Sidebar: there’s also the whole shorts/bikinis and a tan thing, versus, I dunno, say, Edmonton}

You immediately have the bidding advantage on any player - matching an offer means you’re actually getting the player more money, plus the guys can become residents of Florida which is GOLD for anyone who makes/has scads of cash (or property), AKA NHL players.

Wealthy people spend years trying to find a Florida residency loophole.  And you just get one, boom.  So how about this thought: how much effing money does Vincent Lecavalier have?  A thousand years at a billion dollars per (or whatever the contract details were), plus residency (only required to be there six months a year) so you keep more of it?  He’s gotta have more money than anybody in the league, doesn’t he? (Not counting advertising, in which case Sid and Ovy pretty much dominate the pack, and by pretty much dominate the pack, I mean they take turns driving a car made of cash straight into the side of a bank, get out and mockingly say “deposssit”).

Still, Nystrom made the right call - I mean, for the same money, you have to choose the hockey-passionate city, and the team that gives you the best chance at your next contract being a good one (the improved shot at playoffs, better teammates/organization etc. – those things help that cause).  It’s tough to have a great year when a team is in a state of flux as Florida is - rebuilding is no fun. (Not that the Wild are awesome, but Florida is at the height of deck-shuffle).  Dude is a gritty player with more touch than people think (110 points in college).  Again, great signing by the Wild.

So yeah, in conclusion…. Florida - if you could just chuck together a remotely appealing organization, and offer guys like Eric the same money and have it be worth more… shouldn’t you guys almost always be good?

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Sorry for the short one, just fit it in before departing NY.  Allllmost back to normal life….

My Column Schedule, The Niemi to NYI Rumo(u)r

 

First and foremost, an “I love you” and a “get well soon” to my dear Mom, who had her third vertebrae-fusing back surgery in about two years this morning.  Hope this is the one that keeps the pain away :)

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Also on the get well soon train…. A year ago today, Breezy and I pulled into Phoenix, Arizona in the 117 degree heat, and set up shop.  Today, coincidentally, is also the first time in that year that Bri will be coming home from work for a sick day.  Tomorrow, also coincidentally, is the first time we’ll headed back together to NY for a little family vacay.  Needless to say, she isn’t pleased with the timing of her illness.  Get well soon kiddo.  Like, by tomorrow soon.  But no rush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My appearance has changed since moving to the desert.

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The Jets lost to the Giants last night, and my boy Sanchez threw a pick on his first play in the new stadium.  On the upside, Eli Manning got drilled and spilled blood, so you can’t fully consider the game a loss.  Also, Fireman Ed got mean with a 3/4 buckled Giants fan (via Deadspin).  Nice.

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Like when I write words into sentences about hockey? 

Not sure why I think the simple JB logo is so baller. I want it off-centered on a straight black pro-fit

Well good.  You’ll be seeing a whole fuckton of them this year.  (If you haven’t noticed, I’m done putting asterisks in swear words on Bourne’s Blog.  Who was that protecting, just out of curiousity?)  With 94.6% certainty, it looks like I’mma be a daily columnist (five steady days a week), only my columns will be distributed around a few different sites. 

I’ll release the exact where-and-when dates September 1stish, but you can count on the sites being The Hockey News, Puck Daddy, USA Today and Hockey Primetime.  Thus, all my serious hockey stuff will be in column form, and my blog will become A) a place to find my days-old columns and links to my just-released ones  B) a daily purging of all the stupid shit I think about, including un-columnable hockey thoughts, cat pictures, and sarcasm-laced booze references.  and C) a place to count on finding reasonable, smart and fun hockey people (sounds like I’m running a singles site) who can answer all of our questions about whatever.  I seriously learn more in my comments section than I do anywhere else.

The point is, I won’t be abandoning Bourne’s Blog, but I’ll no longer be waking up at 6:30, reading stuff, then writing it.  It’s gonna become my end of the day, cathartic, content-posted at night spot.  So, ya know…. let me know if it starts sucking balls and I’ll do something about it.

Not so much heree, or herreee, but....

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How do men that shave everyday do it?  I’ve got a bit of a leather face – I can pretty much just get to ‘er with minimal preamble (or whatever you wanna call hot towels, lotions etc).  But if I shave on consecutive days you’ll see more red bumps than the time I spilled Kool-aid on that braile book. 

Am I not leathery enough yet?  Should I just go George Hamilton on the Hasselhoff roast and let my face turn into whatever-the-fuck-it-was he had going on?

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My colleague Lyle Richardson of “Spector’s Hockey” (the bang-up rumours round-up site) made mention of the Islanders rumour (via the New York Post and Chicago Tribune), saying that Antti Niemi could possibly maybe oh-god please sign with the New York Islanders.  The next sentence however, points out that Katie Strang, the Islanders beat writer, says her sources say ”not true”.  Soooo, there’s that.

Look good in royal blue, no?

My thoughts:  I’ve found it hard to get a feel for the quality of Katie’s inside info this year.  It’s not like she’s ever been wrong, and she’s wicked at her job, but she’s just come off her first year at it, she’s young, and people don’t automatically tell you things until you create your own relationships with those well-embedded in the organization.  Why would anyone tell Strang anything (and no offense to Katie, again, she had a great first year) that they didn’t want to be public knowledge?  Nothing to be gained.  She’s basically the Isles ”going public” outlet, and until there’s something to “go public” with, she’s probably still somewhat in the dark about behind the scenes.  Also, that was a lot of me talking out my ass and hoping she’s wrong.

I’m not saying the rumour is legit, I’m just pointing out that GM’s (and the like) are very cautious about what they say to people whose job it is to give messages to the public.  Plus, Niemi for $2.75?  That’s too exciting a rumour to not find some justification for it’s possible legitimacy.

Yeah!  Strang doesn’t know.  They’re signing him for sure!  Right guys?  Guys?……

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 So, sadly, that’s all for me until I’m back from Long Island on Monday.  After that, no more delays or trips or gaps in posts - just five days a week, uninterrupted coverage of nothing in particular.  Which I’m sure – phew – is a huge relief for everyone.  Ooo!  You can check out Hockey Primetime on Wednesday for a column I wrote on the pros and cons of turning a defenseman into a forward!  Do it Toronto!  Make Kaberle a CENTERICEMAN!  I dare you!

In Which I Don’t Address Kaberle Beyond A Sentence…. Um, And A Title

 

Crap, there’s a picture of Tomas in here too.  Sorry for the lies.

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Its my personal goal to only use keypad for emails. Swype for texts.

If you haven’t been following my obnoxious ravings on twitter, I did end up getting that Droid 2 I was inquiring about.  Basically, I “wasn’t eligible for an upgrade” before cause I ran into that one crappy employee at every phone store everywhere.  But now…. Shazam!  I have the phone.  Also, the Shazam app.

I won’t bore you with too many of the details, but my god…. this thing is a GPS (getting a car mount for it), a Sky Caddie, an iPod (w/ Pandora), a social networking dream, a sports highlight machine, a disorganized persons organizer, and….  a cell phone.  

I Can Has Cheezburger is now constantly at my fingertips.  Productivity – ruined.  Social awkwardness evading capabilites – enhanced.  Sooo, just me and you on this elevator for 15 floors HEY OMG LOOK something is neat on my phone. Can’t show you what, but I’ll be looking down for the next minute because of it…

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The newest Burke-hater.

Kaberle didn’t get traded – no, instead, he stayed a Maple Leaf in Toronto.  Je ne care pas.  This is my first summer as an official hockey writer guy, and my first thoughts on it are “this part sucks”.  MAD props (yep, I gave em) to writers that muster up such great work during this generally dull time of the sports year - Guys like Wyshynski, Mirtle and Elliotte Friedman, who stay crazy-readable over the course of the NASCAR-packed summer.

While we’re discussing media, I’m seeking reviews on a couple people (who kinda seem like polar opposites).  I haven’t really read or watched much from either, but both seem to be popular and relevant (and since I seem to have similar tastes to my readers, lets hear what you think).  Larry Brooks of the NY Post (I only know about the Torterella battle, and that it seems like some of his tweets were typed with a flamethrower) and Steve Dangle of…. Steve Dangle… up in T-Dot.

Do we likes?  Dislikes?  Does anybody wanna go for a beer at Christopher’s in Huntington this week?  What about the Off-Broadway Pub in Greenlawn?  I love that place.

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OMG it’s almost hockey pool time! 

First and foremost, a confession – I still owe on a lost bet from last years finals, which if I haven’t mentioned lately, I was in.  Out of 20 teams.  You’re all idiots, I’m a genius, etc.

AHEM.  Anyway…. I owe a bottle of Crown Royal to my man Pat.  I still remember buddy.

"I volunteer for retina stealing duty."

This year it’s going to be a pay league, since last year’s league filled up in 4.8 miliseconds and had too many teams (and because I love gambling).  It’ll probably be similar to the same format with a few less squads, simply because I thought last year worked beautifully.  And, I might do two leagues to accomodate more people, blah blah blah I’ll let you know.  Likely in the $50 - $100 range with top 3 getting a little cash.  I won’t skim any either, unless I find a really awesome way to do it.  Like shutting down the blog and moving to Mexico with my $600 CASH, baby.

Also, if you play in my league and ignore your team for a seriously-extended period of time (like a week-long head-to-head matchup and beyond), your money goes towards buying and training something evil that flies (a Mr. Burns monkey?) to come hunt you down and steal your retinas.  I HATE that. I don’t remember who it was from last year, but if anyone does, single out that guy who’s neglect cost other people success, on my behalf.  Thanks.

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Didn’t have time to FJM (or whatever you wanna call it) Ryan Lambert’s “What We Learned” this week (also, I plain forgot), but if you haven’t seen it yet, it can be read here.  I’ve grown to seriously enjoy his contributions.  Looking forward to calling him a colleague during the upcoming season.

Camera? Fine. Cell phones? IMPOSSIBLE.

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Quick question:  Is it one of the world’s biggest scams that all phones aren’t waterproof yet?  I mean, they’ve had that technology since back when Mickey Rourke was handsome.  And how about the all-telling, warranty-voiding “red dot” feature that gets turned red by water, steam, fog, breath, heavy air or saying the word “wet”.  Mine is still fine 48 hours later, but I’ve never made it the full duration of a phone’s life without it changing at some point.  Nice hustle goin’ there.

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When I return from New York on the 23rd, I plan to kick the hockey season off by doing some 2010-11 previews, starting with a couple video blogs like I did last year (in those, I claimed Montreal and St. Louis would make playoffs as eight-seeds – I was close).

In the meantime, follow me on Twitter, dude.  Get with the times!  By the way, shouldn’t we have an acronym for Monday?  Friday gets TGI (to the F), can’t we rock a FMI (to the M?).  That’s a “Fuck me, it’s….”

FMIM!

The Rangers vs. The Islanders, The Four-Cheer Theory

 

Quick personal life update before puck stuff:  I’m feeling very American these days, as Bri and I are doing our best to stimulate the economy with money we don’t have.  Bri bought a sharp little 2008 Volkswagen Passat yesterday (white, black leather, tint), and I’m heading to Verizon today to get the Droid 2 that came out yesterday (with my “free” upgrade). 

I’m going to be USELESS to the world for the first week or two I have it, since I clearly get far too engrossed in trying to figure my new toys out.  I spent the entirety of my Kelowna – Phoenix flight customizing settings on this year-old dell my Aunt just oh-so-generously donated (thanks again!).  BOOM, NEW WINDOWS OPEN AS TABS NOW. (UPDATE: Not eligible for an upgrade after all.  Excuse me while I swan dive into a wood chipper)

Also on the personal front, AHHHHHHHOMGARIZONAHHHHH!

I'ma name it Brooklyn Decker (deadly back-end)

It was dead, so we’ve hypothesized that Tyson (our owl-eyed kitty) ninja-snapped it’s neck before it could do any harm.  And then, um, removed it’s neck, or something.  HI-YAH!

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Since this is, in fact, a hockey blog, we should talk a little puck.  (Duuuude, sports are almost happening again!)

First off, yesterday I tweeted the question: Who’s going to finish higher in the East, the Rangers or the Islanders?  According to my @’s, it appears that the NHL doesn’t even need to play the games this year, because the Rangers will clearly finish higher.  OBVI.

This dude is DEADLY.

I asked the question, because I think it’s gonna be pretty close.  I think the Rangers will finish seeded in the 7-9 range, with the Isles in the 8-11 range.

After the 2009-10 season, I had thought that the Isles were going to be a lot better team heading into 2010-11, and could contend for a playoff spot.  All their young stars would be starting to become actual stars (that’s the big one), the d-corps would be better (didn’t realize that would be even more true thanks to aquisitions, which was a bonus), and the team had money (it now needs) to spend. 

The problems have been: (a) They haven’t really spent that money yet, at least not in a way that meets the “here’s what they could’ve done” standards most fans have.

(b) Their goalie situation is stressful.  It’s been the summer of available goaltenders, and I’m not comfortable counting on Roloson or DiPietro.  DP for the obvious (you have to protect him with another starter like last year), and Rolly, while great in 09-10, is quite frankly getting old, and that scares me.  I know Brodeur is old, but he’s also one of the best in the history of ever.

Dude is a BULL

And (c) the biggest reason I’m not as stoked on the Isles as I could be, is EVERYONE ELSE got much, much better.  Especially the lesser teams from the East, which increases both teams degree of difficulty factor.  Toronto improved more than the Isles.  Tampa Bay improved more than the Isles.  Atlanta got a whole hell of a lot better.

So this NYR vs. NYI debate is legit because…. did the Rangers somehow get a ton better?  I got messages about Lundqvist and Gaborik (72 and 76 GP respectively last year, BTW), but…. weren’t they there and healthy last year?  So is Frolov going to be enough to push that team above and beyond?  I dunno, but when you only have a few cogs to count on (same goes for the Isles), it really comes down to which team has better injury luck.

I think the Rangers will probably finish higher, but not by much.  They’ll be highlighted in the same graphics after 70 games that show “games remaining” and “points” for bubble teams.  And for Ranger fans, let me plant this seed…. after watching the heart and grit it took to get teams into the finals last year (think Richards, Pronger, Toews, Bolland, etc) are you comfortable having your two studs be Gaborik and Frolov?

I know I’m comfortable with Okposo and Tavares.  Go Isles!  :)

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I talked to someone who used to manage a team in the AHL/IHL, and he said he made sure his owners did one thing so he could take care of his job filling the seats - they needed to take care of the “four-cheer theory“.

That being that basically, fans feel like they’ve got their money’s worth if they can cheer hard at least four times in a game.  Ideally, that’s a minimum of two goals, one fight, and a win.  If your team can take care of that, you can sell tickets.

This came about during one of the ten million “Coyotes Attendance Solution” talks that happen everyday, featuring Joe and John Blow.  He brought up the four-cheer theory as an addendum to my point, which was that since Phoenix isn’t a rich hockey culture, you need at least a star that people can look forward to watching. 

They try to do here what they should do in Edmonton – get great value out of up-and-coming players (and an honest workhorse in Doan), play a solid team game, have great work ethic etc.  Everyone appreciates that in Canada.  Here, it’s less valued by the casual fan.  Would they be better having one Datsyuk over a bunch of Pyatt/Hanzal/Korpikoski/Ebbett’s etc’s?  I think they might.  But I do know that Coyotes fans should be able to get those crucial four cheers on any given night next season, so they’ll be worth checking out.

(I’m gonna be sorry I started that thread, aren’t I?)

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That’s it for today folks, off to buy my first fancy touchscreen machine that I’ll inevitably wreck within the first month (serious hunch that I’ll be running that sentence again, only in quotes, and like three weeks from now to start a tale of woe).

TGIF, hope it’s a great weekend!

The Bloge Salming Podcast, Now With More Me

 

The Hockey Greats Fanatasy Camp stole my voice.  Fully theived it.  Thus, I was forced to put off the debut episode of the “Bloge Salming Podcast”…. until today.

For your listening pleasure, everything you already knew about me, only this time in a 19 minute conversation with none other than Mr. Salming himself.  I’m a tad disheveled, but it came together alright!

Big thanks to Bloge for having me on, and if you haven’t seen his work before, it’s must-check-out stuff.

www.blogesalming.com

www.twitter.com/blogesalming

My favourite piece of Bloge work: Olympic Welcome Rap

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Ice Edge, Bobby Orr, and Dougie. …No, Not Dougie G, Cali Swag Dougie

 

If any of you have ever blogged for an entire year of your life, and barely cleared $600 in total ad sales in the process, you’ve had your card declined before.  Even if you’re not a blogger, it’s happened to most of us.

The goal, when that happens, is to not have anybody but the cashier know, and to discreetly pull out some other card, or to slink away entirely unnoticed. 

You got this, Ice Edge boys, c'mon!

Can you imagine trying to buy a professional sports franchise if you didn’t know you could pull the money together?  I simply wouldn’t take steps one through done if there was some chance my card could be publicly declined at the last second.  Could you swipe that again, please?

I haven’t been following the Ice Edge group’s purchasing of the Phoenix Coyotes in the last few weeks, since I’ve been home in Canada tending to other things.  Thus, I have no authority or information to speak on the matter, but my blog is more of a conversation than a speech, so I hope to learn something today.  Is it true that they don’t have the money?  I’d be heartbroken.  I really liked these guys, but this weirds me out.

I chucked my support behind them, I liked what they were doing, etc. etc.  I just can’t imagine bidding on a team with money I wasn’t sure I could get.  Embarrassing if true.  So, Coyote followers…. whasstheword?

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One of the neatest things I get to discuss with our Fantasy Camp pros every year is their reverence for Bobby Orr.  I bring him up every year, cause it’s fun to watch them transform into little kids.  It seems to me that while other sports-heroes fade or grow tainted, Bobby’s star just continues to grow brighter.

The classy classersons of classerama

Not only is Mr. Orr about the right age for our pros to have grown up watching, but he treats them all with his own special brand of respect, admiration and class.

My Dad tells two stories – one, where he was in a golf tournament and Bobby was there.  In these charity events, a pro (in this case Bobby) will be on a par three, he’ll hit a shot, and after, you can decide whether to use his shot (for a donation) or your own.  Dad says he was so nervous he could barely grip the club with his idol watching.  Full on shaking.

And years later, Dad talks about sitting in a hotel room with Gilmour, Semenko and other idiots after a charity game having bottles of wine, with helmets on their heads backwards and empties all around.  Orr knocks on the door to hang out, they see him through the peephole, and silently rush around trying to tidy up and pull it together.  One of very few men on the planet I know beyond a president that could get those guys to do that.

Semenko says he still remember when he met Orr for the first time and he knew his name, he nearly peed his pants.  Bobby Orr knows who I am…. You should see that huge man tell that story.  Like he opened a choo-choo train on Christmas morning.

Ask any old pro, and they’ll tell you Orr has a mystique and status above any and all in the history of the game, including Gretzky (a well-respected man in his own right).

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I often read my BlackBerry at urinals.

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Remember when I wrote about my Dad getting outbid on golf shoes at a charity auction by Mike Commodore, Commodore not liking them, giving them to Dad, and me being excited cause they were my size so I’d probably end up with them?  Well get this:

They were donated to be auctioned off by my brother, who got them from my Mom, who got them from her garage, where I left them because I didn’t like them, after my Dad had bought them for me for Christmas.  Follow THAT who’s on first.

The Stones love the ice wine, apparently.

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Our Fantasy Camp has formed a partnership with Ex Nihilo Vineyards for our wine sponsor next year, and ohh myy godd is it amazing (as is our beer sponsor, Okanagan Spring and their delicious 1516.  That’s beyond pandering BTW, we really do have badass drinks sponsors). 

One of the owners is Jeff Harder, a hockey guy in his own right, who happens to be buddies with Jarome Iginla and Chuck Kobasew, and oh-by-the-way is also the Rolling Stones personal vinter. 

Our gift bags included his shmancy $40 bottle of “Night” (a cab-sauv/merlot blend), and our final gala included a dozen assorted, excellent bottles (the pinot gris made people’s heads explode), which he personally served.  Check out his vineyard via the following link (it’s located beside my other personal fave, Gray Monk), and order yourself a case or six:  Ex Nihilo Vineyards

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So much more to write and say now that I’m feeling fresh and alive again, but I’ll save it for the remainder of the week.  I’m recording a podcast with none other than Bloge Salming (who pronounces that “Bloggy Salming”, if you were wondering) tonight, and I’ll have a fresh new column out for you guys on Hockey Primetime in the next few days.

So for now, enjoy the dance stylings of the Boston Celtics Big Baby Davis, and the reply done-up by none other than Krypto-Nate Robinson:

The Original:  Cali Swag District – Teach Me How To Dougie

Miss Me?

 

Alas, dear friends, my week-long writing hiatus has come to a close. I’d love to say that I’m back at it with a renewed vigor – and I will be – but as of today, I’m still healing from self-inflicted damage over the past week in Kelowna.  My liver’s still in a walking boot and wearing gauze head-wrap.

I’m gonna leave commenting on the Fantasy Camp alone for today. I feel like the majority of my readers have been inundated with Twitter updates and blog posts that read more like one long advertisement than commentary, so lets get into something new.

{Okay, one quick highlight (which I tweeted): Dale Hawerchuk walks by my bro who’s shotgunning a beer from his wheelchair and deadpans “No wonder you can’t feel your feet” and carries on.  I died (after waiting for Jeff to laugh first).}

So then! 

What’s been goin’ on, what’s up, where ya been? Is it hockey season yet? Lets get a good chat going today – I’ll start it off with a few of my top thoughts from my TBAF.

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The Kovalcontract was rejected by the arbitrator.

This “common sense overruling a legal loophole” thing is rare in our society, and I gotta believe it’s something we need to be more supportive of.  I FUME when some obvious criminal gets off because his attorney threads the needle through some tight legal wording.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for innocent until proven guilty, and I understand due process, but I can’t support legal trials that end in ”innocent when guilty because a police officer improperly labelled one of the evidence bags” (or whatever the wink/shrug is that’s used by the defense attorney).

My point is, when it comes to pinning down shady behaviour like the Kovalchuk deal, I’m taking a page out of Justice Potter Stewart’s, who when trying to come up with with the legal description for hardcore porn said “I know it when I see it”.  Just because some sketchy things are tough to put firm parameters on doesn’t mean we can’t recognize them. 

The greatest comparison I heard for the Kovy rejection was the speeding one – we’re not pulling over everyone going seven above the speed limit, maybe not even ten, but at some point, we have to draw the line.

Had they let it pass, I bet Tavares was ready with a pen to finalize his 90-year, $180 million dollar deal, with $140 million in the first 20 years, for a $2 million dollar cap hit.  Nuh-uhhh, you can’t stop us, the CBA (technically) allows it! /thumbs nose

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Before Derek Boogaard signed with the NY Rangers for what everyone and their dog are calling an overpayment, the Oilers were interested in signing him.  I won’t say for how much, but when they lost out on him, they started shopping for another heavy.  The quote from someone in the Oilers organization during a discussion on “the next guy” was that “he wants Boogaard money”.   How LOLable is that?  There was “Gretzky money”, there’s been “Ovechkin money”, there might even be ”Luongo money” - I now present to you, “Boogaard money”.  Enjoy. 

{BTW, I imagine the Busta Rhymes dance for “Arab Money” to be the one Boogaard does during slow moments in his day.}

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Don’t you just fully need a case of the Financial Fuckits to enjoy a travel day?  I LOVE travelling, always have.  But really, if you’re watching your wallet while you travel, you KILL the trip.  I tried to do that yesterday, and had 1/8th the fun. 

If you’re okay with spending in an airport, there’s all the amenities: mall-quality chinese food (my fave), massages, great reading material, plenty of downtime, internet connections, smoothies, whatever.  So I think it’s official - if I’m getting ran from behind by security and prices anyway, I’m gonna start using whatever money I have as a helmet.  Hey Freshens, one Strawberry Sunrise please.

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You guys see Tim Tebow’s rookie haircut yesterday?  Friar Tuck-style?  Whoever thought of that – especially coming from an NFL dressing room - gets a +1 from me.  Even though he’ll have no idea what that means.

Gotta be honest, I like Tebow. Hope he does well.

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How do girls feel about being included in a “you guys”, or being the sole members of a “you guys”? As in, Jeff had two lady-friends with him this past week, and I said “Okay, I’ll meet you guys in the lobby” to the two girls. I clarified, but I mean, c’mon – no ladies out there would ever be offended by this, would they? What’s the proper phrase-ology? It’s hard enough figuring out who wants to be “girls”, “ladies”, “women” and “ma’am”.  Do I have to guess everytime or is “guys” okay?

Just a hunch, but everyone likes “ladies”, right? “Okay, I’ll meet you ladies in the lobby”? Is that the solution? If it’s both genders do I have to say “Okay, I’ll meet you guys and gals in the lobby?” That’s a PAINFUL extra two words.

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Welcome back, friends of the blog. I’m back at it for the next week here – then a trip to NY, then we’re getting into the 2010-2011 season. Hope your summer is still goin strong!

Semenko - still a bit of an imposing figure...

I'm like Hossa - third time's the charm

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