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A Completely Batshit Crazy Blog Entry

 

New Puck Daddy: In honor of Taylor Hall’s first goal, a discussion on the Art of Redirecting the Puck

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I LOVE this character on Family Guy

As per the headline, this is gonna sound batshit crazy, but hear me out.

So, here what I want when I die:

I want there to be some sweet afterlife where the-god-of-your-choosing has a huge stack of lists.  Maybe they’re digital, that’d make more sense for saving space, actually.  …Come to think of it, I bet he’d have sick technology.

I want those lists to be about every human that’s ever lived, and contain something similar to ratings from an NHL video game, so we can see what we were given to work with in our lifetimes at EVERYTHING. 

Like, maybe I was given the most jai alai talent in the world, and god’s gonna be like “Aw, DUDE! How could you not have tried it ONCE, you’d have discovered your gift in a second!  There was this one time, this guy was going to invite you (shows a clip of a guy going to ask me to play jai alai) and look!  He sees you pick your nose and turns around.  You coulda been the best, man.”

(Seinfeld: “it was a scratch!”)

Maybe there’s some guy in Africa who would’ve been the best hockey player in the world, but just never got the chance to play.

You were useless. Just truly an embarrassment.

Then I want there to be the real lists, that show how we stack up all-time at the things we actually did partake in (and not just sports). 

Like, am I in the top five percentile of people who drive well with their knees?  Where do I rank in total-time-in-the-shower?

The third and final set of lists needs to be some sort of percentage ratio thing that shows your total-potential-achieved. 

As in, maybe I was given bottom-ten percent writing ability, but given that I made a living at it, I maxed it out.  Which gifts did I waste most?

It’d be fun just to have the raw data.  Ounces of beer consumed?  Most burgers nommed?  Gimme the digits here, who rode the most elephants?

This guy here, this guy's got LISTS. /Gruden'd

I want to die, meet this guy, and have him be like. “Check. This. Out, dude.  Complete, comprehensive lists.  You were a fucking HORRIBLE volleyball player.”

…See. I told you it was going to sound batshit crazy. 

But still. ….I just really wanna know where I rank in all-time total-feet-I’ve-thrown-a-baseball, total-times-hitting-enter-on-a-keyboard and a million other things.

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Moving on here….

Go read Bill Simmons column on the Miami Heat, Lebron and Wade, and what he thinks is going on with that team.  I know you’re “sick of hearing about the Heat,” but they’re intensely interesting, and this is the best article I’ve read on where they’re at.

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And now, your moment of zen.  After Seguin scores…. 

Easton Synergy EQ50 Review

 

New Puck Daddy: The call-up from hell - I got called up to Bridgeport while Bri was in the air, flying from NY to see me in Utah.

New Hockey Primetime: Why I agreed with the decision to bench Kovalchuk

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I had the opportunity to review Easton’s new Synergy EQ50 last night, and by review I mean, omgIgotanewstick.  It’s been awhile.  The odd piece of free equipment might be the most randomly awesome thing to come from this blog. (Aside from all of you great people, of course.)

*Ding dong*

Yes?

Sign for this, please?

BOOM.

Done.

What could it be?

Ooo, pretty.

So, yeah, the review:

It’s a fantastic stick.

Now, I know what you’re thinking:  You probably think I have to say that if I want to get anything else to “demo” from Easton.  Untrue.  I get product fairly regularly that I don’t mention because I don’t like it.  If you don’t have anything nice to say….

First, a quick point:  when it comes to choosing a stick, the most important thing is getting your specs right.  You’re better off using a stick with the curve, flex, grippiness and weight you like than getting a fancy brand stick in a curve that sucks.  The good folks at Easton happened to get all those things right for me, so this was a double-whammy of awesome.

The stick looks sharp, it’s light, has great puck feel, and helped me snipe one bar-down to tie our game last night.  (note: but I AM 0-for-2 in rec league shootouts.)  The puck came off the blade hot without feeling too trampoline-y.  Very crisp.

Interestingly, their gimmick with this one is that you can “counterbalance” the stick.

Now, lets not be suckers here – that’s a total gimmick.  The butt-end has little weights in the plug that look like watch batteries that come out so you can make “adjustments”.  Annnd the heel has a little window portion so you can see the weights in there (but they don’t come out, soo…..?). 

Take a gander at the knob:

A little silly, in my eyes

I left them all in, because? 

The stick is insanely light as is, and felt well balanced (not that that’s a thing I’ve ever thought of before), so hey, why mess with it right?

Anyway, it doesn’t take anything away from the stick, so don’t get too caught up in worrying about that.  They have to come up with new selling points, and since adjustable drivers like the Taylor-Made R7 have been so successful, why not. 

Ooo, here, I snapped a pic of the blade for you.

Purdy.

Those “weights” are permanent.

So yeah: to get past the little weighty-things, the stick is fully badass.  For me, focusing on those would do the stick an injustice.  I’ve only used it once, but with sticks, you pretty much know right away.  I’d say it’s equal-too or better-than any stick I’ve ever used, f’reals.

Sooo, yeah…… I recommend you buy ten thousand each at full price and buy Easton t-shirts and hats and as soon as they send me skates, those too.  Yay!

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This happened.

Tysonnosaurus Rex. rawr.

I mean, I’m embarrassed about the above pic, but how could I possibly not run it?  Fuck.  So embarrassed.  Moving on.

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For those of you who don’t know, you can catch me on XM’s NHL Home Ice (Hockey Primetime Radio) every Saturday around 3EST with my boy James Murphy, and at random times throughtout the week (which I post on twitter, usually) on Sirius with Jeff Marek and crew.

Hope you enjoyed the review!

Guest Blog – Callum “Crushasaurus” McCarthy

 

Howdy folks, still JB here.

For those of you who’ve been around Bourne’s Blog for awhile, you recall there was a day where I wasn’t writing for eleventy-nine websites and raking in hundreds of dollars a month doing it (oh, the glory).  No, all those doors opened because I got a couple breaks.  One, Chris Botta ran my piece about Bri and I on Islanders Point Blank, and two, Jason Kay agreed to let me contribute blogs to The Hockey News.  Sometimes writers just need to get in front of a few eyes.

Today’s guest blogger has also been featured on THN (and I believe has an internship planned there for next summer, Callum?), is a regular commenter on this blog, and is a general smartass.  Which I enjoy.

He’s 19 (and one-fifth)and lives in the UK.  That locale would make enjoying the NHL a little more difficult, one would think, so for your reading pleasure: His story about becoming a hockey fan, and getting into the sport as a writer.  You can check out his blog here and follow him on twitter.  You should also follow me on twitter.

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My Love Affair With Hockey

-by Callum “Crushasaurus” McCarthy (Aged 19 and 1/5)

As a native resident of the United Kingdom, the way I take in hockey probably differs slightly from you guys over on the other side of the Atlantic. For a start, if Minnesota are playing Edmonton until 6am GMT, you can be sure I’ll be awake and watching until its conclusion. 

“Minnesota vs. Edmonton?!” I hear you cry, “But that’s visual torture!”

True. However, as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and I guess that game would fall under something like “abundant, worthless but ultra shiny metal”. Something like that, yeah.

You see, treating hockey like treasure is a habit that has stuck since my mid teens, as up until the age of 14, I had never seen a live game of hockey in any format — be it in person or on television. Before then, my interest in the game had eminated from and survived solely on video games, and as such, my view of the hockey world was a little warped by the time it came to watching the real thing.

Here is a list of some things I thought about hockey when I was 13.

Here's Rico at the peak of his career.

  1. “Wow! Rico Fata is really amazing!”
  2. “Pronger’s name is funny.”
  3. “Haha! He said “STONED BY LUONGO”! LIKE A WOMAN IN ARABIA!”
  4. “The Washington Capitals are terrible, I should support them and get Dainius Zubrus on a jersey!”
  5. “The Dallas Stars must be like, the best team ever.”
  6. Seriously, it goes on forever and I’m done embarrassing myself for your entertainment.

When my family finally bought a sports package on cable, it came with the North American Sports Network, a channel that provided 200 live NHL games a year. Desperate to immerse myself into this new reality and expand my hockey knowledge further than player ratings and Bill Clement, I must have watched about 190 of them.

It wasn’t so much that the hockey was gripping me on a nightly basis, more the fact that the sport I had grown to love the most, I knew the least about. With so much to learn in a short space of time, my thirst for knowledge was insatiable. I’d routinely put myself through hell (Central Division hockey circa 2007) to learn stats, watch new players and expand my knowledge to a level that I felt proud of.

JB was on a lot of pain meds at the time

I decided to read hockey websites and blogs daily, including this one when it came into existence a couple of years ago (I came here looking for hockey analysis and instead found a picture of a kitten, a story about his grandfather’s soda and something about… PopeTube?). As geeky as this sounds, when a new post on The Hockey News came up, I was genuinely excited to read it. THAT’S how hungry I was for hockey knowledge. 

Naturally, as soon as I felt up to speed, I wrote a lengthy, poorly punctuated rant about how nobody likes hockey in the UK. Being a naïve son of a bitch, I fired this off to Edward Fraser, then web editor of The Hockey News. He  then proceeded to run it as a feature on THN.com.

“Booya!” I thought, “I’m freaking God at this hockey thing!”

Reading that piece back, it’s a good job I kept learning.

Even though now in the present day my knowledge is “good/getting better”, I’m still watching two games a night, still getting a maximum of 4 hours daylight a day and still reading everything I can to learn something that I didn’t know yesterday. Sure, the 5-8 hour time difference is a bit gruelling when you have things to do the next day, but it’s a sacrifice I’m now happy to make.

It wasn’t always that way though. I used to feel jealous of you guys living in North America — jealous of just how easy it is for you to immerse yourselves in the culture of hockey. I felt jealous of your normal sleeping patterns, of your normal social lives and of the fact you could go see it all happen live, if you wanted to. I hated having no one to talk to about it and I hated talking to my Dad about it even more – a man who once earnestly suggested that icing the puck “just to mix it up” would be a good idea.

But there was always one feeling that kept me watching, reading and enjoying — one that has only grown on me with every night of every season since 2005.

It was the feeling I got — and still get — at around 11:30pm when everyone had gone to bed. I have the house to myself, I’ve got my pizza in the oven and I’m more than ready to shack up on the sofa all night with a few beers and a night full of good games. 

Simplified, this feeling is known as “sheer, unadulterated excitement”, and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

P.S. Actually that’s a flagrant lie, I’d happily swap it for an apartment in Toronto if any of you have one going on the cheap?

*Ding* Fresh New Columns, Comin’ Right Up

 

Lots of Bourne reading today, so I’ll keep the post brief:

The Hockey News: I wrote about a lesson I learned later in my pro career, basically about not getting cute.  It’s sort of an advice column that can be summarized with: SHOOT THE FUCKING PUCK.  Don’t pass up opportunities, fire that pigskin, son.

Puck DaddyA piece on hockey sense, and why it’s the most valuable (though unmeasurable) skill in hockey.  There are plenty of NHL-calibre talents in the AHL.

USA Today Power Rankings I mentioned from yesterday.  You’ll notice A) PK Subban didn’t crack the top five rookies, but almost did.  B) Anders Lindback didn’t crack the top five rookies, but almost did.  and C) Nashville is ranked very, very high.

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It’s Breezy’s year for us to spend Christmas with her family (we’ve had her two straight), so that means buying a flight to NY.  At Christmas.  Piling that on top of presents and all that, and it would’ve killed me.  So I’m using this spot to say a MAJOR THANK YOU to my dear mother and stepdad Glenn for buying my ticket on airmiles.  You guys are the best.  Or at least, in the Top 5 on my power rankings list.

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And now, your moment of zen.  Gratuitous kitty porn!  Have a good Tuesday, I’ll be watching Heat/Lakers then heading to softball.  Niiiice.

Thanks to BL for the link.

Top Five: MVP’s, Goalies, Defensemen and Rookies

 

Today’s a fun day for me – it was Power Rankings time over at USA Today.  That means I get to go data-mining and get caught up on which players are underachieving and who’s doing the opposite.  I’ll link to their rankings when they post.

Every other Monday, an esteemed panel of 10 hockey folks (we added Greg Wyshynski this year, to prove just how esteemed we really are) ranks all 30 NHL teams, and votes on the current top five MVP’s, goalies, defensemen, and rookies.  I won’t put my 30 team list up until USA Today uses it accordingly, but I don’t think there’s any harm in batting these other opinions around today.  Feel free to chime in on who I missed or who I overrated from the following lists.

(Ooo, I will say this: St. Louis and Tampa Bay were both in my top five.  Such a crush on St. Louis this year.)

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Yeah that shot probably went in.

This was the first time in over a year my MVP ranking top-five didn’t include a goalie or d-man, so don’t act like I don’t have love for them.

TOP FIVE MVPS

  1. Steven Stamkos
  2. Marian Hossa
  3. Sidney Crosby
  4. Henrik Zetterberg
  5. Daniel Sedin

Always some regrets after you hit “send” to the editor, and I wish I had put Hossa first, I think.

I quite like my inclusion of Daniel Sedin.  He’s been money.

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Up next, goalies:  I struggled with this one the most, as it’s early in the year so it’s a small sample size, which means there’s lots of factors to consider.  Like who they’ve played, home/away, what type of games were they, have they played enough games to be taken seriously…. Once everyone gets more starts, numbers will start to regress to the mean, and we’ll be able to make sense of who’s what.

Hey, Tim.... YOU'RE FUCKING UP MY FANTASY HOCKEY UNIVERSE.

But for now…

TOP FIVE GOALIES

  1. Tim Thomas
  2. Brent Johnson
  3. Jimmy Howard
  4. Kari Lehtonen
  5. Ilya Bryzgalov

Honorable mention to Jaro Halak, Jon Quick and Antero Nittymaki.

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For d-men, again, it’s early in the year.  You have to go as much on name as stats - d-men don’t have to be pouring them in to be effective.  Again, I like my number five here.  He’s been a major anchor and contributor on a team that desperately needed him to live up to those expectations.

8 points in 7 games, nbd.

Oh, and by the way, after my “you don’t have to be pouring points in to be effective” thing, enjoy my number one.

TOP FIVE DEFENSEMEN

  1. Nicklas Lidstrom
  2. Duncan Keith
  3. Shea Weber
  4. Dan Boyle
  5. James Wisniewski

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Rookies up last, and shocker, I once again love my number five (Hall).  His stats have been lacking, but watching him play, they’ll come.  He owned two separate periods of different games that I’ve seen, and as a rookie, that’s one hell of a feat.

3 pts, around 22 mins TOI last five games.

As for Fowler at number one: I don’t care how bad that d-corps is or how average he may look at times, you don’t play minutes like he’s getting without doing some things extremely well.

TOP FIVE ROOKIES

  1. Cam Fowler
  2. Mark Letestu
  3. Derek Stepan
  4. Oliver Ekman-Larson
  5. Taylor Hall

So what’s your feedback folks?  Where am I missing and who am I overrating?

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First, here’s a picture of a Miami University D-man Will Weber, after having a close shave with a skate blade this past week (horrible, horrible pun for a guy who could’ve died).  Goo.

Crikey.

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And last, Lebron’s new commercial.  Those folks at Nike know how to work it, boy.

 

One-Touch Passes – More Random Thoughts

 

New Puck Daddy: The Top Five Distractions Players Face From the Bench.

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So, every price ends in .99, I get it – we see the small first number, it looks more affordable, and are thus more likely to buy it.

But are we?  Am I the only one who finds round numbers more appealing?  I gotta believe if a shirt is 16 bucks and the price tag says “$16″, that’s more appealing than seeing four digits in “$15.99,” isn’t it?  It just stresses me out less, I think.

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Misss-ter JOnes annd me...

If you were a band, like say…. the Counting Crows.  People know who you are, and you’ve had hit singles before.  You have a unique sound and could still make lots of money doing it, but…. you just haven’t been able to write anything decent in years.

Wouldn’t you hire a songwriter eventually?  I mean, these custom-built stars come from American Idol, and someone writes them a hit like the first six months after the show.  There are obviously people who can write something relatively close to a hit with regularity out there.  Don’t you just swallow your pride and say “hey um, here’s a bunch of cash… can you write me something Mr. Jones-ey?”

Or am I way off here?  I’m not implying song-writing is remotely easy, I’m just saying: clearly there are gifted people out there who can help.  Make me a new Counting Crows cd that’s tolerable.

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Doesn’t eveyone have a “Damn, that guy made it?” guy?

"No, no he's not really, is he? George? The PRESIDENT?"

Like some guy you played high school basketball with that was tall but kinda slow and not that smart and rode the bench…. just up and made the NBA when you weren’t looking? (Okay, bad example for the Canadians, but still.)

It’s super-common in hockey – whether it’s luck, natural development, or just plain hard work, I gotta believe most of you have a “wow, I can’t believe he made it that far” guy (in the business world too). 

I mean, crap, GEORGE BUSH BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, I think you’d have to agree a few of his high school/college buddies went *puppy dog head tilt* “who’s president now, sorry?”

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Our softball team summed up the steroids era of baseball beautifully on Tuesday.  We were getting a new bat, and someone brought up how “all” our opponents used juiced bats (there’s some way to do it in softball, iunno).

My league is in 8 MLB replica parks, very cool.

Well, I don’t want to cheat or do anything illegal though, y’know.

Yeah, but we’re just putting ourselves at a disadvantage if we don’t do it too.

Yeah, you’re right, lets get a juiced bat.

I have no idea if we are or not (and frankly don’t really care), but still, it was funny to see how easy it would be to get caught up in that culture.  Well, I’m not willingly falling behind, that’d be dumb.  JUICE ME.

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Just so you all know: If you’re a remotely competent hockey player, you can be taught to pick up the puck with your blade flat and throw it behind your back.  Can we stop obsessing when a player does that, it’s barely any more difficult to do than it is to throw a lacross ball like that (and comparitively, I’m not even good at it).  It was cool when that nine year old kid did it, because he was NINE.  Not so much everyone else.  #ParadeRain

As an add-on, the kid does do the move in like, a millisecond, which is worth badass bonus points.  But still, that’s something you could do.

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And with that nugget, I’m out!  Listen to me on XM radio this Saturday, the Hockey Primetime Show.  12:15 EST I think, I’ll find out the exact station.  Have a great Friday!

The NHL and NFL: Go All-Or-Nothing On Head Contact

 

New Puck Daddy: Basically an argument for why NHL players should be allowed to spray fans with water bottles.  For those of you who enjoy PD commenters at their finest….. I knew I had it comin’ today.  Enjoy!

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The NHL and the NFL are entering a new era together – one where men have grown bigger and faster with better gear and better training and all the things that add up to a more exciting product.

But people are getting hit in the head so hard they’re dying young.  Others are being left ”punch-drunk,” as it used to be called in boxing (a euphemism for showing signs of brain damage).   Yeah, not so awesome.

Both sports will evolve, because they have to.

In football, it’s happening by The Sledgehammer Effect.  A few games, and few hits, and ho-ly-crap are they brutal.  One in particular caught my eye for it’s brutality (cheapshot headbutt), and the other for it’s football movie-like ridiculousness.

In hockey, it’s happening by The Woodpecker Effect.  Of course, there are plenty of big hits on a nightly basis - but for the most part, it’s the constant wear and tear of rapping your head off the boards on a nightly basis.  Just *thump* “ugh”, *bang* “ow” *crack* “goddamn.”

Somedays you wake up and find out you hurt in places that you don’t remember getting hit.

Half the time they put these guys back in the game

I think we’ll eventually end up taking all head shots out of both sports entirely.  It’ll be hard, and will require a major learning curve on the part of the players and generations of coaches, but think about it – people play and enjoy flag-football in rec leagues around the US.  It’s a great game even without the violence. 

Now, I’m not saying play flag football, we just have to kill the intentional head blows.  Nobody is going to stop watching a great game because guys are only allowed to collapse their opponent’s sternum, and not their skull.

It would be hard to catch a guy clean (if they went to body-tackles-only), but damnit, that’d be the new, difficult art of tackling.  If you can launch your entire self into some receiver and separate his shoulder, that’s fine.  We want it to be a tough sport.  But not being able to play catch when your older isn’t the same as not being able to recognize your kids.

Players would evolve under those new rules where they could only hit a guys body, and learn to blow people up that way.  Just stay away from the head.  You telling me this isn’t an entertaining hit?  I recommend full screen.

Yeeeaaaahhhhhh.  That was AWESOME.

Players could adjust in hockey too.

I personally never tried to hit an opponent’s helmet, and never met anyone who did (though watching Matt Cooke play, I have to believe some of those guys exist).  All you know sometimes is that a guy is coming at you with his head down, and you’re going to put your shoudler into him.  It’s hard to do that and avoid the head.

Still suffering symptoms today

When hockey does end up taking out those hits (set the over/under at six yearsish), the art will be finding a way to get your shoulder into the guys chest – whether that means you have to get lower, or just hit a side of his body off the head, that would be the learned skill.

Of course, it’s near impossible.  The game often moves too fast to have the time to pick your spot on a guy who’s just a bad player with his head down.  It’s always going to happen in hockey by chance, and the same with football.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t make a rule that says anyone who makes clear, intentional contact with the head first gets punished (maybe it’s just a cash fine?).  We have to at least try and ask guys to avoid the melon – leaving it as “legal” plays down how serious an issue it is.

But it will change. 

There’s just no way we can continue to allow these sports that’re basically breeding bigger/stronger/faster athletes to carry on like this.

I can only think of one other way this could possibly go:

Basically, football (and maybe hockey too) would have to become like the MMA: you know what you’re in for whether you’re watching or participating.  You’d just have to be okay with admitting you like the violence, and competitors would have to be understanding of that the fact that “this is a sport that does irreperable damage, are you willing to take the chance of that to make money?”  We as fans would have to say “since those gladiators are willing to put their lives on the line anyway, I’m more than willing to watch.”  Y’know, like MMA fans.

There could be high-quality no-contact leagues, flag-football and all that good stuff for those who didn’t want on-board, but I’m willing to bet the game would hardly lose a player or fan if it dropped the facade of being pro-family, pro-health, and all that other stuff they use as insincere fronts.

Something has to change, so what’s it gonna be:

(A) Tough luck, Marc Savard/Brian Westbrook, it’s a violent game

or

(B) No more head shots of any fashion, ever.

The NHL is trying to walk the “(A)-and-a-half / almost (B)” line, and it’s just too grey an area.  It’s going to go all-or-nothing at some point.

Personally, I think it’s inevitable that we end up at (B).

The Recipe For Being an Overachiever – HPT

 

Here’s today’s column for Hockey Primetime: The Recipe For Being an Overachiever.

I’m working on a blog post for tomorrow about the NHL and NFL going through this concussion crisis together.  Weeeee!

Putting on a Bigger Mouth Filter

 

For Puck Daddy: First Goals and First Goal Pucks

For USA Today: Info on Bag-Skating

(Note – had this sent to me. I get it, I get it, I should see the movie.  Fitting clip for the above column.)

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Good news for people who want my stuff posted sooner – My article submission time for PD is now two hours earlier, so my columns will run before Puck Headlines over the noon hour, east coast time.  Woohoooo.

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As you all know, the media landscape has changed.  No longer can a columnist put on his fancy hat, drink a scotch, and hand in a column that he won’t have to defend to each and every reader.  ….I’m only assuming such a time once existed.

No, today is interactive.  If you hate my column, it’s pretty easy to let me know.  For example, here’s a fun Wyshynski tweet from this morning.  If you’re pro-PG ratings, cover your eyes:

@wyshynski Why would I have a Devils dildo? To make sex boring and overpaid? RT @iLoveJeffMorris Go get your NJ Devils dildo and stick it up your ass.

See, now there’s a unique exchange between a writer and reader that didn’t happen a decade ago.

In that example, Wyshynski is able to play it off with a light-hearted joke, because he’s funny and in a decent mood. 

I however, live in constant fear of badly damaging my career with one of these interactions.  I’m afraid one day I’ll snap.

Corolla and Simmons: one has to be more censored than the other

As I’ve gained more followers on the twitter, I get more comments from complete buffoons.  As you know, I like interacting with readers, but there’s one inarguable fact: there’s a lot idiots out there, and the internet facilitates their idiocy.  Once again, thanks to those of you who comment here, and are able to agree or disagree with class.

Yesterday I almost lost it.  Almost typed out a searing 140 characters of blue language aimed at a twitter follower I’d never met.  And there’s the meltdown.  It wasn’t even that the person sent me something so horrible, I dunno.  It’s just easy when you can’t see someone to fully dismiss them.

Anyway, I had the common sense not to hit “post.”  But who knows if I’ll be that smart every time.  All columnists can do today is bolt on the best possible filter they can find, and make their points in their articles.  The two-way mirror has become transparent glass.

I get far, far more nice daily comments than crap ones, thankfully.  But like most writers do – okay, most people in general - I’ll get fourty nice comments, fixate on the shitty one, and be tempted to fire back at that one instead of thanking the others.

Or I could just make a career out of being uncensored, I 'spose.

Online stuff blows up in a matter of minutes these days, as demonstrated by Dan Ellis’ twitter comments, and the subsequent folding of his account.  I guess we all just need to be cautious with our comments online, cause it can happen quick.  I’m not looking to tarnish my good name by sinking into the swamp, but man, is it a battle sometimes.

This hockey community is freaking hilarious, and sometimes I find myself getting comfortable the point where I almost write something dressing room-y.  Some people like that stuff, some are sensitive to it, and I’m learning to walk that fine line.  As in, when somebody sends you a “stick it up  your ass” tweet like Wysh got, you just gotta let it go.

Above the fray, Bourno, above the fray.  Above theahhhhhhhh fuck it! 

I’m nowhere near pulling a Shooter McGavin: “Why don’t you people go back to your shanties?” or anything, I’m more just going on record for when it does happen: I saw it coming.

That’s the age we live in I guess.  If/when I do verbal some follower, it’s not like I’ll be the first or last to have done it.  It’s like my entry about Favre/celebs and technology.  There’s a learning curve here, and I’m just going to have to accept that some people are d-bags, and some think I’m one.  Should be a fun ride, don’tcha think?

 

*****

Quick shout-out to the Isles for winning on the road in Toronto without a few big pieces, including Bailey who left the game with a hip injury.  Anyone hear how long he’s supposed to be out for?

Have a great Tuesday!

Pink Ice – No Thanks.

 

I played in two “pink in the rink” games, and I gotta say: pink ice sucks.

Apparently, the answers lie somewhere in this mag. ...Kinasewich!

It’s a cute gimmick, and the cause is awesome.  But if the NFL can get by with a splash of pink on their shoes/hats/gloves, I think ECHL teams can do the same.  Hell, even the pink jerseys are great.  But the ice?  I’ll pass.

(Don’t worry, I’m not missing the larger point – just discussing what it was like to play on.)

For whatever reason, the application of pink in Utah was a semi-catastrophe.  And I mean that in a way beyond just trying to see the puck at a glance, which was next to impossible in itself.  Pink stuff (did they use spray paint, or some powder?) was a quarter of the way up the boards in some places, and it never dried (so I have no idea what it was).

For weeks, you’d get hit into the boards and have some pink streak on your pants.  Please note that it was so annoying that I’ve basically disregarded the not-being-able-to-see-the-puck-as-well part.

Some guys spray-painted their sticks pink, which was enjoyable (and I enjoyed that my one teammate had a good game that night and used the pink RBK for weeks), so there were some perks to the game.  Y’know, aside from the raising money for cancer thing, which is wonderful in a million different ways.

It’s just silly to do the ice.  I think I found it so much harder to see the puck that it put me in some tiny bit of danger - I need my head up as much as possible, thanks.

Is it harder to watch for fans, too?

This and That

 

I dropped off the lady-friend this morning sometime around a number that starts with “5″ in the a.m, and sat down on the couch to polish up today’s Puck Daddy column, on why it’s better to have a legit starter and legit back-up than two starters.

Corner of Dobson and Ray

I am an absolute zombie, which is kind of a bummer, cause I intended to go to my favourite sports pub and catch the Isles game at four, and I’d like to be in a good mood.  I’ll need to be if I intend to tolerate barstool chat with The Guy-Who-Can’t-Go-Home-Cause-He-Hates-His-Wife (“Simmons is old!”) and the Guy-Who’s-Been-There-Since-His-Long-Lunch-And-Gave-Up-On-Going-Back-To-Work-So-Now-He’s-Shithoused-And-Chatty. 

I mean, I’ll still probably go, I’ll just be pulling my hat lower.  Gotta get outta the house.  Come on down and watch the Isles game with me if you want.

And here, for no particular reason, is Ralphie pouring a pint:

He has a Darth Tater tatoo, beat that.

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Here’s some fun stuff:

Go check out Joe Posnanski’s piece on the 32 greatest sports calls ever.  I’d say I got goose bumps and chills a full five times, and I only listened to a dozen-or-so of them.  Great stuff there.  Al Michaels “Do you believe in miracles?  YES!”  Made me realize, y’know, I still haven’t seen the Miracle movie.  Isn’t that crazy?  Just sorta thought I’d run into it eventually.

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Yesterday’s Puck Daddy column on “love to win” vs. “hate to lose” was inspired by a phone call with a gentleman name Addison Carpenter who works with Human Exventures.  Basically, they focus on the maximizing the potential within athletes.  Addison, if you’re reading this, please, plug anything you want in the comments section, good chatting with you.  Talk up  Total Player Talent, Who The Puck.com, whatever you want.

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Insert randomly googled image.

Here’s a shared experience:

How many of you smartphone-owning guys keep everything in your left pocket (if you’re a righty) like wallet, keys etc, and just your cell phone in your right?  Admit it, I just nailed your pocket set-up.  If not, whatchu got?  Walk me through your system.  I’m always looking to upgrade.

That brings me to the “I love cargo shorts” segment of today’s blog.  I’m dreading when they go from “not exactly in” to “horribly out of touch,” cause they’re just so practical.  I have two pairs I wear regularly, and I swear, I could go on vacation without packing a bag if I stuffed those things right.

*****

I’ve been obsessing over my new Jimmy Eat World album, cause they only come out with one every few years and they’re like, 12 songs long.  If you like slow, soothing stuff, they always do it up right.  I love the song “Invented” off this album….. called “Invented.”  Get it.

*****

This one is tough to explain, but I’ll do my best.  Actually, I think I just figured it out as I wrote that sentence:

Glencross

There seems to me to be this divide between hockey players who are everywhere at once, and guys who do things singularly well.

Curtis Glencross does each individual skill phenomenally well.  Skates like the wind, heavy shot, can run guys over, all that good stuff.

But something, for me anyway (and remember, we were teammates) was…. not lacking, that’s not the right word, but “off,” maybe?  Maybe since he’s become a pro he’s ironed out those details, but it just seemed like everything had to be perfect for him to showcase that shot, or speed, or whatever.

It probably boils down to this:  he wasn’t a stop and starter.

Someone like Patrice Bergeron, or anyone who people consider to be a great defensive forward, these guys just never seem to be out of the play.  Sometimes they might miss rare, rare opportunities to jump for a breakaway I’m sure, but they just always do it the right way, they’re on the right side of the puck, and you can count on them.

What I’m trying to say is: I feel like Glencross (a great player with tons of skill, whom I like, yada yada) is on one of those bubble hockey tracks and can’t get off it, forward and back, forward and back – meanwhile Bergeron is able to be anywhere.  I dunno, that was meandering, but there’s a point in there somewhere.

*****

Ho’kay, friends, Romans, countrymen – it’s a Justin/Tyson solo weekend.  Follow me on twitter if you’d like to be a part of the magic.

And in the meantime….. Here’s me on Off The Record with Michael Landsberg.  We have a good time doing those bits, and he actually seems like a really good guy.  Despite his preference for what Wyshynski described on-air as ”baby gap tees.”

Watch Bourne on TSN

*****

TGIF!  Hope it’s as sunny and warm there as it is here!  C’mon down to Nate’s around 4:00 for a beer!

Love To Win vs. Hate To Lose

 

Today’s column, for Puck Daddy: (my apologies - I overestimated my ability to update Bourne’s Blog five days a week and do five columns.  Still, it’ll never be less than three, and never more than five posts per week.  Thanks for all your support!)

Love To Win vs. Hate To Lose

:)

How Technology Is Pushing Celebrities Into An Era of Transition

 

Here’s a reminder and my column links, then I’m gonna launch into a theory I have.  Should be fun today:

Reminder:

If you see or hear any extreme quotes (great/awful/exciting/dull), feel free to fire them over in the comment section or to my email or via carrier pigeon or whatever.  I’ll try to keep our Best and Worst Quote-Giver Standings in the right sidebar relatively well updated.  BizNasty is starting the slow, inevitable pull-away (thanks to last nights quote about Chris Thorburn: “He can smoke a cigar in the shower his nose is so big.”  Now THAT’S good stuff.)

Columns:

Tuesday’s Puck Daddy: The vulgar world between whistles

Wednesday’s Hockey Primetime: Making the step from college to pro

*****

Today’s theory is an extension of Bruce Arthur’s lastest column on Brett Favre: Great American Entertainer.

Basically, Arthur’s column is a walk-through on the ‘ol gunslinger (or as columnist Jason Whitlock has started calling him, “the ‘ol dongslinger), and how he’s gone from being everything a hero quarterback should be, to some low-level narcissist who constantly provides a high-level of entertainment.

From Arthur:

In the process, he went from being the epitome of what we were told quarterbacks were supposed to be — square-jawed, durable, charming, a little reckless, heroic at times, a Marlboro man with a golden arm — to a selfish, drama-loving diva.

In the piece, Arthur mentions how this has become the age of implosion for famous sports figures.  He points to Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tiger Woods, maybe Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, and now it looks like you can add Brett Favre to that list.  And just for kicks, let’s all read this awesome parenthetical paragraph he tacked on before we continue:

(By the way, between Favre’s alleged dong shots and Tiger Woods’ marriage-dissolving text messages, Derek Jeter should offer a seminar. No, really. He should rent a nice hall, and print up flyers or send out a promotional email or something, and explain to fellow sports stars how you can live in a high-profile city, have sex with almost anybody in the world, never once be caught up in scandal or public disapproval of any kind, and stay a hero. He could charge $1-million a minute.)

LIterally, he could charge one million a minute.  Tiger would attend for hours. 

After that preamble, here’s my theory:

Only football jersey I have is his Packers one.

This is a transition period for professional athletes and other stars in general, because of technology.  As a group, they will be in more public scandals in a five-to-eight-year span (of which we’re in now) than they ever were before, and ever will be after.

When our stars of today grew up, their heroes could do nearly anything within the law (and some things outside of it) and get away with it.  There were no cellphones, let alone any that also functioned as picture-and-video cameras.  There was no twitter, no facebook, no voicemails to convert to mp3 files, no sex-tape making and sharing devices, no texting, no recording tools, just…. word-of-mouth and ink, really.

If someone saw or heard a celebrity do something shady they could be talked to, or paid off, or just generally written off as a nut.  What’s that rumour you heard?  Ridiculous.  Then said star would hit a homerun or throw a touchdown and it would all go away.  Hell, it almost all goes away today if the fallen star plays well on the field after we know they did something horrible (Vick!), let alone when all the evidence they had was a few people playing ”the telephone game.”

Since those rumours stayed unproved yammerings, there was no reason to believe anything but the best about those highest on our pedestals.  Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, Joe Montana and Joe Namath, Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky, you name it – rumours may exist about many, but 90% of fans still believe in the purity of their idols.  And they should – innocent until proven guilty, and it’s healthy to believe in your fellow man.  Maybe a touch naive, but overall a positive thing I’d say.

A simpler time, when nobody ever ever did anything wrong ever.

Our stars of today seemed to learn from those stars of yesterday - nobody ever really got in trouble, regardless of what the whispers on the street may have been.  Caution must not have seemed important when fame reared its pretty little head.

Now it’s a whole new ball game. 

Any Olympian of years past was free to rip a bong hit three years from their next Olympic event and maintain a positive public image.  Thanks to everyone having cameras in their jeans these days, Michael Phelps is the butt of hippie pot-smoker jokes that make it seem like he’s both Cheech and Chong.  For him, I doubt that’ll change anytime soon.  It’s just to funny to pass up.

Soon, these stars won’t be so caught off guard by this new era of media and technology.  They must be seeing that things are different now.

And so, they’ll learn.

The next generation of heroes will have new handlers and a new education.  They will see how the shady dealings of today’s celebrities were not aided by technology, but rather undermined by it.  It will leads to a fork in the road, and stars will go one of two ways:

That's veteran, right there.

They’ll either:

(A) develop more clandestine methods, with a more airtight group than Tiger Woods (if possible), and learn from the likes of Derek Jeter  or 

(B) shape up.  You have to be Batman to be a successfully scuzzy celebrity today, and some might find it’s just not worth the effort.

It’s not Babe Ruth days anymore.

So here we are, in our chaotic little transition period.  A time where the “I can do anything I want” celebrities of today are learning that they can’t.  The ride has been fun to follow (while a little unsettling), and we’re not at the fork in the road yet.

But in the coming years, most stars will have to make the choice:  Do they want to be Batman, or respectable? 

I’ll let Arthur close us out:

(You know, not enough people are talking about how impressive it is that the oldest non-kicker in the NFL was able to master sending pictures of his junk, which is something the teenagers are reportedly doing these days. He really is like a kid out there!)

Praise For Comeau, Other Ramblings

 

 NEW PUCK DADDY: The vulgar world between whistles.

*****

Let’s start the week off right: 

I was creeping through a friend’s profile pics on facebook, and found this gem.  Yeah.

Annnnnd we’re off!

*****

I won’t be FJM’ing Lambert’s links today, cause I don’t wanna run that gimmick into the ground too quickly, and I’m starting the week on a Tuesday (sorry).  That said, yesterday’s was great, so go check it out here.  My Puck Daddy column from Friday was basically “You’re team is 1-0?  Go crazy.”  It’s here.

For those who want to tune in, tomorrow I’m on HNIC radio at 5:30 pm EST for 25 minutes or so, should be fun. (CBC Sports – Sirius Satellite Channel 97 and 127)

*****

Many people predicted SNL’s new impressionist, Jay Pharoah, would blow up quick as soon as he got the chance to showcase his stuff this season.  His Denzel from Saturday was so bang-on… I mean, just watch.  You have to watch (“you knew what color it was when you brought it home.”).   My only tiny fear is that every skit he’s in is going to die like the last one – a few minutes to showcase how great he is, then a story that fizzles.  But whatever.  He’s awesome.

*****

Hoptober Golden Ale, by New Belgium.  I generally don’t like hoppy beer, but found this one to be deeee-ricious.  Getcher self some.

*****

 So, the New York Islanders beat the New York Rangers (ha!) 6-4 yesterday in a matinee game.  A game in which they trailed 4-3 with seven minutes to go in the third period, and were without Streit, Okposo, and Tavares.

I simply could not have been more impressed with Josh Bailey or Blake Comeau. 

Much improved.

I’ve said this before about Blake: When we used to skate together in the summers, and he was near the end of his junior career (and in his AHL days) I was always super-impressed with his talent level.  I mean really, in a game with Dany Heatley, Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and more, I always thought Blake had the best hands.

So when we were both at Islanders camp and Blake was out there hitting as a priority, I wasn’t sure what to think.  Basically, I figured he was foregoing a chance to be a top six skill guy in the league by trying to make the sacrifice, become a grinder, and get into the league early.

Well, nobody in the history of hockey walked into a better situation for getting to use and develop their skills - he started playing for the Isles right when they were having a ton of injuries and had a bad team, so he got a lot of minutes early (I know a player drafted by Detroit in the past ten years who was a great player, but never made the team cause there’s never an open spots).  And over the past few seasons, he’s been given the time and opportunity to develop slowly, so he’s going to be able to go from grinder to skill player.

He looked like a top six forward to me yesterday, I can tell you that much.  If he can continue to use some of that physical play with his offensive contributions, he’ll be a hell of an asset for the Isles.  Impressive.

Blake will be doing an interview with me for Puck Daddy this week – my intent is to not ask specific questions like a real reporter anymore, but to just generally BS about the life of an NHLer, the way my columns tend to do. 

Okay, that was a lot of praise for one player in one post, so I’ll touch on Josh Bailey tomorrow – just know for now that I think Bailey could be not just a good player, but an NHL all-star someday. Looks incredible so far this year.

*****

As for our boy James Winiewski…. too bad he was such a buffoon last game, cause I’d love to praise his play too.  Check out my column today for Puck Daddy, about On-Ice Taunting.

Hope things are going well for everyone – it’s just another 88 degree October day here. …maybe I’ll go swimming….

Before I sign off, here’s three pictures of my cat when he’s not on his back, just so you know he can, believe it or not, walk:

I go play with other cats?

I need to go in and lay on my back...

Jump preparation.

Dancing With Battle of the Blades, Could The Oilers Be Fo’rilz?

 

Today’s Puck Daddy: Why the first few games of the season actually do have more value than mid-season ones.

Great matchup

*****

Just a reminder – head on over to Hockey Primetime.com at 6 pm EST and 8 pm EST to watch college hockey and chat with myself and Blake Benzel.   Notre Dame vs. Holy Cross is the first game (not as interesting), Wisconsin vs. Boston University is the second one (more interesting, plus I’ll probably have a pint in my hand for that one).  So yeah.  Do that.

*****

I occassionally get help for blog topics in my email (still waiting to write the one on player visits to hospitals, I promise), and this one was terrific:

I can think of nothing that better illustrates both the commonalities and differences between Canada and the United States than the hit shows in the respective countries:

 

US – Dancing With the Stars
Canada – Battle of the Blades

Ain’t that the truth.

Love that he's wearing hockey skates, annoyed by the show (that I've never seen).

To me, both of these shows seem like the entertainment equivalent of reading a Rick Reilly column these days (utterly painful)……{actually, fuck it, I can’t let Reilly get off that easily.  I used to love his work.  Couldn’t wait to turn to the last page of Sports Illustrated.  If I was ever at a doctors/dentist office with an SI subscription, I’d go through them one-by-one to catch up.  I bought a book of his.  I cried with regularity throughout.  But ho-ly-shit, has anyone ever mailed in talent quite like this guy?  Go read his latest, please: Help Me Help Lebron James.   He’s gotten so bad Deadspin has stopped making fun of him.}

WOW, where was I – right, those shows.  If Battle of the Blades is anything near as bad as Dancing With the Stars, then whooosh.  Sorry, Canada.

But the point is, the two shows are identical programs, we Canadians apparently just strapped skates to their feet and used hockey players for stars.  Sooooo EXACTLY what you would joke about if you were to guess what would be the most popular show in Canada right now. 

What do I think they watch up there?  I dunno, Dancing with the Stars… on ice?  Ooo, but with hockey players!

Hey, give the people what they want, I support that.

For those of you who care about the show, new Puck Daddy writer Erin Nicks has done a great job covering what’s going on in the show.  I’m really looking forward to reading more of her work, when it’s not about THAT.  I’ll let the same email close us out on this:

George Laraque takes 13 stitches at Battle of Blades rehearsal. Apparently some 4-foot-11, 98-pound figure skater can do more damage than Derek Boogard.

Ha!

*****

We know the NHL has become more about being young, fast, and skilled in the past decade.  There’s a place for bruisers, but increasingly, it’s the team with the unstoppable, dangly waterbuggs (<— Big Boi tribute) that’ve gotten it done.  Kane, Toews, Crosby, Datsyuk and so on.

Muchos Talento.

Soooo, is there any chance the Oilers might just hustle themselves into being trouble for opponents…. already?

Never have I so quickly recanted an opinion as I have with my Pacific Division pre-season predictions.  After Vancouver, I had:

 Calgary
Minnesota
Colorado
Edmonton

Part of me thinks you could flip that exact four-pack-prediction upside down (or near to, putting Edmonton 2nd is a tad aggressive), and you’d be closer to how the division could end up.

I’m not foolish enough to think that we can learn that much from one game, but as I wrote in my column today, if a team gets it going early (or can’t *coughCalgarycough*), you just never know who might be this year’s Coyotes.

*****

Short and sweet today friends, gotta get Monday’s bit for THN started before it’s live blog time.  Have a greatastic weekend.

It’s fahking gorgeous in Phoenix right now.

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