Subscribe to Bourne's Blog Grab My Feed!Subscribe to Bourne's Blog Subscribe to Comments

Because I Feel Like Typing Words While Killing 11 Hrs At JFK

 

Oh hai, hockey fans and fans of other randomness (cats).  Ooo, by the way (I like that I have a tangent one sentence in) Bri and I are shopping for cat numero deux, a ragdoll.  Before you beak me, remember: it’s better than babies, for now.  Also, don’t tell my Mom, she doesn’t support it.

So sorry for the time off from Bourne’s Blog, but y’know, a dude needs a break once in awhile, and I was still writing columns.  I’ll be back pecking the keys full-time on Monday, when my brother leaves Phoenix.

For those of you who haven’t been following me on twitter, here’s my story, in short:

I was flying back to Phoenix from NY on the 26th.  My family was flying TO Phoenix from Canada on the same day.  We were going to have a lil make-up mini Christmas, as I spent my first away from them, with the Gillies family.

My brother and step-sister, who I see like, a few weeks a year, were staying for a week, my Mom and stepdad for three.

As I’m sure you heard, it snowed like an M.F.er all over the Northeast on the 26th.  Our flight was at seven at night, and we knew the storm was coming, so we woke up and checked our flight.  There was not a flake of snow on the ground.  Our flight was cancelled.

The next one (and believe me, we exhausted all our options.  I’ll say it, I’m awesome at finding ways to work the airlines and their systems, but when more than FIVE THOUSAND FLIGHTS are cancelled, good luck).  I even looked into busing home after checking flights out of Philly, DC, Baltimore etc.) we could get on was Tuesday night, 48 hours later.  So we booked that, and days with my brother went *poof* into the wind.

Tuesday, we were all set to leave.  It had snowed a bunch early on, but nothing since that Sunday, and was sunny and blue.  Cancelled (equipment imbalance. Basically, the storms stopped planes from coming here, so they could fly people out no problem, they just…had no planes). 

Next available flight: Friday the 31st, getting into Phoenix at 11pm.  Jeff was to depart Sunday morning (and still is).

I’ll save you the rest, but leave it at this: After much fenagling, Bri is on a flight to Atlanta this morning, and connecting to Phoenix this afternoon.  I fly out of JFK at 7pm, so I’m here, with 11 hours to kill (seven to go).

On a brighter note….this is the Rag we’re looking at:

Bri has the good one, I'll fire it up when I get it sent to me.

 The color will spread to most of his face (he’s a blue-mitted ragdoll), and he’s adorable.  Name suggestions?

*****

So Christmas was a whirlwind.  Visit them, drink this, drink that, visit them.  I mean, constant.  I even hung out with fellow PD writer Sean Leahy a couple times and had an absolute blast, the second in a box at the Isles game to watch the Lightning play (the Isles won in overtime on the Tavares winner, miracle of miracles).

Below is a pic of the aftermath, in which he came to the Gillies to watch 24/7, which Pam had DVR’ed for us…..in Spanish.  Ah well, good try.

The Gillies fully dumb, fully huge Newfoundland, Cash.

I actually toured the NHL offices (courtesy Mark Fischel, the credential guy for NHL events, and absolute gem of a human) after our engagement photos too, so that was pretty cool.  Check out the entrance to the NHL offices “show floor,” AKA the one visitors walk into.  While we were there some of the head honchos were having a meeting in a glassed-in conference room.  Very interesting stuff.

The offices are more badass than I expected, very Men In Black.

We actually met NHL.com writer Brian Compton for beers later that night – he was a great guy too, we had a hell of a day.

Now, a few more pics!  I’ll be back writing soon - I’m sure Callum has another post in him before I’m back, enjoy!

This was given as a gift from Clark to my bro-in-law, a Beantown-based Bruins fan.

The 1.5 year old Cash again.

And last, a link to my twitter account so you can (a) watch the TwitVid that so succinctly summarizes Long Island (it’s a local commercial), and (b) follow me and my travel and maybe TwitPics of this dude beside me wearing a sweater-vest over a fully-buttoned plaid button-up, eating BK so aggressively he has to repeatedly stop to wipe sweat from his brow.

UPDATE: He ate my phone.

Callum McCarthy: Capitals Playing To Their Weaknesses, Not Strengths

My name is Callum McCarthy, and I will be your host on Bourne’s Blog until Justin finishes his Christmas eating binge. This could be any time around March. There’s a distinct possibility you have absolutely no idea who I am, so for those who don’t know, here’s a piece I wrote for this blog explaining my hockey background.

You can follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, but preferably both.

I don't want your fucking half-eaten cookie.

********************************************************************************************************The Washington Capitals are a team in transition; that much we know. We know where they came from, and we know why they’re trying to get away from that — they sucked when it mattered — but as for their destination? That remains a mystery to most.

Beyond suggestions of “The Promised Land”, the end product George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau are looking for in order to win a Stanley Cup is still lost in a fog of slumps and shutouts. It took a virtual bye against the Ottawa Senators for the Caps to prevent their losing streak from stretching to nine games, but even with a W on the board, they still lack rhythm going into the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Where before the Capitals would play their way out of a hole, Boudreau and McPhee are keen to make their team dig their way out this time — something that this particular collection of players are almost alien to.

It is this stylistic cleansing that management hope will turn their playoff fortunes around, but as McPhee is finding out the hard way, it may already be too late.

Since the lockout, the Caps have been drafting anything and everything that put up points. In an effort to discontinue the yearly suck that had infected the Verizon Center, they have brought in the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mathieu Perreault, Francois Bouchard, Anton Gustafsson, and more recently Evgeny Kuznetsov — all of which have either put up big numbers in major junior or the WJC — to bolster their goal tally. From the day Alex Ovechkin took to the Verizon ice, Washington hockey has been about scoring goals and looking fly like a G6 while you do it.

Five years down the line, McPhee has seen great goaltending and solid defensive hockey put the Caps out of their misery one too many times in the postseason. He has seen teams grind and graft their way through playoff rounds to give them a shot at the prize, and for McPhee, enough is seemingly enough.

The trade of second-liner Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche in return for stay-at-home D-man Scott Hannan is likely to be the first of many to make them “harder to beat” in the postseason. Alexander Semin could be on the block come March 1, and the Capitals may seek to reshape their pool of prospects which is top heavy to say the least.

Until McPhee can start making physical changes, Bruce Boudreau has been given the unenviable task of trying to mould an offensive minded lineup into one that can play ugly when necessary. No more lazy backchecking, no more risky moves in the neutral zone, just solid hockey that wins games.

Well, that’s the idea anyway.

Washington could be without their resident percussionist come March 1.

The transition from offensive flash to defensive grit is one that McPhee and Boudreau admit will take time, but whether it is even possible with this current roster of players will remain to be seen. For some on this Capitals team, they have been playing the same way for 5+ years. Alexander Semin, who made his debut in the 2003-04 season for the Capitals, has never played in such a system. As the saying goes, you can’t teach a 26 year old dog new tricks.

By enforcing a grinder’s philosophy on a team stacked with stars, the Caps went on an eight game skid that at several points could have been snapped with the sort of hockey that comes naturally to them, especially against Florida at home. But instead, Boudreau insisted on “outworking” the Panthers, something that the Capitals simply didn’t have to do.

The idea that a team can replicate playoff hockey in preparation for the real thing is, to me, hilarious. To tell a talented team to go out and try too hard at things they never had to think about before is, to me, a sure-fire way of losing games. To blame playoff losses on winning too much or being too good is, to everybody and his dog, plain absurd.

McPhee and Boudreau believe that there is a formula that must be adhered to in order to win a Stanley Cup; that getting pucks deep and all that jazz will automatically result in postseason wins. There isn’t, and it won’t. The best thing that Capitals management can do is let this team play to its strengths, not its weaknesses.

This team wasn’t built for grit or for battles in the corner. It was built for steamrolling every team that got in its way. To reduce such a sublime roster to playing like a stone-handed bunch of drones doesn’t make them harder to beat at all, it forces them to put focus on the weakest part of their game. Playing defense is just not what they were built for, and McPhee should know that. Without a partial or total rebuild of the franchise, the Capitals will continue to lose games whilst playing in this style. This team could win 9-1 or lose 5-0 on any given night, and no amount of tactical brainwashing can change that.

For the Caps, there is no new direction or philosophy needed. There is nothing that can be done about a goaltender on a hot streak or a player being out of form in the postseason, just like there is nothing that can be done about a Capitals team on an offensive roll. And should Boudreau and McPhee let their boys play, the rest will be left to lady luck, just like every other team that makes it to the Spring dance.

As for the formula that they seek to conform to, there is no such thing. For the Blackhawks, Penguins, Red Wings, Hurricanes, Lightning and The Sherminator, it was just their time.

Callum McCarthy: 7 Hockey Thoughts and a Lame Christmas Joke

I was once the owner of a rather impressive mullet. I should probably bring that beaut back.

My name is Callum McCarthy, and I will be your host on Bourne’s Blog until Justin finishes his Christmas eating binge. This could be any time around March. There’s a distinct possibility you have absolutely no idea who I am, so for those who don’t know, here’s a piece I wrote for this blog explaining my hockey background.

You can follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, but preferably both.

Without further ado, here’s some hockey thoughts to kick you off. Enjoy!

**********************************************************************************

1. If Allan Walsh was my agent, I would have hogtied him and thrown him into a ravine by now.

Mr. Walsh, Marc-Andre Fleury already has a nickname; “Tank” does not rhyme with “Polak” and Michael Frolik’s name is not primed for any witty shortening (or lengthening, in the case of most Walsherisms) in the English language. Please cease these exceedingly odd campaigns with immediate effect. #PAVELECTRIC

2. I love Eric Staal, always have done, and I’m beginning to get the feeling that those neutral toward the Carolina Hurricanes (fans of all 29 other teams, then) have forgotten just how good this guy is. Like Crosby, Staal hasn’t had a decent winger since the dawning of time and still puts up a point per game nearly every season. He’s currently on pace for 85 points with 41 goals, and it’s incredibly likely that the vast majority of those 41 goals will come with very little help from anyone else.

I know it’s a well-plundered argument, but just imagine if this guy played for the Leafs? Actually no, don’t. He’d be clocking 47 points a season and having statues built in his honour.

3. Sami Salo’s wife is one hell of a patient wench.

4. It has recently come to my attention that I, Callum McCarthy, do not in fact share a name with the Minnesota Wild’s Cal Clutterbuck. “Cal” apparently appears on his birth certificate, meaning that the last three years of me thinking that my name was just about the coolest thing going has been nothing but an elaborate ruse.

I was going to put a picture of Clutterbuck with his moustache and a caption reading, "Boner Killer". But then I found him doing an RKO, and wrestling beats dicks.

Come to think of it, there are only two people close to me who have called me “Cal” with any consistency, and they happen to my mother and my girlfriend — not exactly an ideal pairing. I recently had to explain to the girlfriend that she should consider switching her handle for me, as I’m basically given a choice between thinking about my mother or Clutterbuck’s moustache every time I hear it. In certain situations, that is not what I want.

5. Patric Hornqvist was really good last season, so the Nashville Predators threw a load of cash at him to lock him under contract for three seasons. Now that he’s gone back to being a bit of a failure, the Preds have absolutely no way of moving him beyond waivers. Assuming their internal cap sits at $50 million a year, moving Hornqvist is impossible with so little space between them and the cap ceiling.

David Poile’s work over the past 3-4 years could accurately be described as “shrewd”. However, giving $3 million a year to someone who is streaky as all hell is anything but that in my book. #DUMBALECTRIC

6.Watching HBO’s documentary on the Pens/Caps road to the Winter Classic, it worried me as a Caps fan to see the dressing room so flat while Boudreau was bringing out the hairdryer. It seems that they’ve heard his foul mouthed rants that one too many times and that that particular technique has lost its edge, which is something incredibly worrying should the Caps find themselves down in a playoff series this Spring.

It seems that when the going gets tough, Ovie goes silent.

7. Speaking of the Caps, I think it may be time to withdraw them as Stanley Cup contenders. No, not because of their 1,000,000 game losing streak, but because of this apparent “change of direction” that is held to be so crucial by Caps management. After plundering all of their cap space into a skilled offense that can out-gun any team in the league, George McPhee and Boudreau seem keen to play a tighter, more defensive brand of hockey.

Should McPhee decide not to blow up the roster below the top line, that is going to take a long time to sink in for quite a few of his players. The trade of Tomas Fleischmann could be the first move of many by McPhee to try and get this roster ready for the physicality of playoff hockey, and to me, it’s a panicky move. It may take another two seasons of partial rebuilding for McPhee to get the roster he wants to play a complete brand of hockey, and it will be a minor miracle should the Caps go all the way whilst attempting such a tactical transition.

I’ll expand on this in a column tomorrow.

8. Finally, a non-hockey thought. I currently work full-time in a supermarket so I can buy a load of shit that I don’t need, and the only things I am hearing at the moment are Christmas songs. As a result, it has become apparent to me that nearly every Christmas song sung by a female is about sexually pleasing Santa/Santa being sexually pleasing.

In lieu of this discovery, I have penned a Christmas tune imaginatively titled “Santa’s Juicy Pump Action Yoghurt Rifle”. Ke$ha’s going to sing it, and I’m going to be fucking rich.

*********************************************************************************************************

Tomorrow’s edition of Not Bourne’s Blog is a proper column! So yeah, let’s still do that. See you tomorrow!

Happy Holidays!

 

Sorry to have to say it folks, but…. Bourne’s Blog is taking a break for Christmas.  I’m spending the holiday with Bri’s side in New York this year – my first away from my family, EVER, at age 28.  Impressive, hey?

I’m really looking forward to it though, she’s got a fantastic family too.  Thanks so much for the support this year, it’s been a great start to the season.  Check out my latest for Puck Daddy – on why I think the Coyotes attendance will go up here in Phoenix – and most importantly:

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

I’ll be back writing on the 28th, I’m thinking.  I’ll still be submitting all my daily columns to Puck Daddy, The Hockey News, USA Today and Hockey Primetime, so be on the lookout for those.

You can follow me on twitter if you want to know what’s going on in my world.  Somehow I’ve accumulated 3,400-plus followers, which is insane.

I’m thinking Callum McCarthy may post 4-5 times while I’m taking my little Bourne’s Blog leave, and why not?  He’ll do it for free, has some good ideas and writes well.

Again, enjoy your winter, and thanks so much for all the support!

Teddy Bear Toss Video, Two Columns

 

The teddy bear toss can be a momentum killer, but it’s well worth it.  I always enjoyed it.  Hows about this one:

Deadspin says the Calgary Hitmen fans threw 23,096 of ‘em, impressive.

*****

Hockey Primetime: Making the case that the Calder eligibility standards are too low

Puck Daddy: Examining the Penguin’s whiteboard in the dressing room, stacking Bylsma against Boudreau from HBO’s first, awesome, 24/7 episode.  I’m bummed my wrist is killing me, lots to say about the show.  In summary: watch it!

Guest Post – Callum McCarthy’s Piece “NHL’s Cold War on Character”

 

This piece is absolutely tremendous.  Enjoy.

*****

NHL’s Cold War on Character

-by Callum McCarthy

 

Hockey has always been a sport filled with consummate professionals — real men with stiff upper lips that grew moustaches for no other reason than to wear them as a beacon of sheer manliness. The sort of guys that your manly Dad wouldn’t mind your sister marrying simply because they could go on fishing trips together. In fact, they are the sort of men who enjoy fishing, period.

This goal was stupid-good. Google "Linus Omark Shootout" and have a ball.

Being from The Middle of Nowhere, Sweden, Linus Omark is more than likely to have cast a line or two in his time on Earth, but it appears that despite making fish late for something being a likely hobby for a young man born in a shack somewhere in the hills, Omark is not the sort of guy who would grow a moustache. No, sir.

Omark is the possessor of something that has been beaten out of most in the NHL — a genuine sense of fun. I’m not talking about your average douchey jock-in-a-dressing-room sense of humour, where lining someone’s jock strap with deep heat is deemed the pinnacle of wit, no. I’m talking about someone who has the social and mental maturity to have a little fun whilst plying his trade.

Hence, Omark felt that it was time to bust out a spin-o-rama move to begin a shootout attempt. He scored, but after the game, several members of the opposing Tampa Bay Lightning deemed his play to be disrespectful, and that this just showed “what sort of person he is.”

Yes, Dan Ellis. he’s the sort of person that can do a spin-o-rama 80 feet from net and still have it confuse you 3 seconds later. That either makes him a hypnotist, or you a terrible goalie. 

It’s no surprise that hockey is the last of North America’s big four to embrace and accept those who display signs of “eccentricity”, and it seems that even after 30+ years of the NHL being a multinational entity, the idea of multiculturalism still has those in the higher echelons of the sport reaching for something to throw up into.

When you get the chance to use this picture, you take it.

In a league where, as of 2008-09, 27.3% of the players are of European origin, the culture of hockey hasn’t changed anywhere near accordingly. In fact, the only real change within the NHL’s unwritten “socially acceptable behaviour” laws are that moustaches are now grown ironically.

Instead of the influx of Europeans balancing the NHL’s style of play to represent the world game, imports are expected to play the Canadian way from the very beginning to have any hope of making it as a professional in North America. Unless your talents are at the level of Alexander Semin (The Most Talented Guy In The League), deking a D-man at the blueline will have you benched for the forseeable future.

Being the lifeblood of a nation, hockey in Canada has come to represent its people in a most unflattering manner. Conservative, respectful, focused and modest are four qualities that, without context, are almost universally seen as positive characteristics.

However, in the cases of Omark, Subban, Kabanov (to an extent) — and in times gone by, Pavel Bure — these qualities do not apply, nor should they. Outgoing, playful and human to their very core, these men will never fit into the mould that coaches and GM’s pour their draft picks into from the very moment they take the stage wearing the team hat.

Beyond nurturing youngsters to be ready for draft day, Europe’s contribution to hockey outside of international play in the last 20 years has been almost unnoticeable. There are no European coaches in either the NHL or the AHL, and most notably, there are none in junior hockey either. From the moment that those from different cultures come to North America to ply their trade, it’s either play our way or not at all.

A few semi-talented kids....

For Omark in Edmonton, it may well be exactly that attitude that is taken with him. His showboating that brought smiles to so many has no place in an asylum still under the vice-like grip of its wardens, who are keen to fight change from the ground up until they are nailed into a box.

Once the current generation of overseers die out, there will be hundreds of like minded simpletons to take their place. Men like Brendan Shanahan — one of the few talented enough to make it as a hockey player and a socially skilled human being — are few and far between.

In order for the NHL to follow suit, grow and build a product that is both entertaining and welcoming to those outside of its borders, it must allow other cultures to flourish and blend within its ranks instead of forcing them to conform to the Canadian way.

But for as long as people like Don Cherry and Dan Ellis have any say as to what is deemed acceptable behaviour on NHL ice, that idea will continue to be a pipe dream — a dream that was crushed by an archaic Cold War mindset that will prevent the natural progression of a game that does not belong to any one nation or set of values. 

*****

Callum aka Crushasaurus can be found on twitter and his blog

Links, Bobby Ryan’s Great Goal

 

New USA Today: Why I support the “statement fight”

New Puck Daddy: The learning curve of being a rookie, and why some start to get it figured out around now.  Frankly, I like the column’s point, not the writing.  Anyway, this Thursday I’m writing a follow-up to last year’s “Coyotes have no fans cause they’ve always sucked” piece that was so controversial.  Should be fun, totally different stance after living here for 16 months.

*****

The highlight of this year’s NHL season might be my favourite highlight from any season, ever.

Bobby Ryan scored a goal using Miko Koivu’s stick. 

YEAH.  Now THAT’S a thing of beauty.  How likable does Ryan seem?  That line is like, three shades of human – good, neutral and evil (Perry).

First, let’s watch again – it takes awhile for the commentators to figure out what really happened…..

It’s just such wonderful karma.

Apparently after the game, Koivu said something along the lines of “we were both without sticks, so we ended up picking up each other’s,” instead of the more accurate “I lost mine, so I stole his, so he picked up mine, and buried a nice one-timed rebound goal.”

Good triumphing over evil.  I just can’t get enough of that play.  Awesome highlight.

*****

So, I’m starting to feel carpal-tunnel-y, and it’s getting frustrating - excuse if the blog posts aren’t as long as usual.  Check out my columns though, and I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated better throughout the week!

An Old Hartford Whalers Story, A Link

 

As I mentioned yesterday, my Dad is down from Kelowna to spend the weekend out here.

The fiancee made us one hell of a good dinner, and Dad and I sat around and drank some wine and talked hockey.  By the way, you’d be surprised at how rarely we talk hockey.

Here’s the story I thought was most entertaining:

Remember the way old nets were shaped?

The bottom portion used to look more like a “W” with the open part facing out, where the outer parts of the “W” were rounded - apparently this was to give the net better balance. The rest of the dimensions of the net were the same.

I HAD to pick this from Google Image. Dude I'm soooo high on sports.

Well, apparently the winds of change started blowing one fateful night in the 70′s in Hartford.

Mark Howe of the Whalers was driving the net full speed on Billy Smith and the Islanders, racing a defenseman back when something went horribly, horribly wrong.

A shot came from the boards, which Smith easily stopped.  Howe and the defenseman got tangled, and the Islanders defenseman ended up on top of Howe as they slid full speed into the net.

Well, that “V” shape in the middle of the net – pointed part of the “v” facing out – apparently got Howe in a certain orifice that usually acts as an exit, not an entrance (listed on his Wikipedia page as “upper thigh,” apparently not the case).

And not just “got” him, I mean…..bad.  Like, lots of blood bad.  Like, trainers telling him not to move until they figure out how to deal with the issue bad.

I’m not that comfortable going too in-depth as I’m playing telephone on someone else’s story, but it sounds like some reconstructive surgery was required to fix, um, certain tears. (Wiki page does say he was ”essentially impaled by the metal.”)

Can you believe that?  Can you imagine if that happened in TODAY’S media climate what would happen to that story?  It’d make awesome twitter hashtag history.  It’d be funnier than Sami Salo nut jokes.  Gold, Jerry, gold.

*****

Head on over to Puck Daddy and check out my column today, I think you’ll like it.  In honor of Rene Bourque’s spear, I ranked the Top Five Cheap On-Ice Moves in order of no-no-ness. 

*****

Oh, before you go, watch this (via Deadspin/Puck Daddy):

*****

Oh, also a good story: a 1,100 Quebecers are heading to Nassau Coliseum basically to campaign to get a franchise.  Actually, they’re going to NY, getting in New Yorkers faces, and basically saying they deserve Long Island’s franchise (or Atlanta’s).  Yeah that’s gonna end well.

Story here on Deadspin.

Have a great Justin’s birthday weekend!  The kid’s turning 28.  Might be time to stop calling myself that.

Three Decent Links

 

Hockey Primetime: Sports Bars and Hockey: A Match Made in Heaven

Puck Daddy: An Interview with Blake Comeau – link up soon.

*****

Remember when I wrote about Bri and I volunteering at that racetrack last Friday?  Sufferers of spinal cord injuries got the chance to try driving a car with hand controls (some of them were great at it and FLEW around the course), and then they got to ride-along for a couple “hot laps” (we did too, as seen below. Frightening) in Corvette’s around an F1-like course.

Well, the New York Times wrote a story on it.  Check it out if you want to hear more.

Fast Cars, no Tracy Chapman

*****

Anywho, my Dad’s in town – I’ll be keeping it brief on this site this week, but will sure to have my columns up as they post.  Happy holidays!

Lots of Reading For Ya…. Columns

 

Okay, I’m a little behind on posting links, so there are three pieces for you to go scrape your eyes across:

1. USA Today Power Rankings - where Dallas goes from #17 to #6 in two weeks (which is too high, but still, good hustle).

2. The Hockey Newspreparing for back-to-back games as a player

3. Puck Daddy – This time of year is The Lull – why it matters so much and why coaches make a difference. (Be up soon, make sure to come back for this one.)

Annnndddd…..

I’m on Puck Daddy radio at 1:30pm EST…. so like, now.

Stock Up, Stock Down. NHL Teams and Their Direction

 

This Wednesday, my dear ‘ol Dad is headed down to Phoenix for a busy schedule of rest, exercise and some beverages outside the grips of Canadian winter (apparently it’s actually been cold in Kelowna so far this year, which is pretty rare).  Also, he’s here to spend some time with Breezy and I, for we’re but a week from my birthday and a few from Christmas. (I was born on 12/12 at 12:12 according to Dad, hence why I wore #12).

Our favourite little pub here is a Boston bar, but they’ve commited to putting an Islanders jersey on the wall if he brings one (and he is), soooo if you’re in Phoenix and see an Isles jersey on the wall of a Bahhston bar, you’re probably very near my house.

Anyway, looking forward to it.  I might do a FlipVid interview with him (and Clark at Christmas) for Puck Daddy too, I’ll keep ya posted.

*****

I submitted my Power Rankings today – I won’t run them since they don’t get much of a response, but it’s worth noting that Ryan Miller has snuck back into the Vezina running (#5 on my list) with back to back shutouts, Crosby has far-and-away taken over the MVP lead, and my top d-men list is starting to look like every other season (save for Byfuglien).

As far as teams go, we’re starting to see some of the balancing out we expected to see from teams that were over and under-achieving.  Here’s a few squads that I think that are going to head in slightly different directions….

Stock Up

The New Jersey Devils team just isn’t that bad to be this low in the standings.  I saw no conceivable way I could rank them higher than 29th as of today, and for a team that some people thought might win the cup, that just seems impossible.

Ssssscores

They will not finish the year at 29th.  If they were a stock, I’d say buy in right before Parise’s return.  They’ll get better.

The San Jose Sharks are sitting at 12th in the Western Conference right now (albeit with a game or two at hand), and I had them ranked 16th in the NHL.  As most of you are aware, they’re slightly better than this.

I don’t love their team, and I don’t think they’re much of a major player this year.  But the reality is, they’re better than average, they’re probably a win-one-round playoff team, and they’re currently sitting way below that.  Expect them to get better.

Honorable mention:

Chicago is without Hossa, and now without Kane for 4-6 weeks.  They’re dealing with the reality that Corey Crawford is their starting goalie in the same way they let Niemi take the reins from Huet – reluctantly, sadly – but it’s going to happen, inevitably.

They might bum around the fringe as a playoff eight seed most of the year, but I see them getting healthy and finding their stride late much in the same way Detroit did last season, becoming the always dreaded “five seed that’s far, far better than a five seed,” making the four seeded Yotes (it could be them again) want to slash their wrists.

Stock Down

I’m writing this about a week or so late to get my two-cents in on Columbus, since their five-game losing streak is already upon us.  I’m not saying they’re a bad team, but when that roster is 14-5 or whatever they were, you have to expect a little tug back to reality.  I think they probably tease the playoffs as an eight/nine seed, and right now, they’re around the six/seven/eight spot with games in hand (in hand, at hand?).

Either way, I don’t see them climbing the standings all that much, so I’d pull your money out a week ago.  Oh, you can’t do that?  Kay, now.

The Price is....oh nevermind.

As for Montreal, take it easssyyy there, big shooters.  17-8, first in your division?  I don’t think so.

Boston is a far better team, and Carey Price literally cannot play any better.  If he even comes close to keeping this up I think he’s the Vezina favourite.  So, that said, the only direction to go is down.

And last, Dallas.  They’re a team with great goaltending, talented young players and enough on their roster if they stay healthy to have a hell of a season.

But second in the Western Conference (behind only Detroit) with a 16-8 record is biting off more than they can chew.  Let the regression to the mean begin, that division is just too tough.

I think they’re probably a six/seven seed, meaning they’ve got to hit a pretty good skid sometime in the near future.

*****

‘Tis a new week – my birthday week (I know, I know, those don’t exist)!  Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season – we’re already well-decorated at the Bourne abode!

NY Christmas, Lebron, NYI vs. NYR

 

Well, I’m officially jealous.  It’s Puck Daddy NYC Party day, and I’m across the continent from the damn thing.  Curses.

Hopefully everybody has a good time – I can’t wait to get to NY myself.  I’m going to badly miss my family this year, as it’ll be my first Christmas in 28 years that I’ve ever not been with them, but we’ll all be back in Phoenix by Boxing Day.  So, with that in mind, I’m really looking forward to my time in New York.

I know it seems strange – who looks forward to leaving 68 degree Phoenix weather for JFK airport and whatever the hell the weather is, but I’ve been without a little weather misery for too long.  I’m excited to get shovelling. 

(And no, I won’t shovel YOUR driveway, thanks for asking.)

*****

Today’s Puck Daddy column is on the value of a good crowd, and how it does more good to cheer for your team than boo the other, even though it can be less fun.

*****

So, I caught a pretty good chunk of LeBron’s return – it was interesting how quickly he ended the game and made that crowd suffer.

Bron Bron taking a Q or two.

38 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds or something, and honestly, it looked easy.  He could have run that number up something fierce if he poured it on the fourth quarter (where I think he accumulated zero points).

The fans were left to just sit there and basically eat it.  Talk about taking the fun out of booing a villain.  Could you imagine a James Bond movie where he’s being slowly lowered into a pit of lava and it just…..works?  You’d have the same reaction watching that as these fans had on their faces.

Just……oh.  Oh my.  Well, I guess the bad guy wins, then.

Even though he’s growing even more crazy self-centered – and I mean, crazy self-centered – I still kinda want the guy to succeed.  I feel awful for great players like Dan Marino and Charles Barkley and Dale Hawerchuk that were so dominant and never won a title, yet there’s thousands of scrubs who just lucked into the last roster spot that can preach about “oh, you’ll just never understand the FEELING!”

Not that ‘Bron deserves that “feeling,” I just hate when reporters question a guy’s ability to “win,” like being a fantastic player isn’t contributing towards the whole winning thing.

Certainly, there are players who possess the ability to will their teams to win – Crosby, Kobe, etc. – but I don’t think any guy who wins back-to-back MVP’s and just never lucks onto a good team has to be looked at as a guy who forces his team to lose. 

Lebron went and got himself what he viewed to be his best opportunity to be a fantastic player and have a winning team this year (and isn’t to be faulted for that, even if it turns out he was wrong), so here’s to hoping it works out for him.

Even though he does appear to be becoming a bit of a dick, I just like (as I wrote about) watching greatness be great.  Even if the guy recognizes that in himself.

*****

Game two of the Rangers/Isles home and home tonight.  I didn’t catch last nights game, but I’m DVR’ing tonights.  All I know is, any time the Isles score five and lose, it’s not a good thing.  Can’t be wasting offensive output like that.

Hope everyone has a tremendous weekend.  Our Christmas tree is up!

Hahaha, ahhhh, yep, she dressed him up for a picture again.

A Column: On Ice Communication, Lebron

 

Short post today friends – I only have so much to say!

New Puck Daddy: On-Ice Communication, and the many forms it comes in.

*****

This Friday night, the fiancee and I are volunteering with some spine injury patients from her hospital at a local racetrack.  I think the track is called Bondurant?  I dunno, it’s supposed to be a big deal.

Anyway, we’re helping transfer those who need assistance and have the chance to do a ride-around the track – I think some of them even get to drive the cars?  I dunno, but I’ll try to take some cool pics for the blog, should be fun.

All I know is, Bri starts to bitch if I drive over 80, and I’m petrified of anything remotely exciting myself, so here’s to hoping the racecars are minivans and have like, triple seatbelts.  Apparently we get to cut a couple laps ourselves too.  Weeee!

*****

I guess tonight is the big Return of the Villain night (Lebron, Heatley).

I’m really just excited to read Bill Simmons take on how things played out in Cleveland.  As for the Heatley/Ottawa story?  Maybe I don’t know the juicy details about it or something, but as of press time here, my interest scale is hovering around “meh.”

I’ll address the stories in full tomorrow, and by “address them in full,” I mean “write a little bit about Lebron’s return.”

Anyway, go check out today’s column, and hopefully that tides you over until tomorrow!

Letter to the Boys at UAA

 

New Hockey Primetime: Most people are physically built to best play a particular role.  Don’t try to fight it, just work on enhancing it.

*****

We’re gonna do something different, something fun today.

I was asked by my bud Donald Dunlop of UAA Fanblog (check it out if you like college hockey, great blog) to write something that I would say to the players on my alma mater before their NHL Network televised game versus Wisconsin this weekend, given that the last time UAA beat Wisco, apparently I scored the game winner (2006). 

So I did.

The boys are hot lately, nearly sweeping CC and St. Cloud over consecutive weekends, so this is a big weekend for them in the standings.

If you don’t like when I curse, today’s not your lucky day.  I wrote it like they’d be the only players to read it, sooooo, yeah.  Take that for what it’s worth. 

Also, it wouldn’t hurt for you to be aware that that’s how I actually talk when I talk to my guy friends, so quit being so naive.

*****

To the current UAA Seawolves:

Fuck Wisconsin.

Not the entire state or anything, just their oh-so-prestigious hockey program.  (Sorry for the hostility, but they really were condescending about our little hockey program up there in Alaska during my playing days.)

I’m guessing they still think you and your program are a joke.  And that’s a pretty easy guess to make. 

They think you’re an easy weekend on the schedule where they can lean on the talent of their highly touted recruits and walk through another four point weekend against the ‘Wolves.

Well fuck those entitled pricks. 

We managed to take them down my rookie year in the playoffs, in the Kohl Center, when it counted.  They slept on us because we weren’t as good as them talent-wise, and they’re likely doing the same with your crew.  No offense, but they’re probably right about the talent thing - admitting that isn’t a bad thing, it brings about awareness.  You’re gonna have to outwork and outsmart them.

And, you should probably out-hate them too, which shouldn’t be too hard since, as I mentioned, they probably don’t give a fuck about you.

The truth is, the talent gap between the country’s elite programs and rising ones like UAA isn’t that big.  After my class left UAA, we battled against the top players from college in the professional ranks, and I learned something – the guys who’re the best players at your level are still the best players at the next one.  But the rest of those guys were just eating off the top dogs, getting inflated stats, swollen heads and bad attitudes. 

As in, the Phil Kessel’s and Joe Pavelski’s from college are still Phil Kessel/Joe Pavelski good in the NHL, but most of their cronies that were feeding off them?  They just weren’t anything special.  And MAN did they all think they were.  So take them down a fucking peg or two.

They’ve got their fancy rink and their program has a great history, but those kids weren’t a part of any of it.  That current roster of theirs has combined for no more national championships than yours.

It’s healthy to respect another team’s talent-level, but in no way do you have to respect those entitled kid’s acting like they’ve accomplished fuck all.

College hockey is ridiculously fun – you have five days between games to commit to whatever you want, and that won’t happen at any other level than this one.  So when it’s actually a rare game day, pour it on, fuckers.    

Anyway, your game is on the NHL Network this weekend, and I’ll be watching.

Score me some goddamn goals.

Login