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Column: All-Star Break

 

New Puck Daddy: What the all-star break is like for those that don’t get picked

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I’m gonna pass on a post today, it’s been a busy week and I’ve still got some work to do.  Thanks so much for yesterday, the feedback was fantastic.

Truce.

On Writing

 

New Puck Daddy: I’m a big fan of the work Brendan Shanahan is doing for the NHL

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In the wake of my Deadspin post, I haven’t really been sure what to think.

First and foremost, I’m happy about it.  Obviously it’s a great thing for my career, and the article was well received, if not in the comment section (if you know Deadspin, you know it really wasn’t all that bad in there), then as evidenced by the fact that it’s recieved some 23,000 views, 140 comments, and over 215 “likes” on facebook in the span of about 20 hours so far.  And the fact that it’s still in the site’s header with some of their bigger articles says something too.  I’ve always been a reader there, so it was great to have the chance to contribute.

On the other hand, I feel a little…”off” about something - not about my message in the piece, because I really do think Nabokov is being a clod (I’ve heard allll the arguments from people who disagree by now, points heard.  I still disagree, and that’s just the way this one is gonna go), but about two things:

One, the language, and two, for calling someone out with something I could probably never say to their face, whether I believe it to be true or not.  As one commentor noted, I’m usually more even-handed than that, but whatever, two doesn’t grind on me near as much.

The language thing is interesting though, because….I really do talk like that, unfortunately.

Blame it on the lifetime of growing up within the sport or whatever, but it’s a reality.  As much as I post cat pics, I really am a guy’s guy at the core.  I’m conscious of my mouth around people I don’t know well (also on TV and radio), and I can usually speak fairly intelligently and meet general public standards (still batting 100% in the “no cursing on tv/radio spots” thing).  But there are times when Bri and I will marvel at how quickly and casually I’ll use an eff-bomb with someone I just met.

Ripped from google image, but this is what the nice parts of the desert look like.

When we drove to Phoenix from Canada, we stopped outside a public bathroom that was in the middle of the desert and totally, totally desolate.  There was another car there though, and this guy probably ten years my senior was walking back to it.  I looked around and said to the guy “wow, we’re really in the middle of fucking nowhere, huh?”  The guy frowned, nodded, and carried on.

I was like Jim Carrey in the “I’ve had better” scene for the next ten minutes.  How the eff does that happen?  It’s totally unacceptable and I feel horrible, but I dunno…. I’m working on it.

Anyway, it was refreshing to get to write with that unquestioned green-light, to just let the words flow naturally as they occur in my head.  I’m clearly desensitized to the words, so for me, they’re just a part of the dialogue running around through my gray matter (again, unfortunately).

That said, after submitting that post, to some extent I felt like I let guys like Chris Jones and Bruce Arthur down.

I feel like the people I look up to when it comes to the written word would read my Deadspin post, tsk-tsk and shake their head and write me off for the lack of professionalism in my column.  They may have enjoyed it, but that’s beside the point.  I enjoy Family Guy, but I don’t consider it quality TV.

Jones - the man can make you cry when he writes about drywall.

And so, I’m in the midst of asking myself: who or what do I want to be when it comes to writing?  Drew Magary or Chris Jones, both of whom I enjoy and have found success?  Obviously I want to be “me,” but I’m still finding that.

And another part of me is asking: why the eff do you care so much what other people think?  But hey, truth is, I’m a sensitive guy when it comes to this crap.

I do aspire to write bigger, better things - I intend to write the type of pieces that make people feel something the way Jones’ so often do, but the reality is, that’s pretty hard to do when you write as often as I do, solely about hockey, and don’t leave the house to do so.

The response to the column was overwhelming positive – just check my twitter “@’s.”  I’d wager 90% of the people really liked it, I assume because it really is fun to occassionally read something that’s straight out of the dressing room or bar.

Still, I don’t want to lose any credibility in the process.

Deadspin, if anything, will actually gain me a measure of credibility; I’m aware of that.  And the next time they ask me to write something for them (which may not be for awhile, my agreement with Yahoo! advises I don’t spread myself too thin), I’ll write it the exact same way, partly because it is more “real,” if less beautiful.

But yeah, this is just me trying to hash out my feelings on it.  I do know that there’s one thing I don’t feel about the post, and that’s regret.

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Oh, and let me clear one more thing up so I can link to this piece everytime I get the same comment:

I KNOW I never played in the NHL.  I know I wasn’t good enough to even be considered an AHL player.  I spent the majority of my time in the ECHL, and I was pretty decent there.  That was all.  But I never went to journalism school, and hockey was my education.

I'm proud to be a part of the Yahoo! family, consider myself lucky to be a part of it.

When outlets hire me to write, they hire me because I can write about behind closed doors, and they like when I can relate my own experiences to current events, because I can talk not only about what’s happening outside the eight-pound human head, but also inside.

When I write about My Career in every goddamn post, it’s a conscious effort to relate the insights in a way other writers can’t.  You have to carve your niche out, and for now, mine is fairly unique.

I’m not so proud of those playing years that I feel the need to exploit their awesomeness in every post, it’s just how I make my living.

And further: I’m also not jealous of anyone in the NHL, and I say that with sincerity.  I want part of my niche to be that I speak my honest opinion, meaning that if I think the Isles suck, I’m pointing it out for that reason and that reason only, not because I secretely wish I was on the team.  I’m extremely happy with my life with, Bri, cats, beer, palm trees, sweatpants and a flexible schedule, I assure you.

Anyway, that’s a little “the more you know” on me for my readers, who by the way, deserve muchos thanks for all the support, but most importantly, for being able to conduct legitimate, informative conversations in the comments section.

Everyone says they have “the best readers,” but I dare you to find me a site where the commentors show each other more respect.

So thanks for everything so far!

Both cats ADORE the smell of my gear. (Lost our rec league final btw, boo)

My Nabokov Piece on Deadspin.com

 

A little treat today….

New, for DEADSPIN: Evgeni Nabokov is being a bitch.

Yes, that’s right, Deadspin – the site that has come to be known for getting their hands on Brett Favre’s penis…or something like that.

Seriously though, I’ve been an avid reader of this site (the only two icons in my favourite’s toolbar for a long time were Deadspin and Puck Daddy), and am honored to be able to contribute there.  So thanks to them for the opportunity.

For those of you who know the site, you know what to expect from my column: some profanity, and a hard-line opinion.  Thus, my recommendation is this: if you like when I post kitty pictures and prefer when I put asterisk’s in my profanity, don’t go read this piece.  MOM, THAT MEANS YOU.

Hope ya’ll enjoy (and as always, if you do, don’t be afraid to let ‘em know).

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Also, if you didn’t see it, you can check out episode two of Hockey Unfiltered with myself and Todd Lewis here

Also, if you didn’t see it, I wrote a “what we can learn from Gretzky” post in honor of his 50th birthday today for Hockey Primetime, which you can read here.  Mom, this one and the one below are acceptable reading.

Also, if you didn’t see it, my piece on the ASG Draft why it’s going to be funny for USA Today.

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 Let’s be honest – that’s plenty of hockey reading material for today – not a whole lot left to comment on (feel free to send me emails if there is something you want me to touch on, maybe I’ll do a mailbag style post).

In other news, tomorrow is Brianna’s birthday, meaning she is officially out of the one month period of the year where she gets to tell people we’re the same age, and back into “cougar” territory.  (“we were born in the same year!,” she always argues.)

Should be another fun weekend – probably going to a hit a movie of her choice tomorrow (gag), and hit Nate’s on the weekend.

I plan on being around to post tomorrow, and I’ll report on the other big news of the day: tonight is the rec league finals….. aren’t you nervous for me?

Anyway, let me know…  What did you think of the Deadspin piece?

Column: Hitters Over Fighters When It Comes To Intimidation

 

Due to a surprise guest column going up somewhere on the interwebs tomorrow by yours truly, there shall be no post today.  Fortunately, there is this: New Puck Daddy: When it comes to intimidation, hitters are more effective than scrappers.

All-Star Draft Column, Weighing in on Jay Cutler

 

New for USA Today: On the NHL’s All-Star draft, and I what I see it looking like (knowing the nature of hockey players)

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Maybe he was relevant in...what's his shirt say? '03?

The NHL All-Star game has hired an anthem singer.  They has hired Clay Aiken. 

Yes, seriously.  They has.

As my boy Greg Wyshynski pointed out, this isn’t horrific because of Clay’s sexuality (obviously), it’s because he’s horrible to listen to.  He’s just a glarlingly mismatched fit for the musical tastes of hockey fans, whether he’s from Carolina or not.  He hasn’t even been relevant in the music scene, since, well, ever.

So yeah, boo on that.

On the other hand, who really gives a shit, I guess. 

Let’s talk football, and shockingly, NOT the Jets! (HOW DO YOU CALL TWO PASS PLAYS WITH FOUR DOWNS FROM THE ONE???)

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Weighing in on Jay Cutler, and him sitting out the second half of the Bears/Packers game with an MCL tear:

Jay Cutler is getting abused pretty thoroughly, and getting defended just as adamantly on the internet today.  Most people think that he could have played, and therefore should have played after tearing his MCL in the NFC Championship game.

pout pout pout

In general, I would agree with that statement, especially when said game is either going to get you into the Superbowl or end your season.  As many atheletes have said, I myself played through some pretty brutal stuff, including games where I played on percaset and other unhealthy things.  I never missed a hockey game (ten years, I think?) until I tore my MCL (yes, it sucks), and then later got that slapper in the face.

But I also think this: Jay Cutler is not soft.  As someone pointed out today (I believe on Deadspin or The Big Lead, which heavily influenced my thoughts on this), he was sacked more than any other quarterback in the NFL this year (by TWELVE), and still played 15 of 16 games.  He’s not afraid to go out there and get murdered, including the game he got sacked NINE TIMES in the first half, and stayed in the game.

So the guy knows himself and what he can take.  (He’s certainly not afraid to stay in when he’s playing bad either, as evidenced by his love of multiple interception games.)

THROW IT HE'S COMINGGGG

But like when I tore my MCL, I knew I’d be less effective on the ice, combined with being in pain.  I could’ve hobbled around, been distracted, and been less effective, but at what point is a team just better off with a healthy, slightly lower on the depth chart guy?  Only Cutler knows how much less he would’ve been able to do than when he’s at 100%.

The big difference for me is, if I had to leave the game due to injury, I would immediately strap on the pom poms and try to help the boys out.  I’d love to put on a headset and help with reads, or just pick guys up when they’re down and stay involved with the team, with the game.

But the reality is, Jay Cutler has never done that, where I was inclined to do it even when healthy.  He’s never been a rah-rah guy.  So it’s not like he quit and packed it in for just that game, he’s just constantly that…..meh.

My hunch is that he made the right decision (the Bears did mount a little charge with Caleb Haine or whatever his name was), a legit decision that he thought would help the Bears more than if he stuck around and airmailed more picks all day (and ultimately, it is his call, not the doctors.  You can always bust out enough “I’m fine’s” and stay in).

It’s okay to point out as I have that others would’ve stayed in the game where Cutler didn’t, and maybe he could have , in fact, continued as the Bears QB in the biggest game of the year (also, his life).

But it’s also okay that Cutler probably made the decision that was best for the Bears, not his image.

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Last, because I denied you of Jiggs update pics pre-weekend…. here he is!

The good: he’s a good kitty, shares the litter box with Tyson well (who does the same), uses his scratching posts and all that good stuff.  Loves being around us, isn’t scared of anything. 

The bad: he’s got a little limp.  We’re not sure from what, but we’re monitoring it to make sure Ty doesn’t kick his ass so much throughout the day, which he sorta does (in fun).

mreow.

Tha boys.

Your Weekly Round-Up

 

New Puck Daddy: When a new player arrives, it’s high school all over again

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Yayyy, it’s the weekend.

No post today friends, just links.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the columns throughout the week, if you’ve missed any….hereeeee ya go!

Monday - THN: “Shoot from anywhere” is a crappy idea in today’s NHL

and

USA: Power Rankings

Tuesday – PD: Getting “cute” with the puck can make coaches mental

Wednesday – HPT: Washington and Philly need to go all-in and get goalies before their window passes

Thursday – PD: The pressure to fight when your team is getting shellacked

Friday – PD: New player in the dressing room

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Head on over to Hockey Primetime later today or tomorrow as well, when episode two of Hockey Unfiltered will be up for your viewing pleasure.  Peace and hairgrease, all, enjoy your weekend.

A Buncha Blurbs and a Column

 

New Puck Daddy: The pressure to scrap during a blowout.  Decent piece today, hope you like it.

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Wow, am I beat, late night hockey is a sonofabitch.  Definitely having an “is that worth it?” morning, but still – we’re onto the finals, so I can’t complain too much.

Time to clean out the TBAF (to blog about file).

Man…I just look like fucking death today, thanks, 3a.m. post-hockey fall-asleep.

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Diet update: I’d say, “running on a treadmill” describes what I’ve been doing, and my progresss.  Still around 206.

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Kitty updates (yes, I’ll get to sports, chill): Jiggs and Tyson’s relationship, is, well, interesting. 

The good news is that there’s obvious progress.  Tyson has had his whole world flipped-upside down, and Jiggs is essentially oblivious to EVERYTHING, which is why I tell people he’s a little short bus-ey.

But unlike his older brother, he’s not afraid of nuthin’.  Now that Tyson is comfortable being close to the little puffball, we fear for Jiggs – Tyson is over 15 lbs, and Jiggs barely registers three, so when Tyson tackles him, it looks pretty vicious. 

Still – progress is progress, they seem to be working it out.  ….Because I know you’re all so concerned about their living situation.

 

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Yayyy good players are backkkk

Kyle Okposo returns for the Isles tonight after missing half the season thanks to shoulder surgery.  Also returning: Frans Nielsen after missing seven games with a groin pull.  Look out, Eastern Conference, the Islanders are approaching FULL STRENGTH!

….Wait, nobody cowered under a table?  I said FULL STRENGTH!

…..Ah forget it.  Have the prospects developed in the incubator yet?

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The four-goal game (as pulled off by Marian Gaborik yesterday) needs to be named, as Dave Lozo so wisely suggested on Twitter yesterday – I also mentioned this in today’s PD column.

It’s like when people say “double eagle” in golf.  Totally stupid.  They have the term “albatross” that means the same thing, and not enough people say it.  What is wrong with all of you?

But “hat trick plus one?”  That’s just supremely lame.

Lozo suggested “pants magic” or “shirt illusion,” both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Any idea?  Until I hear a better one, I’m running with “he shoots, he SCORES!  PANTS MAGIC!  PANTS MAGIC!”

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I got a kick out of seeing the “media numbers” on the board in Washington after one of their games.  It’s so frustrating when you just wanna get home and decompress after a game and you see your number scrawled on the whiteboard.  And I never even played NHL hockey, or was, y’know, famous, so I can’t imagine how tiresome that must get. 

But of course, it’s part of the job.  But when you don’t know it’s coming, walk in the room and see it, it’s just……faaaaksighhhh.

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I’ve started doing this little show with Todd Lewis once a week for Hockey Primetime called “Hockey Unfiltered,” and it has a lot of potential.  We’ve only put one together so far, and we’re shooting our second one today.  It’s literally just us on webcams talking, but we have a bigger picture for it eventually.

You can check out the first one here, on the main page in the right sidebar.

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Thanks for your continued support (to quote Deadspin).  See ya tomorrow!

Guest Blog – Patrick Hoffman of Kukla’s Korner Returns

 

New for Hockey Primetime: Why Philly and Washington should sell the farm (picks, prospects, money, their bodies) for a legit NOW NHL goalie.

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On John Tavares

- by Patrick Hoffman

When you are a hockey player playing on an inconsistent hockey club, there are many reasons to get down yourself and underperform because essentially, the season is already a lost cause.

 One player in the National Hockey League that does not buy that is New York Islanders’ forward John Tavares.

Love this pic.

Yes, we all know that there has been a lot of negative press with the Islanders’ this season whether it was regarding former head coach Scott Gordon, current general manager Garth Snow, current owner Charles Wang, the Lighthouse project, etc. Fortunately for the Islanders, a rose has emerged in the form of the 20-year-old Tavares.

In 40 games this season, Tavares has 33 points (18 goals and 15 assists) despite being a -17. Yes, that -17 is quite glaring but believe it or not, Tavares is starting to heat up. A few nights back, Tavares did something an Islander hasn’t done in a very long time: scored a natural hat trick. It came against the Buffalo Sabres and in the process, Tavares pulled within six of his goal total from last season, 24.

So, what does this mean for the Islanders and Tavares? Well, for starters, it shows that Tavares is starting to show consistency. Last season, Tavares compiled 54 points. At this season’s pace, Tavares should beat that. Certainly not bad for someone who isn’t even 21 years old yet, eh?

Secondly, it shows that Tavares is learning how to play through tough times. It is quite obvious that the Islanders are NOT going to make the playoffs this season and yet, Tavares is skating hard every night, generating scoring opportunities and more importantly, producing. In his last five games, Tavares has six points (5 goals and 1 assist) and has shown no quit, despite what the standings indicate.

gggggggoal!

This also shows that the future is NOW for Tavares and the Islanders. Having guys like Matt Moulson, Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, PA Parenteau, and others succeed now should show that when it comes to their younger players, the Islanders’ organization is going in the right direction.

The maturation of John Tavares is a big step in the right direction for the New York Islanders. Hopefully, other Islanders’ players will follow in his direction and give everything they have for the rest of the season.

The future is NOW for the Islanders and it is time to start looking forward instead of in the past. So Islanders’ fans, consider yourselves lucky as things may just get better for Tavares and the Islanders from here on out.

Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. He’s written for popular hockey blogs/news outlets such as Kukla’s Korner, RLD Hockey, SNYRangersBlog.com, Spector’s Hockey, The Hockey News, Blueshirt Bulletin and many more.

For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.

San Jose Poaches Wellwood (Mmm…Eggs), Jiggs Move In

 

New Puck Daddy: on getting cute with the puck, featuring a goal by Mattias Tendenby, and a turnover by Ilya Kovalchuk

Oh, and from yesterday….

The Hockey News: me once again railing about “shoot from everywhere” being stupid - it actually relates nicely to today’s PD piece, in that it leads to a point - if guys need to shoot less and wait for better scoring chances in today’s NHL, then guys who are good at “getting cute” have more value.

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Okay, should I drop the Jiggs pictures on you now, or wait?  Let’s start with one, then some hockey, then a few more.  Lots to discuss today. 

I give you…. JIGGS!

All ur hartz are belong to meee

Dude is a maniac. Got his paw inexplicably stuck in chair thingy, wedged it in so good I had to pry it out.

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So, the St. Louis Blues acquired Kyle Wellwood from wherever the hell he was, and as is protocol, they had to run him through waivers first.  San Jose picked him up, and now St. Louis gets a kick in the nads, and the Sharks get a hockey player.

Really dude, a wood blade?

You may recall that the exact same thing happened a week or two back when the Blues were trying to fill the same hole with Marek Svatos, only that time the division rival Nashville Predators got the hockey player.  St. Louis still took the junk shot.

Whatever the reason is for teams to do this to STL, whether it’s to fortify their own rosters or keep St. Louis’ depleted, it’s stupid that it can happen.

First off, offer sheets are a taboo in the league, but this isn’t?  I realize the guy isn’t officially on the first team that claims him (as the offer sheeted player is), but how silly is it that the other teams can sit back and poach a player nobody wanted until they did?

The best idea we cooked up on twitter (we being friend of the blog, Kennedy aka @skennedy39) is that that the NHL should make the new team, in this case San Jose, at least have to pay, say, 5% more than St. Louis was going to (the minimum).  And then you offer St. Louis the chance to re-raise on that another 5%, so that the team who’s serious enough about wanting the player can still attain him, and the guy getting signed gets what he deserves.  If multiple people want you, you earn more money, that’s the supply and demand of sports.

When this shit happens, I can’t help but think of whoever the call-up 4th liner on the Blues is, who’s making three grand EVERY DAY he’s on an NHL roster (where he probably makes $70k in the AHL), so he’s on a roller coaster.

We acquired Wellwood?  Fak.  Back to the minors.

The Sharks claimed him?!

And then he celebrates like PK Subban after an overtime winner (which I loved, by the way.  Sick wrister, sick celly).  And of course, the reverse is going on over in San Jose.

The Sharks making some changes, hey?  And good on ‘em.  If you suck, somethings gotta give.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve gotta say about that, it just seems ridiculous that it can happen.  And while we’re talking SJ, check out this pic I took of a dude with a chopper and  a Sharks tattoo….think he’s a fan?

It's actually a damn cool tattoo

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In other news, there were rumours Crosby might hold out of the all-star game because he’s bitter about head shots.  Turns out it was just complete speculation from one slightly convoluted “opinion piece” by David Shoalts.

The reason I knew that wouldn’t happen and immediately shook my head at the rumour: Crosby doesn’t make waves, he avoids them.  This would be completely unprecedented.  And if there’s anything we’ve come to expect from Sid, it’s same ‘ol same ‘ol, evvvverrrryyyday.

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If you like twitter and sports, I recommend checking out the website www.quickish.com – it’s like twitter, only you don’t participate.  Basically, it’s a sports news aggregator that provides links to stories and quotes of interest around all the major sports and college leagues.  It doesn’t have a ton of hockey, but it’s branched out into “some” since launching I think a week ago.

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The NHL All-Star game captains have been named: Eric Staal and Nick Lidstrom.

So now they’ll flip a coin and start picking players – I’m really excited about that part, but not the captains, just because they’re a couple of guys who say the right things, and are in general polite dudes.  I was hoping for a little more chaos than I expect out of those two, but still, excited to watch the whole thing go down.

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And for the finale….let’s get Jiggy with it:

Tha boys

Tyson giving us the "what the fuck did you bring into my kingdom?" look.

Day four, as close as they've ever got. Jiggs snuck in there while Ty was out.

Last one, for now

Have a solid Tuesday folks, see ya tomorrow.

One Column (on Setting Picks), Two Pics (Meow), Three Vids

 

T-minus 8 hours until Jiggs is in the house.  Jiggs McMeower Kitten Mittons Bourne.  You’re so pumped I can feel it through the internets.

New Puck Daddy: On setting picks, and how players use them more now than ever.  I recommend this one, it’s pretty deec.

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First, a video my buddy Neil put me on to – as he put it: “Don’t these guys have to pass psych tests or something?”

Long story short – they arrested this guy thinking he went to the place where he used to work with a shotgun after getting canned.  As the policeman says at the end of the video (presumably for justification) ”he may have pointed it at someone, shots may have been fired.”

This is the Harvest Golf and Country Club, where the man worked.

In reality, dude’s old place of business was a golf course.  One of his jobs (he had been back working there for two weeks) was to periodically fire a shotgun from off the driving range to scare away the geese that ruin the course.  So he did.

(I’m from Kelowna where this happened and know the area well – lots of courses use noisemakers to scare the birds away, it’s not as crazy as it sounds)

The case is in court, but it looks like the police muffed this one up bad.  Here’s the video, the fantastic policework happens about 15-20 seconds in.

Don’t these guys have to pass a psych test or something?? 

Well that was depressing.  Wonder how often that stuff goes on where there aren’t cameras around.

To read more on this story, click here.

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Okay, let’s pick up the mood a little bit:  If you enjoyed the videos I posted yesterday, methinks you’ll get a kick (ooo, poorly timed) out of these two.

Via Yahoo’s ThePostGame.com and Tony Reali from Around The Horn, comes this video of a BMX race that starts, well…. poorly.

Hahaha, yessssssssss.  Too good.

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And last, courtesy Yahoo’s Shane Bacon, comes the discovery that uber-Christian and reigning slowest-player-in-the-world Ben Crane of the PGA Tour is actually hilarious.  His site BenCraneGolf.com has a couple great videos worth watching, like the one below on how he trains to look as good as he does:

Ahhh, great stuff.

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Weekly recap:

Monday – USA: Dangling – the mindset is different for elite skill guys

Tuesday – PD: Going to the Doc is different for hockey players

Wednesday – HPT: Five thoughts on the NHL as we pass the midway point

Thursday – PD: How practice evolves throughout the season

Friday – PD:  Setting picks, and how they’re being used more as an offensive tool in the NHL

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Please check out today’s column, and feel free to comment.  Everybody have a great weekend, I’ll throw up a few pictures of Jiggs on Twitter later tonight!  You can follow me here or my lovely fiancee Brianna here – she tends to post more animal pics/reality TV nonsense, and is a pretty funny follow.  Then, I’m biased, but whatever.

Weekend time!

(Here’s another sneak peek at Jiggs, sent to us Tuesday by the breeder)

The storm is brewing...

And this little guy just sleeps….he has noooo idea what’s coming tonight.

Does Goaltending Matter Less Than Ever? & Long Term Contracts

  

New Puck Daddy: On how practices change throughout the course of a season 

I’ve been slacking in the doing interviews/current events type posts, so expect to see a couple of those next week. 

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So, I’m not sure goaltending matters in the NHL these days. 

I mean, it matters if you have bad goalies (sorry Dan Ellis, Mike Smith).  But if you’re a good team, it seems like any sort-of-big guy who can do the butterfly and play his angles can become an all-star. 

Preds goalies are suddenly hailed as stars - are they just making the saves they're supposed to behind a good team?

Now, that may sound like lunacy, but let me finish my point - my case is not that goaltending is altogether umimportant, it’s that I think having a great forward or a great defenseman (compared to an average one) is more valuable than having a great goalie (compared to an average one). 

As in, most goaltenders VORP (value over replacement player) doesn’t seem to be all that high.  {Demonstrated by the relative success of guys like James Reimer, Kevin Poulin etc.  They aren’t bad goalies by any means, but they’re certainly not exceptional yet, though they may someday be.  Team plays well in front of them, they don’t give up any freebies….boom.  You’re the next big thing.}

And doesn’t it makes sense?  A lot of the goals we see are created so beautifully nobody could stop them.  Beyond those goals, we don’t see a lot of “oh, so-and-so would’ve stopped that” -type squeakers. 

No, with the development of goaltending style and technique, the growth of the men behind the pads, and the quickness that even the average goalie has, we’ve seen soft goals die a slow death

The “best” goalies in the league, more and more, seem to be behind the best teams.  

It’s why a guy like Niemi can win a Cup – no soft goals, play behind a great team. 

It’s not a knock on anybody, just an observation – basically, that whether you have Luongo in net or Cory Schneider, the way for a goalie to come out looking like roses is for the team to play well (which, incidentally, they tend to do more in front of a goalie they don’t trust).  Then suddenly you’re an all-star candidate (or a starter, right Corey Crawford?)

Thoughts? 

***** 

If a player doesn’t display the obvious passion and crazy desire to be the best like Sidney Crosby, he should never get a contract longer than four or five years. 

Easy there, Stallone.

Teams are so eager these days to land a star player for a low cap hit that they’re making major mistakes.  

It becomes pretty easy to go to lunch instead of the gym when your future is so secure, I would think. 

Here’s my theory: if you manage to get a player for a low cap hit by giving him a billion year deal, you probably lower his worth to what his cap hit is. 

As in, Kovalchuk is playing like a 6 million dollar player (his ballpark cap hit) instead of a 10 million dollar player (his ballpark real salary the next few years) because they’ve given him enough years to show that cap hit. 

In trying to mess with salary cap loopholes, you create a less valuable player – it’s sort of karmic, in a way. 

The only guys you give it to are guys like Crosby or someone who you just KNOW takes being good seriously, like Rod Brind’Amour always did. 

***** 

Y’all should fear my blog post on Monday: we pick up our 11 week old Ragdoll (name: Jiggs) and bring him home for the first time.  Stock up on canned goods, get in the bomb shelter, and be prepare for CUTE OVERLOAD.

Beersbee, Love To Hear The Boos

 

New Puck Daddy: How hockey players receive medical treatment differently than your average Joe off the street

*****

Have you ever played “beersbee” (or “polish darts”)?  I miss that game.

When my season ended with the Alaska Aces, we had a couple barbecues where we played it, and it’s an absolute blast.  The game:

Yayyyy for google image!

You get two pieces of PVC piping, or really, any type of pole, and jam them into the ground on either side of a yard.  Then you balance empty beer bottles on top of those poles.

You split up into two teams of two, and stand beside your pole/bottle set-up.  You then take turns throwing a frisbee and your opponents set up.

I don’t remember the scoring system, but it’s something like: You get one point for knocking the bottle to the ground by hitting the pole, two points if you knock it off and the frisbee gets to the ground as well, and three if you cleanly hit the bottle and both the frisbee and bottle go down.  I think you play to 21.  (*Note: the previous paragraph was complete guesswork.)

After your opponent hits your set-up, you can catch the beer bottle and frisbee and void the points, so one guy usually is assigned the bottle catcher, and one the frisbee catcher.  Even if the frisbee catcher just straight drops it – no pole involved – there’s a point awarded to the frisbee thrower (throw has to be reasonably catchable).

Anyway, next time you’re messing around in the backyard, give it a go.  I promise it’s fun.

(Oh, and everything has to be done one-handed, cause you’re, y’know, holding a beer.

*****

I know I can’t always keep you fully entertained on the blog, but if this fails to keep you busy for a few minutes, then your standards are way too high.  Sent to me from the folks at www.hockeygods.com, THIS:

Wow, right?  Go check out their site to offer encouragment so they’ll do more of the same.

*****

And last, I thought this was terrific: 

FJM’ing Lambert’s Links

 

It’s time to revisit an old feature, the FJM’ing of Lambert’s Links.  Fun stuff.

Today we revisit it because he takes a shot at me, which is kinda fun.  I picked the Red Wings to finish 2nd in their division and fourth in the conference, and for that, I got harpooned. 

I’d defend myself, if it weren’t for this one awful reality: I picked Chicago to finish ahead of Detroit, both in the division and conference.  The other team?  San Jose.  Sigh….. ah well.

Without any further ado…..

FJM’ing Lambert’s Links – Check it out in it’s original format with pics and videos here.

What We Learned 

Anaheim Ducks: Andy Sutton(notes) hasn’t been playing the kind of hockey he’s wanted to this season, due to injuries and all around poor performances. Maybe he should consult an expert.

Lambert, I figured you of all people would’ve declared a moratorium on Andy Sutton Expert Jokes by now.  But to the larger point: Sutton is playing like Andy Sutton again.  It was bizarre when he wasn’t.

Atlanta Thrashers: The Thrashers have opened contract talks with a number of players, including Andrew Ladd(notes) and Dustin Byfuglien. Big Buff’s gonna get paid, and for a lot of years.

Yeah he is, and it’s gonna be like the CC Sabathia contract – worth it for a few years, then funny, because they’re both overweight guys who’ll probably try a little less hard to stay fit when they get Paid.  And I don’t think a less fit Dustin Byfuglien on D will not be worth millions of dollars per year.

Boston Bruins: Know what a good captain does after a tough OT loss to his team’s top rival, with the division lead on the line, and in which he was on the ice for all three goals against and got a 10-minute misconduct after it ended? Not talk to the media. Good work, Zdeno Chara. That’s leadership.

That’s interesting, and sort of out of character for him.  Not talking to the media is weird if it’s about the game, and not about having some problem with the media.  They doesn’t say you can’t be pissed about the game while you do your interview or anything, so stand there and be pissed. 

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres are slowly improving, and they couldn’t be happier. “It’s huge, not only to cap off our first big road trip, and also we’re back at .500 here,” said Drew Stafford(notes), who is unaware that being 18-18-5 makes you five games under .500. 

…..I guess this is a Niagara Falls reference?  Man is that bad.

The Sabre

Calgary Flames: The Flames’ senior players are aware of the possibility they may get traded in the near future as the team considers a rebuild, but you can probably bet no one even remotely good gets shipped outta town this season, because they’re still operating under the laughable belief that they can make the playoffs.

Yeah, that is pretty laughable.  Look at the West Conference standings and try to figure out who’s not gonna make it.  When you play that game, Columbus appears to have zero hope.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jamie McBain(notes) is turning into an excellent defenseman for the Hurricanes, so that gives them a grand total of one.

If a guy plays d in the forest and nobody’s around to see it, did it ever happen?  Tell ya what – I’ll watch some of a Carolina game in the next few days and check him out, glad to hear they have somebody of interest aside from Staal.

Chicago Blackhawks: Through Friday night, the Blackhawks had allowed 32 power play goals, up from 39 all of last season. That’s really quite bad.

That is….I figure at some point, the Stanley Cup hangover is over, they’ll be back in game shape, remember how hard it is to win, and bear down.  I expect a solid second half from these clowns.   Also, Turco is ba-rutal.

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs scored twice in the opening 1:47 against the Islanders on Saturday, but then gave up three unanswered (all on the power play) before scoring with four seconds to go in regulation, then losing in overtime. Said Craig Anderson(notes) of the game-winner: “From what (backup goalie Peter Budaj(notes)) said, it hit our guy, off the crossbar and in. Not much you can do about that.” No word yet on what you can do about the other three.

Sad reality for my boy Nathan Lawson on Long Island: at his age, it’s a “you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow” type situation, so here’s to hoping he kills it.  Sounds like DP is going to be out awhile, so I’m sure he’ll get a few shots during his time with the Isles.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Break out the tissues for Scott Arniell again. “Boooooo hooooo Rick Nash gets so many penalties that go uncalled this is the worst league. *stamps feet, crosses arms* They need to give him star treatment too this is sooooo unfair ughhh.” This is at least the 400th time this season he’s given that exact speech.

Rick Nash is awesome, I need him to play somewhere that he can have an effect on the NHL season, and NHL history.

Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn(notes) with a pretty okay goal.

 I’m too lazy to post it, so go read Lambert’s original article.  But it inspired today’s column by some guy name Me, so check that out at USA Today.com when it posts in an hour or two.

Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings like where they’re at through 41 games. “We had a lot of people not picking us to do well,” Todd Bertuzzi(notes) said, “and I think that’s motivation for this team.” Fun fact: Exactly one moron on the Puck Daddy staff (coughJustinBournecough) picked someone other than Detroit to win the division or finish outside the top 3 in the West. What is Bert talking about? Hell, what was BOURNE talking about?

Hey, they finished 5th last year, Lidstrom was turning 41, the crew around Dats and Zetter aren’t that lovable (Helm/Abdelkaber/the corpse of Todd Bertuzzi etc), but I still figured they’d be good – 2nd in division 4th in conference isn’t exactly calling them dogs.

The bigger question is: WTF, San Jose?  The smaller question is: fuck you, Lambert.

Edmonton Oilers: Headline that’s three months early: “Sub-par Oilers hit the links.” Guys, it’s like you’re not even trying.

By far the most fun shitty team in the league to watch.  Fans of other bad teams should be jealous of this bad team.  And I hate the Oilers.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers are talking about an extension with Tomas Vokoun. Someone please explain why they’re not selling him at the deadline. Thanks.

Not sure what Tallon is cooking up with this team, but right now they appear to be in absolute shambles.

Los Angeles Kings: Now that Jack Johnson(notes) is locked up for seven years at ridiculous money, Drew Doughty’s(notes) gonna get bags of money dropped on his house from those planes that put out forest fires.

I thought that was funny.

Minnesota Wild: As of Sunday afternoon, the Wild are a playoff team. I don’t get it either.

If you had to guess a team’s payroll in under five seconds (NEWYORKISLANDERS, GO! Umm, 80 bucks?), I would miss the Wild’s on the low side by at least ten million dollars.  I cannot believe they’re a spend-to-the-cap team.  They’re Leafs-like, only not as awful.

Montreal Canadiens: Sweet shot by Max Pacioretty(notes) to win it in OT for the Habs.

 Again, go to the original piece for videos (link at top).  The Canadiens should trade for Zuccarello to keep the height jokes running strong.

It was Montreal’s first win of the year when they entered the third period with a deficit.

Nashville Predators: The Preds went out to the west coast and played Anaheim, LA and San Jose between Wednesday and Saturday. They won all three, outscoring their opponents 11-4, which is decent.

Hell of a road trip.  Non-Nashville fans: Name six players on the Predators.  I say six, cause I think five are easy.  After that it can be a challenge.  Yet they keep doin’ it.

New Jersey Devils: Marty Brodeur got his first start in eight days yesterday. Jacques Lemaire said he was on the right track. That’s because, by not playing, he could not continue to allow his GAA to balloon past 4.00.

Never in the history of me following hockey do I remember a team so widely picked to contend for the Cup be this bad.  I mean, historically bad – someone tweeted something about them being on pace for the lowest goals scored total since like, the expansion Thrashers inaugural year or something.  Whatever the tweet was, this team is just so bad, even before you compare it to expectations.

New York Islanders: Rick DiPietro didn’t play this weekend because he was in New York being evaluated by doctors. Shockingly, they now think his groin injury is somewhat serious. If you can believe it.

And I can.  Whatever.

New York Rangers: The Rangers won a shootout against Dallas on Friday, and it let me find out a wonderful stat.

Erik Christensen(notes) and Mats Zuccarello(notes) are a combined 5 for 5 in the shootout this season, and the rest of the team is a combined 0 for 14. Awesome stuff.

Especially bizarre when you think of guys like Gaborik and Frolov.

Ottawa Senators: A rumor I very, very badly hope is true: Pierre McGuire could be the next Sens GM. Not only would it be hilarious from an organizational standpoint, but it would also get him off TSN for a while. Win-win. Unless you’re a Sens fan.

I honestly don’t think a guy like him would do poorly, especially off the hop.  Eager to prove he can do it, he’d work super-hard.  And he’s watched a ton of hockey.  Half that stuff is luck anyway, so I’m sure he’d start out fine.

As for long-term, well, I think it could get ugly.  But it’s not like he’d take over and the team would implode.

Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers have 57 points in 41 games this year, their best record at the half in 25 years. And one of these days they’ll figure out that whole No. 1 goalie situation too, I bet.

So, so frustrating.  I really feel bad for Flyers fans that they’ve wasted a decade of great teams.  Except that I don’t, because I don’t really like any Philly sports teams.

Phoenix Coyotes: Wojtek Wolski(notes)? Still kind of terrible.

The Coyotes division is pure madness.  Tied for last, one point out of third, three out of second.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sid Crosby is doing nothing to dispel the notion that he will whine at the slightest provocation. Still bitching about the Steckel and Hedman hits. He shutting it down until he’s symptom-free.

Yeah, cause Sid brought that up unprovoked right?  He was asked a question and answered it with his opinion.  What a bitch.  Also, could you dim the lights for him?  Thanks, he has an actual concussion from really being hit in the head.

San Jose Sharks: Sick snipe by Jason Demers(notes) to win it for the Preds in San Jose.

Oh he’s on the Sharks? Ohhhh.

I think of Down Goes Brown and Bloge Salming every time someone shoots it in their own net now, which is awesome.

St. Louis Blues: TJ Oshie(notes) is still a ways out from being good to go. He broke his ankle on Nov. 10, and is still experiencing stiffness and range-of-motion issues.

This is a massive loss for the Blues, they need him.  He’s one of the reasons this team is sneaky good – look out if they get a decent seed in playoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning: When Steve Yzerman took over as GM, he said fans could expect a slow but steady rebuild. Instead, the Bolts are 2nd in the Eastern Conference. So what gives? “There are nights where I go home and think, “You know, we’ve got a real good team here,’” Yzerman says. “And then you lose 8-1 and you wonder, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’”  

Yzerman is smart, composed, and reasonable.  You can’t eff up too badly, ever, with those qualities.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Best stat of the year to date: The Leafs pounded Atlanta 9-3 on Friday, and somehow Brett Lebda(notes) still finished the game minus-3

Now THAT’S a stat.  That’s one you know without looking at the scoresheet as you take your gear off at the end of the night.

Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Sedin(notes) on Daniel’s goal production so far this season: “If I would have myself passing to me, I would have 24 too.”

Haha, beauty quote.  His off-the-end-boards pass on Howard’s “save of the week” (also in original article) is mind-bogglingly good.

Washington Capitals: Beauty, vintage Ovechkin goal.

 Yep, totally agree wtih the comment below.  Dude’s about to get 10 in 6 games or something.

He’s gonna be doing a lot more of that in the near future, I figure.

A Short Post: Jiggs, Jets, and Column Recaps

 

New Puck Daddy: Showboating shootout moves, and the slow evolution to them becoming acceptable in the hockey world

*****

A week from today Breezy and I bring home our second (and absolutely final) cat.  We put the deposit down, and think we’ve come to agree on his name: Jiggs!  More accurately, if you ask Bri, it’s Jiggs McMeower Kitten Mittons Bourne.

He’s a blue-mitted ragdoll, and he’s wicked.

Jigga-man

Moving on.

*****

So, tomorrow the Jets play the Colts in playoffs, a well placed Saturday night game.  Bri and I will be taking our NEW upstairs neighbor – the guy who had the audacity to replace Miss Arizona - to our pub for drinks (the first in nearly a week, yay diet!).  He seems like a good guy, always good to have nice neighbors.

The Jets are definite underdogs, but given that I’ll be sporting my new sparkling white Dustin Keller jersey, I think we can assume he’ll score at least two TD’s.  So we got that goin’ for us.

Who ya got?  Any fellow Jets fans out there?

*****

I’m down to 205.6 today, meaning I’m 2.4 lbs. lighter after five solid days of dieting.  Moving in the right direction.

*****

Here’s a recap of my columns for this week, if case you missed any of ‘em.  Hope you enjoy, and hope you have a great weekend:

Monday: THN – Organizational depth
Tuesday: PD – Spread offense, stretch defense, break the cycle
Wednesday: HPT – Bottom hand position
Thursday: PD – 3 ways to stop a comeback from happening
Friday: PD – Effective showboat moves being taken off the blacklist 

Drunk Russians, The Final 24/7

 

New Puck Daddy: comebacks, and three ways to prevent them from happening against your team.  I kinda like my last few PD posts, which is good, because I thought a few before that were pretty damn “meh.”

*****

Not the prettiest team in the tourny, is my guess.

Not sure if anyone out there heard or not, but apparently Canada puked away a three-nothing lead in the gold medal game at the World Juniors in Buffalo. 

Don’t know if anyone heard or not, but that pales in comparison to the awesome story about the Russian junior team getting kicked off their Delta flight for being too loaded

As Barry Petchesky of Deadspin pointed out: not hungover that morning, drunk.  And they don’t exactly take your BAC before letting you board a plane.  You have to be over the top, belligerent-level drunk to get denied.  So those kids GOT AFTER IT somewhere in Buffalo last night, as underagers.  Good hustle, young’uns.  Enjoy your extended stay in Buffalo.

*****

Bri and I are re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I gotta say – enjoying it much more the second time (and I liked it a lot the first time). 

I read The Hobbit as a young punk, but never the LOTR books – because of that, the first time through these movies was a mess of names and places.  Saruman and Sauron?  Orc and Oroki?  Who Aragon if he’s Strider?  Isengard, Gondor, Rohan, WTF?

Round two is going swimmingly, I just think it’s a tremendous story.  Very much enjoying it.

*****

Last nights 24/7 was like, the greatest show ever, if you’ll permit me to sound like a valley girl for a second.

Always a neat spectacle, but man that's a deep seat.

The neatest part (for me) was how they captured the sport of hockey at the end, explaining that “it won’t sit still for a portrait,” or something like that.  It’s on to the next city, the next arena, and never stops.   It’s was an amazing series of shots and quotes at the end that was damn near tear-inducing.  If you haven’t seen it, hockey fan, you really need to, ASAP.

As I mentioned on the twitters before, for a guy who’s family has relied so heavily on sport to make a life, that stuff hit me hard.  Whoever wrote that stuff deserves a hug, or at least an email from me.

(Here’s Wyshynski’s great review of the episode)

So here you go, HBO:

A standing O from me, on a job that lived up to the highest expectations, then exceeded them. /actually stands and claps a few times

*****

So, Breeze and I are headed to meet the potential new cat today.  We can’t get him ’til the 22nd, but if we like him, we’re gonna commit.  Pics will be taken and tweeted, don’t worry.  Our cat needs some stimulation, and we can only play hide and seek so often with him.

Also, we’re thinking about honoring Marcel the Shell with Shoes on and naming the cat Allan.

 

*****

My boy Nathan Lawson gets his second NHL start tonight!  Right on right on right on.

Public humiliation diet: 206.4. Chip chip chippin away to a number that starts with “1.”

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