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

Trade Deadline Madness

 

Like every other hockey outlet, I’m stepping up my game for trade deadline day.  If you’d like to chat about what’s happened, BS about what might, or just generally listen to NHL information filtered through my hockey-addled brain, you can do it.

Come join in the live chat over at Hockey Primetime (starts at 9 a.m. EST), or better, tune into the three-hour long (1-4 p.m. EST) radio show that I’m co-hosting with Todd Lewis.  We’ll have some guests (Michael Landsberg, Paul Kelly and more) some laughs (if not you can laugh at me) and all that other good stuff.  So stop on by and have some fun.

A Quick Poll

 

Pretty self explanatory:

FJM: Chris Jones Piece On Locker Room Etiquette

 

Happy Friday folks!

As you all know, I regularly fawn over the writing and professionalism of Equire’s Chris Jones.  Recently, he’s taken to his personal blog, Son of Bold Venture to discuss press box etiquette and locker room etiquette.  If you follow twitter closely, you’ll note it’s sparked quite a debate.

When it comes to press box etiquette, I read his piece and learned.   I’m new to the press box, and while most of the stuff seems self-explanatory but worth mention (like, watch the damn game) I was grateful for a number of little nuggets I picked up.  I’m basically his exact audience with that piece – “new” media, didn’t go to journalism school, largely labelled as a blogger.

But his piece on Locker Room Etiquette for reporters really piqued my interest.  I’ve been on the other side of that my entire life, albeit to a lesser degree.  But at all levels, reporters come and go, and as a player, I had certain people I liked and certain I didn’t for different reasons.  I thought I’d FJM his piece so I have some jumping off points for the player’s perspective on media in the locker room.

I’ll keep my thoughts short so this doesn’t get ridiculously long.

THE YOUNG REPORTER’S GUIDE TO LOCKER ROOM DECORUM, ETIQUETTE, AND NOT COCK PEEKING

1. Seriously, no cheering.

That’s a holdover gag from the previous bit on press box etiquette.  But yes, don’t come in and high five anyone after the win, whether you’re a heavily invested beat reporter or not.  As Jones likes to say, be a pro.

2. Always remember that players live in their locker room; you’re just passing through. The press box is your domain; the locker room is theirs. However, during those designated times when the locker room is open to the press—those hours vary sport to sport, but they’re mandated by our various leagues and associations—you have every right to be in there. Don’t act like you own the place, because you don’t. But if you behave the right way, no one should object to your presence, and if they do, you can point to the clock and the sign on the wall and tell them to go into the trainer’s room if they want to be alone.

Absolutely.  I for one (usually) enjoyed having a chat after the game – think about after your rec league games: you can sit around in the dressing room and re-hash what happened throughout the night for an awfully long time, because you want to.  It’s not so fun after a loss, but sometimes discussing the events from the night can be like therapy.

3. Don’t go into the trainer’s room.

It’s weird how the trainer’s room is this little safe-haven, but you know what, it should be.  A lot of personal stuff goes on in there, and thanks to injury it’s generally a lot of frustrated guys.  Nothing wrong with have a little team-only zone.

4. Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Don’t cock peek. When I was a beat guy, there was one poor reporter who got labeled as a cock peeker. (He claimed that he was just staring into space when he was tabbed, which, knowing the guy, I actually believe; unfortunately, that space happened to be occupied by a middle infielder’s wiener.) Whatever happened that terrible afternoon, the guy’s lot was pretty miserable after. (To steal an old line, You peek at one cock, and you’re a cock peeker for the rest of your life.) Now, if we’re all being honest here for a moment, sometimes it’s really hard not to notice that a guy has an enormous schlong, because it will fill your field of view, and it’s one of the dirty little secrets of the profession that reporters will make jokes about our coverage area’s more distinctive members. (Ever wonder why Alexei Yashin’s nickname was Snuffy? Ask Snuffleupagus.) But even if some guy’s dick taps you on the shoulder and asks for a peanut, you should probably look at the ceiling and sing “Yes, We Have No Bananas” until it goes away.

First off, that paragraph is fucking hilarious.

Of course, “don’t cock peek” has to be a staple of reporter professionalism.  But look – it’s going to happen.  If you keep your head straight up, straight forward for the entire time you’re going to get a sore neck and look weird.  So when you drop your head occasionally – maybe to write a note or two - there’s a lotta penis around the room, so it’ll happen.  As a player, I did my best not to make reporters feel uncomfortable, and other players should do the same.  It’s not that hard to towel off and put on underwear, at the very least.

I get the impression hockey isn’t as bad as baseball when it comes to this (not sure why, just some of the reports I hear out of baseball clubhouses weird me out), but there still seems to always be a guy or two who takes the “it’s okay to be naked” thing too far. 

The biggest thing is, as he mentions, you have to avoid it so you can avoid the label.  As I’ve written about before, homophobia is rampant in locker rooms, so it would certainly make a reporter’s job harder if he were put in the situation Jones described.

5. No autographs.

Yeeeah, I was never important enough to run into that problem, but yes, that would be brutal.

6. In most professional locker rooms, there are tables filled with bowls of candy, gum, fun dip, and roofies. Don’t pinch from those bowls, however tempting it might be. Someone will see you do it and judge you harshly for your lack of self-control. Honestly, I’d rather my wife caught me masturbating.

That’s just one of those things that you should know from a social standpoint.  There’s no reason to assume you’re entitled to team stuff, given that you’re covering the sport, not a member of the squad.

7. If a player’s giving you some seriously unnecessary shit, stand up for yourself. Don’t let him think he can bully you, because like every other bully in the world, he’ll haunt you forever if you let him. Don’t purposefully get in a scrape or try to act overly hard, but don’t ever allow yourself to be treated as anything other than a human being. This job’s not worth your soul.

And that’s a terrific point.  Athletes get cocky, like they’ve granted reporters suuucccchhh an honor in letting them ask a few questions (incidentally, this is why I never want to be a reporter).  I hated hearing my friends and teammates say something totally douchey to a reporter.  So sure, stand up for yourself.

That said…. remember that sports in general come down to the schoolyard principle where “because I can beat you up” is a good enough reasons to do a lot of things.  So make your point as fairly and sternly as possible, but avoid taking any personal cuts at  guys, or you’ll probably get the Ryan Leaf reaction.

8. I can take a bit of abuse. The worst part of the job, for me, has always been waiting in locker rooms. There’s one guy you need to talk to, and he’s in the shower, or he’s got his headphones on, or he’s talking to someone else. You can’t really leave, because you don’t want to lose him, and so you’re stuck standing there like someone who missed the bus. I really have no good advice for you. If you master the art of waiting in the locker room, please let me know your secret. In the meantime, just try to make yourself look like part of the furniture.

Yeah, you’re kind of on your own there, reporters.  I have no idea what you’re supposed to do.  I guess just hope there’s a couple reporter buddies around to talk to?

9. No high-fives. No fist bumps. Handshakes only. Offering congratulations is fine. Offering to carry someone’s water is not.

Right, same as what I said in point one.  We can be friends and all, that’s cool, but let’s try and avoid the teammate-like reactions to a win.

10. If a fellow reporter has an interview that’s clearly a one-on-one—a prearranged or orchestrated sitdown between a single reporter and a single player—stay the fuck out of it.

I can’t imagine another reporter thinking that’s a good idea.  But this is exactly the thing – if you’re just relatively socially aware, you can get by in the locker room.  Unfortunately, there are some people in media, shocker of all shockers, who are completely socially inept.  I guess point number 10 is for you people, so….if you didn’t know that, know you do.

11. No joke, if you bust up a one-on-one, I’m going to hear about it, and I’m going to post your name here, next to the following words: COCK PEEKER.

That’s locker room style justice right there.

12. If there’s a player you want to talk to, wait until he seems relatively unoccupied. Approach confidently. Introduce yourself if he doesn’t know who you are, including your affiliation. Ask if you can have a couple of minutes of his time, if that’s really what you require. If you need more time than that, say so. If he says now’s not a good time, ask when you might be able to talk to him. If he says okay, be ready with your questions. They should be good questions.

And that’s why I love this guy’s take on being a reporter.  As a player, as with just being a normal person, you feel like a dick when you don’t remember someone name, because you always should.  But when you bounce from city to city and you regularly answer similar questions in similar situations, sometimes it can be tough. Way easier to remember the name of the guy you’re writing about with the name on his shirt.  Make it easy for the players if you can, so they don’t come off worse than they intend to. (Unless you’re a beat writer or something.  Then the guys should know your damn name without an intro.)

13. There’s a difference between being friendly with players, which is smart, and trying to be their friends, which is stupid. I’m pretty sure the only genuine modern friendship shared between a sports writer and an athlete was between Dan Le Batard and Ricky Williams. It was a questionable situation for both of them, and it ended badly. Be cool with these guys, because you want something from them, but never fool yourself into thinking there’s anything that they want from you other than good press.

Maybe it would’ve changed had I played in the NHL and made scads of cash and gotten super cocky, but I genuinely liked a lot of the reporters (especially beat guys) that I’ve worked with over the year.  Jones is right – it’s not like I wanted to go to the movies with any of them or anything, but it woulda been fun to sit down for a pint or two and chat occasionally.  I still keep in touch with a writer from the Alaska Daily News.  I’d say just don’t push it – if the player is comfortable with something outside of interview questions, let him be the one to mention it.

14. That being said, at some point in your career, your heart will fail you. It will not be objective. You will make connections with some guys and you will misfire with others. That’s only human. I really liked Carlos Delgado. I like to think I was one of the few people who understood what was going on inside Brad Fullmer’s head. I thought Raul Mondesi was a moron, especially after he mistook me for a clubbie and asked me to iron his shirt—two years after I’d started covering him on the beat. I hope the entire Baltimore Orioles clubhouse from the 1999 season dies broke and alone. (Holy crap, what a miserable bunch of felons and shitheels. They made me not believe in chemistry—the whole fucking science.) But your words should be objective. You need to learn how to separate your feelings from the page. It’s a hard thing to do, because we’re built to spill. But that’s why we don’t cheer, and that’s why we don’t high-five. We’re working here. And the beat guys who always get it right, the beat guys who know when to praise and when to call someone out, they never catch any shit. Your first goal should be respect, given and received. But you’ll have to earn it, by how you act, what you say, and how you write. Remember, because this is important, and it will apply to everything you will ever do: If you’re right, if your words are true, then no one can touch you. You’ll be unbreakable.

That’s just a really neat observation from a guy who’s done it for a long time, and done it well.  Best sentence is “we’re working here.” 

…..Actually wait.  The best sentence is “they made me not believe in chemistry – the whole fucking science.

And last one….

15. Oh, and if you really want to have a meaningful conversation with an athlete—for a feature, say, or a takeout—talk to them anywhere other than a locker room. The locker room is a place sportswriters survive. Thriving almost always happens somewhere else.

Well said.  I have a request in with the Phoenix Coyotes to do an interview with BizNasty at an interesting location.  Approval pending. Wooooooo!

Reader Questions: Follow Up On Gear, Sponsorship and More

 

New Puck Daddy: Part two of joining a new team – fitting in with the guys. (Link to PD, posts around 2:00 EST.)

*****

Throughout the week, I get a good number of personal emails from readers (always welcome) with follow up questions, and I make an effort to respond to each and every one.  Oftentimes, I let them sit in my inbox for awhile because I have to put up a post on Bourne’s Blog (or work on a column) and don’t have the time to get to them that day.

It occurs to me, the utter moron that I am, that this is why other sites do “mailbag” style posts, and I should just answer those questions, two-birds-with-one-stones this damn thing, and run them here.  Hopefully I answer some questions some of you had but didn’t ask, and maybe some you didn’t think to ask.

Today, however, I’ll just be answer the questions from one email, frankly because I responded to all the other ones this morning and it would be redundant to re-do that here.  Thus, without further ado, a new hopefully-recurring post on Bourne’s Blog: Reader Questions.  What a clever name.

From Reader “Max”:

How do sponsorships work? Obviously you have Crosby with Reebok, Kane with Bauer, etc., does that mean these guys get outfitted directly by the company or is it just up to them to pick the correct items from the team? Do players make their gear sponsorship selections based on quality of the product or for the money?

Well, I never played in the show obviously, but here’s a mix of what I’ve seen and what my understanding is:

Company reps come around the rink constantly from Bauer, Easton, RBK etc., display some gear, and let the guys check it out.

It’s always fun – pick up the new sticks, give ‘em a flex and so on.  If you’d like to try said product, and aren’t some one-day call-up, they’ll give you a stick or two to try out.  Keep in mind these guys get endless sticks, so there’s very little temptation to do what most rec leaguers are thinking now, which is get samples from every rep and stockpile them.  It can be more of a hassle than it’s worth to cut and tape and test new sticks, and most guys are happy with what they use, and what they know.

#87 - get well soon.

So when a player makes the change, the team orders the gear from that company.  NHL teams, AHL teams, they all still have to buy those sticks, albeit at a discounted cost.

So most NHL players aren’t “sponsored” per se, as much as they just use the exact gear they like and don’t think about anything else (ie. price).

Now, there are exceptions.  Big name guys like Sidney Crosby occasionally get sponsored – as we all know (and we KNOW, Rebook), Crosby is with Reebok.  But the dirty little secret here, is that that doesn’t mean he uses RBK’s stuff.  A couple years back I know (or rather, I frequently heard from other players) he was wearing another companies boot, but had it customed to look like the RBK skate that had the pump on it, so Reebok could churn out a million posters with pictures of Sid wearing the new wheels.  Which he wasn’t.

So the reps come around and outfit the guys, the team pays for said gear at a low price, and everyone is happy.  There’s no way Sid would limit himself to one company if he thought another company’s product was better – there’s no amount of money, whatever it is that they pay him, that would be worth it to a guy that competitive.

How do guys like Teemu Selanne (with his old Jofa helmet) or Osgood (with his ’80s goalie helmet) get fitted when they go to a new team? Does JOFA have stockpiles of those old lids, or would Teemu have to paint his old one when he gets to a new team?

Yeah, I’m sure Teemu has a couple of those buckets that they just re-paint.  Otherwise like you said, I’m sure JOFA can always track another one or ten down for a star like him (actually, JOFA no longer exists.  I think RBK bought them, actually).  Unique pieces of equipment are your own deal – but chances are something better has been made and you should move on.

Talk a little bit about manufacturers – Easton seems to be on top as far as stick use numbers go, but Bauer seems to have a majority of the skate market. What do you make of the fluctuations of brand choices? Are NHLers just fad followers or are there great advances in technology year to year and between manufacturers?

“Great” advances might be a bit much, but there are advances every year.  And if there isn’t, a company will just attach some new gimmick to the product and call it improved.  It’s a pump!  Hey look, now there’s holes in the shaft!

Full disclosure: I may be doing some work for Easton soon. Still, my comments to the left about their gear are sincere.

Anyway, most NHLers aren’t fad followers in the slightest bit (some of the young kids might be, but not for long).  I think the market fluctuations validate the quality of a product.  Bauer makes fantastic skates.  Easton makes fantastic sticks (skates too, I hear).  And every so often a company comes along and makes a push to be legit.

Warrior is a great example of a company that came in and really shook up the standard brands, because their product (sticks) were terrific, and a good number of players made the switch and used them.  Some players have some measure of brand loyalty – I know my dad used Bauer skates, so I did, and thus I never even looked at other brands - but for the most part, guys want whatever’s best.

(*Tangent alert*)

Warrior did themselves an injustice by coming out with ridiculous marketing – they went with crazy colours and gave the sticks ridiculous names that I don’t even care to remember like “Mofo” and “Badass.”  They missed the point – hockey fans and players are all about nostalgia and the inherent, childish goodness of the game (as much as we also love the violence).  At it’s most base elements, the game is pure.  It’s why we love campaigns like Bauer’s “What Are You Going To Write?” series that I still love so much (in reference to the clean sheet of ice).

Not many players want to stand out (nobody’s bigger than the game, we, we, we!), and holding a stick like that is embarrassing – if they had gone understated, way more players would use them, because as I said, they’re sick sticks in terms of performance.  They’re probably changing to a more conservative look, but for me, I’m still turned off.  I’m not trying to be Terrell Owens out there standing on the star in Dallas, I’m trying to bury a one-bomb and high five my linemates.

 (*Tangent over*)

Anyway, gear gets better every year, and you can see which companies are the ones making the strides by who’s using what in the NHL.

Thanks for your questions, and hope everyone found that interesting!

(Oo, and as a PS-slash-plug, that Synergy EQ50 I got from Easton awhile back: still hasn’t broken, I use it once a week and take plenty of clappers with it.  Great stick.)

Why I Wish Rick Nash Were On A Different Team, And That’s Allowed

 

I’ve been on the receiving end of a fairly decent twitter-drubbing from Columbus Blue Jackets fans about a few Rick Nash tweets I made yesterday, especially about the comment that he’s “drowning” in Columbus.  Which was a little much, maybe. 

The intent was to praise Nash, not take pot-shots at CBJ, but I can fully understand why fans didn’t appreciate the barbs.  For what it’s worth Jackets fans, if you follow me with any regularity, you’re well aware I’m consistent in my criticisms - my own favourite team (the Islanders) has been far from sarcasm-exempt on this blog and twitter.

Great style.

That should probably make it hurt more, because it points to the fact that I’m usually without bias with those comments, meaning I wasn’t just taking pot shots without a point.

Let me explain myself:

I hate that Rick Nash plays for the Blue Jackets, because the majority of North America doesn’t care about the Blue Jackets.  Ohio is a great hockey state, and there seems to be plenty of proud, smart fans of the team.  But outside of that region, the national interest isn’t there.  It’s in Original Six teams, Washington, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and so on.

Thus, when games are televised in primetime, or the Winter Classic teams are selected, Columbus is nowhere near to getting a second thought about being picked.  I know that hurts, and believe me, I can relate to that misery, but denying it is just silly fan bias thinking.  In turn, I never get (nobody ever gets, actually) to see Nash play unless they have the NHL package or they live in Ohio.

I do have the package, but again, I’m just not that interested in Columbus as a team, so it’s not worth watching the games all that often just to watch one player. (Unless Lebron is playing.  I’d tooootally tune in just to watch him. ….Oops, sorry Ohio :)

Woo-hoo, n stuff.

Beyond that, I’m frustrated for him because he should be one of the top few names mentioned when someone talks about the best players in the game.  If he played for the Maple Leafs or the Red Wings, best believe that would be the case.  He’s just out of the national spotlight there.

It’s even more endearing that he’s so loyal about staying there, given that he’s aware of all the things I’ve written above.  And better still, you know he believes they can win a Cup there in Columbus the way Carolina did in 2006.

And maybe they can.

But in playing for a team that doesn’t spend to bring in supporting talent, for one that instead shrewdly thrifts together a pretty good squad year after year, it greatly minimizes his Cup-winning odds.  Yes, the odd team in history has gotten it done without spending a ton, but it’s a rarity.  The playoffs are a long, tough grind that requires secondary scoring, tremendous defense and great goaltending.  While possible, it’s tough (and rare) to acquire the whole package on a budget.

Just a big, strong dude.

What that means then, is that a player who can do so much and be so great will swim upstream against the current until he’s forced to do the inevitable Ray Bourque-to-Colorado thing, and it may not work out.  A guy who could have a massive effect on a Stanley Cup Final may never get the chance to live out a defining moment.

Like I said, more power to the guy for being willing to battle for that city, but as a fan of the game, I think I’m allowed to wish he were on a different team. 

And something else to remember: just because I want him to go to a different team doesn’t mean that’s happening, like I’m the GM or something.  A lot of the responses I got from Blue Jackets supporters were along the lines of “just let us keep him,” or panicky-sounding, frenzied keyboard mashing, like when you take a baby’s favourite stuffy away. 

@akrygier —  @jtbourne is the sarah palin of hockey writing, who cares what he thinks.

Uh…..fair enough, I guess?

The moral of the story is this: I’m sure Columbus fans wish, say…. I dunno, Shea Weber or some other stud in a small market like that were on the Penguins.  He’s a great talent you’d like to see in primetime more, you’d like to see in the Winter Classic, you’d like to see in the late rounds of playoffs on a fully-funded team trying to win Cups, as opposed to a team that squeaks into playoffs and makes a first round exit.

I score in pictures with white jerseys! (But only skate when I'm in blue)

It’s not gonna happen, of course, but from a fan’s standpoint, and the standpoint of the history of hockey, I feel like Nash is a diamond, locked in a safety deposit box for no one to see. 

But Ohio, it’s your safety deposit box, and you get to see him plenty over the course of the season.  So, enjoy him, root for him, and hopefully he can bring you that Carolina-esque Cup your fans deserve.  But don’t hate on me because I want to have a peek at the stone once in awhile too.

Oh, and *ahem* …..sorry for the term “drowning.”  ‘Twas a bit much.

Happy humpday, folks.

Joining A New Team, Goligoski/Neal & Niskanen Trade

 

New Puck Daddy:  Part one of my pieces on joining a new team. This part focuses on the gear, and the joy that is getting all new stuff in your new team colours.  On Thursday the piece will be about fitting in – how soon you can take a shot at a guy, how you interact with the guy you speared in the nuts last time you played them.

*****

Healthy and happy, the boys both chilling on a place we shouldn’t let them, but do (the counters are off-limits though).  They don’t look all that pumped, but whatever, they didn’t respond when I asked them to smile.

Hi there, we're cats.

*****

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally tracked down a quality winger for Sidney Crosby, trading offensive defenseman Alex Goligoski to the Dallas Stars for James Neal.  And if that wasn’t enough, Dallas threw in Matt Niskanen, a defenseman that still hasn’t fulfilled his potential, but could certainly develop further and be a nice asset for the Pens.

Great poise, vision.

Crosby hasn’t exactly been forced to be Lebron James in Cleveland (being that Evgeni Malkin is a Penguin as well), but for the most part he’s been saddled with mediocre wingers for his entire career.  Neal is far better than anybody he’s consistently played with before.  The best part is, Neal is still young (23), and has the potential to be a 30 or 40 goal guy.

Upon first glance, it appears that Pittsburgh won the trade in a major way.  Which they did.  But here’s my guess on why Nieuwendyk made the move:

First, the obvious stuff – the Stars are on a self-imposed budget, and I’m sure they’d like to re-sign Richards in the off-season.  Neal is due to sign a fairly hefty contract, so if Nieuwendyk figured he wasn’t going to be able to get them both, you might as well get a quality player for the guy while you can.  And, Goligoski is a major asset.

Solid addition for the Pens.

But second, and this is purely speculation – maybe they were going to get rid of Niskanen anyway.  Apparently Dallas fans are disappointed that he hasn’t lived up to their expectations, and maybe the guy wore out his welcome there.  Being that Pittsburgh has said that Goligoski wasn’t for sale, and I truly believe they meant it, this kind of feels like one of those “offer they can’t refuse” situations.

He wasn’t for sale, but everyone has their price, so why not overpay to catch the exact fish you want? (Like the Knicks just did for Carmelo Anthony.)  It’s more valuable to use the guy as a throw-in than trying to trade him straight up for another mediocre player (and not get Goligoski), or worse, putting him on waivers or something.

Can’t be certain, but you can be certain that there was more to this deal than just equating player talents and mis-judging their worths.

Then again, what do I know?

*****

I’m such a product of my own generation, that I can’t help but adore the set-up of Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” column every week.  Just nugget upon nugget of hockey information.  Too good, I recommend you check it out.

*****

On trade deadline day, I’m going to be doing many, many hours of radio with my co-host Todd Lewis.  Swing by the site that day and tune in for a bit, Todd’s a good dude and we have lots of fun.

Hope everyone is doing well – looking forward to seeing all these new players in their new sweaters!

Column: NHL GMs Are Learning To Be More Aggressive

 

New USA Today: NHL General Managers are (rightly) learning to be more aggressive around the trade deadline

*****

Hope everyone’s having a nice holiday Monday!

The Leafs Trade Kaberle To Boston

 

New Puck Daddy: scoring goals gets harder in the season’s final third.

******

It’s official – Toronto has traded Tomas Kaberle to the Boston Bruins for a late first round draft pick, highly touted prospect Joe Colborne, and a conditional pick (which will be a second or third rounder if Kaberle re-signs with Boston, or if Boston makes the Cup final).

13 years w/ Leafs, and a crapton of points by a defenseman.

That’s some terrific return right there.  But, it makes sense - cornerstone defensemen are tough to come by, and those that are acquired are getting a healthy chunk of money (as Dustin Byfuglien’s new 5-year 26 million dollar deal would attest).

And, I’ve written this before – when you can see you’re that close to being a Cup contending team, I say you sell out for it.  Which is why I get mad that Philly doesn’t do what they have to do to get someone legit – not just “good” - in net.  Same with Washington.  From Boston’s standpoint too, you just got Seguin and you have two more top round picks coming up in the next couple years, so you can afford to sell off a few legit prospects, no matter how much you like some of them.

And if you’re a Maple Leafs fan…. well la-dee-da, look at you guys getting the opportunity to be excited about a trade.  Most Leafites generally harumph about the half-ass rebuild attempt the Burke era has brought them, so they need not bitch anymore. 

6'5 21 year old apparently "plays like he's 5'11"." I see.

Colborne will probably be ready to be an NHL center by the 2012-13 season, which basically means just ride out next year, he’ll probably get some games and NHL exposure, and further fill out until he’s “there.”  Add two fairly high picks on top of what they got for Versteeg, and it may be a long haul on the road to redemption, but at least the Leaf road is finally leading somewhere.

Maple Leafs fans have one major thing going for them – Burke will pull the trigger on a deal if and when he has the chance to add a legit NHL star.  I’m an Islanders fan.  We have like, 15 million in available cap space and are spending even less than that.  The rebuild has been slow, but with a lot of our drafted talent rounding into form, we could sign guys like Zach Parise and Brad Richards in the off-season, combine them with our talented young group and boom – you’re fighting for home ice in the playoffs.

Alas, that’ll never happen.

For Maple Leaf fans, when the house is almost rebuilt, your organization isn’t afraid to put a roof on it.

Phlog Part Deux: Capitals @ Coyotes, February 14th

 

New Hockey Primetime: Why we see more fights during the “dog days” of the schedule

New Puck Daddy: Why GM’s looking to rebuild should target prospects, not picks

*****

Unfortunately, the Washington Capitals/Phoenix Coyotes game didn’t weild a picture of a coach’s card, but it did get me plenty of the Great 8.  Whhhoooo I promptly wrote about being out of shape.

To clarify: his bursts are as fast and exciting as ever, it’s just that after he makes one, you rarely see another in a shift.  That full column is here (just had to go to the article to get the link, 105 comments, jeez).  Just make sure you don’t misunderstand me: dude is as incredible as ever, but given his age, teammates etc, most people expected more this year.

The second phlog (photoblog) of the week!

At the end of every warm-up (apparently), Semin fires a few lazy wristers for Ovy to tip.

Always cool to see the best of the best in person. Just wish he didn't insist on yellow laces.

Said laces, far too visible.

For Ms. Conduct. Bryz isn't used to pucks being behind him.

And we're off!

After a mind-numbing first, something happens!

Brian Engblom's notes.... really nothing comparably interesting to yesterday cheat sheet score, obviously.

Fiddler and Yandle post-win clowning...

And what did you think of that, Jovo?

 Obviously we were less interested in capturing every single thing that happened during the second game with those seats, given that at some point, you gotta watch the action, but still, some of those are pretty cool I think.

Check out my multiple columns if you have time!

*****

Update, from a comment below – I snapped a BizNasty pic from my phone:

2point0

A Photoblog. Phlog. Blackhawks @ Coyotes, February 12th

 

Okay friends, it’s time to run some of the pics I took from sitting on the glass at the Chicago/Phoenix game (tomorrow I’ll run the Washington/Phoenix ones if I get the pics downloaded in time), sorry I’m a little late on this.  Complete with my own snide comments, as you’ve all come to expect.

Chicago Blackhawks @ Phoenix Coyotes

I have never, ever seen someone as OCD about their sticks in warmups as Duncan Keith. He'd use each stick for mere minutes before switching, testing each one, staring at them, evaluating them, trying to decide which one to use. It was bizarre, and frankly, dumb. He used like three of them in the game anyway.

See.

Turco made Bri go "whoa, that guy's old."

I got a lotta heat about the green hoody on twitter, but $20 at Target? Can't beat that. BTW, seats were so good we walked through player entrace high-fiving fans to get back to them. Whatta blast.

I look startled.

These two have an interesting dynamic.... Toews seemed really down, and as I tweeted, he came to the bench saying "eff me" more times than a porn star throughout the game.

And because we sat here.....

We got this picture!

Interesting things of note, at least in my opinion:

*The assistant coach was taking notes on Phoenix, not his own team (it was whichever assistant that runs the forwards – Mike Kitchen?).  I wonder if they have one guy watch their opponent and the other tends to the Blackhawks?

*Phoenix was apparently playing a 1-2-2 in the neutral zone, and was utilizing the reverse after winning d-zone face-offs (DZFO).

* The Vrbata note is from right after he scored - He seems to note that it was 8′s fault (Nick Leddy), who apparently effed up a hinge/pinch decision.

* He’d like to see more body contact, which I presume is out of obligation to the Laws of Coaching, which means you have to request more body contact from your team.

* Ummm apparently he wasn’t impressed with Pyatt’s goal off the wing, double underlining the word (WEAK).  I’m pretty sure after seeing the replay Corey Crawford was screened and it was tipped.

The rest is pretty generic.

Hawks tie it up at two with three minutes left...

Had to walk by this, Turco's helmet every time we walked to the bar/washroom between periods.

Crawford looked wiped before the shootout. He also looked like Marty Turco's son.

When you know you're not shooting, shootouts are a blast. Game is over, entertainment time.

Someone's nervous watching.....

This:

Bryz owned Kane on two straight breakaways, one in OT, one in shootout. And just like that, the Hawks were....

LICKED. /kitty-rolled

Playing On The Edge, Ovy Looks Out Of Shape

 

New The Hockey News: About playing on The Edge

New Puck Daddy: I think Ovy looks out of shape (up soon, here’s a link to Puck Daddy)

*****

Come back later today, when I’ll post many, many hockey pics from my visits to Jobing.com over the past few days.  I was fortunate enough to have a friend get us terrific seats on the glass behind the benches for the Blackhawks and Capitals Phoenix visits.

Guest Blog: Ryan Lambert: On the Thin Line Between Awesome and Repulsive

 

Ryan Lambert is a fellow Puck Daddy writer.  He’s the dude that writes Monday’s “What We Learned” that I’ve FJM’ed so many times, and Friday’s “Trending Topics.”  I look forward to his every post, as the guy has some pretty great points about the NHL.  Also, he’s a complete asshole, in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way, and I really enjoy that.

Follow him on twitter, as not enough people do, and he’s one of my favourite follows.  Hopefully Lambert will write some more for us in the future.

*****

The Line Between Awesome and Repulsive

 

Wednesday night, the Bruins and Habs engaged in a bit of a dust-up as part of a rollicking affair that brought hockey fans the world over back to what is affectionately referred to as The Good Old Days.
 
Because of a couple line brawls and even a good-natured goalie fight, there were 178 penalty minutes. Pretty much everyone thought it an exemplary game of hockey that got a bit out of hand because things were a little testy, and hey, it’s Habs/Bruins, right?

Good ol' fashioned dust-up.

 Convert that video to grayscale and scratch it up a little bit, it’s from the 1950s, when those teams legitimately hated each other. Add a different filter, make it grainier, and it’s from the 1970′s. All good stuff.
 
Apart from Greg Campbell using his elbow pad as a weapon in a fight — which went unnoticed by everyone, apparently, since I’ve not seen or heard a word about it and he sure as hell wasn’t suspended — you couldn’t say this wasn’t a perfectly healthy part of a very contentious game between archrivals. A little out of the ordinary, sure, but everyone involved was very, very willing.
 
But then the braindead pacifistas Get Fighting Out of Hockey crowd got significant ammo when something they would call “roughly the same thing” happened two days later. As the Islanders piled nine past the Penguins, they also saw fit to turn the game into a sideshow act, a nauseating and deplorable effort to even the score for trespasses — both real and perceived — committed in earlier meetings.
 
Those trespasses? Well, they’d been embarrassed a week and a half prior when Brent Johnson broke Rick DiPietro’s face with a vicious left, and claimed the rest of the Pens chuckled up their sleeves at the one-punch wonder. And of course Talbot had given Blake Comeau a concussion in the same game with a perfectly clean hit. 

This doesn't end well.

 But despite this, the game started rather innocuously. The Islanders jumped out to a quick three-goal lead, and it appeared that their way of getting revenge was to badly outplay the Penguins in a game of ice hockey.
 
Obviously, Michael Haley traded punches with Craig Adams over what he felt was a borderline hit in the neutral zone; one which looked innocent enough but you could kind of see why Haley objected. Then Eric Godard scrapped with Trevor Gillies late in the first period. But this was fair as well. It was two guys whose only job is to beat the living shit out of people like them, doing so.
Godard ostensibly wanted to fire up his team, they’d lined up across from each other on the draw. In short, everyone knew it was coming. Decent fight too. Nothing untoward. Again, an acceptable part of the game.
 
But these two fights should have, perhaps, served as a bit of a warning. Haley, for example, had been called up specifically for this game. Already a veteran of parts of five pro seasons, he’d been in 56 fights and put up 196 penalty minutes in just 65 AHL games last season alone. Clearly, this call-up was not made to juice the offense; Haley’s job on Friday, like the rest of the Islanders’, was clear. Send a message. They were more than happy to oblige.
 
In all, the game featured at least two absolutely reprehensible cheapshots (Matt Martin on Max Talbot in a six-goal game, and Gillies’ bionic elbow on Eric Tangradi), 346 penalty minutes, and one gigantic load of shit from the Islanders organization from top to bottom.
 
To wit, Garth Snow didn’t bring just anyone down from Bridgeport as a replacement. He called up a guy with 144 penalty minutes this season, despite Gillies and Zenon Konopka already being dressed for the game. He clearly knew what would take place, in one form or another, beforehand.
 
And while Jack Capuano (perhaps) didn’t order this absurd level of hate-fueled violence, he certainly didn’t mind that flying elbows and blindside ambushes and, most disgustingly of all, cretinous taunting were how his team reclaimed their pound of flesh. That he stood there after the game and told reporters with a straight face that he had no problem at all with what his boys had done that night serves as irrefutable evidence of this.

Yeah, things got ugly.

 
What the Islanders did was pure pro wrestling garbage. That they provoked the Penguins into answering in kind was, as with any good heel act, probably exactly what they wanted.
 
How else do you explain Haley going after Johnson after already having been sent to the box for fighting on the same play? Yes, Godard leaving the bench was embarrassing, and nothing excuses it, but the circumstances had been so ratcheted-up by the crap the Islanders had been pulling for two periods that of course a cementhead like that was going to be suckered into getting himself suspended for 10 games.
 
And that’s what separates that sickening display from the dustups in the Habs/Bruins game. There was nothing premeditated about the hatefest in Boston, while the incident on the Island practically had an itinerary.

Weekly Recap And An Interesting Piece Of News

 

New Puck Daddy: Why is everyone so shocked when a call-up doesn’t suck?

*****

Every Thursdays I sit in front of the webcam for ten minutes with Todd Lewis and BS about the hot topics in hockey, and our producer Dave Turner edits in some game pics and the whatnot, for a thing we call Hockey Unfiltered.  We’ve done four now, and they usually post on Sunday or Monday.

The YouTube channel for them is here, feel free to have a gander if you have some extra time.  We’re also going to be doing a three hour trade deadline radio show, so when I can provide you with a link of where to go listen, I will.

*****

Interesting news: So guess what?  The guy I blocked on twitter is one and the same as the guy whose comments on my PD articles bug me.  We’ve been in touch, he’s unblocked, and I’m following him on twitter.  We’ll see if we can’t mend our relationship yet.

*****

Weekly recap:

Monday – USA: Concussions are scary.

Tuesday – PD: Players think thoughts during the anthem.

Wednesday – HPT: Every team has a whipping boy.

Thursday – PD: Getting told you’re being traded is crappy.

                      BB: Twitter takes tolerance.

Friday - PD: Players at top of AHL and bottom of NHL are almost interchangeable.

*****

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend as usual!  I’m headed to the Coyotes/Blackhawks tomorrow, get excited.  Thanks for all the support.

Twitter Tolerance, and a Column I Think You’ll Like

 

New Puck DaddyOn the many ways players get told they’re being traded.

*****

My cousin Adam is on twitter (he’s a good follow, aside from his shiiiiiitty taste is sports teams. @Hnatty92. Really, Dolphins, Senators and Rangers? Have some pride.), and had a friend tweet a pretty funny joke, which he promptly retweeted for Darren Dreger to read…. who promptly blocked him. 

It was when Dreger introduced his new blog, The Dreger Report.  Making a play on the fact that the infamous hockey “insider” “Eklund” just bites everything Dreger tweets, says or sings and claims it as his own information, the oh-so-scandalous tweet was: “Looking forward to the introduction of The Dreklund Report tomorrow.”

Of all things to block someone over…..

Given the BS Dreger probably gets from the public, I don't blame him for being quick on the block gun.

Anyway, it got me thinking about Twitter tolerance: how much should we have?  Not only do I want to block, ohhh, 5% of my followers, but I want to punch about 4% of them.  I don’t, because….whatever.  How hard is it for me to simply ignore their messages and just forget they’re reading mine?

So as of this moment, I’ve only blocked one person, and it wasn’t for any one tweet that really irked me.  It was just a constant barrage of shitty, negative responses to everything I put out there that I didn’t want to deal with.  I had engaged said random person before and didn’t like their tone, and still resisted the block. 

But you know how sometimes you just have “one of those days?”  He said something minorly annoying when I was already annoyed, so I said eff it, and blocked him.

There’s a commenter on Puck Daddy who I don’t appreciate either (Benjimann or something, I dunno), not because the guy is mean and hateful, just…..why comment with one negative sentence on every post?  Piss off.

Anyway, there was an interesting story from Jeff Pearlman of CNN/SI who actually sought out a couple of his blatantly hateful commenters, tracked down their phone numbers and called them, only to find them apologetic, basically explaining a) it’s easier behind the walls of the internet and b) they didn’t think he’d be reading.

Point is, I am, in fact, reading your comments and replies, even if I don’t have time to respond because I have to work, or am simply not at my computer, but reading on the phone.

Those people he called probably got what they wanted – his attention – which sucks, but it goes to prove a point: Not many people are really as crappy as their hateful internet comments, so I’m calling out to all of us to be better from now on.  There’s nothing wrong with being a sarcastic dick, but the actul vicious, nippy stuff?  It’s unnecessary.

The internet isn’t new anymore, and it’s time we up the etiquette a little.  Not here on this blog, by the way, everyone here could stand to be a little more disagreeable, if anything.  But when you comment on other people’s work, or tweets, or videos….how about questions about the stuff you don’t like instead of leaving a line of hate and moving on to LOLcats without even realizes you soiled a moment of someone’s day?  Open the conversation up.

Go buy Bob's book.

I’m not the Almighty Polite or anything.  I’m not all free-love and we have to agree on everything, just look at my post yesterday that involved Adam Proteau.  It’s just healthy once in awhile to realize this new internet age is the death of the one-sided conversation you used to get from sportswriters like Rick Reilly, who by the way, are at the forefront of the blogs-are-stupid, what’s-this-tweeter-thing-I-keep-hearing-about resistance.

Nobody in the world has adjusted better than Bob McKenzie, who happily LOL’s his way through his @’s, making people realize he’s a person, not just some guy who spouts hockey info on TV all day long.  We know about his sons, his musical tastes, and more.  We feel like we know him, because he’s embraced the recent shifting of the plate tectonics under the sports media world, and we like him all the more for it.

Times have changed, so it’s time that we do too.

*****

Follow me on Twitter

Matt Cooke on Tyutin, Two Beauty Goals, Subban and Gill

 

New Hockey Primetime: On Phil Kessel and being the whipping boy.  Haven’t even submitted it yet, was antsy to blog today.  Should be up by noon MST. (link to Hockey Primetime.com)

*****

As I’m sure you’ve heard or seen by now, yesterday Matt Cooke ran Fedor Tyutin from behind – and I mean, numbers showing, no turning, from behind from behind - and will likely recieve a suspension for that today.  He damn well better.

Adam Proteau of The Hockey News and I got into it a little bit on twitter after he made comments that it’s the NHL to blame, not Cooke for his actions (although he did end up going with “both,”).  He started his case with this argument:

Pit bull owners say the dogs are docile but can have anger bred into them. Matt Cooke is hockey’s pit bull: reared & rewarded by his owners.

We took our disagreement to both private messages and public, largely discussing this issue itself in private ones, with my argument being that every player in the league plays under the same rules, so when one idiot continues to be a repeat offender, we can’t deflect the blame from him to the league the way we would rightfully deflect the blame from angry pitbulls to pitbull owners (we can assume by “owners,” he means those that raise them to fight).  It’s just not the same thing – we’re humans, and are responsible for our own decision-making a touch more than dogs.  We can’t let that (on-ice) animal off the hook for his actions, which is what I felt Proteau was doing.

In the end, Adam and I really did come to agree on the issue, we just needed to work our way to that common ground.  Bottom line is, the NHL needs to be tougher on him, and he needs to quit putting players’ bodies and lives in danger with his reckless play.  If he doesn’t, and the NHL doesn’t suspend him appropriately for this, Adam and I will agree: both parties will be implicit.

At least he didn't leave his skates. (Screenshot via D. Chesnokov)

Part of me wonders if the Cooke incidents are happening more (if they aren’t, it sure feels like they are.  But maybe that’s social media) because his game is in decline – not so much statistically this year, he’s just less effective as an Alex Burrows-esque agitator. 

In that role (if you’re enough of a clod to choose to play with such disrespect), you’re “supposed” to get away with cheap shots behind the play, outskate your opponent up the ice and make him catch you for a retalitory penalty in front of the ref.  I feel like he’s losing it a bit, and has to do the blatant stuff to remind us what his “role” is.  Otherwise teams would say take your 30 points and go home.

Whatever it is, it’s awful to watch, and scary to think about what could happen if the NHL doesn’t put him back in his cage for awhile.

*****

Such a hard shot, from that angle, that high, against Fleury, off the post…. Just, wow:

And I mean…. can you sell that slapper any harder, any better before leaving your teammate with an empty-net tap-in?  McDonald to Backes, wow:

*****

Really good story here by Arpon Basu, writing about some media members misinterpreting comments from Gill to Subban, and writing a post about Subban being bad in the room. (Bob McKenzie tweeted the story this a.m., PD may have linked it yesterday.)

I never understood reporters in the dressing room drawing their own conclusions on stuff like this (and clearly Basu doesn’t either).

I can tell you first hand, the relationship between older veterans and rookies is hilarious, because oftentimes, the old vets intentionally ride the younger guys to the point of absolute hilarity.  It’s always tongue-in-cheek, it’s always very paternal, and once in awhile old man winter will smile just so everybody remembers it’s all a joke.

There are, undeniably, generational differences that lead those older players to dislike, or not get, some of the young guys.  But as the article mentions, you almost always find a way to at least co-exist.

As for Subban throwing his jersey on the floor?  Learning not to do that isn’t “becoming a pro.”  You know not to do that in junior hockey.  Bad form, PK.

In the end, I like Subban and all his flair.  Always exciting to see what he’s gonna do next.

Next Page »

Login