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Blog Comments, And My High Horse



A few words about negative comments left on my blog, or anywhere else.  So lets get to it.

Those comments?  

They’re welcome.

In some cases (and believe me, not all), I’m writing about things that matter to people, and taking a stance on those issues.  Not everyone is going to agree with that stance, and it’s great when the writing can start a conversation between both sides of an issue.  As my uncle recently pointed out, getting bad comments isn’t a bad thing – getting no comments is a horrible thing.

So here’s the comment that inspired these thoughts:



I love reading your blog Justin, but your little rant about Morency seems nothing but petty, it makes you look ridiculous, and makes you look like a horrible teammate. The guy was nice to you when your illustrious ECHL career brought you to Bridgeport, and you thank him by blogging that he’s a crappy player with little to offer in the professional ranks. Nice, dude. I admit I never got higher than Bantam A, went to UND for something other than hockey, and don’t know anything about a professional locker room, but that’s really shitty to rag on someone still with the organization.


And I appreciate the comment, as much as I disagree with it. 

So for future reference, I’d like to qualify the rules of the relationship with my old teammates, and with my readers:

I’m not going to go all “Jose Canseco”.  But, I am going to be honest about what I’ve seen and what I know.  That’s my pledge to my readers on here, USA Today, The Hockey News, Hockey Primetime or anywhere else.  I’ve got the advantage of being able to provide a player’s perspective.  People read my blog for its candor and insight (and for the occasional chuckle).  I think people appreciate that combination, partly because most players don’t take the time (or may not be able) to put down “what its like” on paper.  And, I’m hoping by not pulling punches, people will want to read this stuff all the more.

I have the option to accept or delete comments on my blog, and I choose to never delete.  In this case, I’ve decided to make it a whole entry and use this (to quote the President) as a “teaching point”.  In no case (barring serious personal attacks or bad language) will I not accept a comment.

So there.




One last thing before I dismount my high horse.

The Clark Gillies Foundation is an um, foundation… put together by.. uh… Clark Gillies.  Believe it or not. 

Clark has raised volumes of money for children with physical (and financial) diabilities in the tri-state area.  They’ve pledged to raise a million dollars, and have already built a pediatric wing in the Huntington Hopital.

If you’re in for a lil tear-jerker, this is the link to the video on the foundations facebook page.  I highly recommend it.  I also intend to link to their fancy new website (that I wrote the copy for, back-pat back-pat back-pat) when it’s up and running.  That’s all for today folks.  Back to sports tomorrow!


14 Responses to “Blog Comments, And My High Horse”
  1. Officer Koharski says:

    I like that you were honest about how you felt about Pascal. I haven’t really paid any attention to him so I’m uninformed, but you expressed your opinion honestly and put yourself out there, so kudos to you. If you’re a pro player you have to expect to be sliced and diced by the observers and being his teammate doesn’t change anything. Objectivity is a precious thing in journalism and quite scarce with team loyalties and stuff like that. Maybe Pascal read it and is steaming mad, or maybe he reads it and thinks “Well, even if I disagree this is a personal blog with someone’s personal viewpoint” I’m positive nothing you wrote hasn’t been said many times before, Morency is a big boy and will have to deal with criticisms his whole career, scathing or marginal.

    So pull no punches. No journalist should hold back an article because it could hurt someone’s feelings. Especially when we’re just talking about sports.

  2. Neil says:

    Nice post Bourne, I’m sure it won’t be the last time you ruffle some feathers. I can only speak for myself but I am a huge fan of respectful honesty, which is an element I really enjoy in your writing. If you speak the truth, have a foot in the stirrup…

  3. Dion says:

    Justin, I got to say that your blog contains the most true-to-the-locker-room writing I know. As a current hockey player, I am amazed at how many times I read your blog and think, “My goodness…. That is so true (not to mention hilarious).” Keep writing the way you do. I’m a huge fan.

  4. John says:

    Nothin’ like a little controversy. I think the post in question could be taken as petty, or cold-hearted, by some. Well…obviously it was. Heck, nobody likes to see one guy made an example of, especially after you describe him as being so nice, sincere, etc. That said, it was a great blogpost, perhaps the best so far.

    I didn’t play pro, so had no idea that fighters/agitators were looked down upon by the skilled players. It was quite interesting to learn that when a fighter does his thing and the home crowd is loving it, there are guys on the fighter’s own bench thinking “oh boy…here goes so-and-so trying to keep his spot up here”.

    Morency does what he needs to do to separate himself from the pack. Your candor as a writer is what separates you from the pack. More power to both of you.

  5. Jbrown says:

    The honestly and I-was-there-experience is exactly why I keep reading this blog. Don’t ever change because you’ve “hurt someone’s feelings”. People are always going to whine. Your own integrity is what matters so stick to your guns.

  6. jtbourne says:

    Thank for the response – I think instead of the skill guys thinking “here goes so and so trying to keep his spot here”, at the time it’s more like “ahhh f***, we’re about to be short-handed again…”. and it’s only after killing off a guy’s penalties (which involves blocking shots and extra hustle) for a few months that you sort of look around and go… “hey… what does so and so bring to the table again?”. It’s amazing how many of those guys get left off the playoff roster after a year of staying in the lineup. My personal opinion of Pascal (nice, sincere – I can’t reiterate that enough. Guys have joked that they keep him on the roster so somebody will do all the community appearances) is totally separate from how I feel about what he does on the ice, which in my opinion, hurts the team for personal gain.

  7. Lyera says:

    Thanks for keeping it honest! Its part of the reason I continue to read your blog and all your other articles. I love the game and think its really interesting (and sometimes quite hilarious) to hear about the behind-the-scenes stuff.

  8. Deirdre says:

    Taking a completely different side on this – after reading your write up on Pascal I suggested to my husband that he pick him as the Enforcer in his fantasy league…sadly it was pointed out that most of his minutes weren’t in the NHL..and that he was being suspended for the move that started this whole conversation in the first place.

    C’est la vie.

    There’s a place in hockey for all positions, Enforcer included (IMHO). But in all cases the player in position X isn’t always going to like what the player in position Y does. That’s part of the reason very few folks switch positions in this game – too much of a learning curve!

  9. Officer Koharski says:

    After reading Deirdre’s comment I was going to open that tired old can of worms-the enforcer debate. But instead of mincing words, I will instead make this statement which has nothing to do with JBs article or any other comments: Georges Laraque is the NHL’s best enforcer. He doesn’t play dirty, he doesn’t bully players, he enforces. He plays a simple and effective game, and enforces the rules of the game that aren’t in the book. Few want to mess with him or anyone under his watch, thus, he is an enforcer, not a goon or a thug. And he can play hockey. He is the best at what he does.

  10. Josh says:

    Justin, you’re free to share whatever opinion you want, of course. Again, I love your blog, your comments about Matt Greene made me chuckle because my ex- had to sit next to him in an art class and her comment was one evening over dinner in a “classy” Grand Forks establishment was, “Does he ever not smell like [crap]?”

    However, calling a former teammate out who is under contract with your former club with the guise of, “Just doin’ my job,” is questionable at best. How would you like it if you were in Pascal’s skates? He’s doing what he feels is necessary to keep his salary in the AHL, he wants his contract renewed next year. The guy played in the Q, probably doesn’t have a college degree, was nice to you, and is probably quite thrilled that he’s making AHL dollars. Don’t throw your teammate under the bus, is my point, no matter how irrelevant a blogger’s opinion is to the New York Islanders organization. What does that say about you and the organization?

    I don’t want to waste any more of your blog space, or get this blog off on a tangent, if you’d like we can continue this over e-mail.

    Best regards, dude.

  11. jtbourne says:

    Hey man – definitely, I’ll make my response and anything further can be continued through email.

    I acknowledged that Pascal is making the best of his abilities in my original entry. And yes, he was likable, but I’m sure there are hundreds of people who like Marty Mcsorley (Wayne Gretzky being one of them), and not one of them is going to condone his stick-swinging incident. In the same way, I don’t condone the way Pascal plays in general – it’s reckless, occasionally selfish, and frequently dangerous. I fail to see the relevance of him being under contract with the Islanders (as I haven’t been since ’08), and by no means am I obligated to paint a pretty picture of everyone I played with.

    I think the point that can be better made is, when a player gets bumped by an opponent after the whistle, and an “agitator” flies in to fight him, that’s not “love of teammate”. That’s “love of his job” – those guys know that they have a role, and they have to look for chances to execute what they do or they’re useless, the same way goal scorers wait for their chances. That’s not protection. That’s the guy at the bar who you know is going to be in a fight, just a matter of when and who.

    I can’t state clearly enough – I like fighting in hockey. This is the difference between agitators and enforcers though. Enforcers fight for protection, redemption, whatever. They act as sherriff, and keep the game safer… safer from the “agitators”, who dip their toe across the line of acceptable like they’re testing the temperature of a pool, pull it back, smirk and go “what’d I do? What? Two minutes for what?”

    The hockey world is small, and if everybody I played with were lavished in praise, all my blog would be is one, lone “we’re taking it one game at a time”. Not only would it be insincere, but i’d be really limiting myself.

    And frankly… “How would I like to be in Pascals skates?” I’ve been in Pascals skates. Being a player means fans pay your salary, and are therefore free to judge you the way I’m free to judge a movie I’ve paid to see. The only difference is that in the case of my critique, the opinion was informed.

    So I wouldn’t blame him for not liking it. But these days, I’m a columnist, and he was relevant. C’est la vie.

  12. Pete says:


    “I think the point that can be better made is, when a player gets bumped by an opponent after the whistle, and an “agitator” flies in to fight him, that’s not “love of teammate”. That’s “love of his job” – those guys know that they have a role, and they have to look for chances to execute what they do or they’re useless, the same way goal scorers wait for their chances. That’s not protection. That’s the guy at the bar who you know is going to be in a fight, just a matter of when and who.”

    is a damn good point.

  13. Neil says:

    I may not agree with you Josh but these discussions are way more interesting (for me at least) when we have people with different opinions having EPIC hockey/journalism/whatever threads and I’d way rather have you say your piece than not. I am a fan of Bourne’s honesty but I also like how the blog allows me to get fairly random hockey opinions from people all over the world that have often played to a high level (or people like myself who play on the highest difficulty setting of NHL 09). It’s going to be a long, sweet, sweet season……

  14. pat says:

    Hey Justin love the blog I hope the negative crap doesnt get to ya ….Keep up the great work

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