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Burrowing With An Auger. Plus Ovy and Conan.



As we discussed in the comments section of yesterday’s blog, Alex Burrows had a chat with referee Stephane Auger before their game vs. Nashville on Monday night.  Supposedly, that chat involved Auger telling Burrows that he intended to even the score with Burrows who had embellished a hit in an earlier Auger-reffed contest.  You all know the story by now.

I'm agitated looking at him. He's good.

Refs and players talk with regularity.  It’s probably the least-seen relationship that affects the outcome of games.  There’s only so many refs, and over the course of 82 games and multiple years, you talk with, yell at, and generally get to know each ref and their tendency’s.

Some let you play, some call it tight, but in general, you know which is which in advance.  At the very least, someone will, and they’ll tell the rest of the team.

I frequently talked with refs because I was a perennial Lady Byng style player, and thus, had a good relationship with them (one college year I had SIX PIMS).  I have a hunch Burrows chats with refs are, in general, less genial.

For an abrasive player, you have to think it’s only a matter of time until you run into an abrasive ref.  And in turn, only a matter of time before you get red flagged, targeted, and penalized more.  Thats human nature.

We don’t know what happened – it wouldn’t shock me to hear that Burrows pulled it completely out of nowhere because he hates the ref.  He might be like Milhouse when he wants Bart to go home, so he yells “MOOOMMMM, BART’S SMOKING!”.  Whatever – it’s possible, but who knows what the real story is.

All I know is, I’m okay with the human element side of this story (wanting to stick it to someone who stuck it to you).  I’m okay with the way Burrows plays, but because of that, it’s only natural that a ref would be quick to give him an extra look.  What I’m not okay with, is calling something that isn’t there for revenge.  Plus, telling him in advance reminds me of a Bond villain explaining his plan to a captured Bond, when I’m screaming at the screen JUST SHOOT HIM.  IF YOU JUST FUCKING SHOOT HIM HE’LL DIE!

But there’s my point.  By playing the role of human sandpaper, you’re going to attract the refs attention more than anyone else.  Your penalties will increase exponentially.  That’s organic.  The moment any ref consciously acknowledges their need for a vendetta, the game’s aren’t being decided organically.  Auger is clearly at fault here, and needs to be penalized for even getting caught up in crap like this.  A ref is supposed to be above it all, supposed to govern fairly.  He didn’t.

Talk amongst yourselves.


 Yesterday, Alex Ovechkin agreed to fight Steve Downie, but Matt Bradley swoops in.  It was the best thing I’ve seen in the NHL this year:


So many bad things can happen in a fight – if it goes well, you can break your hand, if it goes poorly, you can break you face.  You can land melon-first on the ice and get concussed.  There’s very few positive end results.

By Ovechkin squaring up to fight, it legitimizes his status as a guy not just running around and blowing guys up, but as someone who’ll actually answer the bell.

Better still, is that Bradley knows the last thing their team wants is for him to be legitimate in any category other than scoring goals.  And really, better Bradley be suspended than Ovechkin be hurt.  Ooooo, so old-school.


CoCo might gogo

 I love Conan O’Brien.  Admittedly, I’ve gotten away from watching his show since I’ve moved to Phoenix, because I go to bed before the sun sets half the time, but I still love when I can catch it.

It really does seem like Conan didn’t get a fair shake (seven months?) – if you didn’t hear, NBC is putting Leno back at 11:30 and wants to bump Conan to a later time again.  Conan isn’t having it, and has handled the situation like a pro.  I’m on Team Conan – check out his statement, and I’m sure you’ll join too.



 What’s your drug of choice?  I hope it’s not acid, cause the following LT video would EFF. YOU. UP.


After watching the Islanders/Red Wings game last night, I think I might have taken my first step onto the Josh Bailey bandwagon.  I was impressed.


Lane Kiffin left Tennessee for USC, and UT fans reacted with class.  Sorry, did I say class?  I meant they rioted.


Also, *yelling* “What was I supposed to say honey?” —- I’m overjoyed with the return of my lovely fiance.


26 Responses to “Burrowing With An Auger. Plus Ovy and Conan.”
  1. Ohio says:

    Okay so my buddies were arguing with me last night that Downie would have his way with Ovy if only it would have transpired. From my calculations Ovy has ten pounds per extra inches of height (3in=30lb). Your thoughts please.

  2. jtbourne says:

    Ovy, (and I’m very confident in this) would have thrown 100 punches in about nine seconds, or it would have been a seatbelt-fest. Ovy is too strong and quick to just take a licking. He’d have been juuuust fine.

  3. Firestorm says:

    I’m with you on the Bradley thing. Loved seeing Ovi getting ready to duke it out but loved it more when Bradley jumped in before a punch was thrown. Makes me think the Caps might actually be starting to understand how this whole “team thing” works.

    Gotta think the GM was waiting in Caps locker room with a bonus check for Bradley.

  4. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Conan’s monologues have been HYSTERICAL for the past couple of days. He is clearly not happy with how NBC is treating him and he is using every opportunity to nail them for treating him so poorly. If you can’t stay up that late then Tivo it and at least watch the monologue. I am fully on Team Conan. I can’t stand Leno – he repeats every punch line three times…just in case you didn’t get that it wasn’t that funny the first time.

    Yep – refs should be above the game. They should call what they see happening at that moment and not let calls be influenced by what happened earlier in the game or in a previous game. That’s completely ridiculous!

  5. Will77 says:

    I’m also in the Lady Byng category of player. I’ve always had excellent relationships with refs, which have made more then one call go my way. I never understood pretty much every other player who curses out the ref and tells him what a terrible call he made as he’s getting escorted to the box. Never once have I seen a ref go “oh shit, you’re right… nevermind, I take it back.” And as an aside, while I’m totally against renaming trophys in the NHL… I have no problem with them dropping the “Lady” from that one. I mean, come on, you’re going to reward an NHL player and give him something with Lady in it?

    Absolutely in Team Conan… and his monologues have been gold this week. I wonder if NBC cares; they gave him an open platform to rip on them and getting people against them, which he spent almost the entire monologue last night doing, but I guarantee his ratings have been up this week.

    Finally, the Isles/Wings game last night was amazing. Best Islander game I’ve seen in years. Yes, Detriot seemed like they couldn’t care, but wow what an effort by the Isles. Bailey has absolutely saved his season and been phenominal the last 10 games. Shremp is proving to be a good player too and another fantastic Snow pick up. I was in the camp of shocked people when he was made GM, but with pickups like Streit, Moulson, Roloson, Shremp, he’s proved to be one heck of a GM.

  6. jtbourne says:

    Yeah, being decent to the refs definitely earns you the benefit of the doubt. But you’re SO right. Sportsmanship has nothing to do with not playing hard. That’s a must-re-name trophy.

    Snow has been good. Not sure if you saw my tweet yesterday, about Milbury, who Snow is showing up with regularity:

    “NYIers, which Milbury deal irks you more: O. Jokinen & R. Luongo for M. Parrish & O. Kvasha, or Z. Chara, B. Muckalt & J. Spezza for A. Yashin?”

    Thats right, at one point, the Isles had good, young talent, which Milbury moved to get less good, slightly older talent. Chara and Spezza for a used up Yashin? With a huge contract for Alexi? Jee-bus, Milbury.

  7. Officer Koharski says:

    The Luongo deal by a country mile. At least with Yashin, we were getting a 40 goal #1 center in his prime, it just never really worked out. The Luongo deal was just bad news bears, but it also had a lot to do with drafting DiPietro, who at draft time was considered as good or better than Bobby Loo. Obviously in hindsight Luongo is a way more reliable and consistently performing goaltender, and we let him walk along with a very solid (if skull-faced) center in Jokinen, all for two guys who aren’t even in the league anymore. I like Parrish too, he was a good player but he is not of that caliber.

    Bailey has been great since moving to LW. The biggest difference is that he doesn’t play like little weiner boy any more, he has confidence and he plays with some audacity now. I originally hoped he could carry this game back to C, but looking at Nielsen and Schremp coming along, I’m quite happy with him completing a sick line with JT and Okposo.

    One of the biggest things for him is how much bigger he got over the summer. He looks taller and put on probably like 20 pounds or something. A friend of mine ran into him at a bar near Hofstra, said he nearly killed him with the handshake alone. This time last season he looked like the zitty kid taking orders at McDonalds. How about that sick one touch passing play from behind the net in the early first? Sick chemistry there.

  8. jtbourne says:

    Haha, skull faced.

  9. Who the hell is LT?

  10. jtbourne says:


    He’s um, one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL. Ladanian Tomlinson.

  11. ms.conduct says:

    Awesome. Hadn’t taken the time to find the Ovie non-fight but that was money.

    Is it wrong for chick goalies to engage in a little mild flirting with refs if it helps get a quick whistle occasionally?

  12. jtbourne says:

    Haha, I hadn’t thought of that angle, but I love it. I’d say green light, as long as “mild” is the qualifier. I’ll ____ for _____ might be a bit much.

  13. mikey says:

    yea i dont get guys talkin smak to the refs …. just seems like a bad plan. i think of a bunch of times when i get called that im like all pissed but toly know i did it … i sorta wanna say hey good call but u missed the elbow.

    i agree wit u that refs should be above it all but some of its only natural i guess since they have soo much ability to call or not call like 100 things each game.

    boogard gets called for shit that no one else ever gets called for n ive heard hes always nice to the refs

  14. SDC says:

    I wrote a piece on the Conan-Leno situation, here:

    Also, as much as I agree the Bradley swoop in was old school and cool, Ovie’s gonna have to get a scrap in one of these times! Even Sid’s chucked them a few times already!

  15. Char says:

    Snow can show up MIlbury just by answering the phone correctly.

    I dunno about the Ovie thing. I can understand it intellectually, but damn, he can’t fight his own battles? Really? It’s not like he’s Mr. Innocent getting mugged out there.

  16. Neil says:

    Nice post, completely agree with you on Conan, Burrows, and Bradley running in on the OV fight might be the coolest thing I’ve seen in the NHL this year, holy shit that got my heart racing. It’s not about whether or not OV can fight his own battles, it’s about whether or not you want to be anybody remotely tough on that team during the “Why did we let OV fight Steve Downie?” conversation after the game, broken hand/jaw/orbital bone or not. Bradley is a champ for doing that, as is OV for dropping the gloves against a shithead like Steve Downie, who should have a permanent target on his back for laughing on his way off the ice after trying to murder a classy NHL vet in a preseason game. Sidenote: guess who drafted him?
    The people railing against Burrows definitely seem to be regularly confusing the two points of 1) Getting tighter reffing on players/teams that refs don’t like, and 2) Making phantom calls at a pre-meditated moment on a guy you feel deserves your personal vengeance. Apples and oranges, I agree Bourne, one is natural and the other should get you fired in any self-respecting professional sports league.
    Leno is making a real name for himself. Not funny, sideswiped Letterman, and now Conan. Let the legacy continue!
    I can’t stand Milbury on CBC, the guy blabs about this and that like he’s all over it, but could you think of a guy who is less qualified to give people advice on how to run their teams? Oh really Mike, that’s what YOU’D do if you were the GM in the Kovalchuk situation? One sec, we’re gonna cut to Jessica Simpson for some advanced chess techniques.

    MOOOMMM, BART’S SMOKING!!! too funny, nice post!

  17. Char says:

    As I said, I don’t think it’s cut-and-dried on Ovie. Is he a Marty St. Louis, or a Cam Neely? I thought someone as big and strong as Ovie was supposed to be tough as well. The “code” always seemed to me to be about protecting a teammate who’s been cheap-shotted, not stepping in and fighting his battles for him. Guess I thought wrong?

  18. Firestorm says:

    @Char: I’ll show my age by referring you to the Broad Street Bullies in the 1970s. Bobby Clarke could was nasty and could look after himself just fine (especially with his stick), but that didn’t mean the Flyers wanted him fighting. If somebody came near Clarke, there was hell to pay.

    Similar with Bobby Orr, who would get in an occasional fight, but the rest of the Bruins usually made sure he didn’t have to.

    It became a character trait on those teams: if you mess with the superstar, you were in for a long, ugly night.

    I figure Ovi would win more fights than he’d lose, but the rest of the Caps know their season rises/falls with him being healthy. Good on him for dropping the mitts; better on Bradley to protect him for the team. As JB pointed out, nothing good happens to you in a fight.

  19. Kev says:

    Absolutely agree with Neil on Ovie. Questions about Ovie’s toughness or needing someone to fight for him go out the window because it’s not like Ovie asked Brads to step in and fight for him. Ovie showed all that he needed to when he dropped the gloves to fight Downie straight up. Bradley also absolutely did the right thing. if you all remember earlier this year against Columbus, Ovie got into a scrum and was out with an injury for the next couple of games. Who’s to say that the same wouldn’t happen in a fight? Isn’t that what happened to Brassard last year? CBJ lost him for the rest of the season because he got injured in a fight.

  20. Char says:

    Oh, geez, Firestorm (showing my age too, here, haha), Bobby Orr loved a good scrap, and he was damn good at it too! Yes, the rest of the Bruins certainly had his back, but IMHO he’d take a move like Bradley’s as an insult to his manhood.

  21. karlooch says:

    I think Ovechkin would have landed some shots. What Bradley did was dead on as a teammate but I would have liked to see Ovechkin throw a few. On the other note what the hell happened in rec? Fights? Game called? Was it a full moon or something? Weird

  22. Will77 says:

    Damn work kept me from responding to this till now…. Me, the omish, and cave people are the only people not on Twitter at this point I believe, so didn’t see that question about which was the worse deal. Its a tough one, Chara has a Norris and is as shut down as it comes, and Spezza probably = Yashin. But at the time, Chara seemed like an experiment that would never come through (can you make a 9ft tall guy a great player in a sport that requires coordination), and Yashin was if nothing else a PR move that was desperately needed. And he did bring them to the playoffs his first year.

    The Luongo deal is horrible on so many fronts. Jokinen was a top 20 player for a few seasons, but Parrish did get us a ton of goals. And Kvasha was horrible but you could tell he had potential but no desire. I’ll call that a wash to be generous. However, hindsight is great, and we can see that Luongo vs DP is no contest. I’m a huge DP fan, but Luongo has regularly been the best goalie in the world in the Non-Brodeur-Division. What really, really, really makes this deal horrible is this: Isles could have kept a Vezina goalie AND drafted either Heatley or Gaborik. Thats what blows any other deal out of the water.

    Just think… Luongo in net, Chara on D, Heatley/Gaborik on the wing, Spezza at center. I’ll take that over Tavares/Bailey/Okposo any day.

  23. Pete L says:

    I agree that Ovie would’ve come forth with a solid performance if Bradley didn’t step in. AO seems like he can do anything well on the frozen pond.

    You moved out of the NYC area too young. Everyone around here knows that there is only one LT. He is the simply the greatest LB ever!

  24. JB,
    I was only sure it wasn’t Lawrence Taylor. After that … yep … I had no clue.


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