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

PUCK DADDY LIVE CHAT: GAME 7. RED WINGS. COYOTES.

 

PARTICIPATE AT PUCK DADDY’S WEBSITE, SINCE I’M LIVE-BLOG-EMBEDDING-DEFICIENT

Also, please don’t comment embedding advice unless you’re really up on this stuff.  I know how to do it.  I embed stuff with regularity.  But these crazy Cover-It-Live things disappear after I put them in HTML format and go back to visual.  I’m mailing it in.

But YAY!  LIVE BLOG HOCKEY WEE FUN CHAT TIME SPORTS!

Boyle “Scores”, Ovy’s Awake, and Red Wings/Coyotes Talk

 

Hockey!

Don’t you hate that I don’t often blog on the weekends?  So much happened.  Let discuss….

Dan Boyle shoots the puck into the net in overtime, only… it was his own.

"Let me just rim this around the...ohhhhcrapitsinournet, isn't it?"

Dan Boyle shot the puck into the net in overtime, only, it was his own.  Not sure if you heard about that.

This is one of those f**k-ups that’s so exceptionally f**ked-up that it doesn’t even affect you as a player, if that makes any sense.  If you’re playing a game, and your best isn’t as good as your opponents best, it can get to you.  You start to doubt yourself, you start trying other things, and you get worse.  But this play was so ridiculous I wouldn’t even be that rattled. 

For the record, I don’t think O’Reilly tipped it.  It’s just one of those plays where you go, crap, no way that just happened.  I’m gonna go change, go home, and prepare for the next game.

What it does mean, for a Sharks team who needs extra hurdles like Ben Roethlisberger needs another accuser, is that they’re down 2-1 to a team they’re better than.  It also means they gave life and hope to a young squad who needed exactly that.  San Jose played great last night – absolutely dominated and looked they were on the powerplay most of the night.  Only Craig Anderson was so phenomenal they should have credited him with the game winner.

Even if San Jose does win this series, it’s going to be longer and more stressful than they’d hoped.  Which is too bad, cause it’d be fun to see them advance (in full health) to a round where they got to play another top seeded team.  Maybe they just need to get away from pesky underdogs to show their true colours. (teal!)

Every series was knotted up at 1-1.

Which is pretty cool, if you’re into watching exciting hockey.  As I mentioned before, any desperate, defensive NHL squad could beat the best teams one time out of seven (even Edmonton!).  I was appalled by the amount of people that were jumping on underdog bandwagons, like we were gonna see the eight lower seeds advance.

Love Chicago, but find this series the least interesting to date.

The Sens aren’t gonna beat the Penguins.  The Habs aren’t gonna beat the Capitals.  And the Islanders aren’t playing hockey in late April.  Some things you just know to be true.

The most realistic upset scenario is Philadelphia giving the boots to New Jersey, provided Boucher avoids getting the yips for the remainder of the series (Example of the goalie yips: Detroit’s first goal of playoffs, where Bryzgalov caught a case of the yips instead of the puck on Holmstrom’s shot.  A random body twitch that prevents you from doing something easy. A bit of a Philadelphia-goaltending-epidemic).  All year I thought NJ was higher up the standings than the quality of their team, and Philly was sitting lower than their potential.  It’s a pretty even match-up, so I like the Flyers odds, being up 2-1 and all (plus, Carcillo’s goal is proof that good things happen to good people.  What a guy).

Random sidenote – I could totally see Buffalo in the Eastern conference finals.  They’re one of those teams that doesn’t get much TV love, and not a team I ever chose to watch with other options on.  After seeing them play a few times, I’m muchos impressed.  Moreso than I am with Jersey/Philly/Boston, who are the teams they’d have to beat to get there.

Alex Ovechkin had four points in game two.

LOVE that he celly's linemate's goals with the exact same enthusiasm.

His no shots in game one prompted “what’s wrong with Ovechkin” talk from folks all over. 

I feel like the hockey community is dying to chuck this guy under the next passing bus some reason, like he’s ever done anything wrong aside from some excessive celebrating (which I love).   It’s like we can’t wait to give Crosby the reins as the games best player.  I dunno if anyone else feels that, it’s just sort of a vibe I get.

Hate to break it to y’all, but barring injury, the games best goal scorer is gonna be co-holder of those reins for a long, long time.  He’ll streak and slump like everyone else.

Coyotes/Red Wings became the most exciting series in playoffs.

And plenty of 'em!

Most exciting by an absolute landslide (shout out to LA/Van, Boston/Buffalo).

Ilya Bryzgalov (by the way, I call my fiancee “Breeze” or “Breezer”, which has evolved to Ilya Breezegalov) was an absolute stud in the third period of the last game, and Jimmy Howard wasn’t.

I really felt like this would be one of those series that no one would ever score in.  Two well coached teams doing the right thing, y’know?

But it’s been thrilling.  Scads of goals, lead changes, and a fast, young Coyote team that’s giving the supposed Cup contending Wings all they can handle.  Can Detroit beat Phoenix three of the next four games and pull it out?  I dunno, man.  I just don’t know.

I was at the first two games here in Phoenix, and feel the need to say props to the Coyotes fans.  It’s been a lot of fun. 

Until you see some of these guy’s play in person, it’s tough to know why some guys score while others don’t.  Pretty easy to see once you see Datsyuk’s wizardry in person.

*****

Sorry about the late post – I was putting the finishing touches on a column that should be up today or tomorrow on USA Today’s website - I’ll put the link up when it posts.

In the meantime, I’m on the computer all day, so if you’d like to discuss any other playoff topics, fire away.  I’ll be here to respond.

Monday, wweeeee!

Summer Jobs For NHL Players

 

In the spirit of DownGoesBrown….

*****

Well, its that time of year again.  Playoffs.

And at this time of year, journalists, reporters and TV pundits are all focused on the boys who made the cut and still have a chance at Lord Stanley’s Holy Grail.

Fortunately for you, you read the blog of an ex-player, and I have the connections to give you a look at something different.  Truth is, even though NHL players make a ton of money, a lot of them still live paycheck to paycheck.  You know how that can be.  So, I thought it’d be entertaining for my readers if I made some calls and figured out what a few of the NHL guys that didn’t make playoffs are doing for work in the off-season. 

***

* It seems Dog the Bounty Hunter is getting too old to do his show, so they were doing interviews for someone to take over the lead role.  Nobody thought Evander Kane would actually get the part, let alone immediately after his interview, but apparently he knocked it out.

* Phil Kessel was told he could come in any time over a two week span for a job interview at some place called “Olympic” Pizza, but apparently he went missing the whole time.

* Rick Tocchet apparently hasn’t been able to find any summer work, but he somehow moved into a nicer home.  I’ll give you 3 to 1 odds he’s got something going under the table.  5 to 1?  Okay, 5 to 1.

* Steven Stamkos was already up for the salesman of the week bonus at the Nissan dealership that hired him - apparently he tied the lead guy in sales by selling a tricycle to a blind guy for $80 bucks at the last second, just to reach the numbers.

* Apparently Keith Ballard got a job coaching t-ball.  Not sure why.

* Rick Nash got a job doing landscaping, but was noticeably frustrated after seeing that, even though he was doing an amazing job, his co-workers sucked so bad things always turned out horribly.

* Amazingly, Daryl Sutter got a job running a major league baseball team.  Since then he’s been there he’s been desperately trying to get some Blue Jays on his roster, at one point reportedly saying “I know all they’ve done is lose, but trust me, I really like what’s going on with these Toronto guys.”

* The only other scoop I heard was that Dion Phaneuf has apparently sunk to being a bus boy at Earls.  It’s not about the money, I’m told.  The staff said he just likes taking care of the sloppy seconds.

*****

After learning about a few of the Maple Leafs summer jobs, I realized I hadn’t heard much from that organization lately.  I did a few quick Google searches to see what’s been going on:

 

*****

For your daily mix of (mostly hockey) insight and humour, follow JTBourne on Twitter.

Tigers New Commercial, Masters Predictions

 

Ahhh, beautiful Masters morning.  Can you smell those Azaleas?  (You really love this golf stuff, huh Chubbs?)

Just add Jim Nantz

Shall we talk golf (as 80% of my readers “x” out this screen)?  I think we shall.

First, here’s the f**ked up re-release of Tiger Woods 2.0, as decided by Nike.  Oh, the poor, tortured soul.  Of course, that’s the voice of his deceased father, Earl Woods:

Spooky, awkward, and about the only option Nike had to shove this guy back into some level of marketability.  I still think Tiger should have gone the opposite way with this thing – you know, admit he’s not a family man, take up condom sponsors and start talking trash like a WWE heel.  It’s Bill Simmons idea, but it’s just such a good one.  Opponents would have been reminded: he’s a killer, a hitman, and you should fear him.

Now it’s just uncomfortable.

*****

PREDICTIONS:

FAVOURITES

Tiger – He’s gonna miss the cut or win the golf tournament, with the first part being the most likely.  But even you Tiger haters don’t want him to miss the cut.  This sideshow is too good to miss, and lets face it - if he isn’t involved, my interest – like yours – will probably be cut in half.

Phil – I’d love to see Phil in the mix too, of course, but the guy has struggled in Tigers absence (one top ten in seven tournaments), because of his own personal reasons.  That being, his wife and his mother recently discovered they have breast cancer.  Kinda tilts the scales in who you root for in the Tiger vs. Phil matchup of old, right?

Padraig Harrington – With three majors under his belt, a great personality and a solid game, if you don’t cheer for him you’re not allowed to enjoy St. Patty’s Day from now on. 

Anthony Kim - America’s best hope.  Anyone who can wear a huge belt with their own initials in rhinestones (hell, it may be diamonds, who knows… he’s rich) on it has the confidence to close out if he gets in the mix on Sunday.

Ian Poulter – an uber talented, crazy dressing SOB who once claimed that when he got his game together, it’d just be him and Tiger.  Since then, I’ve grown to like him, and think he’s just about ready to peak.  Or burst into actual flames, judging by those outfits.

Retief Goosen – I mean, come on.  Watching that guy swing is like hearing a lullaby.  He can win any week.

Ernie Els – See notes on Goosen.

DARK HORSES:

Ryo Ishikawa – “The next one”… and we all know Tiger came roaring out of the gates.  He also looks like a female pop singer.

Fred Couples – He’s been my favourite player my whole life, and it’s no different now.  Maybe mopping the Champions Tour and getting healthy is enough for him to grab another green jacket in his 50′s.  Okay, probably not.

Obligatory Canadian Mike Weir mention here – he’s a golfer, and in the tournament.

….AND THE WINNER IS….

Me.  It’s always me.  I have no freaking idea who’s going to win.

*****

Dear NHL on the Fly – can you stop talking about Seguin and Hall long enough to cover the race for playoff seeds?  Thanks.  We’ll address those kids when it’s time.  They’re exceptional, we’ve heard.

*****

Short one today, folks.  Gotta get some work done before the coverage starts.  HAPPY Thursday!

Special Treat – An AHL/ECHL Song

 

Got a special treat for Bourne’s Blog readers today - this song is about the life of an AHL/ECHL player… My buddy sent it to me today, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Death Is Better Than Wheeling

Original by Curtis Patrick, performed by Dan Taylor

Seabrook/Wisniewski, Campbell/Bourne, Cooke/Bruins

 

Yesterday, Mike Wazowski James Wisniewski got suspended for eight games.  I guess we all really worked Colin Campbell to a climax on that one, huh? 

Whatever – if you saw the Wisniewski interview, he looked like he felt really, really bad…. that he got suspended.  I’m not saying the guy’ll play like an angel the rest of his career, but forfeiting the price of a nice house in Phoenix might give him pause for a few seconds, I would think.

I messed up by not running the hit yesterday, and by only commenting on it in the comment section.  Here’s me making up for it, if you haven’t already seen it…. which you have, so umm… move on.

While we’re discussing Colin Campbell, as we often to seem to be….

My Dad and ol’ Coley couldn’t exactly be described by the phrase “BFF’s” back when they played.  ….Oh look, two clips – and by the way, they’re awesome – the commentators crack me up.


Colin Campbell vs Bob Bourne

Ahh, that felt good and it wasn’t even me.  I love the casual nature of the color guy in this one, doing the math on PIMS.  Just another whistle between plays…

Apparently they also score fight wins by take-downs, as Campbell was the “clear winner” against Sutter.  PS, that first left from my Dad was a bomb, thank god it didn’t land, for everyone’s sake.

*****

Okay, on to Matt Cooke vs. the Boston Bruins:

What did people think was going to happen? 

The circus demonstrated how badly some people are out of touch with the realities of professional hockey.  This was the type of thing that emphasizes to the guys in the room how much certain fans and media outside that room don’t get their job.

Every night some guy has a target on his chest, which is of secondary importance to the win.  Every night. It’s a long season, and you play the same teams plenty of times over the year, hell, over a career.  And, it’s not a cliche - their jobs ACTUALLY depend on winning.  And people flew in to catch this game expecting to see fireworks while the biggest fight is their battle for eighth? 

Granted, this one happened to be an extreme case (due to it’s blatant nature, followed by no suspension), and the guys are well aware of that.  But the night unfolded the way it did to appease those that went out of their way to be a part of the “event”.  Cooke had to fight if he didn’t want to be crucified in the (for once) vendetta-aware media, and the Bruins were no different.  In no way am I saying they wouldn’t have fought if not for the media, I’m just saying it wouldn’t have gone down like a bout at Caesars Palace 1:58 in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fact is, these are professional athletes, and though they often act spontaneously, you don’t get to that level without some measure of discipline.  Many-a-nights you leave (frustrated) after taking a number and just playing the game.  Just because the media sniffed out the obvious “hey, their gonna be mad at that guy, right?”, this all seemed a little…. forced.  It doesn’t usually happen the quarter-second after a guy’s skates hit the ice, but eventually, guys get found.

And it’s not always a fight – a late hit, an extra shot, whatever you can get in there and not hurt your teams chances.  As soon as a guy puts his vendetta ahead of the team goal, he sits.  He may get healthy scratched the next day (and the coach will tell the media its because a guy wasn’t “effective” to avoid the circus.  Read: Avery), and if it happens enough, he may get dealt.

For those who thought they’d fight Cooke everytime he stepped on the ice, chase him around and make highlight-worthy plays on him…. with Colin Campbell and every east coast media guy there?  To quote NFL Countdown, C’mon, man.  In the end, they may not be done with him, but they aren’t idiots.  They put on the show people came to see, right away.  But they’ll find him again when it’s not mid-playoff push.  They’re disciplined.  They’re pros.

Buy and Sell: Some NHL Teams As Stocks

 

Snap back to reality, and just like that, the multicolored rings, skin-tight lycra and Giant Inflatable Beavers are a thing of the past.  Last night, the puck dropped on Colorado – Detroit, and some very important points changed hands.

Before last nights NHL game, I was seriously contemplating putting a chunk of money down on Detroit, but simply don’t have a large chunk of it, which makes putting it somewhere kinda difficult.

I once heard that the NHL, gambling-wise, is the most predictable of the major sports.  That is to say that, for the most part, the good teams are usually the good teams, and Columbus will flouder in perpetuity.  I almost made that bet, because there’s still some inevitable leveling that needs to happen for the NHL season to get back to normal, and two teams played last night that moved in the directions they’re probably going in the second half.

And that’s no knock on Colorado – I believe in them a lot more than a few of the other surprise teams – it’s a testament to Detroit’s being-Detroit-ness, and having too much team to miss the playoffs.  Combine that with the now-healthy/running-out-of-time factor, and picking against the Wings (who have a rested goalie) down the stretch is madness.

Here’s five teams (as stocks), and I’ll letcha know what to do with your money!

Detroit:

As I just mentioned, they’re decent.  Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Fransen, Tomas Holmstrom, Brian Rafalski, Nicklas Lidstrom, Nick Kronwall and the discovery of Jimmy Howard are the oh-so obvious reasons why (oh, and that Babcock guy).  They haven’t been healthy, and haven’t had a chance to be “them” yet.  BUY!  BUY!

Phoenix

I wrote an article at the start of the year for the Arizona Republic trying to defend the fans lack of attendance here.  My defense for them was, the team has sucked, sucks and will suck (you can teach English as a second language using that sentence, PS).  It turns out that that wasn’t a very smart angle to take upon moving to Phoenix, as it’s made getting credentialed in the press box a skosh harder, only made worse by the fact that I was horribly, horribly wrong.

So to take the angle I’m about to take is not something I want to do.  It’s just…. look, Coyotes fans:  Your roster has to catch up to you eventually, but that’s not a good argument for you because you love your roster.  Try this on: your d-corps is playing over their heads out of this world (leading the NHL in goals by d-men, really?).  They’ve done great up ’til now.  But Anaheim is about to get a bunch better.  Detroit is too.  So is St. Louis.  Then you’ve got San Jose, Chicago and the rest of the conference to contend with.

The problem?  11 of your last 15 games are on the road (I want to say nine in a row at one point).  I’m not sure how far I expect the fall, but it’s definitely out of home ice advantage.  So sorry, sell. (NOT LITERALLY, BALSILLIE, PUT YOUR WALLET DOWN!).

Anaheim

As Hiller showed with the Swiss in the Olympics, he’s the real deal.  Anaheim did a great thing in committing to him.  What they haven’t done great this year, is win.  I’m sure last year the system of finish eighth then reveal your true colours isn’t exactly the game plan, so I think we’ll see them revealved a little sooner this year.  San Jose is praying I’m wrong – they see the potential 7/8 seeds as Detroit/Anaheim and are already packing for an early summer.  Buy yourself a little bitta Duckstock.

St. Louis

Since Davis Payne’s arrival, St.Louis has been 11 – 8 – 3, not exactly setting the world on fire.  But any team that’s leaning on a foundation of David Backes, TJ Oshie, Eric Johnson and an under-achieving goalie can get itself righted.  They’re young guys, for sure, but they’re gaining experience and confidence as they go, so buy, BUY, BUY!

Buffalo

Down the stretch, I’m less trusting of the teams that have blown expectations out of the water, because there’s a reason people didn’t pick them to finish that high in the first place (looking at their roster, how can they be this good?).  People knew Ryan Miller was good, but “world’s best” good?  They may falter because they use this guy for not just a crutch, but a walker with tennis balls on the front to slide around on.  (Would you rather finish fourth with a burned-out Miller, or sixth/seventh with a rested one?  They should let him chill down the stretch a bit).  Miller has, in the past, started much better than he’s finished, because he’s a slight guy who gets overplayed and worn down.  Look for reality to set in a bit for the Sabres, sell!

Worth Mentioning:

I think the Kovalchuk trade was huge for the Devils – I’d be picking them to drop without that move.  But there’s another reason why it’s tough to pick them to drop:   The bottom half of the Eastern Conference is horrible.  Just horrible.  Atlanta, Florida, Carolina…. there’s just too many free wins for the boys at the top to pick teams like NJ to drop.

I’d mention the Isles as a team headed south if there hadn’t already set up permanent residence there (Hey, Ricky’s hurt!) ….2-8 in their last ten (horrible prediction – the Isles finish in the bottom five, get crazy lucky and win the draft lottery, then a few months later trade some sparklingly talented kid for draft picks cause they don’t actually want to have to pay too many good players). 

As for penny-stock moves, I think you’ll see Tampa Bay and Toronto finish the season stronger than the first two-thirds.

So there ya have it!  Where am I a horrible idiot (Jim Cramer from Mad Money), and where am I an awesome genius (Justin Bourne from Bourne’s Blog)?

*****

Tomorrow I’ll be live blogging trade deadline day with the team at Hockey Primetime.com (here, on my blog), from like 9:30 a.m. (EST) til forever.  I’ll be on a few radio shows.  I’ll be texting my friends that play for dirt.  Come by and say hi!

 

(Olympic Hockey) LIVE BLOG, Tiger Woods Press Conference

 

LIVE BLOG starts a few paragraphs below, skip on down if you don’t care about my thoughts on Olympic hockey.  I don’t blame you if you don’t.  I barely do.

*****

Resuming a debate from yesterday:  If you were a GM building a team, would you rather have Rick Nash or Ilya Kovalchuk?  Tough call right?  Nash is a handful out there man, I certainly don’t envy d-men trying to stop him.  I feel like he gets 10 chances to Kovalchuk’s one, but Kovalchuk buries his like he’s hiding a dead body.

*****

So, Canada struggles against the Swiss (who, you would assume, DOMINATE the neutral zone).  I DVR’ed the game and chucked it on again when Bri went to bed to see what I could see. 

I saw Canada looking just fine.  They created a ton of chances, and really, the Swiss didn’t have many of their own (though I would’ve liked to see their first goal, THANKS CNBC for rolling out your newest hockey coverage feature, COMPLETELY ARBITRARY COMMERCIAL BREAKS.  Now seems like a good time, sell the people some detergent.

What that game did do, was make the Canada/US game that much more exciting for me.  The way the tournament format works, those top four spots are crucial, and both teams could still easily grab one.  And while we were floundering against the Swiss (again), it wasn’t like the US was running through Norway (until the end). But then, I know, it’s kinda hard to when you know you can win in autopilot.  Plus, Norway has TORE VIKINGSTAD, so they’ve got that goin’ for them.

But hockey isn’t the big news story of the day.  Tiger is.  And what you don’t need, is some media outlets moralistic view of what Tiger needs to do to make amends for being a slimy scuzzbucket.  What you need is the view of Bourne’s Blog - all the guy is to me is an entertainer, and that’s what he’s going to do again.  So take the stage Tiger, and dance, playboy, dance!

*****

TIGER WOODS LIVE BLOG PRESS CONFERENCE

Alright, first note – if Tiger says he won’t play in the Masters, the live blog immediately ends so I can shatter the nearest glass and eat the shards.

Tiger’s therapy called for a week off, which is why he’s doing the press conference today.  So yeah, it has nothing to do with taking away eyes from the tournament being sponsored by the same people who just dropped him from their sponsorship list.  Seriously.

And the last note before we get underway, is yes, I realize this is lowest common denominator stuff.  But let me have this.  Sometimes it’s fun to live down to the title “blogger”.

"What's this one's name again? ...Think Tiger, think!"

*****

8:35: ESPN has the ghost of Rick Reilly chime in on his thoughts about Tiger.  The guy looks like all that rain in Vancouver actually did soak his skin to a wrinkly, pruny mess.  Sor-ee, Rick.

8:55:  Tiger has serious security detail with him.  There’s three dudes with guns, and Elin with a nine iron.

8:56:  As Justin_Stangel tweeted, the official press conference rules are as follows:  No multiple cameras, no questions and no fat chicks.

8:59:  Did you hear that Phil Mickelson called Elin Nordegren? He asked her for some tips on beating Tiger.  (Ahhh, what a gold mine of material.  Thanks Tiggs)

9:00:  Just had this one sent to me:  “The police asked Tiger’s wife how many times she hit him. “I can’t remember,” Elin said, “just put me down for a 5.”

9:03:  This feels 100% like an SNL skit.  LIVE FROM NEW YORK, ITS SATURDAY NIGHT!

9:05:  Oh wow, this is actually really sad.

9:06:  Wait, no it isn’t.  Did he just remind us of his charity work?  Holy crap Tiger, you really missed the mark with the “I’m actually still great” hint.

9:08:  Okay, it’s funny again.  Thanks for this one:” Tiger’s other women aren’t mistresses. They’re provisionals.”

9:10:  It wouldn’t have killed the guy to give this a run-through in the mirror once or twice, hey?  Did he get to see the script before they turned the cameras on for his monologue?

9:11:  Why do I feel like I’m being scolded?  Great point by Josh in comments – he should just put a ball down on a tee and swing.  I’d golf clap and forget this speech ever happened.

9:13:  I’m boggled that people can talk this long without making an actual point.

9:14:  Buddhism!  Yes!  What a twist!  Tiger’s a big fan of rubbing belly’s, apparently.

9:15:  HOW DID HE NOT WEAR RED FOR THE BIGGEST MOMENT OF HIS CAREER?

9:16:  Therrreee’s the orchaestrated tears.  I thought we’d see more of those. 

9:18:  Tiger hugs his old college teammate, who knows he’s crying because now he actually only gets one woman for the rest of his life.  Tiger sobs “I’m just too famous to get … sob… away now.”

9:20: No mention of the Masters, but a mention of Buddhism.  I did NOT see that coming.  Aight, I’m out people.  What’d you think?

Milbury and McGuire Try To Solve a Sudoku

 

Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire try to solve a sudoku, the transcript:

Pierre: You see what’s happening here, Mike, is they’ve given us the “medium” level Sudoku to solve right off the top.  MEDIUM.  That’s how advanced these guys know we are.  Our first ever attempt at solving a Sudoku, but they’ve seen the passion and drive in which we work, and know we could solve a medium right off the top.  At only 49 years of age.  FOURTY-NINE!

Mike:  One thing you have to like about the Sudoku book is the answers section in the back.  While most Europeans doddle around, looking for answers and thinking through strategy, the North American players know to cut to the back, find the answers, and do it the right way.

Pierre:  This kid Milbury was drafted to do Sudoku’s out of Boston at seven years old, but was so good at punching teachers they turned him into a hockey player first – never got a chance to fulfill his destiny as a Sudoker, but just look at him go – heading straight to the corners of that big square and immediately filling in answers from the back.

Mike:  Look, I disagree with you there –

Pierre: – You can see what Milbury’s thinking there—wait, what?

Mike:  Oh.  I dunno, I wasn’t really listening, just figured it was time to say that.

Pierre:  Lookit the heart on this Milbury kid – not even into his third line of the conversation and already gettin’ in guys faces.  This kid is no-holds barred.  He’s a star.  Should crack the under-60 team this year.

Mike:  I finished.  The answers were all right here. *shows back page*

Pierre:  YEARS OF AGE!  HEART!  CAAANAAADIAAAN!

Avatar, Figure Skating, Lockouts, Milbury, Tiger

 

I finally got around to seeing Avatar last night, on a Bri-sponsored date.

A must-see.

We did it the right way – IMAX, 3D, a sack of popcorn bigger than the screen, all that good stuff.  And I’ve gotta say….  WOW.  Just wow.  That movie was unbelievable.  I was 90% certain I would leave going “meh”, but I gave it a fair shot, and man, I thought it was just great.  It’s like Planet Earth on acid, splashed with a pretty cool story.  Check it out before you have to watch it on your 18″ RCA at home.

*****

 

I don’t get why male figure skating has to be so flamboyant.  I really don’t.  It’s the same as “why doesn’t Norway have a good hockey team?”

Okay, Weir's an exception, but good god man...

Why all the glitter and jazz hands to distract from one of the most unbelievably difficult events in individual sport?  Triple spins on skates?  And you need SEQUINS to make it impressive?

I understand not wearing something loose, as that would detract from your ability to perform.  But I find all the pomp and flash detract from my attention on what they’re actually able to accomplish.  There’s too much substance buried under all that style. 

But, I guess every sport has a culture.  The American snowboarders are rocking the jeans and plaid look (because the Cobain/grunge/Seattle look needed to be revived…. okay, I actually like the their gear), so I guess the figure skaters can rock bedazzled unitards and sparkles, if that’s what the culture is.  What they do is still ultra-impressive (just look at this pages bottom image for proof).

***** 

 

In all of ESPN’s holy-crap-there’s-nothing-to-coverness, they’ve been chucking around the possibility of NFL and NBA strikes.  Do you think all those fans would immediately forgive “us” for the hockey lockout if that happened?  Would they come running back?  They would right?  Please pay attention to us.  Please!  I desperately want to make love to a schoolboy.

 

*****

NBC's star

 So Roenick and Milbury are the newest Pierre McGuire and Milbury.  As in, duo who argues because they’re both so opinionated they both have to be somewhat wrong.  I think the reason we’re seeing more Inflamatory Mike is that he’s starting to get comfortable on-air.  He probably started as a decent GM too *gag*, but now that he thinks he’s safe in his analyst job, he’s starting to say the stupid red flag things that make people go “…pardon?” (like that time when he started saying things like “Do you think we can turn Chara, Luongo, Jokinen and the future Spezza pick into some real Yashiny/Kvasha/Parrish-ish type guys?”).

My first taste of this was when Inflamatory Mike explained in a sentence or two to Clark Gillies that, since he had been with the Islanders for 13 years, and Clark played there for a mere 12, he was as much or more of an Islander.  This was spurred on by a bit of Grandpa’s cough syrup, it’s safe to say, but there were some mighty unhappy ex-Islanders in the room after that.  Since, y’know, Mike said it on the microphone while hosting an event to a bunch of them.

Let’s not launch a Milbury hate parade in the comments section.  We’ve covered he’s not the most popular guy, I just wanted to tell the “Mike’s a true Islander” story.

*****

Last for today: Tiger speaks tomorrow.  Holy crap.  This means a return to golf.  Before the Masters.  Holy crap.

I sure hope he apologizes to us for cheating on his wife.  Wait… why’s he holding a press conference again?

*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fact:  You can’t do this.

Canadian Hockey Rap. Sad. Funny. AWESOME.

 

I’ve decided it’s ridiculous that when I add stuff to my blog during the day, I add to the bottom of that current day’s entry.  Nobody ever checks back to see the same blog.  I always just liked how neat and orderly it kept things, one entry a day.  Fuggit.  I’ma start adding new stuff as it’s own entry, because apparently that Deadspin model is somewhat effective.

Here’s what I wanted to add to today’s blog.  It’s amazing that I fit the exact criteria of someone who would love this unhealthy amounts – a Canadian rap fan who follows hockey.  Down Goes Brown rules. He really, really does:

Breaking For The Olympics Is The Right Move

 

Well hi!  Welcome to the best site for Olympic hockey coverage, assuming you like it covered once a day and with Canadian bias.  You do?  Cool.

*****

Don't worry Iggy, linemates are coming!

Olympic hockey is unparalleled. 

After each of my college seasons, the team would agree to meet once or twice a week for a shinny game, Canada vs. “Planet” USA.  Without fail, the game would end up at least semi-serious and way too intense, so it’s easy to understand why involving the pride of every person in the country really ramps things up.  It’s also really fun that we all get to pretend that the winner of one game (see: February 21st, Canada vs. USA) is better at hockey for the next four years.

I’ve heard sports pundits talk about how bad the Olympic break  is for the NHL, how no other league would do this, and a million other reasons why it shouldn’t happen again in four years.

F**k that.

No other sport has the opportunity to do something like this.  There’s no American Football in the Olympics because it’s simply that – American.  The Saints aren’t “World” champions.  They’re the best in a 30 team American league that was created by Americans and filled by Americans.  It’s no slight against football  (or the Saints) – I’m just saying, it’s a lot harder for a nation to dominate a sport (and get their players in the world’s best league) when like, 30 countries take the sport seriously, and in hockey’s case, the NHL is the holy grail for every kid who plays the game.

To then have the opportunity to weigh different countries contributions to that amazing league in a tournament, is unrivaled.  Baseball is doing it wrong – if their professional players went to the Summer Olympics, how much love would that event get?  Nothing is like the actual Olympics, despite baseballs effort with the… what’s it called, World Baseball Classic?  And baseball might need to send it’s pro’s soon - their sport is the one losing it’s grip on “interesting”, not hockey.

And what would basketball do if the Olympics were mid-season?  How much do the fans love the “dream team” talk?  It’s such a shock to Americans when their teams get shelled by Argentinian fundamentals, because there isn’t quite the partiy in basketball as their is in hockey (I know US basketball has found ways to lose before, but I still wouldn’t call chalk up their international struggles to “parity”) – we genuinely can’t guarantee Canada or anyone will be in the top three – just look at 2006, or as it’s known in Canada, “2002″ (since we refuse to acknowledge our 7th place finish four years ago ever happened). 

Ahhh, sweet glory.

So wouldn’t basketball break to have the world’s best players partake, given the fan support for their current US gold medalists?  Doesn’t it void the magnitude of the Olympics if its a competition of the world’s best athletes *asterisk exceptallthosebetterplayers?

They probably would send their players, for fear of losing patriotic players, the same way Ovechkin says he’ll play in Russia in 2014 if the NHL won’t let it’s players participate.  It means that much to guys, I think moreso in hockey than in any other sport because the dressing rooms are so diverse.  It’s a chance to prove what they’ve been “joking” about for years to each other.

Hockey has the unique opportunity to showcase the game at it’s best, at it’s most Carcillo-less level of pure.  It can showcase it’s international diversity, and most important, it can demonstrate the passion and emotion this game brings out of people.  Football is the only other sport that gets people this fired up for the entire length of a game.  Basketball and baseball often seems like they’re being performed by talented big people who only try hard when they need to and for themselves, not for a team.

Olympic hockey, to simplify, is everything that’s good about our game.  Any negatives that come from stopping the NHL season for a couple weeks can be dealt with.  This means too much to pass up.

This Is What Being At The Gillies Is Like

When I first met Cash, in July:
Yikes.

When I ran into him again yesterday:

Yikes.

Snow covered dogs thaw out indoors.  Cash is one of THREE Newfs.  Love ‘em.

Brendan Burke

 

I sincerely don’t know how to express the sorrow I feel for the Burke’s loss today.  I cannot begin to imagine the pain they must be feeling.

Brendan died last night after losing control of his Jeep on snowy roads in Indiana.

He first contacted me a few months back after a piece I wrote for USA Today struck a chord with him, and in turn, his story touched so many of us.  I’m proud I got to be a part of spreading his positive message.  I’m happy we got to have some laughs on the phone, and mostly, I’m just lucky to have got to know him the little bit I did.

My condolences go out to the Burkes – it’s a sad day for them, and the hockey community as a whole.  He will be missed.

*****

UPDATE: To read the thoughts of how the death of Brendan affected just one of the many people who looked up to him so quickly, check out Mikey’s blog, a seventeen year old hockey player from Minnesota – he goes by hockeykidmn, and endures the struggles of being gay in a difficult sports culture.

The Flames: Quantity and Quality Moves?

 

Weeeeee, trades are fun! 

Burkes an idiot!  No, a genius!  The Flames are in chaos!  The Chames are in flaos!  LETS BLLLOOOGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

Let me start the day by saying thanks to Craig B for the donation – I tried to write you personally, but I got “NoSoupForYou’ed” by your email address.  It means a lot to me, and every little bit helps buy me time before having to go real job hunting.  So yeah, thanks again, dog.

Always been a big fan of Irish pubs.

*****

Also, before hockey trade talk – I had an Anquan Boldin sighting here in Phoenix a few days ago.  Just a casual dinner with his wife and kid out at an Irish Pub - he was wearing the preferred outfit of football/basketball players everywhere: huge basketball shorts, huge white t-shirt, hat with the 50/50 sticker on it and a diamond earring.  Super low key, but also super “g”.  What a win-win. 

….Jokes aside, that man has my respect – had his sinuses collapsed with a helmet to the face, then played two weeks later after not taking any pain medication.  That’s some tough-stuff right there.

*****

 

 

Nicklas Backstrom

 

 

 

 

 

Hahaha…. um…. I don’t even know.  Maybe the caption for these pics should be “Today, on Ellen…”

*****

So the trades.  The Flames just overturned about 40% of their forwards and 30% of their total team, going from:

 Oli Jokinen
Brandon Prust
Dion Phaneuf
Fredrik Sjostrom

TO

Matt Stajan
Nicklas Hagman
Jamal Myers
Alex Kotalik
Chris Higgins
Ian White

Mmmm, tastes like quantity over quality…. but really, they might be onto something.  During my assessment of the Western Conference, I discussed how a few teams are overachieving – which is, by being quick, young and deep with good goaltending (Buffalo, Phoenix, Colorado).  I usually push for stars over a bunch of “pretty good” players, but I think in picking up Stajan/Hagman/Kotalik/Higgins, they got players that have potential to be above “pretty good” status, especially together.  Not stars, but guys that, in the right situation, could be very valuable.

I’m a little worried for my boy Eric Nystom.  Not good when your team picks up a Costco-sized pack of forwards and your a guy who spends a fair chunk of time on the shelf.

*****

Dear major hockey networks: please stop showing Cammalerri’s buckling leg.  The boards won.  We KNOW.  Ugh.

*****

Kurt Dusterberg has written a book called Journeymen: Bittersweet Tales of Short Major League Sports Careers, and sent me a copy to review.  I have not yet done so (though it looks like it’s got some really neat stories to tell), because I’m a busy dude, but if the premise interests you, you can buy a copy here.  Six of the 24 stories are hockey guys: Dallas Eakins, Scott Gruhl, Darren Jensen, Fred Knipsheer, Peter LeBoutilllier, and David Littman.  I’ll tell you more once I get to it!

Also, the Moshansky boys sent me “A to Z Guide To Hockey Terms” for review.  This great little book strikes me as something they should sell in the US, in the southern markets.  Actually, the teams that live in those markets should buy them in bulk and have a night where everybody gets a copy.  It’s a pretty handy compilation of the most common (and some not-so-common) terms, nicknames, penalties, etc. Great to help a new fan understand and enjoy the game all the more.

*****

Hey look: someone finally invented a formula PROVING Crosby is more valuable than Ovechkin.  I mean, right?  There doesn’t seem to be any flaws in a formula that finds an assist half as valuable as a goal (just ask the Sedins).  Also (as the creator points out), we can finally prove that Mike Fisher is having a better year than Joe Thornton.  Good-ness.

*****

Lets have your prediction:  Do the Flames make the playoffs?

Next Page »

Login