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Fights, A Conspiracy, Kovalchuk and Jeanneret



A buddy of mine from Kelowna, Ryan Beckmann, happens to live 10 minutes from my front door in Phoenix.  Having someone to BS about sports with has been a great way for me to come up with hockey topics/ideas/thoughts, because in the past, the couch hasn’t reciprocated with many viewpoints I hadn’t thought of.  The following are topics we’ve dredged up over the past couple weeks of beer and BS time (some of these may be expanded into column form shortly):


Being big doesn't make getting punched any more fun.

Being big doesn't make getting punched any more fun.

*In hockey, there’s nothing cooler than a team leader fighting to make a statement.  Specifically, I’m talking about guys who don’t have to fight doing it to show their team, “f**k yeah this is important”, so teammates can see that “hey, if our goal-scorer is fighting, we damn well better step it up too”.

And even more specifically, I’m thinking of Iginla vs. Lecavalier in the Calgary/Tampa Stanely Cup final (the two best offensive players in the series, both of whom happen to be tough), and Thornton vs. Getzlaf in last years playoffs, largely so Thornton could prove to everyone in the stands and on his bench “yeah, this matters to me, I just happened to play a relaxed style of game, and it works.  Is this what you want me to do?  Switch to being this guy?”  Either way, very cool.


Any chance the Flames had simply agreed to help Theo get some publicity before the release of his new book?  And that’s why the whole “comeback” fiasco?  Everything would suddenly makes sense, wouldn’t it?

Theo has a new book about to be released and wants to churn up some momentum and headlines to boost it’s sales.  He’s broke.  Nothing would do that quite like a “return to the NHL”.  He talks to the Flames about his idea (or someone else’s), and they agree to let him “tryout” as a thank you for his years of service, and suddenly he and the Flames are making headlines.  Is it that ridiculous?  Would you have heard about/been as interested in his new book if it wasn’t for his recent “comeback”?


Ilya Kovalchuk is a bag of fireworks personified.  Is it possible to be less famous while being the second-most electrifying player in the NHL (behind Ovechkin)?

He’s thrilling.  I can’t think of someone who’s less celebrated while being one of the top five players in a major professional sport.  I know everyone knows he’s good and all that, but he’s rarely in the conversation with Crosby, Ovy, Malkin, Datsyuk etc.  I’d love to see him play in Toronto and get some media attention (or even better, NYR, so he could have the media plus good teammates - has the guy ever had a good teammate?  Name three players he’s had to work with).


And on the topic of uncelebrated, can we get Buffalo Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret a few more mainstream jobs before he retires?  Can he start calling Hockey Night in Canada?  Can Versus get him to cover every game ever?  Something?  Someone get on this before he has an anyeurism from going Sabre-crazy – he might be the best in the biz right now (just listen to the first minute or so, and you’ll know who he is):


Snuck out a 5-4 victory in Fantasy hockey this week, still without Hossa, and without Datsyuk playing.  Fear me, BBHL.  I’m almost back to .500.


14 Responses to “Fights, A Conspiracy, Kovalchuk and Jeanneret”
  1. JD says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Kovalchuk. I remember watching a Canucks game one time on TV when the Thrashers were in town (honestly maybe the only Thrashers game I can remember watching in it’s entirety) and Kovy was so freakin’ dominant it was scary. I like to think I follow the league pretty close and I was still blown away by what he does out there, i.e. end-to-end rushes AT WILL, rocket one T’s from the blueline, bullet wristers from the off wing. It’s hard for someone to be evidently dominant on TV, but he was that night. I think he has a shot at 60 this year, and here’s hoping he gets out of ATL next year into a hockey market.

  2. ann says:

    Totally agree with you about the captain using a fight to make a statement – it’s something that I absolutely love about Jarome Iginla. I think Mike Richards has a little bit of that in him too, and it’s fun to watch.

    Jeanneret is probably the only reason I ever tune into a Sabres broadcast on Center Ice. He is one of the most exciting announcers out there. I also like Mike Emrick. Good play-by-play guys are hard to come by, and in Philly we were lucky enough to have two of the best in all of sports (IMHO) in Gene Hart & Harry Kalas. I grew up listening to both of them.

    I can absolutely see the Fleury “comeback” happening that way, but at the same time, he had a much more productive preseason than I would have expected. Hey, at least he didn’t end up on the CBC figure skating show (a la Tie Domi), right?

  3. Griff says:

    Kovalchuk is sick and at the moment he’s doing it pretty much on his own. He has had good linemates in the past, Heatley, Hossa and his best season goal-wise came with Marc Savard as his center. Somehow he needs to end up in Boston and play with Savard and Lucic

  4. Deirdre says:

    Danny and Jaime covering the Sharks games are also a kick to listen too – Jaime being an x-Shark means we get the kind of background stuff that I love to read in this blog. Danny is just scary with his research. He comes to every game with these 3 ring binders worth of data he’s compiled. Plus, unlike a lot of announcers, they are never unwilling to point out how badly their team is playing. There have been some games where if you didn’t know them you’d probably think they were announcers for the other team. The Sharks get no slack from our duo :-)

    As for Fantasy, I’ve got Dastyuk in my league too – god I hope that doesn’t turn into a season ender cuz I don’t *want* to drop him, but we have too many good players still as free agents that it doesn’t make sense to keep him in a roster spot.

  5. P. D. says:

    I squeaked out a close one as well this past week. I am thinking of changing my name to The Vinny Prospals. He had an awesome point filled week that put me over the top! Seriously folks, if Prospal is available in your league snatch him up!

  6. Will77 says:

    Someone already jumped on the “3 good players” for Kovy, and those were the exact 3 I was thinking. Unfortunately, thats about it talent wise. He’s never had a defense or a goalie. Imagine if he was on the Blackhawks (for the sake of the cap, mentally swap out Hossa for him).

    Or would anything be better then him on a line with Ovechkin? A goalie would just sit on the bench during a Caps PP with those two and Mike Green on the ice and save everyone the time, and it would be the first time a defense pair would be scared utterly sh*tless with 2 wingers coming down on them 2 on 2.

    I want nothing more then Charles Wang to just send Brinks armored cars to Kovalchuks house and dump piles of money on his lawn to get him to come to the Isles. Kovy-Tavares-Okposo would give us a real first line for the first time in almost two decades.

  7. Officer Koharski says:

    I might catch some flak for this but I really can’t stand Jeanneret. He is amusing, sure, but his knowledge of other team’s players is lousy, he stumbles, fills with Errs and Uhhs, gets names wrong, is behind the play. When guys get that old, they start to lose their edge and everyone around him is too polite to suggest he review the rosters beforehand or get loose. He may have earned that clout but that doesn’t make him any better an announcer.

    Emrick is also really annoying, I am confounded that he is the official NBC guy. He’s accurate, fast, sure, but his voice is so incredibly nasal that it drives me nuts. I respect his accomplishments and all but the screeching really bothers me, if I had a dime for every time he shrieked “Driiive!, SCARRRRRR!” I would be a very rich man with broken eardrums.

  8. Steve C. says:

    Justin: Love your blog, your writing, and the insights you brings to us amateurs.
    How about a Top Ten 10 column about what else is considered “douchey”…or conversely, what makes someone a better/more respected player/teammate? As I’ve never played at the college/pro level (only at beer-league level…for too many years to mention), I’m probably guilty of many more things besides “stick-tapping”.
    Keep up the great work!

  9. AiH says:

    A sub .500 fantasy hockey team through two weeks. Hopefully you never have a kid Bourne because that is a lot of pressure for the youngster to live up to.

  10. I followed the Fleury “comeback” a bit more closely than I usually pay attention to such things. I think you’re being a tab bit cynical … only for one reason. Apparently, the guy spent a solid 8 months in the gym getting fit. Now that could certainly have been a part of a grander plan to promo his book … sure.

    But as an old guy who wouldn’t be able to muster that much commitment for something so far in the future (that wasn’t my primary passion) I’m inclined to give Theo some credit for actually thinking he could play again. I think if there was ever a guy who lived and breathed the game … who had it ingrained in his soul, that Fleury meets that definition. Sure he ended as a screw-up. But that fact is what I’d imagine drove him to the gym everyday for his attempt.

    I’d imagine that at some point during the early preseason he undoubtedly recognized that his legs weren’t what they once were. At that point, he may have said to himself, “Gee … well at least this will be good publicity for my book, I’m going to buckle down and make it look halfway good.” And I think he did make a decent attempt.

    I don’t like to see “old guys” keep spots which prevent younger guys from getting a chance. I think there is a ridiculous amount of that in Baseball. So ultimately, it’s for the best that nobody in Calgary deluded themselves and gave him a spot on an AHL roster. But I would have a hard time personally choosing between Chucko or Greenteeth and Theo. That’s probably just the Nanook and Gopher hater in me.

  11. jtbourne says:

    Haha, AIH, that comment made me laugh out loud. But you just wait. I’m very confident. Near .500 without Datsyuk and Hossa… you’ve heard of them I’m sure…

  12. jtbourne says:

    Thanks for the idea Steve, it’s in my “to blog about” file.

  13. jtbourne says:

    Yeah, I got dominated on my “three good players” comment, but I get the vibe had I stretched it to four I’da stumped people.

  14. Beckmann says:

    Beckmann doesn’t know what he’s talking about…especially when he’s been drinking. As far as Fleury goes, I have no idea how long it takes to write a book and get it in mass production, but I’m guessing at least 6 months if not more. There is no way the Flames let Fleury release this book if he makes the team so I’m doubting he puts in all the time to “write” the book if he even remotely thinks he is going to make the team. It was a great feel good story with him trying to make a comeback but I doubt he ever thought he had a chance to make the team.

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