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NHL’s Quarterly Review

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Alright, NHL, let’s do a little quarterly review and see if you deserve a raise.

Mmhmm…. yep… mhmm… everything looks pretty good.  Off to a real nice start.  Just a couple things:  We’ve discussed head shots a few times now, and it doesn’t appear you’ve done anything to fix that problem.  You see, we’re attaching a cover sheet to all our TPS Reports now…

Oh, and, tone down the injuries.  Then you can get your raise.

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Our USA Today bi-weekly Power Rankings came out today, and look pretty good.  My own Top Ten Teams is little different – here’s how I see it thus far.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. New Jersey Devils
  3. San Jose Sharks
  4. Washington Capitals
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins
  6. Calgary Flames
  7. Colorado Avalanche
  8. Buffalo Sabres
  9. Columbus Blue Jackets
  10. Detroit Red Wings

We aren’t all going to agree, but feel free to sway my opinion – why am I wrong (or right) on this?  Oh, and keep in mind, it was submitted before last nights games.

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And the race for the Hart Trophy?  Here’s how I see the first quarter:

  1. Alex Ovechkin
  2. Ilya Kovalchuk
  3. Ryan Miller
  4. Anze Kopitar
  5. Marion Gaborik

Thoughts?

What about D-Rol? Can we call him D-Rol?

What about D-Rol? Can we call him D-Rol?

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How much higher would Dwayne Roloson’s status be if his name wasn’t Dwayne?  Dwayne has to be the english language’s worst male name.  Y’know, aside from some ahem… football player names (see: D’Brickashaw). 

Like Blaze.  Blaze Roloson.  We’d be like… “Damn.  That Blaze is quick.  What an apt name”.  Just like that.  That’s what we’d be like.

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Congrats to college teammate Jay Beagle on his first NHL goal.  Excuse me while I take a kerosene shower in a room full of candles.

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When USA Today ran my article on gay slurs, a lotta stuff happened.  All the sudden I was on the phone with GLAAD, discussing getting media trained to speak on TV about the issue.  And, courtesy a few less-than-polite readers, I found out that, apparently, contrary my own (or fiance’s) knowledge, it turns out that I myself am  not-so-into the ladyfolk.

bucciMost note-worthy was an email I got from Brendan Burke, son of Leafs GM Brian Burke.  After that, I corresponded with him and his brother, and got the go ahead from big Burke to write Brendan’s story.  That same day, Brendan found out he had the opportunity to have his story be seen by more eyes, and heard by more ears, so I let the story be told with the most exposure possible.  ESPN’s John Buccigross posted Brendan’s story today (and did a nice job), and tomorrow, he’ll be plugging Bourne’s Blog and running a little response I gave him during our email correspondance.  So everybody be on your best behaviour when our new guests arrive then.  Dress nice.

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Anybody else get the vibe that Detroit is gonna limp around all year, beat some teams, lose some games, start getting healthy in Febuary, start clicking in March, and be the world’s scariest 6/7/8 seed?  Y’know, assuming Jimmy Howard gets hot too? (insert “Chris Osgood is a Hall-of-Famer” comments here.  ….Yeah, and maybe he’ll bring Kurt Warner as his date to the induction)

I do love me some hip-hop culture though.

I do love me some hip-hop culture though.

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I’m really looking forward to the Flyers getting home ice in playoffs (again), looking nearly unbeatable (again), putting up a really good fight (again), and having their hearts ripped out by weak goaltending when they need it the most (again).

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I’m also really looking forward to the chaos that is playoffs, since some of the best teams in the league have mediocre goaltending.  I think Chicago and Washington have the best teams, but by having ”decent” goaltending (too generous?), the door gets opened up for teams like Calgary, San Jose, and… and… f**k.  Why am I having trouble convincing myself New Jersey is a top team, especially after such a great start?

*****

Thanks for your continued support of the blog.  If you don’t already, you can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/jtbourne

Comments

32 Responses to “NHL’s Quarterly Review”
  1. JD says:

    Only thing that sticks out in the power rankings to me are the Flames. That is a wildly inconsistent hockey club. They look out of place right after PIT (despite the Pens recent struggles). I think sometimes it’s easy to overrate the Flames based soley on their roster (Iggy, Jay Bo, Dion, Regehr) but they are the definition of “consistently inconsistent” (does that mean the same thing as wildly inconsistent?…do these oxymorons even have rules?). One big plus for the Flames though…Rene Bourque. Dude is a stud. Before Jarome got on this recent little tear he was easily their best player almost every night.

  2. jtbourne says:

    Yup – but based strictly on the standings, they deserved that spot I thought (minus the loss last night). More road than home games by a bunch, and a 13 – 5 – 3 record. I’m no Flames fan, but that’s a helluva start.

  3. Hockeymandad says:

    I just learned of your article about the gay slurs from reading this post today. I’m a terrible blog follower or perhaps I follow too many.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I thought that was some of the best sports writing I’ve ever read. I applaud you for putting an article like that out there and I am glad to see the attention it got and that Brendan’s story will be told on ESPN. I find it appalling that this country, founded on a desire for freedom to be whatever you wanted to be, is still in the dark on gay rights. As a former collegiate hockey player I know and remember the locker room banter and always tried to be mindful anything I say may secretly offend a teammate. It was small time hockey in a small time unofficial program, but the locker room atmosphere never changes. Even now as I only play in rec leagues, the banter is still the same.

    I hope our sport can become a leader in changing this mindset and I hope that there are players brave enough to open that box as you did. Somehow though, I feel they will get quite a bit more to deal with than your article. I just hope the majority of it is positive and that the league and it’s players embrace it. Professional athletes deserve to be solely judged on performance, skill, and philanthropy not personal lifestyle orientations.

    As for todays post, I agree we need a better name for Dwayne! D-Rol works for me, but it’s pretty similar to DP who starts practicing with the team today.

  4. Jbrown says:

    Just switch out Todd with Dwayne

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo8CrY_ZfFk

  5. minnesotagirl71 says:

    Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door – that way Lumbergh can’t see me, heh – after that I sorta space out (or read Bourne’s Blog) for an hour.

    No matter how high and mighty and hoity toity you get from a plug on ESPN and scores of readers never forget that….you smoke pickle. That STILL cracks me up!

  6. Char says:

    Wait — I gotta dress up? Nobody told me I had to dress up!

    Oh, and the Buffalo Sabres… bwahahahaha.

  7. ms.conduct says:

    Wow. Roli should totally change his name. Blaze Roloson. Yes. That guy is my new favorite goalie.

    Seriously though, because I only watched the highlights… was his defense even there last night or was the shot count dude seeing double? How does that many shots happen in this league?

  8. Shawn says:

    Love the Office Space reference. The article on Brendan Burke was a good read. Takes some serious marbles for a 20 year old kid of a prominent NHL figure to come out.

    Really enjoying the blog too Justin. I’m trying to turn some friends onto it …

  9. Tom Curran says:

    Has anyone seen my stapler??
    Tie up Iggy and they are the lames!! JD is right, WILDLY inconsistent!!
    Your Dad and I were just wondering what on earth you are going to do about watching the Grey Cup
    game this weekend? Maybe Cactus Jacks will put it on for you!!!!
    That and a WNBA game eh!!
    If he played in a big market, wouldn’t Ryan Miller be getting the “Super Star” treatment ? the poor guy is
    stuck in the Siberia of the NHL?
    Any thoughts on the the amount of guys that are “customizing” their helmets r.e. my comment the other day?

  10. jtbourne says:

    Hey, I’m pushing for visors, any guy “removing padding for comfort” deserves a good concuey.

    Miller is amazing. One of those “maybe he’ll be the best” guys a few years ago, but ended up in Buffalo so everyone thought, aw, too bad, we’ll never know…

    As for the Grey Cup… that’s this weekend? I’m all thrown off. Is Doug Flutie still the Stampeders QB?

  11. bchip says:

    Hey Justin,

    I’ve been following this blog since your article on gay slurs blew up on puck daddy. I just wanted to say that it is very quickly becoming one of my favourite blogs. Keep at it.

  12. garett says:

    bourney you will b cheering for the Saskatchewan Roughriders! its because im from Sask and i stayed at your house in kelowna when you were like 15..small world! ps..thanks for that

  13. Sherry says:

    Whoa – I was just reading an article on SI that made me think of you Justin – and wanted to email you the link, and when I came to your blog site to try and find the best “non-blog” way to reach you, I saw that my fave hockey sports writer, Buccigross, is the guy who wrote the piece on a gay hockey player. What a confluence of events…

    Anyway, sorry for the inelegant approach in getting this link to you, but it’s the most expedient way for me to do it – and since you commented on this subject in today’s column, I guess it’s okay.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/magazine/specials/sportsman/2009/11/02/torre.sportsman/index.html?eref=sihp

    Being both an ardent sports fan and an equally ardent supporter of gay rights, it’s gratifying to see some of my favorite sports writers take up the issue in their work.

  14. Kate B says:

    Bawled my way through Buccigross; article, which was awesome, though you could have more than done it justice.

    Crazy tough row to hoe but I’d argue that if anyone had the nerve, guts and strength to do it – never mind integrity – it’d be a hockey player.

    Just sayin’.

  15. Madeleine says:

    Thanks for the thoughts on Brendan Burke, I was just going to email you that link.(made me quite emotional) He’s a brave guy, and this gives me hope that sooner rather than later we’ll see an out gay player.
    Brian Burke makes me proud to be a Leafs fan.

  16. jtbourne says:

    Hey, at least you’ve finally got something, right? :)

  17. Madeleine says:

    Hahaha, you wait, someday we’ll get that cup back! Hopefully I live that long…

  18. SDC says:

    I think you may be confusing the Flyers for the Vancouver Canucks on the early playoff exit assessment; except just substitute “weak goaltending” for any arbitrary on or off-ice position on the team. Is there a team that has broken the hearts of its fans (and bandwagon shock absorbers from people constantly jumping on and off) more often than Vancouver?

  19. jtbourne says:

    Hmm. A fair statement – but I gotta take San Jose here (although most of the Canadian teams fit the mold too). To me, the “Vancouver could win the Cup!” hope never seemed that realistic (save for ’94, and one of the Naslund/Bertuzzi/Morrison years, not sure which one… hell, those Canucks teams were a Chris Osgood/Ray Emery level talent away at all times)

  20. SDC says:

    Vancouver fans are insane on a whole new level though. While fans of all Canadian home teams are loyal, Canucks fans will go hard until they are ousted, and then riot and demand their stars (who got them that far in the first place) get traded (see:Luongo, who had to address trade rumor questions from the media literally the next day after they were knocked out last year ), forcing ‘Nucks management to either cave (see:Naslund) or offer unrealistic long-term deals to kindle confidence in them, and make them feel like they’re still wanted. Maybe Burke got himself fired so he could relax and enjoy a Cup with the Anaheim sun glistening off of it.

  21. Neil says:

    I feel obliged to respond, Mr. Cunning :o ).

    One, show me a passionate hockey city that doesn’t have idiots making stupid claims after a disappointing loss in the playoffs and I’ll show you an apathetic hockey market. The Flyers and Rangers boo their own players for having two bad games in a row, you don’t honestly think getting down on players is an anomaly due to something special about Vancouver fans!? Ask Carey Price, Joe Thornton, Scott Gomez about it.

    Two, show me a fanbase that doesn’t “go hard” with their team until the end and I’ll show you a crappy hockey market. No one is going to defend idiots rioting but let’s be realistic about how many people you are actually talking about when you say “Vancouver fans”. And in a broader sense, let’s not pretend a riot after a sports event puts Vancouver in a special category of city.

    Three, could you give me an example of a team that goes far in the playoffs and doesn’t have to pay a little extra to keep guys around? How’d that Roloson contract work out? Have Hemsky or Horcoff cracked 25 goals yet on their unrealistic long-term deals after the cup run, or do the Oilers have the most expensive second line in hockey now?

    The things you hate about Vancouver fans are actually things you don’t like about fans and hockey in general (perhaps your own team), you are just directing your anger at us because lately Vancouver makes the dance when your Oilers are firing coaches and working on their swing!

  22. Karen From Rochester says:

    that article by Bucci made me cry. I am glad that you brought this topic to the forefront and I admire Brendan Burke for being as brave as he is. Keep up the good work!!!

  23. Char says:

    OK, finally got a chance to read the article on Burke. Absolutely fantastic. God love that young man.

    I do think, however, that the reaction of the Miami of Ohio players is typical (there will always be a loud minority of haters and idiots): My friend is gay. OK. Pass the beer nuts.

  24. Beckmann says:

    Bourne, as Canadians living in the US are we still obliged to watch the Grey Cup on Sunday? Does it depend on what regular season NFL game is playing at the same time? Ouch. If we are supposed to/want to, it’s playing at Jack’s.
    I laughed when I read this quote about how many Roughrider fans will be at the game in Calgary. “Ray Charles is going to be able to see the amount of green we have coming here on Sunday, so it’s awesome,” defensive back Stevie Baggs declared.

  25. Ghetto Fonzie says:

    I feel like I have to add to the off topic comments.

    I agree with SDC, the Vancouver Canucks do have the worst bandwagon jumping fans in the NHL. As a longtime resident of Vancouver who is not a ‘Nucks fan, I have watched it time and again, when the team is successful the streets are flooded with jerseys. When they are going through a rough patch, all people can talk about is how much they suck.

    P.S. Love the blog. Your take on things from the player’s perspective is great. Keep up the good work.

  26. Neil says:

    Ya, and I hate how Vancouver fans always leave their empty beer cups under the seats after the games, I mean, PICK THEM UP!!!

  27. jtbourne says:

    Beckmann – we are under no obligation to follow the NFL, though by listing my favourite CFL teams as the Lions and Roughriders, I have a 25% chance of winning a Grey Cup every year.

    Neil – plus, Canucks fans only celebrate when THEIR TEAM scores. So one-dimensional.

  28. Neil says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re the most one-dimensional fans in the world, certainly the most one-dimensional of any hockey market. Porbably the most one-dimensional in Canada. Well, at least out of Calgary, Toronto, and Edmonton.

  29. SDC says:

    If there’s anything Bourne’s Blog readers should fear, it is a well articulated response from Vancouver loyalist, Neil Corbett. :)

    Here’s my own, likely less thorough….

    I) For the record, I have no allegiance to the Edmonton Oilers. The fewer rumors of the contrary, the better.

    II) You make a good point about other Canadian hockey cities’ passionate fans. I think Montreal is another great example, with Patrick Roy and his last Hab game in particular. Ok, other cities crucify their hometown heroes when they lose too.

    III) I love a city’s passion for their home team, don’t get me wrong. I love it, and it makes for an awesome game atmosphere. But nothing says, “this isn’t just a game, now let’s take it too far!” like flipping cop cars, burglarly, and burning down buildings of innocent and unaffiliated citizens, or people who happen to cheer for opposing teams (though Pollock has made me consider dismantling the Saddledome in a not so legal way, on more than one occasion). Go to the game, boo, cheer, buy souvenirs, enjoy yourself and support your team, but hey, can we leave it at the rink and keep it legal? You’re right, Vancouver is nowhere near the only city guilty of this either, but between them, Philly, Montreal, and maybe a few others; it’s a pretty exclusive club, isn’t it?

    IV) I’ve got no problem with a team “bucking up” to keep their stars around, but it should be purely based on the recognition of their abilities and contribution to the success of the team; not due to requesting “danger pay” because players feel as though the may get stabbed when encountering an angry fan on the street after a playoff loss (a little sensationalized, yes), or just generally not wanting to be in the city anymore because of the distain he feels from everyone in the city.

    V) In all honesty, I feel for Vancouver fans because they are so passionate for their team, and they have their hearts broken EVERY year. I admire the toil and faith of the “hardcore” fan, but I just don’t know how many times you can step on a rake until you consider that you don’t have to intentionally cause yourself that kind of pain time and time again.

  30. Neil says:

    But you could argue that any good team failing to consistently win the Stanley Cup is “stepping on a rake”, only one team can win each year, and only four teams can get to the conference finals. Again, being passionate about a team and being disappointed when they lose puts you in an exclusive club called Everybody.

    Re: point 4, does Vancouver have to pay players extra for that? Danger pay? Again, experiencing an unfair level of resentment from some fans after disappointing losses is not exclusive to Vancouver, or hockey, or North America, or the Western Hemisphere.

    Re: V, You don’t respect the casual Canucks fans because they are bandwagoners and leave when the wins stop, but you also pity the hardcore fans for being stupid/loyal enough to stick around through the bad times? What are people supposed to do then? Sucking it up in the tough times isn’t about intentionally causing yourself pain, it’s about sticking with your club and being there when it turns around. Better to have loved and lost, that’s not just in Vancouver!

    Are you honestly telling me that right now, as you read this, you aren’t wearing your old Oiler jammies and drinking crystal pepsi out of a Gretzky slurpee cup?

  31. SDC says:

    All I’m saying is that Vancouver fans are of the hardcore variety, and seem to go crazier than other fans every spring when they lose because they have emotionally invested themselves in deeper than say Columbus after sneaking into the playoffs or any other team in a low grade market. Clearly Van’s not the only team with this sort of following, and surely I see this side more with them because I live in BC, and I see more Canucks fans around here than any other ones. But again, there’s only been a handful of teams that have had fans nutty enough to actually cause property damage as a group after a playoff knockout. You’d be hard pressed to not admit Luongo has been the biggest reason Van’s been in the playoffs the last few years (yes, there’s other talent, but he’s the biggest part), and fans wanted him out the very next day. I mean, come on folks.

    I’m cool with the pride in your team thing, the ol’ “through thick and thin” routine. It’s admirable. I think you’re the right kind of Canuck fan, and I don’t care for the bandwagon jumpers ( does anyone, anywhere?), who probably ’cause more of the riotous activity than anyone else.

    And lets get this straight: I only ever had LA Kings jammies, both the home and away set. And if you could find Crystal Pepsi sold somewhere still, I would dig my old Gretz cup outta the basement boxes… that stuff was great!

  32. Simone says:

    Knock-knock.

    Who’s there?

    Dwayne.

    Dwayne who?

    Dwayne the bathtub, I’m drowning!

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