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The Process of Potential. And Beer.



I’m getting a lot of ideas tossed at me these days for different topics I should write about, which is great.  Keep ‘em coming.  I save them in a file on my CrackBerry, and intend to get to them all at some point.


Beer of the Month:

Commentor JustJeff is Bourne’s Blog’s resident beer expert {tangent brackets, eight words in – in retrospect, I really wish I had given my blog a better name.  I started with a laptop, pain meds, and a stack of documentaries and stand-up comedies in the blu-ray. Didn’t think I’d end up using the name so much}, and we’ve tossed around this idea a couple weeks ago.  For now, I’m just looking for advice on what to try, so I can recommend one for November.  I’m a fan of Stella Artois, most hefeweizen-style beer, summer stuff like Corona/Pacifo, and a lot of nice British Columbia beers like Sleemans “twenty”, Okanagan Springs “1516″ and even the occasional Guinness.  Advise when ready.


Apparently my recent piece for The Hockey News struck a chord with some old teammates of mine (about eight, actually).  Even some guys that are playing this year are struggling with that choice, and found they could relate to it.   And, not just teammates – apparently, at some point, a lot of us have had to face the difficult decision of practicality versus passion.  Hearing from them (and you) was pretty neat for me, because obviously it was one of my more personal pieces of writing.

Three of the funniest humans I know. And a cat. He's the nerdy looking engineer on the left.

Three of the funniest humans I know. And a cat. He's the nerdy looking engineer on the left.

The following is an excerpt from one of the messages I got that I thought would be a neat observation for hockey fans to hear, written by Kevin Croxton.  He excelled in college on and off the ice, spent time in Springfield and Peoria in the AHL, and played in the ECHL (Alaska) with me.  The paragraph before the one I’ve copy and pasted below emaphasized that these thoughts weren’t born out of bitterness – it’s just a general observation on how the game works.  And for what it’s worth, I agree with him.

“I always thought a new career would be better for me because in hockey you get to a point where it doesn’t matter who’s better than who. Once I realized that, it made the decision a little easier. You know the old story about “he’s drafted”, what contract people are on or “this guy has potential”.  Apparently only NHL teams run their business that way, as opposed to REAL businesses that reward results as opposed to potential.  If I sell more than everyone here on a consistent basis, my company doesn’t promote the younger guy that doesn’t know the business as much because he has ‘potential’.  They also don’t take a guy that’s been trained in sales (scoring) and put him in the marketing department (fourth line) and then six weeks later complain that he hasn’t sold anything (produced points). I understand the argument for grooming players and whatnot, but it’s a pretty expensive proposition and even more so if you’re wrong. You should write about ‘If NHL teams ran their businesses like businesses, what would be different?’”

For a player, getting drafted means more than a team saying ”dibs on him if he gets good”.  It means that every kid gets chucked in the water to see who can swim, but you’ve just picked up water wings, scuba gear, and flippers.


And last, two things: One, props to Eric Nystrom, an LI boy, who had three goals, a fight, and was plus three last night, essentially mauling the game sheet with awesome. (note: he just text me – they took away the one they thought he tipped.  I always hated that video review)

And two, today I recorded a segment on XM’s Hardcore Sports Radio (I may or may not have capitalized on their leniency with cursing).  It’s running on Monday, so I’ll put a “check it out” reminder on here then.


29 Responses to “The Process of Potential. And Beer.”
  1. Dan n St Paul says:

    Laginuitas Lil Something Something (out of California) VERY VERY VERY tasty. Also, Schell’s Maifest (out of Minnesota). Come to Minny and try 3 very good micro brewers (Summit, Schells, and Surly)

  2. Griff says:

    Loved the Hockey News column, it hit home. As for beers I’m pretty sure most of the Midwestern micro brews around here aren’t available in AZ but New Belgium brewery out of Ft. Collins, CO has a few that you might like, Sunshine Wheat is probably right up your alley. Personally I really like their 1554, hoptober and 2 below.

  3. Andy says:

    Sunshine Wheat is great. Try it

  4. Andy says:

    And make sure to put an orange slice in it

  5. Megan says:

    Nystrom can also push a car with his bare hands

  6. Blake says:

    Dan n St Paul -

    I agree with your sentiment. I’ve had my fair share of microbrews, but so far nothing has beaten the local ones up here in Minnesota.

  7. Chris T. says:

    also enjoyed the hockey news column as well as the blog.
    try to get some beers from the mendocino brewing co in CA. they’re all good but especially like the blue heron pale ale. cheers.

  8. T Jones says:

    For the record sleeman’s is actually an ontario beer and is brewed in Oshawa but I will agree with you that they make quality products. However BC has many great micro brews, Granville brewing co has some decent products as does Okanagan springs and there is many others. Unfortunately that doesn’t help you now that you are in arizona and I have no clue when it comes to american beers other than the commercial beers that we get here in canada.

  9. T Jones says:

    My bad upon further investigation Sleeman merged with Okanagan springs in the 1996 to go public. So they are sort of a BC beer now even though they got there start in ontario.

  10. Marc says:

    Anyway to get that XM segment without going to a Best Buy to “test out” the XM radios while it airs?

  11. Dan n St Paul says:

    Blake – I have traveled a great deal of the world and spent a good amount of time out West (and in Phoenix/Snottsdale) and the only microbrews from other parts of the country that can compete with Summit, Schells and Surly are Laginuitas out of California and the occasional micro from Wisconsin. I did just have the Oktoberfest from Goose Island and it was fantastic.

    Bourne, Surly even comes in a can for your preference.

  12. jtbourne says:

    I really only prefer cans if I’m “drinking”. If I’m just having a good beer or two, bottle is the way to go. Thanks for the recommendations. I’ll try to track some of those down!

  13. Neil says:

    I loved those points from your pal Croxton (and not just because I try to channel his skill while wearing his skates). The whole “politics of getting playing time” thing really interests me as a fan, to be honest, I had no idea that it was anywhere near that pervasive or important until you started mentioning it in blogs/articles.

  14. Will77 says:

    To echo, big thumbs up on the Hockey News piece. As someone who gave up the dream after college and relegated to playing in mens leagues, it hits home in that regard, but the general principle can be applied to many things in life.

    And the other thumbs up to Nystrom… the nicest mack truck you’ll meet.

    Hmmm… how about this for the blog name; “Bourne to Banter”? I think thats a prize winner… lol

  15. Paul says:

    You have to try and track down Brooklyn Brewery ‘Manhattan Project’ beer. Had it last night and its amazing.

    Call in a favor to someone you know on LI and have them head to Big Z’s in Huntington and have them pick you up a growler of the stuff, you will not be disappointed.

  16. Frank says:

    so according to the Coyotes sold out their home opener……combination of some wins and your article shaming the fans?

  17. jtbourne says:

    Haha, of course. As most people are aware, the first few games are weighted an inordinate amount, because people are paying attention. Home opener, after the “The Balsillie who stole hockeymas” scare, against the Penguins. It’s sorta the right formula for tickets sales.

  18. #24 says:

    Hey Bourne,
    Long time listener, first time caller here. (with a question, nothing relating to this entry whatsoever)
    Got crosschecked in the jaw yesterday, not broken, but on to the smoothie diet for the next week or so. (Great “welcome to Mens league hockey” moment) Woke up this morning, tried to brush my teeth….not very successful.
    So….How on earth did you brush your teeth with your jaw wired shut?

  19. zyllyx says:

    The sellout is a combination of the WhiteOut (which almost everyone outside of Arizona hates to see, because it’s supposedly only for playoff games, but which resonates very well here among casual fans who remember the very few “good days” this franchise had back in the late ’90s… particularly the ones who live on the East Side), the buzz from the Balsillie attempted hijacking, and bargain-basement ticket prices ($25 lower bowl, $15 upper bowl, which not only makes it the best single-game deal in hockey but the best deal in live sports in the entire state).

    Hence, there are going to be avalanches of asterisks from pundits, observers, and particularly Toronto-area fans who from what I hear have to mortgage their houses in perpetuity, dismember their children, and blow goats just to get a sniff of an opportunity to pay four figures for a single-game seat for a Leafs game.

    Personally, I’m just going to be having the time of my life in a sold-out arena watching a team that I still don’t know whether it will stay in Phoenix past the end of the ’09-’10 season. Because when you strip out all of the asterisks, punditry, cynicism, underservedness, nationalism, cheap-shotting, etc. ad nauseum, there’s one fundamental truth in this world, and it’s that professional ice hockey is the greatest sport in the world and that any chance to watch a game in person is a blessing (at least to those of us who didn’t play it for keeps).

  20. JustJeff says:

    Hmm… I’m trying to think of some beers you might like… A big part of finding the right beer for you is knowing what you like, so thanks for that info ahead of time…

    What do you think of hoppy or bitter beers?

    I think I mentioned it in another thread but Lagunitas Imperial Red Ale is amazing. a few other beers you might like and should totally try:

    -Lindemans’ Framboise (Raspberry Lambic)
    -Rogue Dead Guy Ale
    -Rogue Brutal Bitter (probably my favorite beer of all time!)
    -Sam Adams Imperial Series Double Bock
    -Sam Adams Chocolate Bock
    -Bells Oberon
    -Bells Third Coast Old Ale (get a 6 pack, have one now, and keep the rest on your closet… have one a month and marvel at how it ages!)
    -Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale (any of the variations)
    -Dogfish Head Red & White(sincerely doubt you can get it there but I’ll mail you a bottle if you want)

    and pretty much anything made by Southern Tier…

    typing this at work on my phone :(

  21. josh ciocco says:

    Jb, loved the piece as well. Its funny, I think you and I actually had this conversation in jan 2008 at a steakhouse in fresno?
    Anyway, I did enjoy Croxton’s points however I only agree to a certain extent. Bobby Ryan and Joe Thornton are 2 guys that come to mind right away when I think of guys who had every oppurtunity and it took them awhile to reach their “potential.” Imagine if joe point producer got put ahead of these guys and thronton got burried after a few crappy years? Jow the point man would have gone on the play 150 nhl games and then packed up for europe, in effect causing joe thornton to go home and work at the local mill known as the biggest bust in hockey. Sometimes potential is obvious and you have to be patient. However, to play devils advocate, how many players were burried while edmonton was waiting for jason bonsignore to reach his potential? How many kevin croxton’s didn’t get their chance because alexander daigle had to be the guy? I am sure that there are hockey hall of famers out there that just never got the oppurtunity, that’s a fact. A guy who rings a bell for me, Darren Haydar. I’m not saying he’s a hall of famer, but I’ve never seen a guy get the job done over and over and continually get snubed because he doesn’t have long term potential.

  22. josh ciocco says:

    Sorry to “double post” but after thinking about Darren Haydar his resume was too good not post for your readers. So here is the negative, he’s 5’10 and not that fast or physical, with that being said… In juniors he was CJAHL player of the year and won a royal bank cup. Then went to unh where he played in 2 frozen fours, won a hockey east title, was hockey east rookie of the year, hockey east player of the year, and a hobey baker finalist. He then signed with nashville and has won 2 ahl championships, was AHL rookie of year, has been AHL player of the year, and he’s also been playoff mvp twice. And for all this, the guy has 22 nhl games to show for it? Darren is 29 years old, blows me away… Signed with colorado, the worst team in the league, and was cut during first cuts… Has 2 assists in his first ahl game this year…

  23. Tom Curran says:

    What are everyones thoughts on “adding” to your beer, i.e.
    the side of clam,tomato juice, ginger ale or the ever popular lime for the south of the border varieties and/or wheat beer?
    I know your dad says it’s easier on his stomach when he adds the “clam”.
    I’ve seen some weird adds(horseradish, honey, garlic,)but would like to hear of any other serious oddities
    anyone has come across.
    This was a discussion at the bar the other night.

  24. Officer Koharski says:

    Late to the party. I have to concur with JustJeff in Rogue – Dead Guy Ale. It was pricey but delicious, as I was drinking it I found myself to be inadequate for it’s fancy and wished myself a steak dinner, which never happened. But it was a great beer.

    I said this last time but my favorite microbrew is Butternuts, it’s from upstate NY and they have 4 brews that all come in kitschy cans with funny logos. If this fabled beer Summit ever takes place, I’ll acquire enough for everyone and the good times will roll.

    Also, JJ I don’t recall if it was you who worked at Dogfish head, but if so, keep up the great work. I’ve enjoyed every brew I’ve tried from there and they are priced like normal beers, which is awesome. Also, I watched a video about a South American brew that DFH makes that involves manually chewing and spitting out pulp. That is the true definition of a ‘craft beer’.

  25. JustJeff says:

    O.K. – Yeah I’m the one who works for Dogfish…

    For Tom Curran, being that I work for a brewery that makes beers with weird ingredients, I don’t really mind if people add stuff to their beer… whatever makes them enjoy it, which is what beer is for… enjoyment.

    At our brew pub we have what we call Randall the Enamel Animal. It’s a big tube that we fill with whole leaf hops and pump beer through straight from the tap. The alcohol in the beer acts as an astringent and pulls the oils out of the hops and incorporates them into the beer… Because the hops isn’t boiled it’s not bitter, but instead you get more of the floral and citrus flavors (varying on the type of hops used) and it’s the most amazing thing.

    So thats like adding stuff to beer, but to an extreme…

    Randall pic below… I don’t know computers :(×233.jpg

  26. Blake says:

    Dan n St. Paul – Have you ever been to the Four Firkins in St. Louis Park? Absolutely amazing craft beer shop.

  27. Jimmy Mac says:

    Good Article…

    Just found your site… I read some of your blogs on Botta’s site.

    I will be a regular for sure.

    And if you want to try something new in beer… well not new, but new to me. Rickards White with an orange slice in it.

    I usually drink Stella… but ordered one of these a few weeks back. I’m hooked…lol.

    Keep up the good work…

  28. Dan n St Paul says:

    Blake – have not been to Four Firkins. Thanks for the recommendation.

  29. fish says:

    Imho Stella Artois is one of the worst Belgian Pilsner beers. Ofcourse, the main problem here is that I don’t like Pils beers.

    But it’s great news to hear USA and Canada have other beers than Coors, Labatt and Budweiser because (again, imho) those are almost as bad as Heineken of Grolsch, talk about dishwater… djeez.

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