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Broken Noses ‘N’ Newfoundlands

 

Is it Friday again, already?  Man, quick week.

{Anyone know how to fix a stuck BlackBerry rollball?  I’m about to throw this thing through my TV.}

Sooo, David Booth got thumpersized again, but this time on an actual hockey hit, delivered by a shoulder that was in front of him the whole time.  I took the almost the exact same hit against Binghamton a couple years back, and feel the guys probably-broken-nosed-pain.  Equally painful, is the feeling of “no one to blame but myself.”

Oh, pre-broken noses are so pretty.

That hit was the exact hit I was pushing to keep in hockey.  Guy buries his head and waterbugs it in transition, defenseman sees the guy coming for about a decade, and flattens him with a shoulder.  Because the head is down, the head gets hit, and “facial lacerations” ensue.

I feel really bad for David Booth.  The guy had such a tough injury early in the season, but came back like a house on fire – I watched parts of his first game back after getting clipped by Richards, and he was taking the puck to the net with no fear.  I only hope he’s as confident coming back after this second one (Yahoo! reports he will be going with the team to Ottawa for tonights game).  Actually, I need him to be that confident, as he’s on my fantasy team, and it’s playoff time.

On the broken nose front (I have no idea if his nose is broken, but it sure looked like it), my favourite tale of nose woe:

My Dad’s career NHL totals should include a “broken noses” column (his own), and he’d crack the Hall, I’m sure of it.  It’s something like eight.  I’m still trailing by about five.  Either way, other than losing your teeth (which we’ve both done), few things are as unpleasant as breaking your nose.  The scariest reason?  Sometimes they have to re-break it to set it.  Like, literally with a mini-hammer – this never happened to me, but according to Dad, he’s been on the wrong end of that hammer a few times.

Lookin' forward to next years Isles uni's

Anyways, after a broken nose towards the end of his career, he had to have a little touch-up surgery on it.  They packed his nose full of gauze, both sides, and sent him home for a few days to let it heal.

When it was time to take the gauze out, Dad needed someone to drive him home after, as it’s apparently not the most fun procedure that involves some pain killers.  Naturally, Dad asked his next-door neighbor, Clark Gillies, to drive him.  Clark obliged, waited in the waiting room, and Dad went in to get the gauze removed.

The doctor pulls out an ungodly amount of gauze with Dad on the table, and steps out to grab something, saying “just don’t get up for a few minutes”.  Dad doesn’t listen.

Whatever the reason for the light-headedness, I don’t remember – but he stood up, and passed out.  And fell on his face.  And broke his nose.

90 minutes later, Dad walks out of the doctors office, looking exactly the same as when he went in, packed full of gauze.  Clark: “Bourny.  What the hell happened?!?”

Ouch.

*****

Feel like having a few chuckles?  Check out the annual Name of Year bracket, including only actual names - these gems include Nohjay Nimpson, Dick Smallberries Jr. (yes, jr.) and X’Zavier Bloodsaw.  Enjoy.

*****

Regarding Gary Bettman:  Why is he so defensive in interviews?  It’s always SO tense, cause the guy acts like every topic is off-limits.  It’s not like the host is calling your just-dead friend an idiot, Gary, we just want to know about the new rule.  Don’t act so indignant.

*****

Happy weekend friends.  I’ll leave you with happy time, as the boys at PTI say.  Except in my case, it means pictures of Bri’s dogs and our cat.  Enjoy!

 

A Player Appearance Gone Wrong – Video Style

 

Hey team – Happy St. Patricks Day! 

My family name, a handful of generations ago, actually used to be O’Burne, til my however-many-great Grandpa moved across and chucked the “O” in the middle to avoid persecution.  Or so the story goes.  Either way, I claim to be fully Irish today (as does everyone else), partly because there isn’t a Ukranian celebration day where I can shamelessly drink beer.

So, something different for ya!  A video blog.  It’s been a long time.  (I shouldn’t-a left you.  Without a dope beat to step to.)

I was going to write about player appearances, so instead, I just told the story.  Hope you likes!

{By the way, if you’re looking for reading to do, my column for USA Today is up.  I weigh in on the GM’s freshly pressed blindside rule.  Recommend and comment ’til your heart’s content!}

The Call-Up I Should’ve Declined

 

Here’s my favourite call-up story:

As you probably know by now, I’m engaged to Clark Gillies Daughter, Brianna.

At the time of this story, I was playing for the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL (that’s me on the left, shortly before my coach became the 64th one I’ve had tell me to smile less.  Hey, I like hockey), and she was finishing her Masters at Stonybrook University, interning and taking classes to become an Occupational Therapist.  Finding time to be together was tough.

Coincidentally, my team had a homestand over Valentines Day – being that Bri was probably going to be said Valentine, she adjusted her schedule (read: skipped classes) to come out on the Friday, and booked her trip to return home on the Sunday.  Not a whole lotta time, but when you see each other once every Wayne Primeau goal, you take what you can get.

The best case scenario for me was to get called up and play in Bridgeport, which was a 70 minute drive from her parents place on Long Island.  My slow offensive start that year wasn’t exactly helping our cause.  But, I had started to pick it up, and we committed to a weekend together in Salt Lake City until Bridgeport needed a right winger… not that we were wishing for their bus to roll or anything (a horrible truth about playing in a farm system).

Her trip took her through Chicago and got to Salt Lake around nine PM, so I had gone to dinner with Jordy Hart, which is when she called.

“No complications or delays in Chicago, just boarding to get outta here babe!”

Beautiful.

I headed home to tidy the place, as is the standard panic move of a dude living with two other dudes who’s previous dude places were dude dorms or with their parents.

About 30 minutes later and five minutes from my place, I got the call from our coach:

I was going up.

I was to drive to the rink, pack my gear, get home, pack a bag and some suits, and my flight was to leave at ten PM.  I’d get in to La Guardia around 4 AM EST or so, hop in the car they sent, and get driven the 90 minutes to Connecticut, either to a hotel, or to make the money-saving move of going directly to the rink for practice (where I was told I could sleep on the couch in the dressing room for a few hours).   ….Thanks.

Oh, and there was that one other minor complication:  Bri was still in the air

And where had she departed from?  You guessed it:  La Guardia.  Well isn’t this special.

I was panicked.

I was plotting.

I did the only thing I could do – you can’t turn down a call-up.  I packed my stuff up, and headed to the airport.  I bought her a one-way flight (thank god there were seats) on my flight (annnnd then I was broke), and waited for her to land.

By the time her flight landed and she made it off, it was 9:15 – 45 minutes ’til her return flight, and there I was – hockey bag, sticks, duffle bag, suit bag, and holding her ticket.  No long awaited run and hug.  Minimal smiling.  My travel-weary, bummed out girlfriend cried. 

But I mean… this is a good thing… right?

We flew through the night to La Guardia, and Bri wasn’t willing to give up on our weekend.  Almost 24 hours later, she arrived with me at the hotel, where we dropped our stuff off, and I carried on to the rink, taking the only ride I could get, the sent car.

At least when the weekend was over, I’d still be close by, right?

I barely had time to see Bri over the next day or so before she had to head home, but we were happy because I’d be close.  A week later, I travelled with Bridgeport to Portland, so Bri wasn’t able to drive up on the weekend, but we had made plans for her to come up after work the following Monday. 

After the Portland game, we were standing in line at Tim Hortons, grabbing a snack for the road. I was ahead of coach Jack Capuano in the line, when this conversation happens:

Boahny (Boston accent for Bourny) – Yoah goin’ t’ the ahll-stahh game tomorrow, aight?  When we get back, yoah flights at seven outta La Guahdia, the cah will pick you up just aftah three.”  Yup, A.M.

Oh.  OH.  Okay….”  *thinking* “Was that just weirdest send-down ever?“  I had a hunch I wasn’t being flown back to Bridgeport after the game.  I was right.

The ECHL all-star game was in Stockton, California – not so close to New York, for you geography buffs.  After the full day of travel, I was the last guy to arrive.  Some of the players were fully dressed for the skills competition, taking place in 20 minutes – that’s how tight my cross-continent adventure was.  I was gonna have to bust it to get my gear on in time for this thing to start.

I literally didn’t even know:  What fucking event am I in?

I checked the schedule, hoping for a little time to warm up and a little information about what I was to be doing.  And there is was, in 17 minutes:

FIRST EVENT, 7:00 START
PUCK HANDLING/AGILITY SKATE

FIRST UP:  JUSTIN BOURNE

*****

 

A few pictures from our call-up:

(1) Had airport security take this picture after they red-flagged us to SEARCH BOTH OUR BAGS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) St. Patty’s Day with my roomate after getting called up the second time for a couple months, Kip Brennan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Bri and I get artsy by this awesome old building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) This thoughtful pic look familiar?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) Not a bad ocean view from our spot on the Sound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) Didn’t have my sticks when I first got called up – what was meant to be up around the goalies ears was up around the middle of his logo.  Sighhhhh…..

Sutton, Bergeron, and NYI Training Camp

 

Today, I learned that my beliked hometown Phoenix Coyotes really, really didn’t appreciate the pre-season article I wrote on them.  And in turn, they really, really don’t appreciate me.

I’ll admit, today’s blog is late because of frustration.  This is the fourth time I’ve started today’s entry, and I’ve decided to just keep it light as usual.  I’m going to do my best to win my way back into their good graces.  It’s probably worth mentioning that the facilities in Glendale are spectacular, the Westgate shopping area is scintillating, the Coyotes are Cup-contenders and I’m heading out to buy a jersey.  :)

And that Shane Doan is super handsome!

*****

Here’s a fun story:

I’m trying out for the New York Islanders in Moncton, New Brunswick.  It’s our first intrasquad game, and my team is pretty decent.  I’m on a line with Jason Gregoire (who I suspect Isles fans will know in a matter of years) and Tyler Haskins, a potential grinder-with-skill that could easily replace, say, Sean Bergenheim in a matter of…. hours.

Early in the game, the puck gets dumped in deep, and I get on my horse to make sure I finish my check.  Head up, I notice that the defenseman going back on the puck is 6’6″ Andy Sutton, who has the common sense to move the puck quickly and effeciently, as a good NHL d-man should do.

Being the hustle-pot tryout kid that I was, I continued on to finish my check a few Mississippis later than necessary, and bounced off Sutton like someone threw a rock at a trampoline.

I head back to back-check, and their team dumps it in.

As the right winger, I hustle back to my wall to get my skates below the hash-marks, open up and provide an option for my defenseman (and friend and future roomate) Jordy Hart who has solid possession of the puck behind our net.

Yep!

YEP!

HARTY, YEAH!

Nothing.

We’re moving up the ice, him weighing his options like he’s picking which door the prize is behind, getting way too far up the ice.

By the blueline, he decides I get the prize.

The prize happens to be Andy Sutton’s shoulder, moving at a speed of WHOCARESITSANDYSUTTON (who, total random sidebar, treated the rookies like dogmeat).

They whistled the play down and gave Sutton a charging penalty, while I tried to stay away from the light.  Once I pulled my visor up from around my chin, our coach asked if I could go with my line on the next shift.  As a Canadian kid who played for a hockey Hitler in junior, I knew the answer was yes, regardless of truth.

When I jumped the boards a tad weak-kneed, I was lucky the play was in the offensive zone.  I headed straight for the net.  As I got out there, the puck was being cycled up from the corner to Marc-Andre Bergeron, he of the unnaturally hard slapshot.  I opened up and faced him to screen the goalie as I got to the crease.

Between my glove and my elbow pad, I helped their goalie by saving the puck with my wrist.  The puck then dropped at my feet, where I grabbed it, then blindly spun and fired.  And scored.

Half-concussed, and with what felt like a complete absence of sensation in my right arm (but lots in my wrist), I had scored a goal on my second shift of NHL training camp competitive play, complete with the knowledge that you should never hit Andy Sutton, and never try to screen a MA Bergeron howitzer. 

And that it’s probably time I think about becoming a writer.

The Sedins, Free Skating at Fenway

 

When the Sedin brothers got drafted 2-3, it was a bit hokey.

As in, yes Mr. Burke, it would be neat if there was this pair of odd-looking Swedish brothers with crazy twin-sense that could dominate the league, but come on.  Tons of brothers have played in the NHL, and nobody got to call “we’re a package” before.  Lame.

Would you be more surprised to find out Tigers a cheater or they're robots? Tiger thing, right?

Would you be more surprised to find out Tigers a cheater or they're robots? The Tiger thing, right?

A lot of Canucks fans, used to being dumped on by their team, figured they were too soft.  They started calling them “The Sedin Sisters” and all that stuff.  College kids were taking a shot every time one of them got knocked off the puck, and were needing their stomachs pumped by the third period.

Well, for those of you who hadn’t noticed yet, the investment has been seriously paying off.

Fans in Vanvouver definitely know by now, but is the rest of the league’s fan base aware?  Aware that these guys are in the leagues top 20 players, and there’s probably only a couple player-pairs on other teams you’d rather have?  They were scary good last night.  Again.  In the past, I’ve just said “scary” (read: appearance).  But they’d make me damn nervous if I was a defenseman and they had solid possession.  They certainly don’t need it long to score.

*****

 I just read Deadspin’s article about free skating at Fenway before the Winter Classic.

What a neat thing that the people putting on the game have done for the fans (the article is about how scalpers got the free tickets first and are selling them for human babies + a Kings ransom).

I just wanted to mention something about the skate, and it isn’t meant to take away from the intent of the promoters letting people skate – it’s a really nice solution actually.

I’ve gotta believe they’re having people out there skating, because (not sure if this is common knowledge) new ice is awful.

Playing professional hockey means playing in a big buildings, which also tend to host concerts, basketball games, conventions and all that other jazz.  For the most part, they’re able to just lay boards over the ice and make that the floor, but occasionally you’ll play somewhere that they just put the ice back in.

Pleasedon'tlettheFlyerswin, pleasedon'tlettheFlyerswin...

Pleasedon'tlettheFlyerswin, pleasedon'tlettheFlyerswin...

ITS HORRIBLE.

The ice comes up in big chunks, the puck slides like it does on a driveway, and it feels like the rink is uphill in every direction.

Only once it gets carved up, flooded, hacked apart, flooded, scarred and healed does it function like a normal sheet, which, I’m sure, is why the promoters have the rink in early and are “letting” locals have a free skate on it.  Well played, good sirs.

*****

Congrats to Michael Vick for winning the Eagles award for commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courageppppfffffffffffff!!!  Haha, sorry, I almost kept it together there.

He really won that award though. 

Commitment to sportsmanship and courage, or to not breaking parole and paying off his debts?  Yep, kids, there goes a shining example of how to do it right.

*****

Here are some of my thoughts on shot blockers.  Oh, and check back tomorrow for an extra special Christmas edition!  Santa is guest blogging!  Or Jesus might – still waiting to hear back from his PR guy.

*****

Thats all for today folks.  Happy holiday shopping.  I’m gonna go buy my fiance a knife set, because it’s the easiest present you can wield to make the line shuffle left… OR ELSE.

Settle In, It’s The YEAR IN REVIEW

In all my Chad Brownlee-related excitement last Friday, I forgot to do my year in review.  It’s been, to be less-than-tactful, a fucking roller coaster.  Settle in for the ride, if you dare.

*****

26 was my “grocery stick year”.  …For those of you who don’t know, “grocery stick” is one of my all-time favourite hockey terms.

Most satisfying moment of my life: google imaged "grocery stick" and teammate from last year came up. No one more deserving than Sparre!

Most satisfying moment of my life: "Google imaged" "grocery stick" and a teammate from last year came up. No one more deserving than Kris Sparre!

When you make a line change in hockey, you generally come in the bench through the gate, and the next line jumps the boards from the middle.  As the tired guys are coming off, everyone schooches towards the middle and waits for coach to call the next line by the center’s last name.

What this all means, is that if a coach doesn’t want to play a particular line or guy (it usually ends up being just one guy for a bunch of reasons), he scooches down to where the defenseman are, then never gets called.  Hence, he divides the forwards and D for the whole period like a grocery stick dividing items on the little converyor belt.  “I turned it over a few times in the first, so I was the grocery stick for the next couple periods.”

And that metaphor describes my last year perfectly.  That being because everything up til 26, like, until that exact day, was based around my life as a hockey player.  I spent the entirety of the past year making the transition from player to whatever-the-hell-you-call-what-I-do-now.  And fittingly, in the week surrounding my 27th birthday, I have a couple interesting/neat businessy things in the works.  Stay tuned.

So without further ado, the review.  Welcome to a year in the life of a hockey player gone wrong.

*****

December 10th, 2008: After a month off with a torn MCL (the first injury that caused me to miss games in almost a dozen years), I find out I’m cleared to play and the team will be taking me on the road trip to Alaska, my old college stomping grounds.  Only slightly tainting my excitment is the fact that the ice sheet up there is the size of Glacier Bay, I haven’t skated in four score and seven years, and the trip is in December.  In Alaska.  Yeah.

December 12th, 2008:  Details and drama aside, a puck spiderwebs my jaw on the right side and breaks it clean down the middle of my chin in the front.  They wire my jaw shut, put a ten-screw plate on the right side and an X-plate in my chin.  I instantly decide to be a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 14th: Around 4:00 a.m. a group of still-drunk teammates piles into the shuttle with me to the airport, where we head back to Boise, and I start to recover.  By sheer luck, Brianna had booked a flight from NY to come see me starting that day for the week.  In a shocking turn of events, I don’t turn out to be a good host that week.

December 20th: Bri and I fly to Kelowna, BC, for Christmas.  Our layover is in Seattle.  Upon arrival, we learn I’ve forgotten my passport (see: prescription drugs).  She carries on at my intense urgings, as flights are scarce and the weather is bad, while I wait for my passport to be sent on the next flight out.  The airport closes due to weather before it arrives.  I spend 44 hours with my jaw wired shut on the airport floor, existing by buying clam chowder and having them blend it in the airport bar’s margarita blender so I can slurp it through my teeth.  I take lots and lots of painkiller.

December 27th:  Jaw swells.  Infection.  An ugly “don’t describe that here” incident occurs at the emergency room where they try to right my sinking ship.  They schedule more surgery to remove infected parts.  I schedule more bitterness for the guy who shot the puck.  Also, I try really hard not to puke, AKA choke myself and die.

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Early January:  I endure surgery two of three to remove the problem parts in the jaw, one of which just happens to be bone.  At some point, I’m so hopped up on painkillers I tell the receptionist that our coach is an asshole, but his wife is hot.  Bri politely escorts me home.

January 17th:  A text and an email from my uncle encourage me to check out two blog sites, “WordPress” and “Blogger”.  I choose WordPress, and make my first entry.  The highlights are almost titling the blog “Hermit the Blog” (cause I never left my house) and my mention of discovering Chinese stress balls, followed by “I’ll keep the blog above ball-fondling jokes.  Curses, too late.”

January 22nd:  I write my first good column, a tribute to my team captain the year before, Travis Rycroft, which gets three comments. This tricks people into thinking I have a future in writing.  Somewhere around here I have another surgery, and my wires come off (just under seven weeks in wires, all said and done).  I chew some perogie filling, and it tastes like baby angels.

Rycroft retirement video:

 ’

 February: I continue to spend the majority of my time watching documentaries and stand up comedy, while writing about whatever the hell I want.  Turns out I like writing.  Turns out I like animals.  Check out this entry for pictures of all things “awwww”.

Mid-February:  Somewhere around here I trick The Hockey News into letting me write for them.  Y’know, for free.  My readership occassionally skyrockets from the usual 40 visits a day to 100, thanks to that break.  I tap out on playing hockey for the year after the team’s oral surgeon says I’m “cleared for contact” while the dentist who x-rayed my chin says the bone is “still three millimetres away from making contact”.

Late February:  Having spent two months indoors staring at this glowing rectangle, Bri and I spend a week in Phoenix at the place my parents just bought so I can regain some semblance of sanity.  Hmm, we like it there.   Hell, we don’t wanna leave.

 

 

 phoenix golf

 

March: I spend a bunch of time in New York in the next little bit, and fully fall in love with it.  I fall in love with stuff the locals hate – the Long Island Railroad, the fat “Brodeur-ey” pigeons, and the people you bump that say “ay, yo, git the fuck outta heah”.  Oh, and the pizza.  It’s a great place to be, but not the right place to start as a broke, struggling “writer”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What it is right for, is connections.  Between my family, my fiance’s family, and my uncle (St. John’s grad, Stan Fischler intern and sportwriter), I’m mafia-style hooked up in hockey.  I meet some great hockey people kickin’ around the city, and decide I want to stick with the dumb sport.

April/May/June: I buy a ring, attend the Clark Gillies Invitational, get fully into organizing the Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp, get a job at Hockey Primetime.com, do some radio work, meet with Sports Illustrated, meet with NHL.com, write my “Hockey Players Life” series for Max Hockey, and ask Clark for his daughters hand around 9:00 a.m, half corked on Bacardi/OJ, while he drives a golf cart and I stand on the back of it.  I also interview with the Phoenix Coyotes marketing department in the midst of the “will they move?” chaos.  “Chaos”, by the way, is an apt way to describe my life for these months.

 
 

Shiny, significant finger circle

Truth is, its the size of a grapefruit, but her hands are HUGE.

  

June 25th: I take Bri up to between the two houses we grew up in on a “pictures for the blog” guise, and put my leash around her finger for the first time.  Hearts break worldwide.

July: Crunch time for the Fantasy Camp, so I spend it in Kelowna planning that and playing golf.  As a sidenote, one spot in this years camp is going towards a strictly ”Bourne’s Blog raffle” — the cost of the raffle ticket will go to A) cover the spot and B) Any extra will go to Canadian Spinal Cord Research (don’t worry, if we figure out spine stuff up there you’ll benefit too). 

Still rockin 1 - 2

Still rockin 1 - 2

 August:  We run the Fantasy Camp, or as multiple guests called it “the best week of their lives”.  I get a job at USA Today.  Bri and I move to Phoenix, where everything I’ve ever done boils down to “make money through your computer, and pay bills”.  It’s 115 degrees of awesome, and it never occurs to me that I’m officially closer to Mexico than the NHL. 

September/October/November: Why are the names of the later months so long?  I cover the ’Yotes home opener for NHL.com, and weird doors start to open.  The straight community beats the gay community to hating me, I do more radio, I attempt video blogging, I drive an RV for money, I write real estate copy, and I wait for two openings in….

Tyson Davidson Meowsercat Bourne

Tyson Davidson Meowsercat Bourne

December! While I continue my march towards certain obesity, there are two very exciting career opportunities I’m a part of that are pending.  And I can’t divulge just what until they develop further.  THEN you’ll hear about them.

December 12th, 2009:  I have the compete opposite birthday from a year prior.  I’m in Phoenix, where it’s 60 degrees warmer.  My jaw doesn’t break.  I’m engaged. Instead of nutrients-by-IV,  I eat Ahi tuna and drink some beer and some vodka.  I go to a dueling piano bar.  I dance (as all my guy friends go, “you did whaaaaAA?”)  I eat an  In ‘n’ Out burger that’s the size of my new kitten.  Only one thing was the same – just like the year before, I don’t remember the moment I first lost consciousness.

And here I am today.  To all of you, thanks for being a part of the ride.

In the most sincere, honest voice I can muster, support from readers  justifies what I do.  Ideally, I’d sell enough advertising to make my blog my sole source of income so I could rock it out all-day every-day.  But until I get THAT level of readership, I’ll keep grinding the good grind.  Thanks for being one of the roughly 20,000 people that stops by “Bourne’s Blog” every month, and thanks to Hockey Primetime for building and hosting the site!

 - jb

 

D-Baggery Transcends Race, Gender, Sexual Preference

 

Yayyyyy, it’s my birthday week!

….you don’t get a whole week?  Eff that you don’t.  Gotta find something to celebrate.

So, I was born on 12/12 at 12:12.  Hence, I wore #12 everywhere it was available.

My birthday is now also the anniversary of a less awesome event.  This Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the slapshot that hit my face, which I may have mentioned, was about as fun as hanging out in the laundry room with “the sisters” in Shawshank.

So, I’m gonna have my “year-in-review” up on Friday - a recap of my journey to becoming an engaged blogumnist living in Arizona (Friday, because on my actual b’day, I’ll be cutting and pasting magazine letters into a vaguely threatening sentence to send to the guy who shot the puck), with some pictures.

*****

Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp's "VT Cup"

Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp's "VT Cup"

Follow me closely here: Some people are dicks.  All disabled people are people.  Therefore, some disabled people are bound to be dicks.  I’ll do a Venn diagram later.

I explained it like that because the sentence “some disabled people are dicks” seemed a little harsh to lead with, but it’s true.

Similarly, during the course of the “lay off the gay slurs in hockey” stuff, I realized something.  Some gay people, like straight ones, are entirely capable of being assholes too.

The less-than-desireables, of course, don’t take away from the fact that everybody deserves equality, regardless of our differences, but lets face it - in every group, there’s some people who’d rather trip you for a laugh than give you a stick of gum.

I found that little tidbit out playing disabled sports with my brother.  Here’s equal rights at it’s finest: It’s equally possible that this parapalegic deserves a face-punch as much as ’ol walkey-pants over there.  When you get to the point that you can say “go eff yourself, a-hole”, because a disabled guy is an a-hole, you’re really seeing past the wheelchair.

I’d show up to the court for wheelchair basketball all excited.  Just daydreaming… So cool that these athletes exercise as-much or more than most able-bodied people.  So cool that that these people are making the best out of their abilities.  So cool that – “Dude, you just ran over my toe again”.  Well then get outta the f***in’ way”.

“…Dick.”

Which brings me to some of my favourite stories of “true equality”.

(In my defense of the following, when Jeff, the bigger, stronger brother, got a hold of me, I was generally a pretzel before I could say “a-salt”.  I had about as much chance of out-muscling him as my kitten has of paving the driveway)  (….okay, fine, booooo salt joke).

Nice Isles jacket1) When we were kids, we sat across from each other at the kitchen table.  My side was against the wall, and Jeff’s side had stairs (going down) behind it.  When I was pissed at him, I’d push the table into him so he’d roll backwards towards the stairs.  He started setting his brakes at dinner.  High comedy.

2) We had an elevator in our house, from the deck to the downstairs, where our rooms were.  The outdoor elevator had a sensor on the bottom, so when we were fighting, I’d chuck a basketball under there so it couldn’t go all the way down.

Picking on each other and fighting is part of what being brothers is about.  Jeff routinely shot tennis balls at my junk, because it’s really funny when any dude gets hit in the junk with a tennis ball, and I couldn’t move fast enough to avoid it.  Well played, sir.

He’s just about the nicest, kindest dude in the world, and the guy has played his metaphorical two – seven off-suit like he’s holding aces.  And of course, on the rare occasions he was being a dick, I told him so.  And vice versa.

My point with all this?  I’ve learned from my experiences with the disabled community that it’s okay to say this:  Some of the member of the gay community have been epic-level assholes towards me throughout my attempt at minimizing gay slurs.  Lighten up.  Just because I wanted a major publication to correct an article they wrote that misrepresented me as gay, doesn’t mean I hate gays, and doesn’t mean I don’t get to point out when you’re being d-bags, just like everyone else.  Cause you know what?  A few of you are d-bags, again, just like every other group of people on the planet.

Can’t we all just get along?

*****

And for the rest of you that’ve been ever-so kind and polite towards me…

It’s my birthday week yaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Hockey Greats Camp, houseboat style.

...Annnd cap it with a postcard style pic. Perfect.

Bench Buddies

 

Isn’t that a chilling picture below?  Ugh. 

Also chilling – Chris Drury has been listed as “out indefinitely” due to “interment and severe post-consussion syndrome”.  As a frequent essay-length commenting friend of mine (Neil) recently pointed out, of all the head shots that deserve some attention, how has the Glencross/blindside/headshot/clippy-elbow-thing passed by without the usual horror?

And last, on head shots - this is my latest take on it, for The Hockey News.  When will the players do something about it?

*****

Sometimes, for some reason, your coach just thinks you mesh well with a particular player on your team.  Or that you’re the same type of player.  Or that you’re style’s don’t fit with other players.  Or something.  The point is, sometimes you just get stuck with some random dude on your team for like, the whole year.

And you hate the guy.lucic

Not just playing with him.  But sitting beside him on the bench.  All year.  Maybe he’s a guy who likes to draw up plays on his glove between shifts (because we run so many set plays in hockey).  Maybe he’s an apologizer.  Sorry bout that pass man, it rolled on me.  That was my guy, sorry.  I thought the d-man had him.  And all you can think is ihateyou ihateyou ihateyou ihateyou…

Basically, I was thinking about how I bet I’d really dislike Milan Lucic (no offense to anyone, but in general, I found “major junior” players to be retarded, and thus, less likely to be people I enjoy), which got me thinking about sitting beside some big mook on your line who says cocky stuff like “he’s lucky he saw me at the end or I woulda killed him”.  How was I suppposed to respond to those comments?  Yep, you’re the toughest.

It’s nice that I don’t have to worry about pissing off too many major junior players by writing that, because not many of them can read….

Sorry.  I’m having random bench flashbacks here, and typing them unfiltered through they keyboard feels good. 

*****

Dear rec league players:

Isn’t stopping like, the worst thing ever?  Seriously.  How much of a pain-in-the-ass is it when you know “wow, if I don’t stop and get that puck I’m gonna look suuuper lazy“.  Kills your whole momentum.  By the time you get up to speed again, you’re tired and have to change.

uuugggghhh stopping succckkksss

uuugggghhh stopping succckkksss

Stopping wasn’t my forte as a player.  Not that I wasn’t good at it, as much as I much preferred the large, ineffective circling swoop until I needed to hit top gear.  Coaches call that move the ”getting benched” or something like that. 

So with no coach, how great is never stopping?  I’m like the olympic logo in rec league.  All circles.

Man. 

I’m really diggin’ it.

Love,

Bourne.

…And The Dust Settles

Well… that was quite the ride, wasn’t it?  Man.

Did you read the comments section on USA Today?  I didn’t have the slightest clue that an article titled “It’s time to end the use of gay slurs in hockey” could spur nearly 300 comments from people basically saying “no… no it’s not.” 

Who knew gay rights was such a polarizing issue?  …wait… everyone?  Ah.  ….My bad.

My apologies to those of you who took the time to write me personal, tear-inducing emails, only to have me big-dog you with no response.  I’ll try to get to more of them today, but if I’m unable to, just know it was good to hear from the side that didn’t want me jammed between mushrooms and peppers and made into some sort of hate-kabob.

I have had some contact with some people in the hockey community who are openly gay as a result of this – ESPN is picking up the major story that’s come of it, so I’ll link to that when it shows.

*****

So then, today’s blog is a dicey one.  I contemplated running excerpts from some of the great emails I received (one pointed me to this list of gay athletes.  Sheryl Swoopes?  …does writing about equality mean I can’t make fun of the WNBA now?  I’ll give it a few days).  Then I got worried about jtbourne.com becoming a super-serious website, so I thought about a throwback blog where I run pictures of kittens “nom”ing food, but I realized that might pour a splash or ten of fuel on the “Justin Bourne is gayer than Will and Grace” fire that was lit after my article dropped. 

Or haven't I...

Or haven't I...

I haven't had a role in years...

I haven't had a role in years...

I was a bit stunned by the response at times, thinking …Me?  Run a serious website?  Keep in mind, it was here that I once speculated that the Pope Benedict XVI was actually John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers) in character.  I thought by writing the piece I did, I was just running an observation that would make the majority of people go “…well, duh”.  It seems that wasn’t the case.

In conclusion, I think I’ve said my piece.  And I meant what I said.  I’m just glad that I may have advanced the conversation a tiny little bit, and I’m proud of so many of my readers.  The neat part, if you noticed, is that the USA Today comment board was littered with hate, while mine was soaked in compassion.  It’s with good cause that I love this website.

I don’t want anyone to think I’m shying away from the subject – if you want to discuss it, I’m open to it.  But this is a sports blog, predominently hockey, so without further ado, lets talk about some goddamn hockey, please!

Oh wait – one kitten picture first.

 

Yup, iz pikture time.

Yup, iz pikture time.

Okay, got that off my chest.  some puck thoughts:

*****

I had a friend make the pre-season prediction of forty for Stamkos.  I wasn’t sure what to think.  Doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

*****

or acting?

but acting?

Missed games to injury...

Maybe Phil hasn't missed games to injury...

Is it just me, or does Phil Kessel look like the guy who plays Phoebe’s brother in “Friends”?  You know the guy right?  Anyone?   Ahhh hell, here’s a picture —–>

I wonder if “Phoebe’s brother” has ever had his thinker re-wired by Matthias Ohlund?

 

*****

 

I’d like to thank Carey Price for single-handed assasinating my fantasy hockey team.  Again Carey, thanks for that.

*****

I had a question posed by a reader than I’m unable to answer:  What do refs talk about between intermissions?  Are they targeting certain guys?  Justifying calls?  Discussing errors to “make up”?  Any refs out there care to handle that one?

*****

 And last, a joke from Tom, in Kelowna: “What do Mike Komisarek and Thunder Bay, Ontario have in common?   — They’ll both be minus 25 by Christmas”.  Awww, not funny Tom, Mike’s a great guy.  Okay, it’s a little funny.  Best of luck to him in turning it around, he’s clearly capable of it.

*****

As much as I can change the topic on my own blog, I’m looking forward to reading the emails I’m sure I’ll be continuing to get today – I’ll respond as best I can.  Thanks for reading!

*****

(UPDATED) I had a fellow blogger send me this video today – my teammate from last season with the Idaho Steelheads is having a great year in the Dallas system.  Skip to the 50 second mark and check out what Climie’s up to… (thanks bud. I’ll write a whole piece about how you deserve Turco’s spot and send it everywhere I can.  I’m sure they’ll listen)

 

(You’re all dying to make a joke about their living arrangement, but are too nervous after the past few entries, right? I sense it)

Homophobia in Hockey – The Response (UPDATED)

 

Response, as was to be expected, has been fast and furious, minus the Vin Diesel.  I’ve heard from the Director of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and from the director of the NYC Gay Hockey Association. 

The following is an except from Jeff Kagan’s email to me (said Director of NYCGHA), to which I responded that unlike sexuality, being a Ranger fan is a choice, and for that I’m allowed to boo him.

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First, on phrase-ology: you learn something new everyday.

Early on in your article, you used the term “sexual orientation”, but later on, you used the term “sexual preference”.  To me, the term “sexual preference” has contributed to many of the problems facing the gay community.  The term implies that being gay is a choice (a preference).  As I’m sure you know, it is not a choice, though many people who come out against the gay community suggest that we have the choice to change who we are.  I wanted to clarify the semantics of that term, as it has been used for so long, by so many, most people don’t even think about what it means.  Its a commonly misused term, and it misleads the people who hear it.”

*****

And next, again from Jeff, a story that makes me want to punch an endless number of people:

I’m not sure if you’re aware, but the NYC Gay Hockey Association once had an unpleasant experience at Madison Square Garden.  We had arranged for group seats for 30 of our members and friends.  We were all enjoying the game.  During the first intermission, it is customary for the Group Ticket purchasers (usually companies and organizations) to have their name displayed on the jumbotron.  When the name “New York City Gay Hockey Association” went up, hundreds and hundreds of people started booing.  I can’t even tell you what that felt like.  I was horrified just to think they these hockey fans, people who loved hockey as much as I do, were so close-minded and hateful about the gay community.  It pretty much soured my interest in the NHL, and its been a slow road coming back.  This story was written up in the New York Times.  We even met with Madison Square Garden & Cablevision officials to deal with it, and come up with solutions for providing a more welcoming environment for everyone.”

*****

Greg Wyshynski or “Puck Daddy”, who is Yahoo! sports resident hockey blogger, wrote a great response to my piece.  The comments section is less attractive. 

The most common resistance I’m getting from people are those preaching free speech. 

My stance on that is two-fold.  One, I love free speech, and I’m not very politically correct myself.  But if you insist on extending “free-speech” to meaning offending anyone you want whenever you want, then you’re just a dick.  That one is pretty simple.

And two, I’m fine with verbally abusing friends… about things they can control.  So if my teammate is fat, I feel okay about calling him a lard-ass, because it’s different (with apologies to those with glandular conditions).  A gay guy can’t put down the fork, get on a treadmill and ungay himself (not that he would if he could – as Neil pointed out in the comment secion below, being gay is to be seen as not something wrong, but a trait, like being tall).

*****

More response – I exchanged emails with ex-professional basketball player Paul Shirley in the last couple days, and he wrote back a pretty compelling point.  Paul played for Chicago, Phoenix, Minnesota… er… New Orleans?  Dude played on 11 teams in seven years, including ones in Greece, Russia and beyond.  His thought on gay athletes in basketball:

“The only one that comes to mind wrote the book on the subject. Literally.  John Amaechi wrote Man In The Middle about his experience as a gay basketball player.  He was closeted when he played; the book took care of his uncloseting.  In your article, you mention flippantly that there needs to be research done on the lack of gay professional athletes.  I think that’s a legitimate question because it doesn’t seem that the barrier of persecution explains away the dearth of them.  I can’t remember a single basketball coach saying anything even remotely anti-homosexual, but I’ve never had a gay teammate.  (That I knew of.)  Even assuming that there were a few along the way, there was certainly no silent minority of gay basketball players.  Thus, it seems to me that it would be interesting to learn whether or not the particular genetic makeup it takes to be a professional athlete somehow precludes liking one’s own sex more than the opposite.”

 *****

My favourite part of today has been the kind emails from supporters – sorry I haven’t been able to get back to everyone.  Tomorrow I’ll be running excerpts from a number of the emails that I’ve received from gay men in hockey.   And not even one of them came onto to me.  Can you believe it?  You’re shocked, I sense it.

The One With Josh Ciocco

 

My favourite comment of yesterday didn’t come on the blog, but courtesy my fiance.  I was grabbing a quote for an upcoming article via text from a guy I respect and admire, and she dropped:  ”Did you just send a smiley-face to Bill Guerin?” on me.  Man, when you put that in context, it really does sound inappropriately fruity.

*****

UAA jersey were style at it's finest. I just love 'em.

UAA jerseys were style at it's finest. I just love 'em.

Commentor “Mike” asked a question about gear, to which I responded that a few of my thoughts on gear (on style, really), can be found here from about ten days ago on hockeyprimetime.com.  After explaining to him that I wasn’t a “gear bitch”, the term used to refer to guys who always need their gear fixed, new, changed or something, our trainer (PD) from college backed me, and the rest of my college class up here (especially Mark Smith, right Peeds?  That guy would’ve used a field hockey stick if that’s what you gave him.)

In keeping with the style and gear theme, the following is a great comment from a former teammate in Josh Ciocco.  But first, let me give a you quick bio on the guy:

Josh and I were both right wingers in Vernon.  Josh was probably the toughest 5’10″ (generous?) hockey player I’ve ever played with, and he could play the game too (in fact, if I recall, you didn’t love the fighting part?)  I was probably the softest 6’2″ (generous?) hockey player you’d ever seen, but I could play too (thank god).  The University of New Hampshire liked us both.  They flew me down to tour the campus.  Apparently, for their right winger spot, they wanted 5’10″, tough and talented, as opposed to 6’2″, talented and deathly afraid of violence (nah, it’s cool man, we almost made the frozen four in Alaska too, enjoy the scholarship).

Making the cage cool is like making a seatbelt cool - thus, style is tough in collge.

Making the cage cool is like making a seatbelt cool - thus, style is tough in collge.

{Semi-tangent here, for Josh – the one game they came to watch us both, I hit you with a breakaway pass in overtime for the game winner (lacrosse play), and you had a scholarship there within weeks. The “donate” button is on the right.}

He became the captain there (oooo congratu-frickin-lations), played pro, blah blah.  Where this is headed, is that it’s nice to find a good bitching partner.  There’s a bitching club on every team, really.  They get really big when the coach is an ass, or the team is losing.  It’s cathartic, like therapy.  And Josh and I could bitch like no other.  In fact, when we met in a pro game four years later, we went out and did the exact same thing.  But anyways, here’s how the world of gear and style went down at UNH:

“At UNH, my roomates and I played bad style poker for like, three weeks. We would play blind hands of poker, if you won, you were out, the last one in, or the “loser”, would have to have some sort of bad style in practice the next day. We would have one loser for each game, and we would play multiple games for bad style. You hit the nail on the head with most of them, but these were the topics we went with…Tape your tuuks black, Full tuck on the jersey, neck guard or turtle neck, socks pulled over the heels, klima tape job on the stick, and no tape on sock-shin pads so they’re falling all over the place. Sometimes there would be multiple losers, im laughing here picturing Jacob Mcflikier take to the ice with black tuuks, a fully tucked jersey, and socks over the heels…..On a side note, you know how you write notes on the whiteboard to the trainer and sign your number under it? example, “Can I please get a new stick, thanks, 14″ I used to love writing the note, “can I please get a neck guard for the game tomorrow, thanks, “someone elses number” good times.”

That was a priceless move, the requesting of something for someone else.  “A smaller cup, 18″ or for a right-handed linemate who can’t score “left-handed stiff-flex Sakic curve, 17″.

And last, from the Ciocco files, a testament to both of our getting older (and his getting whipped):

I love animals.  I frequently run animal pictures on my blog.  Josh’s girlfriend’s dog (why aren’t you two crazy kids married yet?  Would you ask her that for me?) is in a cute contest, and is giving the money to charity.  Something about fighting animal cruelty, I forget.  Rest assured it’s a real one (or maybe it was “the human fund”…).  Third prize is $500, second is $5,000, and first is A MILLION STUPID CUTENESS RELATED DOLLARS.

This is Merlin the Puggle:

You're the one who wanted "my dog is in a cuteness competition published, not me.

You're the one who wanted "my dog is in a cuteness competition" published, not me.

If you think he’s cute, and I do, follow this link and give him your vote!

 

Mommy, Wow, I’m A Big-Boy Now

 

Well, that was stressful.

Last night, I was the NHL.com correspondent covering the Coyotes home opener.

It turns out “being a hockey reporter” doesn’t actually mean ”getting paid to watch the game”.  There’s a ton of work involved.  I have a new respect for those guys, honestly.  In fact (as I’ve so often suspected from reading game articles), the toughest thing to find time to do is watch the game.  There’s such a need for immediacy, that the writing ends up looking like upscale bullet points.

The gentleman editing my pieces, Mr. Kreiser at the NHL, deserves at least half of what I earned (which is just short of enough to retire on, of course).  It was fun reading the articles today to find out what I wrote.  Turns out I knew a whole buncha stuff about the facts.  Good for me.

Had I not had an editor, or anyone screening my thoughts, they’d have looked something closer to this:

- Hmm, Phoenix/Columbus.  This should be sufficiently disappointing for the fans.

- Wow, this atmosphere rules

- Upshall, big hit.  Mueller looks great.  Columbus wants to murder Fiddler.  Jovonovski wants to murder the powerplay.

- Just score a damn goal for the fans already

- I’m hungry

- Just score a damn goal for the fans already

- Oh god, they’re going to get shutout

- How much does Jovocop make again?

And then I missed the rest of the third trying to write something coherent.  Check out my main contribution here, and keep your eyes peeled for the follow-up piece I submitted this morning.  Thanks to Bob Condor at NHL.com for giving me the opportunity.  I learned more in one working Saturday night than I did over the hundreds in college where I was shown the complex inner workings of beer bongs, keg stands and “quarters”.  So now I’m well-rounded.

*****

Also, check out the Five Reason I Love Hockey, on Puck Daddy’s hockey blog for Yahoo! sports.  I’ll have the internet up and running at the new apartment Tuesday, so I’ll have a new post then!

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.

The Start of Everything Great

.
Swine Flu: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure:
.
Un-cured ham.

Un-cured ham.

*****

Ahhh Monday, October 5th – the start of everything great.

Great:   This week kicks off the start of the 2009 – 2010 NHL season, and the excitment in North America is at it’s highest level in years.  08-09 saw the league make great strides towards regaining national interest, and this season got out of the gates even quicker than the one past.  It’s year five of the channel Versus’ NHL coverage, and though they do a slightly worse job of covering it than the Detroit Lions defense does of covering anything, it’s still a positive sign that this year’s opening day game had the highest ratings they’ve ever had by a run-away. 

Welcome back NHL season, and a welcome to Bourne’s fantasy hockey dominance – my guys have 12 points already, and my goalies have an average save percentage of like  .952!  …wait… what??  I’m losing with those stats?  Someone must have created a stupid league.

Also great: The NFL season just finished it’s fourth week, and we’re finally getting into the heart of the year.  My Jets are 3-1, which, despite a Mark Sanchez implosion last game, is the type of start any team would happily accept.  Good stuff from Gang Green.

Two points, thanks.

Two points, thanks.

Also great: The NBA season starts soon.  Not that I care all that much, but I like watching Lebron dunk on fools like the league is playing on Fischer-Price hoops.  I like the phrase ”posterize” (the act of dunking so hard on someone that they become the guy getting dunked-on in the poster on the wall of a kid’s room), and I like buzzer-beaters.  But really, it’s about Lebron (and the Cavs awesome team chemistry).  He’s like Tiger Woods – he makes an otherwise barely interesting sport mandatory to watch when he’s involved. 

Also great: My lady-friend and I are moving into our first place on Thursday.  Well, the first one we’re trading our own money to stay in, anyways.  As the Phoenix residents have explained, we’ve now entered the second six-month season, simply known here as “bragging”.  88, blue and clear here today.  How’s things Alaska?  Boston?  (Sorry, I had to).

Also great: 46″ Sharp Aquos, in the box, waiting to be opened.  Next topic.

Also great: Now that I got my Negative Nancy article out of my system (the firestorm-inducing piece in the Arizona Republic), I have a bunch of positive-ish columns coming out this week.  I’ll be linking to them here, because I’m not certain I’ll have time to blog later this week with the move and all.  The article’s title will become a link the second they become available around the ‘net.

Monday: HockeyPrimetime.com – The Last Two Cents For Fleury

Tuesday: USA Today – A New Season Begins

Wednesday: The Hockey News – Life After Hockey

Whenever Botta Wants: Islanders Point Blank – Trevor Smith

Two more quick things:

One: Give HockeyPrimetime a thorough check-out in the coming weeks.  They’re focused on providing quality original content, while amalagamating some of the best hockey stuff from around the ‘net.  They have radio shows in the works, and they built this site.  Hence, I’m a fan.

Two: If I may, I’d recommend reading the pieces for USA Today and The Hockey News.  The USA Today piece is a nice, light piece on how the start of the season feels, right before the marathon season begins.  If you like the piece, please, let them know, since they took the (massive) risk in hiring me.  The Hockey News piece is an article that stands in stark contrast to the USA Today one, but is strong in it’s own, different way.  It carries a lot of my own honest emotion about leaving the game, and was theraputic to write.

I hope you enjoy them all, and most of all, enjoy this hockey season.  Islanders, for the Cup! (enjoy the money I lost on that bet, Vegas…)

Two Videos, One Face-Punch

 

The Detroit Lions finally w0n a damn football game this Sunday, the first since 2007.  And so, things are finally turning around for this group of bright-eyed hopefuls.  Could it be because of a very special visit from some very special friends?

*****

Okay, you get one punch, free of consequence, to anyone in America (I narrowed it to the US, cause otherwise you’ll get all intelligent on me and pick someone like Kim Jung Il).  It’s the fight-club game, but not limited to celebrities.  Who’s it gonna be?

Mine?  The guy who runs TMZ.

It’s a bit of a guilty pleasure of the wife’s, so it’s on occasionally.  Unbelievable show.  Has to be seen to be believed.  They chase psuedo-stars around and yell questions at them, then make snide remarks about the responses.  Boggling, boggling stuff.  I’ve been boggled.

My selection is a right cross to the mouth-hole, preferably while he’s talking.

*****

 Alright, as I promised, here’s another Bourne’s Blog prediction, video style.  Ignore the fact that it looks like I recorded this while sleep-walking.  I get started on these things pretty early.

 This one focuses on a couple overlooked teams that aren’t real threats to win the cup, but will be better than what analysts are giving them credit for.  Coulda picked Nashville from the West, but I hate them, so it would’ve been hard.  Your thoughts? 

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