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Toews, The Itty-Bitty Slapshot Committee, and Scott Gomez



During my first full year in the ECHL, I had the privilege of playing with Travis Rycroft, our team captain in Utah (for one of my better pieces, on Travis and team chemistry click here.  I wrote it in my second month of blogging – you can tell because I don’t make every damn sentence it’s own paragraph like I do now – and it was good enough that I was inspired to keep doing this).

While I learned a lot about work ethic and character from the guy, I also picked up an infinitely valuable (and apparently common) trick from him that I’m sure many of you already use:  When you go to the bar on a work night, always get the stamp on the underside of your wrist.  That way, if it’s not washed off the next day, it still won’t be visible, and your boss/coach won’t get mad and make you start bag-skating/…collating?

"Everyone on the line" = pure dread.

Random bag skating tangent: Can we unify what we call doing the lines that go from goal line to blue to goal line to center to goal line… etc?  Lightnight lines, suicides, ladders, whatever…. can we get on the same page here, my international friends?  How about plain and simple “lines”?  Suicides are on a basketball court, and we hardly need to tack “lightning” on to something that, by the end, moves like a slow motion replay.

I’m wandering big time here, but we used to do the “Peter Zezel” – which was basically that same set of lines, but after you went all the way down and came back, you had to go all the way down around the net and back to the blue line, then go back around the net to get back to the goal line.  We had to the entire rink in that direction too before doing it all again on the way back.  Guh.

Maybe it’s time to start this blog.


Hey look, it’s a random thoughts catch-up post!

How about Jonathan Toews wearing #16 for team Canada at the Olympics, out of respect for the more senior Joe Thornton?  In the Conference Finals, with the two going head to head, I couldn’t help feel like Toews finally surpassed Joe as the games current best #19.  What is it about that number that attracts talented, respectful, likable stars?  Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic… Toews could fit right in that conversation at the end of his career.

Coupla primo #19's right there.


Best google image result ever.

Recently-wrong friend-of-the-blog Ms. Conduct (Ms. C: Richards beat two d-men and a goalie to the puck, laid out just as aggressively, while your poor-decision-making Halak got plowed by Hamrlik, and Richards emerged from the smoke unscathed) called MA Bergeron “The Itty Bitty Slapshot Committee”, and I couldn’t love that assessment more.  He’s like those toys that do a backflip when you wind ‘em up.  You’re like “hey, neat!”, and after the fourth backflip it’s…”soooo, what else ya got?”

When Mike McKenna tweeted about him being like a field goal kicker – wait on the bench until it’s time to do your one job – I didn’t realize how accurate it would be.  I mean, when Richards hit him he looked like a last-guy-back kicker trying to tackle Ed Reed or something.

{Random note: I should probably note he was one of the funniest, nicest guys at Islanders camp.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully mean the stuff in the two paragraphs above, I just feel obligated to note he’s an all-around nice guy.}


Okay, so think about Scott Gomez skating up-ice with the puck, and the hilarity that is people trying to hit him.  Now imagine us in college watching him play on an Olympic sheet in the ECHL.  One game I went to, he was running a powerplay, and literally stopped with the puck at his feet, stood up, and pointed with his glove for where guys should move to.  One pass later, goal, Alaska Aces.  Okay, you’re good, we get it.  He only scored 13 times in the 61 games he played, but found time to get 73 assists.  Man he’s deadly.

Dancin around out there


I’ve often wanted to put polls in my blog, but couldn’t figure out how.  And by “couldn’t figure out” I mean “didn’t try to figure it out”.  I’ve got some columns to bust out, and four guys are on my radar for a story.  Which would you most like to read?  Also, anyone know of a good free poll site?

Dustin Byfuglien
Mike Richards
Matt Carle
Patrick Kane


I wrote a piece on the Chicago Blackhawks and the phrase “41 thunderfuck” today for Puck Daddy (though I called it 41 thundertruck for their sake).  When the article is up, I’ll put the link here.  Happy Tuesday, and thanks for all the comments on skate sharpening.  FBV apparently FTW, I guess, or something!


28 Responses to “Toews, The Itty-Bitty Slapshot Committee, and Scott Gomez”
  1. Firestorm says:

    …and the Oscar for the best bag-skate scene in a movie: Miracle. They did a great job of capturing the misery (and vomiting) of a hellacious bag skate. (“Who do you play for? WHO DO YOU PLAY FOR???!!!”)

    Other great 19s (from a different era): Bryan Trottier, Jean Ratelle (as a Ranger), Paul Henderson, Larry Robinson.

  2. Jordan says:

    Not being a hockey player I can’t say that I’ve experienced the horror of a bag skate, but that scene in Miracle is awesome!

    Another great #19 right here in your new hometown Justin…Captain Coyote, Shane Doan…

  3. Beer:30 says:

    Matt Carle! But I’m from Alaska so I’m biased…….

  4. ms.conduct says:

    Fortunately, I care more about being funny than right (even though I still think I’m right). God help me, I love that picture of him. It’s SO MAB. Happy elf defenseman. Love him. Esp. when he’s not on my team. Can’t you see him hosting a children’s tv show and being completely uncreepy about it?

    Free poll site: ChatRoulette?

    Oh, not that kind…

  5. Sherry says:

    Just went to your piece on Rycroft (hadn’t started reading you back then) – dang Justin, you’re right, it is a good piece. Amazing that you turned that out at the beginning of your writing career – like you were born to do it.

    My mom (who also reads your stuff) and I were just commenting the other day, what a good writer we think you are, and how great it is that you do what you do for us folks who have never played hockey, but love the game. I mentioned to her that some time we should plan to catch a Pens/Coyotes game in AZ (she used to live in Phx and we both love it out there), just so we could meet you – kinda like Justin groupies. Now, lest your dear Bri get upset at that notion, I am 52 (and married) and my mom is 76. :)

    Anyway, so glad that you are getting read, noticed, and employed as a writer – you really do a great job not only writing about the sport, but also conveying the information in such an entertaining and personal way. Quite captivating.

  6. derek_com says:

    growing up in illinois we called it the “60 second drill.” as we got older it started to be called “you are all bigger, stronger, and faster. you are no longer allotted 60 seconds to do the 60 second drill 60 second drill.”

    you should write about carle. i know nothing about him.

  7. RewskiUVA says:

    Hope this helps.

    Copied from the following URL:

    How to Create a Poll for your Blog

    1. Poll Daddy: PollDaddy is an online tool, which allows you to create free polls and place them on your website, blog, MySpace, Hi5, Friendster or Xanga account or anywhere online that you can paste a bit of JavaScript or Flash.

    2. Easy-Poll: Easy Poll is an easy and effective way to add variety to your online service and make it more interactive. Easy-Poll has the largest selection of patterns and colors for free polls. They offer two sorts of polls: a yes or no poll and a multiple-choice poll.

    3. Ballot-Box: Ballot-Box allows you to create 15 questions for your poll and each question can have 15 answers. Poll appearance are completely customizable with real-time updates and poll results. Poll results can be made private or public and also prevents users from voting twice.

    4. Snap Poll: Snap Poll is another free service offering Polls. Snap Polls does not require any sign-ups, so creating polls are really fast. Snap polls also allows customization of polls and prevents multiple voting.

    5. Vizu: Vizu allows you to create web polls and put them on your blog or website. Vizu polls are compatible with Blogger, Xanga, WordPress, Typepad and mySpace.

  8. Four to Five says:

    I would love to read a story on any Blackhawks player, but out of the ones you listed, I would go for a Byfuglien (name spelled right? lol) story.

    And I never noticed that Toews did change his number for the Olympics. Guess Thornton will have to give it up next time =)

  9. Steve C. says:

    OK…I’ll be the one…”bag-skating”?

  10. jtbourne says:

    Hey, fair enough Steve C – basically, just “skating until you’re bagged” Like, dead-tired. It might be a pretty Canadian term, much like the way I can’t say “Yahoo” in my house without having to wait for a laugh break at my house. Oh sure, “Yaw-who” sounds wayyyy better.

  11. Alix in SJ says:

    My vote: Matt Carle

    The other three have gotten plenty of press from the more mainstream blogs. Give the Alaska boy some love.

  12. Char says:

    I’m sure MAB is a really nice guy and all, but he looks like Ethan from “Lost.” ::shudder::

    We used to do those drills in field hockey, 25-yard line to goal line; 50-yard line to goal line, etc. Never called them anything in particular that I can remember. Nothing that wasn’t obscene, anyway. Especially when it was 90 freaking degrees out.

    Justin, at least you’re, um, cuter than Gomez! Then again, that’s not saying much, sorry.

  13. Jeff K says:

    I thought the order for getting your number on the Olympic team was age or years in the league. Did Toews really say he was respecting Thornton? I do wonder why he did not take 91.

    And how the heck did you forget Trottier when naming great 19′s? And recent “good” 19′s Richards in Tampa, Naslund in Vancouver. Its the coolest number in Hockey.

  14. wychwood says:


  15. SS says:

    I would like to hear more about Matt Carle.

  16. Pat says:

    “Big Buff” would be a really impressive story. The kid has done well for himself. Do an interview, some research…..whatever it takes……….your readers would enjoy.

  17. Nadeau says:

    Buffy The Conn Smythe Winner???? Probably not it will be Toews how about that kid eh SSM/college/NHL no Juniors WOW!!!

  18. Madeleine says:

    Yeah what is it about the number 19? I used to have this crazy theory as a kid that 9 was lucky in hockey, because so many great players wore it in some way shape or form, even Mario who flipped it upside down. And of course, Gretzky had double the magic.

    Also, Jonathan Toews is like my perfect man; hot, Canadian, and an amazing hockey player *sigh*

  19. rm says:

    We called them suicides in both hockey and soccer. And I thought I would die from vomit collecting in my lungs. Char’s post reminding me that in Field Hockey we used to do hills. We had a pretty steep hill and would have to run up and down that many times. That sometimes included doing weaves and crossovers between sticks that were laid out on the hill. The most annoying part was that we couldn’t touch the obnoxious cheerleaders that were at the top of the hill practicing their football cheers. Man, I really wanted to whack them with my stick. Coach said they were off limits.

    Dustin Byfuglien or Matt Carle for me.

    Great article on skate sharpening. I had mine done with a 3/8 inch hollow. If I find a place to play here in Florida, I may need to rethink that. In Ithaca, there was a former Cornell player who owned a machine shop. He also sharpened skates and was the best. His sponsorship for our women’s hockey team was free skate sharpenings. Once you find a person who does a great job with your skates, you are reluctant to take them anywhere else. Kind of like a good hairstylist (or barber).

  20. Deirdre says:

    Go with Matty :-) I know quite a bit about him cuz the Shark’s analysts are just that good, but I’d love to hear what you have to say about him (or what he has to say to you).

    and yeah, since seeing Miracle I’ve started referring to bag skates as “*Whistle* Again!”s Great scene.

    So I have a nothing-to-do-with-this-post question for you (“you” referring to everyone reading as well as you- Justin), except that it’s about a 19. Are there any other players who have had long careers (10+ years) that have done it all with the same team? Stevie Y being the one that comes to mind. Rocket Richard as well. Anybody else?

  21. Pat says:

    We called them mountains until I got to high school. Thenthey became 37 second drills but we only did near blue, red line and far blue. And no, we never finished in 37 seconds. For my mone, the “ass walk” was the worst conditioning drill Ive ever done. Sit on your butt, hold your stick with both hands straight out in front of you, dig your skates into the ice and pull yourself forward. All the way down and back. Go!

  22. Fish says:

    Matt Carle.

  23. Danimal says:

    Byfuglien. Minnesota boy but I don’t think many Minnesotans either realize that or don’t care because he didn’t play college. Would like to know more about his playing days before the NHL. Plus, he is much more marketable to a completely different fan base than the traditional NHL fan I think.

  24. Nadeau says:

    Not his whole career but 10yrs Exactly for Cam Neely and the B’s, also Ray Borque and the B’s although he wont be remembered for it since he won the cup in colorado, Or Brodeur in New Jersey

  25. nightfly says:

    Dierdre – among Hall of Famers there are a number of them: Super Mario Lemieux (Penguins), Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin (Islanders), Stan Mikita (Blackhawks), and Jean Beliveau (Canadiens) come to mind. I’m sure there are others.

    There are a lot more guys like Bourque (and Orr and Tony O and Marcel Dionne) who are so associated with one team that it’s strange to think they broke in or finished up somewhere else. For me, the best example of the latter category is Borge Salming, the Toronto defenseman, who to my mind is so associated with the Leafs that I had him in my first list before something made me check. Turns out he tacked on a season in Detroit, 1989-1990. That must have looked very strange indeed.

  26. 3 Cups says:

    I used to get all worked up during games in high school and would puke before, after, or during games.

    I scored a rare goal in 11th grade and puked inside my full face Itech before I could get to the bench. That was very gross.

    We always called them suicides or “doing lines” and I hated every minute ot them.

  27. Goody says:

    Deirdre, A couple of “same team” guys, but different locations/names for the team so…

    Joe Sakic: Nordiques, Avalanche
    Mike Modano: North Stars, Stars – not officially done yet, but close.

  28. Deirdre says:

    So there are more, but not a huge number it seems.

    For me the “no sh*t really?” guy is Gordie Howe – Mr. Hockey did a full season with the Whalers at the end…talk about weird.

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