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On a Viral Song, a Conspiracy, Stand-up Comedians and New York City



Join me for a hockey chat at 1 PM EST on Puck Daddy.

Heyyyyyy, it’s finally “back-to-normal-for-good” time!  I ain’t goin’ nowheres, no-mores.  Just straight weekday bloggin’ for the rest of the NHL season.  Let’s strap in and come out swinging this morning, with the infectious, oh-so-viral Cee-Lo Green song you’ve probably already heard. 

Mom, if you’re reading this, you have two options:  skip hitting play on that song because of profanity, or listen to it and love it, because profanity doesn’t actually bother you as much as you pretend it does.  (Love you and hope your feeling better, BTW).  ….Just hit play:


And now, for your tongue-in-cheek, NHL duh-duh-duuhhhhh conspiracy talk of the day….

Friend of the blog Paul Grundy wrote me an email about the Kovalchuk contract situation, volunteering some form of this theory:  is it possible that Lou intentionally drew up a contract so ridiculous that the NHL would have to red flag it?  Y’know, so the league, owners and old-school GM’s could get the stupid-contract insanity to stop?

Kovy trying to sell soul to this Devil

Paul’s theory was more along the line of “maybe Lou and Brian Burke were in cahoots to stop the madness and force the league to revisit other team’s stupid deals”.  Mine (if I were to swing at a wild pitch) would be more that “maybe Lou and the league had some sort of mutual back-scratch agreement on that 17 year thing”. 

(Note: judging by the NHL’s rejection of a follow-up contract, it’s safe to say there’s no “agreement” there, Bourne)

Paul’s idea stemmed from Lamoriello admitting at the presser ”contracts like these” shouldn’t be allowed (did he know at the time that the Kovy one wasn’t going to be?), and Burke’s testimony against the deal (as a GM with a relationship with Lou, who also hates those contracts).

Of course, I don’t actually  think this is why the Kovalchuk contract thing happened.  But it’s fun to think maybe Lou used it as an add-on to the “hey, why not” flavour the deal had - basically, they either get away with a criminal deal, or he gets the criminal deals stopped.  Who knows, maybe that did cross his mind.

Either way, it’s fun to bat around (because remember, this blog isn’t exactly a news source).  Especially since, if there’s any three NHL names you’d expect to be a part of some Skull ‘n’ Bones society, it’s guys like Lamoriello, Burke and Bettman. 

What’s up tinfoil-hatters?  They cook up this scheme on purpose?



Y’know what’s awesome?  Those walking cane things with seats that fold down.  Every time I’m in the lineup at like, the Post Office or something I immediately curse not being old.


I only spent about four hours all-told in the city when I was in New York last week, but man-oh-man do I love it.  I took a few pics on my fancy new phone, so I’ll run those at the bottom of the blog if you’re interested.  I immediately knew I was back in the heart of the city when a six-foot gender-neutral human passed me on a crosswalk, turned around and said “haaay white boyyyyyy”.


As a long-time stand-up comic connoisseur, I’ve thought about this before, but never really jotted it down:

Being a well-known, top-end stand-up comedian is goddamn hard.  Well, you knew that.  Let me elaborate.

"I'm Telling You For the Last Time" is my all-time stand-up favourite.

It’s like trying to be one of the world’s best soccer players versus trying to do the same in hockey – the odds are against you in soccer based on sheer numbers.

What’s the ratio of people who grew up playing soccer versus hockey, like, 859:1?  Had everyone in the world grown up on skates, we surely would’ve found a bajillion more talented people who were built to be studs at the game (and I’d be even less relevant).  We even play soccer in Canada.  That’s how big that game is – it’s played on frozen tundra.

Thus, stand-up comedy is closer to soccer than hockey.  Think in high school – in every clique, the most well-liked kids are usually the ones that make their friends laugh.  Goths, nerds, jocks, band kids, nerdy goth band kids, whoever – funny matters.  And that’s where stand-up comics come from.  The funniest of the funny.  The cream rising to the top of all the crappy swing-and-a-missers in each and every group.

Whether you realize it or not, we spend years weeding out the funny people, making it part of who they see themselves as being, and thus, all of life has basically been a comedy tryout for everyone.  Comedians were originally found by their friends.  You’re so funny.  You’re hilarious.

Comics epiphany: Wait a sec – maybe I’m really funny.

Sure, any socially unaware idiot can go try to be a stand-up comic (which is why small-town comedy clubs are a crapshoot for your fun factor), but none of those people actually make it.  The best of the best – your Seinfelds, say - had to overcome insane “funny odds”, since everyone has tried to be funny.  Except I assume, in like, North Korea or somewhere.  Maybe they keep the guffaws to a minimum there.

I dunno.  That was rattling around in my head.


Okay, my New York visit.  I try not to do too much tourist stuff there (because I am one, thus, I’m hated) – instead, my preference is to wander aimlessly and people watch. 

But this time, just to say I did it once, I happily “got robbed” for 20 bucks and went to “The Top of the Rock” (Rockefeller Building), so that’s where those pics farther down are from.  The rest are just random pics, mostly of the Gillies’ dogs, soooo…. enjoy.

St. Pat's Cathedral


Clearly doing renovations, but still, love that place.

Bri's niece Autumn with the eldest dog, Hunter

My cell phone takes panoramics. Badass.


Honestly, glad I went up there, tourist trap or not.

 Mmmm, long-distance cell phone video of NYC…. 

A few seconds of my playing wit a wittle puppy named Cash.

Cash is over a year old now, and over 150 lbs, I’d guess.

This is Bruce, the “small” one of the three.


That’s it that’s all.  See ya tomorrow!


23 Responses to “On a Viral Song, a Conspiracy, Stand-up Comedians and New York City”
  1. Danimal says:

    Bourne, if you are not already and you enjoy HardBall Talk try this

    Good stuff if not a bit stat nerdy.

  2. Kennedy says:

    I don’t think Lou lost any sleep over the contract being voided – but he took an awfully big risk. The arbitrator could have ruled the contract valid – or maybe ruled that future contracts like this would be invalid but this one could go forward.

    Jose Baustista is probably on steroids. The organization has issues. Check out this damning evidence:

    Look at the increase in definition and overall jackness.

  3. jtbourne says:

    Oh, he’s clearly juicing. Look at the size of his quads in the second pic :)

  4. St. Cloud Gopher says:

    @ Kennedy: Nice call.

    The problem with the contract being sneaky is that, technically, it’s legal. I’m really surprised there wasn’t more of a fight/conversation about it. I understand how it’s a big pile of poo, but just because it stinks doesn’t mean it’s illegal.

    Never been to NY, but I agree with being the “tourist.” Kind of like driving be the MOA and dealing with all of the out-of-state plates that can’t figure out two right turn lanes.

  5. Kennedy says:

    But it can be illegal if there was a purpose to circumvent the gap. Basically the NHL is saying the contract wasn’t signed in good faith. So they have tried to eliminate the ability to be sneaky.

    One thing I think is interesting is how people focus on the term. In the Puck Daddy article today on the latest rejection they mention term being the problem. That can’t be true. It has to be the overall structure. The Devils could sign a contract with Kovy paying him $10million a year for the next 50 years. That contract should be legal as the cap hit would be $10 million a year, every year. Length of contract is only a problem when you look at the money involved year to year.

  6. KForbes says:

    The one thing that makes me believe the ‘conspiracy theory’ a bit or at least makes me think Lou knew exactly what he was getting himself into from the onset is his reaction when the NHL came back and said the deal could not be approved. He didn’t get angry, he didn’t immediately try to restructure the deal, he simply sat back, re-stated that he felt it was a valid contract and more or less told the NHLPA to step up and fight for it.

    It really felt like Lou was calling out the NHLPA to fight a fight that they (for obvious reasons) might be unwilling to fight. And considering Lou had a huge hand in writing this current CBA, and considering he spoke out before how he didn’t like these deals, and considering the current situations with the NHLPA and considering the fact that when this CBA expires, this loophole will likely be a battlepoint and considering that the NHL seems to be licking its lips waiting to pounce when this CBA expires because of the current situations with the NHLPA…. It all of the sudden becomes very easy to imagine that Lou had a motive beyond signing Kovalchuk when he was submitting this deal.

    Interesting thoughts on the comedians. I think it goes both ways.
    1) When you are a top comedian, you’re expected to be funny, all the time. No off nights, no bad shows. Gotta bring the jokes every time. No wonder Chappelle disappeared for a while.
    2) With that said, I think being a top comedian allows you a few more laughs simply because of your status. Hearing a mildly amusing joke at a local comedy club might make you laugh. Hearing Seinfeld say the same joke might make you laugh more, because it’s Seinfeld and you have the expectation that everything he says is going to be hilarious. So you’re more inclined to laugh at anything he says.

  7. KarenfromRochester says:

    your phone may be badass, but those dogs are MORE badass! There must be hair all over the place! and drool….

  8. Char says:

    Wow, you had a perfect day to visit New York. Very nice pics. :-)

  9. crushasaurus says:

    I’m just bored with the acronym “CBA”. Heavily, heavily bored. I refuse to write anything on the subject, really. I enjoy the science and the maths that goes on behind the scenes — cap management, roster moves, drafting, scouting etc. However, I’ll be damned if I ever enjoy discussing the nitty-gritty of a player’s contract.

  10. BL says:

    I tried to give this theory legs a month ago…

    “…..Or, my favorite predict the future scenario- Lamoriello knew exactly what he was doing, had the NHL in his back pocket and signed that deal knowing it would be rejected and force the league/PA to address the issue- BOOM, he’s a genious.”

    I do have one problem with my previous statement – it isn’t really a ‘predict the future scenario’ its more of a predict the past–which should be much easier.

  11. neil says:

    It’s an interesting idea but I have a hard time believing the Lou conspiracy theory because from what I understand, it wasn’t him that wrote that contract up and pulled the trigger. I can’t find the clip on youtube but I remember his reaction after the signing and he seemed to be on a mission to subtly show that it wasn’t his idea, he doesn’t like the deal, and it was Vanderbeek who provided the motivation for the numbers. If Lou’s a smart guy then he probably knew there was a chance the deal would get rejected, but there was also a good chance it wouldn’t, which would leave him with a monster contract he didn’t want. (Sidenote: Apparently the Devils reworked the contract and submitted it to the league today for their thoughts; they were told to scrap it and start again).

    I really wish I could find the clip or some quotes, but I seem to recall that one of the reasons Brian Burke is against these deals is because he simply doesn’t think they’re smart from a GM standpoint, let alone questions of legality.

    St.Cloud Gopher, I disagree, I think the CBA (Sorry crushasaurus!) clearly states, for better or worse, that if the league decides a contract violates the spirit of the CBA, they can strike it down, so if they say it’s illegal, it is. Fair? Maybe not, and I think plenty of people thought it was outrageous (there was a funny exchange between Wysh and Bourne on Puck Daddy’s live chat). But it’s their decision to make (I posted the actual clause from the agreement on an earlier post of Bourne’s). The fact that their decision requires them to essentially draw a line in the sand without specific wording to justify WHERE they put the line doesn’t mean they don’t have the legal power to draw it in the first place.

    This week on “Player’s the Islanders Should Have Signed”, Mr. Raphe Torres for $1 million on a 1 year deal!

  12. paul says:

    In my email to Justin about the Lou-Burke (and now NHL) Kovy Contract conspiracy thing, I actually forgot one more thing. If I am not mistaken, the Devils ‘cap Guy’ (couldn’t find his name or official title) also worked with the NHL on writing up the CBA as well. There’s way too much going on here to just brush this under the rug, there had to be ulterior motives to this whole thing.

    Lou creates contract w/ help of guy who wrote the CBA…Gary/NHL come out and shoot it down…case goes to arbitration, Against a weak and disorganized Players Union ill fit to probably stand up for Kovy….Burke (A Lou discple) testifies AGAINST the contract…League wins.

    I’m just curious if its possible another shoe will drop in terms of some of the other contracts being investigated. Everyone says nothing will come of it but the League/Owners are in a prime position to strike now with the Kovy precedent and the current PA leadership (or lack thereof).

    Just my $.02…

  13. paul says:

    found it, Steve Pellegrini Vice President Hockey Ops for the devils.

  14. Chris says:

    Is it just me or does Hunter look like Gillies did during the playoffs? !:)

  15. ms.conduct says:

    Are they EVER going to finish renovating the library? That thing was draped when we lived there 3 years ago. Maybe they’re doing it again?

  16. Ballgame says:

    JB you’ve had contracts so you know how much time it takes to do one. A lot of time and resources go into making a contract like that. Add the fact the Devils have more to lose than anyone if it gets rejected there is no way Lou planned to have it rejected.
    Adding Kovy increases Devils chances to win. Kovy is first, then addressing contract issues.
    This is just what I think.
    Reminds me of when people would say Lindros purposely wasn’t trying some games. Well it doesn’t work like that. You might not play well but hockey players go out on the ice and try to be bad or lazy.

  17. Simone says:

    That song – lots of profanity, but dang it’s funny!
    And, it’s got a good beat, you can really dance to it. I’d give it a 75. :-)

  18. Minnesotagirl71 says:

    LOVE that song! Need to go download that right now!

  19. john says:

    +1 on the stand-up comedy thing. Pound for pound, I think it is the most challenging thing to master in the so-called performing arts. I did a stint as a bartender in a club where they had stand-up. Let’s just say the ringers were few and far between. I think there are two kinds of comedians who make it: ones that love to perform, and ones that have to perform.

    A hundred years ago, when I was in college at NYU, I lived in the same dorm as Adam Sandler and Dave Attell. Sandler lived on the floor below me, and I only knew him marginally. Attell lived on my floor though, and I knew him much better. As you can imagine, Sandler was already a crack-up, the guy just loved to perform, and would do so at the drop of a hat. If you happened to step into the elevator and he was in it, you could usually expect a joke, or five, during the ride. He was already doing comedy gigs at clubs, and you just knew he was gonna get up there.

    Attell on the other hand was studying…accounting or such? The guy was nice enough, but just really quiet, dour, and out of the way. Walked around in a beat-up blue windbreaker all the time. He would have made a great serial killer cause nobody ever noticed him or could describe him in any meaningful way. And of course he was not doing any comedy or anything like that. I remember thinking “…I hope to hell the poor fob gets laid at some point in his life”. You get the picture.

    Cut to…five or six years later, I’m half passed-out, watching Letterman cue-up for a commercial break “…and when we return…the comedy of Dave Attell”. Huh? I sat up. A few minutes later, sure enough, Attell walks out and starts tearing it up. It was surreal! Fucking Dave Attell? On Letterman? Telling jokes? How did this happen? When did this guy become a comedian? I even remember his joke that made me laugh the most…”let’s talk about friends…and best friends. A friend will help you move. A best friend will help you move…a body”.

    A couple years later, I bumped into him in an NYC bar and we caught a chat. He was exactly the same guy that I knew from college. Nothing had changed in his personality., still dour as ever. The only difference was that he had a significant comedy career and was kind of famous. Oh, and he had a pretty cute girl with him. I realized that this was a guy who HAD to perform to balance himself out. He had found his drug of choice, and it was stand-up comedy. And re a recent Wiki search, it turns out Attell is a champ, he does USO tours and was part of Funny for Fido, a recent benefit for homeless NYC animals. Hats off to him.

  20. Christianson10 says:

    Haha I just hope you didn’t wear an I love NY shirt Justin, nothing says tourist like wearing a shirt that has the same name of the city you’re in

  21. Patrick Pryor says:

    I like to visit NYC and go to the deli where the guy swings a whole salami around yelling “you can’t beat my meat” It is hard to agree more with any statement.

  22. jtbourne says:

    John, thanks for sharing, that’s really interesting stuff!

  23. justin says:

    So Lou Lams risked his team getting fined and losing draft picks just to conspire for the good of the game? Not buying it. Lams has been one of the most important and successful people in organized hockey for the last 30+ years, but only a complete sycophant would fit him for a halo for trying to fix the league’s problems.

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