Category Archives: Games

Mason Baveux On The Hockey Strike

He’s a fan, we’re not, so my commentary will be significantly different from his.  Which would explain why we’re letting Mason Baveux comment on the hockey lockout.  Mason?

Thanks for the bloggery keys again lad, as there be something important in the air.  The National Hockey League has locked out the players, what means there ain’t no hockey, at least for the Big Show right now.  For folks like Davey, it might as well mean there’s no mints in Madagascar, so move on, but for the rest of us Canadians, it might as well mean the end of life itself. 

Now this isn’t to say there’s a fungus that makes all the pucks disintegrate, or you could get cancer from hockey tape, so’s it’s banned, nope.  It is what you call a labour issue.  Like any labour issue there be two, maybe seventeen sides to the story. 

The players make a jeezly great amount of money playin the game.  You’ve all heard of some Sweedish guy signin up for 122 zillion dollars over 10 years to play the game, what’s got too many vowels in his name to be able to pronounce it, let alone spell it out without the spellcheck havin a stroke. 

You also know that the teams make enough money to buy small countries outright.  I think Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment own about half of Ecuador and most of Trinidad right now, what they bought during the economic downturn of 2008.  So’s its not like nobody has any cash to spread around.  There’s money in the kitty.

Considering that the guy whose handlin the puck has about a 1 in 10 chance of havin his career shitcanned every time he steps on the ice, I can see why they want them big payday contracts..  They say a career in the Big Show is about six years.  

Don McKenny, what was part of the Uke line in Boston, then in Toronto had his knees turned into some kind of puzzle for the doctors back then, when he caught something on the ice.  Most likely some twat tossed coins on the rink, nice hot coins he’d been holding in his pocket, what melted in a bit and then Dom come a hareing around the blue line, building up some speed with the puck and over he goes, one knee pointing at Detroit, the other at Montreal and one ankle lookin to New York.  Rob Gilbert was another one, what broke his back in the OHA and had spinal fusion surgery in 1960.  Back then the docs knowledge of the back was “Jeeze there’s a lot of bones in there”, so’s it was amazing he could walk, let alone skate. 

Now that explains why the players want the good paydays.  If you’re good enough for the Bigs you have a pretty good chance you won’t make it past 35 as a player, you get the money up front.  

As for the owners, well, they want to maximize their return on their investment to use their terminamology.  In English, that means make even more money, so’s they can buy the rest of Ecuador and put a bid in on Holland.  You can see where my sympathies are.  They sure as shiite aren’t with the owners. 

The owners gotta know that there’s not but a dozen folks batshit crazy enough to sit around and watch them work on the consolidated balance sheet at $100 a seat for the nosebleeds.  The owners don’t do shiite that people will pay to watch and they know it, but they still think they’re all-friggin-mighty important.  That’s like sayin the cashier what puts the float in the till every day at IGA is the single most critical part of the whole process of buyin celery.

But tell 20 or 40 thousand folks that you’re puttin on a hockey game and what they want to do is to go watch hockey.  As well buy a $3 beer for $10 and a $2 hot dog for $12, plus pay a flat hunnert for a seat so high up you need oxygen to stay alive the whole four hours.  And watch the boards change advertising every six seconds and have that goddam “Na Na Hey Hey” song played at them forty two times an hour, loud enough to rip the hairs off the beer guy’s ear lobes.

The owners got sweet FA without the players and they know it.  Without a bunch of butts in seats to watch hockey, the owners are going to have to make obscene amounts of money another way, like maybe gettin a friggin job? 

So what happens if we lose the whole season?  The players will always find a place to play the game and at least make a little money to keep body and soul together, as well as make payments on the Escalade.  The owners will write it all off as a tax loss, so they’s not out much.

Us fans?  We can get us some too.  Junior A, or CHL, or AHL.  Damn fine hockey, perhaps better than some of the NHL teams out there.  More gratitude from the owners for forkin out the greenbacks for their team.  More gratitude from the players for comin out to watch and cheer and buy a beer and a program and a hot dog.

Plus we’d get to watch some good hockey.  And that’s what we really want to do.    Go Marlies!

Waiting for the Horns

The Greater Toronto Area is World Cup football-mad.  They have been in the grips of The Fever for a month.  Go near any bar with a TV during a match and expect to hear screams, yelling and much madness issuing forth during a game. 


Italian fans get jacked up before the match.  I’m not sure on what, perhaps espresso, but having a good time is the key.  When Italy wins, the air is filled with the sounds of car horns and yelling that you can hear on the fourteenth floor. 


The last time I heard that kind of fan support was a few years ago in Sardinia.  I was doing an IT job for the US Navy in La Maddalena out in the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy. 


Sunday morning of the Italian Grand Prix race a strange little gang assembled in the bar of the Hotel Villa Marina.  There was the hotel owner, a grizzled ex-Italian sailor, two women of alternative orientation from Austria, the cook and myself, glued to the TV in the bar.  The owner, seeing he had race fans in his midst, served us pharmaceutical-grade espresso and delicate Sardinian pastries all afternoon, compliments of the Hotel Villa Marina. 


The race was fine:  Michael Schumacher ran away with it and won the World Driver’s Championship.  Perhaps a minute after the checkered flag, you could hear the cars and scooters roaring up and down the streets, honking their horns.  Fans were screaming, yelling and waving huge Italian and Ferrari flags.  This went on for a half hour and eventually petered out, until you went to Admiralty Square and saw the party continuing in the bars and coffee shops.  There is nothing quite so wonderful as Italian fans in full song. 


In a few minutes the final of the World Cup will be over.  Right now it is 1-1 Italy and France tied.  We’ll see.      

Ganassi and Montoya?

Imagine Babe Ruth giving up Major League baseball and going to play in the Mississauga Recreational Three-Pitch league.  This just happened.  Juan Pablo Montoya has signed with Chip Ganassi Racing as their shoe in the 2007 NASCAR season. 


Montoya has signed on the line.  He’s coming from Formula One, the biggest, most lucrative, most over-wrought international circus of motorsports.  Montoya is going to the biggest, most lucrative, mildly over-wrought North American motorsports circus. 


It proves that Montoya is a real racer.  Formula One is a nose-to-tail high speed processional that is led by either Schumacher or Alonzo.  NASCAR is forty-two rats dumped out of a sack when the green is dropped. 


Oh boy!  Let the fun begin.

Sens Fold

Ottawa has been in the grips of “Sens Fever” meaning the Ottawa Senators National Hockey League team.  Finally, tonight, the New Jersey Satanists beat them 3-2.  The Senators can now go to the golf course and the city can return to what passes for normal.  Thank heavens.

Gulf War Betty or Wilma

Since I am pig and make no apologies about it…here is the Gulf War Correspondent Betty or Wilma List from

Christine Amanpour:  Not even with Ari Fleischer’s

Lisa Rose Williams(?):  OK, but she’s got no hogans

Suzanne Malveaux:  Anyone with a last name of “Bad Veal” is deserving.  The 1942 hairstyle is a great touch, as long as she’s in garters.

Lisa Laflamme:  Only in desperation if you get hand cramps.

Paula Zahn:  Until my ears bleed and you smell burning rubber

Rym Brahimi:  Stack it with Lisa Rose Williams and I say ‘’

Victoria Clarke:  Only over the hood of a HUMMVEE wearing camouflage chaps

Candy Crowley:  Sure, why not?  Probably bounces like Silly Putty in a tile wall bathroom. 

Kelly Wallace:  Could be a fun weekend but needs tequila.

Mrs. S. Hussein:  Shock and Awe result when you find out she’s a guy.

As for those who are so utterly appalled by this posting, check today’s date please.

Stick And Ball

I admit to not being a fan of stick and ball sports.  I can watch them, as I have the essential knowledge of how most are played, although I do admit scoring in Cricket does perplex me.

I have played some of the more popular ones at some time in my life, including, ice hockey, street hockey, North American football, European football, rugby, baseball and softball.  I have taken up arms and played lacrosse twice, table tennis, lawn tennis, badminton, squash, basketball, curling and even was a member of the team that held the record for the longest single continuous (1974, 110 hours) volleyball game. 

I have even enjoyed golf from time to time. 

So, my sports credentials do cover a reasonable range of the leagued-up, televised, endorsement-fuelled recreations that feature good motor skills, physical endurance, strategy and team dynamics.  The Super Bowl is none of these. 

Leaving the hype aside, American football has stopped being important to anyone except sports bettors.  The game seems to be tertiary to the show.  Same with ice hockey, you go to see a bloody bare-knuckles fight by a bunch of guys on a slippery surface, when, pow, they start playing hockey?  Talk about buzz-kill.

At the current rate of hype, the Super Bowl will be played in a park near Tupelo Mississippi and the television coverage will occasionally pop out to see the game.  The rest of the five hour broadcast will be in a huge stadium in Anaheim, featuring Celine Dion, Brittney Spears, Maya Anjelou and Brad Pitt singing the National Anthem. 

There will be fireworks, 12-storey inflatable Flintstones characters, massed marching bands creating patterns on the field, commercials ranging from Ozzy and Fozzy for long distance, to the Budweiser Clydesdales standing on their back legs in a bar, trying to hustle some mares. 

There will be a flypast of military jets and everyone will be asked to hold their seat cushion over their head to form an American Flag for the Service Men and Women, while the Goodyear blimp takes a picture of it and sends it by satellite to those in Kandahar.

There will be at least one shirtless, morbidly obese man, painted blue with the logo of one of the teams on his chest and face.  Naturally, there will be the “John 3:16” guy there as well as the obligatory “Hi Mom” sign waver with his friend the Big Foam Finger Fellow.

After two hours or so of this, the networks will cut away to the actual game in Tupelo, where the score is still 3-3 after one of the players fell down and skinned his knee.  An opposing player had to go home because he got a nosebleed and its time for his ADHD medication.  Oh, and Mom is making chicken tonight, so I don’t want to miss dinner, besides, the street lights are coming on, so its time to go home.

Everyone will leave sated and satisfied that they had seen the best Super Bowl ever, talking over the commercials, the singers, dancers, fireworks and marching band hijinks for the next week.  Much money will change hands as office pools and other bettors pay up, or pay off, or weasel out. 

In other words, its not the game, it is the hype that makes the Super Bowl what it thinks it is.  At its core, the game is immaterial to all but the players.  The rest of it is a parade float to give a child’s game the status the networks demand.  Reality is we’re watching a gigantic sideshow without going into the big tent.

Besbaw een Cheegagoe

I had a day off and I did what I sometimes do in a city:  Buy a day pass for the transit and go where my nose leads me:  It hasn’t led me wrong yet. 

I jump on the “L” not far from my hotel and take the Loop.  I like the Loop as it is a piece of history from way back in the 20’s.  I was wondering where I might get off when I look out the window and see Wrigley Field.  Never been there.  Never done that.

I bought a seat in the nosebleed section down third base.  It was the second game of a doubleheader between the Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers.  Now, most of you know I don’t follow baseball, but I do appreciate it, having been to Jarry Park wayback when and a few years ago, took in a Lynx game at Jetform Park.  I have even been known to watch some of a baseball game, from time to time. 

So, I went to Wrigley Field.  Bought a beer, a hot dog, a soft pretzel and bag of peanuts.  Got my keester comfy and watched Sammy Sosa and Frank McGriff hand out a pasting to the Brewers.  When I left, in the 7th inning, it was 17 – 0 for the Cubs.  That, to me, is a bad football game score, not to mention a horrendous baseball score. 

Wrigley is history incarnate.  It is ancient, with wonderful sight lines everywhere.  You can see the ghosts of the 50’s and 60’s ball players running the bases in the sun.  Men in fedoras, with their sleeves rolled up, ties askew, rooting on the Cubs and Ernie Banks while Harry Caray called the game on WGN.  Cigar smoke, beer in cups, hot dogs, soft pretzels and peanuts. 

Fifty years later, not much has changed.  Kids still wear the jersey of their favourite player, lonely guys with pot bellies and acne scars still fill out perfect scorecards in the seats, while others hang with their buddies, discussing every nuance of the game in front of them.  Not much has really changed.

Perhaps that is the joy of Wrigley Field.  It is a time machine to a simpler time.  Your team was the Cubs and your mood was tied to their fortunes.  Tomorrow; The Billy Goat.