Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

<----- Dances in time to Metallica's cover of Breadfan by Budgie (even the slow bridge). Don't ask me how I was able to figure this out.

Well...rejoice and so forth. By the way, if I'm posting dancing milk .gifs, can TUC's infamous Boo Boo avatars be far off? I'll hold out a bit longer. I've got to keep you fools maintaining some reason for constantly coming back here.

The sad truth is, there isn't a whole hell of a lot to talk about -- which is blatantly evident if you've visited some of the regular blogs as of late.

I've been keeping busy by listening to Good Riddance circa '96 and going to Lynx games -- it's fantastic to see their offense finally being able to produce regularly, and surely that some players will be called up very soon with Baltimore basically bottoming out. First guesses would be C Eli Whiteside and OF Keith Reed (who's been phenomenal lately -- just yesterday against Norfolk he went 4-for-5 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored). Also, P Hayden Penn will be heading back with his rehab stint all but finished before his next scheduled start. I finally made it out to see him on the 19th, and he didn't disappoint -- he maintained a no-hitter through the 5th inning. I'm so glad I got on that kid's bandwagon early.

The team's heading out on another road trip (Syracuse and Scranton Wilkes-Barre) but will be back on August 3. If you haven't been to a game this year, go soon before the Orioles pick the roster clean.

Other stuff...

I know hockey's in its dormant season when Slam! leaves the column up in the main hockey digest for the entire day. Normally they don't do that unless I've written something pretty controversial -- you know, like this. But there was one part of the column this week that people reacted to, and I'm pleased that they did, because I wanted to be the first to verbalize it:

"Sometimes, the desire isn’t even related to a hometown — just a favourite team. Have you ever noticed the euphoric expression on Sidney Crosby’s face whenever the Montreal Canadiens are mentioned? If I’m Penguins GM Ray Shero, I’m doing everything possible to promote Pittsburgh to the young phenom for the next six years."

Which of course, encourages emails like this:


Don't you mean Ray Shero should be doing everything to
sell Sidney Crosby on Hamilton? ;)

"C'mon, Sid.... it's only a short drive to the
Fallsview Casino."

For the record, I can tell you from experience that what I said is true -- I've witnessed it myself. Crosby's demeanour alters completely whenever anyone mentions Montreal in his presence. He positively glows. It doesn't matter where that team goes, because he's going to have his day in a Canadiens uniform eventually. The talented always get what they want. Hell, in this NHL, even the not-as-talented are able to get it.

And speaking of the not-as-talented, do you think Mike York is going to kick back some of that new $2.85 million to Dave Tallon and the Blackhawks? After all, it was Martin Havlat's contract that began all this mess with the RFAs. You're welcome too, Buffalo. Enjoy!

More later.

8 responses to "Yeah, so I'm back."

  1. Now that money is no longer a factor in attracting free-agent players, (well, as much) I can totally understand a player's interest in wanting to play where they always dreamed of going. It's a cachet you can't put a price tag on.

    I read that the Montreal Canadiens get all their young players to take a history course of the team - they outline the history of the club, show them videos...they explain to the rookies the responsibility they have to live up to if they want to play for Montreal. I wonder why more players don't cite the Canadiens as their number-one destination. Maybe the language thing scares them away, or the known demands of the fans and media. I get the shivers when I see the team take the ice in person. "It's them! The same team Lafleur and the Rocket played for!" When the Rocket exhibit was in the Museum of Civilisation a couple years ago, I couldn't stop staring at Maurice's game-worn uniform, hanging there in the dark, still torn from his actions on the ice. It was like seeing the armour of a legendary king. How can an expansion team compete with that?

    I remember when Crosby was drafted. Interviewers asked him something along the lines of, "hey, it almost looked like you'd be going to Montreal, huh?" and you could see his face collapse on camera. He couldn't hide how badly he wanted to go there. One day, he'll own that city.

    If I were a GM of a hockey team, I'd be working on a plan to market my team in a way to appeal to the desire to be "cool". West coast teams have the weather, East coast teams have the history, the Original-Six even moreso - so if you're Columbus or whoever, how do you convince players that your team is the one they should be playing for?

    Just another one of the challenges of competing in the new NHL.

    P.S., how about Gainey re-signing his team, in many cases, for less than last season's salary, or for very manageable increases? Is Bob Gainey the best GM in hockey?


  2. Wow! Wardo, I'm impressed. You verbalized the appeal of the Habs allure in three concise sentences. As a Habs fan I always found it hard to explain that to people wrapped up in the french/Quebec dilema. Thanks for putting in such a way.

    I always found players were fearful of failing in such a high profile scenario. Not unlike Toronto and it's spotlight, if you go play there and suck, it reduces your options afterwards in regards to offers. Look at what is happening with Yannick Perrault. He's a decent all around player, great at faceoffs and a good bet for 50 to 60 points. His untimely soft play was exposed in Montreal and he didn't sign with Nashville last year until just days before the season started. Right now he is still unsigned. Lots of teams can use him and he's on the cheap side. He'd have been a great fit in T.O. again and better fit in Ottawa, but teams are staying clear of him in droves.

    I remember that moment when Crosby's face collapsed. I sensed the exact same notion. Upon seeing that, it was a foregone conclusion for me that he will be in a Habs jersey as early as 2012.

    All other teams can do to compete with a mystique along the lines of Montreal is win. Edmonton in that regard has done more to preserve it's dynasty history than the Islanders, who have long blown it. Detroit is almost like Montreal now. Others teams don't have much chance as this new CBA and it's associated rules are anti-dynasty. Without a run of Cups, no team can ever come close to the history Montreal has. As a Habs fan, I can honestly admit that for many, the Habs history is almost history. Gainey is back just in time!

    And BTW, welcome back UC...thought you'd died!

    WV: inbyte (no lie!)

    reality check

  3. Pardon my manners UC, I appreciate the link to "Eyes" very much. Soon as I figure out how to read script, I'll return the favor. Cheers!

    reality check

  4. More on the jersey thing - how much does this play a role in a team's success? Think - if your jersey has always been the same, you've established a brand to be identified with. Your team can now put it on, and look just like the winning team of fifty years ago. Montreal is among the few who have never changed their uniforms. Everybody knows what that red, white and blue means. It's like the Yankee pinstripes. It is the uniform of a champion. For a player, it's a banner, a call to arms. There's an expectation that comes with it. It means something when you put it on.

    And me, the spectator, I tend to attribute qualities to the players who are wearing it, just because it's a Canadiens jersey. The players just seem better because of that uniform. It's like Superman ripping open his shirt - the "S" shield is one of the most recognized symbols in the world. Maurice Richard, when he wore his jersey, became more than a man. He became the Rocket, a legend. Imagine fainting at the sight of him on the ice? It happened. Would it be quite the same without the uniform?

    So why do so many teams change their jersey designs every few years? How do you identify with a team as a player or a fan if you can't recognize the historical touchstones of your own franchise? For instance, does this resonate with Buffalo Sabres nostalgia?


    It's almost a punishment for the fans - early reaction around the 'net is not positive.

    I saw a fan's proposed jersey design (I can't find it, or else I'd post it) for Buffalo, and it was beautiful. Gold and blue, with the traditional Buffalo emblem in the middle - it was a great mix of retro styling and modern updates. How could the team possibly imagine this legless abomination to be a winning jersey design? How many kids are going to dream of putting this on?

    Am I the only one that recoils a bit when I see a team like Montreal or Detroit playing against Edmonton in their third jerseys, or Nashville in their mustard-coloured outfits?


  5. Oops, I just noticed the link to the jerseys I was thinking of is in the link I supplied above. Click on the "celsius design logos" for the design alternative I was talking about.


  6. Tradition has to start somewhere and not every team gets to win. Allegiance to a sweater is often what starts it. As you pointed out switching jerseys or adding third jerseys jerseys only pospones respect. Imagine someone waiting all their life to see the Oilers, and then seeing them in that flying hunk of slag abomination to rips of the LA Kings more than paying tribute to oilfields in any way. I'd be bummed!

    ...cutting this short...electrical storm happening here...LOL..later!

    reality check

  7. Wow!

    That Saber's logo is awesome!

    I would actually go to that hole of a place to see tham play in that jersey

    I hate the HABS just as much as the Leafs but,

    Montreal's logo is simple and timeless.

    Old school jersey's are better.
    They have nostalgia, and that is better than a third jersey anyday.

    You could wear your dad's HABS Jersey and still be looking somewhat like the boy's on the ice.

    A third jersey was just a way to make more "revenue" for the teams it just reaks of greed, not innovation, and I know greed very well I live in Calgary

    Whan are they going to reveal the tighter fitting RBK Jersey and socks anyway?


  8. ....tornado watch is over. LOL. Back to jerseys!

    The third jersey idea isn't always so brutal. Dallas made into their only one. Some of the experiments were way out there and I think some folks just don't know what hockey colors ought to be. The Islanders have been disastrous twice. Chicago and Philly simply inverted to black - boring. I miss the Philly 70's Broad Street Bully version.

    The best ideas have been the retro or vintage that lend a sense of history to it all. Even the blue on green Canuck thing looks better now. The Canadiens vintage white with the chest level blue bar fron the 40's and 50's is awesome. My favorite will always be the Leafs 3rd jersey - the golf shirt!

    reality check