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

And then there's this

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

From Sportsnet.ca via Ian Mendes:

"Emery asked Senators for a trade".

Earl McRae's interview with George Chuvalo is also worth a read. Here's a teaser:

"My concern is for the kid. He's a big boxing fan and I was thrilled when he put me on his helmet during the playoffs and Stanley Cup last year. He said I was his boxing hero. When his agent said he'd like to talk to me, and I got his number, I phoned him a few months back, but he never returned my message."

Truth or consequences

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When everybody above is ready to bout you about controversial values
Don't you think you better re-address the level of the cowardice rising to drown you?
Did you ever connect - or come to reject - or even inspect
The dreams that hound you?

When the prodigal son with a caroming shadow of hate comes to land at home
Well he's a mourning star with a champagne heart at his curtain call
And father never understood the way the work gets done
Don't look at me, no I ain't one, no prodigal son

-- Prodigal Son (BR)

Some paraphrased public thoughts from various local media on the topic of Ray Emery (no names will be used because I don't have the direct quotes and don't wish to be on the receiving end of bitchy, fusspot e-mails):

* One made reference to the idea that Emery may be involved in off-ice issues similar to those that said media personality experienced when he was dealing with drugs;

* One claimed that Ottawa is too small and if inappropriate actions were truly occurring, someone would have uncovered it and written about it already;

* Another stated that the only information he had came from what was printed or said in the media, basically insinuating that he had no inside sources to speak of.


Finally, here's a quote:

"(Ray Emery) is (expletive) out of control. I guarantee that whatever you've heard about him...95% of it is true." -- An anonymous source from inside the dressing room.

(There was more -- much more -- but it can't be posted here without repercussions of some sort. I will say that it provided incredible insight in regards to team and front office cohesiveness, and Ray's own mindset as perceived by his teammates -- again, according to this one person.)

Watching (and listening) to this psychological petri dish fester over the past 36 hours has been amusing, frustrating and somewhat surprising. For those of us who have been sitting on material -- for lack of a better phrase -- for nearly a season and a half, watching cracks finally begin to appear in the facade is somewhat of a relief.

Granted, Ray's latest truancy (on the surface) had nothing to do with The Pink Elephant sitting in the room that no one would (or could) discuss openly. But given his history of difficulties and general problematic behaviour, this latest incident, which could serve as the straw that broke the camel's back, has given many in the media carte blanche to begin dancing ever so carefully around the subject. (Aside: This alone is an experience in itself. It's exceedingly ridiculous for some of us to sit by and watch other media members pretend as if nothing is going on -- as demonstrated by some of the comments above. No one's saying you have to jump on the bomb and attempt an exposé, but if you're pulling any "Ray's just being Ray" nonsense, you need to check yourself and remain silent. There's nothing worse than any media's feeble attempt to play dumb.)

But believe me, this isn't a topic that could normally be broached with any semblance of truth or ferocity, unless you possessed a gifted photographer and an attorney on a choke chain (a fact that I have personally been warned about from friends and colleagues alike).

The thing is, the Senators now realize that they're buggered six ways from Sunday. Everyone knows about Ray Emery -- both in the city, and within the NHL. It was fine for the team to look the other way when he was winning. Now they're aware of his off-ice issues and the fact that he's not the real deal. However, they have signed him to a three-year deal that was largely predicated on one season (where both he and the team itself were able to synergize at the right time), when all signs and internal team issues pointed towards exploring alternative options. Fans and media alike must've seen this coming. A five minute conversation with anyone in AHL circles will provide you with all the required turbulent history between Paddock and Emery, going back to their days in Binghamton.

Yes, he was a troubled case. But it's impossible not to assume that the uh...issue...exacerbated the problem ten-fold.

Mark my words: As long as the Senators keep Emery in the fold, someone WILL write this story eventually (with photographic evidence and the legal protection required), and the aftermath that follows will undoubtedly be devastating for the entire franchise. If he stays, it won't be much longer before we see it. How can you assume otherwise when we're already experiencing a willingness by some to wade into potentially libelous waters?

More later.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Huh...whaa? Oh, look...a tree.

The comment from a reader off one of the Sun blogs after a "Wow, Mensas...did you notice this team is shaping up to chew it in the playoffs?" post:

Comment from: John Dhaller [Visitor]
The Sens just have to get rid of 4 or 5 players who are coke-heads. This is, and has been a problem with the team for years, stay off the drugs, or atleast (sic) wait for the off-season.

Who wants to get down on how long this will stay up on the site? *whistling softly and twiddling thumbs*

AOL FanHouse interview

Friday, January 11, 2008

My thoughts on the Detroit-Ottawa game had to go somewhere -- you can find them at this link.

P.S. About the picture...I'm recording one game and watching the other. I'll let you assume where my priorities are.

[Photo credit: LOLJocks]


Thursday, January 10, 2008


While I don't usually like to reveal much of my personal life in this space, I have seen speculation regarding TUC on other blogs, and I have received e-mails from many of you wondering what's been going on. Here it is: My physical health hasn't been the greatest for some time, and the blog became a low priority. Most of my so-called creative energies have to be directed towards the column, and truthfully that's been an effort -- more than one recent piece was written while sporting one of those godforsaken hospital gowns that refuse to close in the back.

I don't want to go into specifics, but I can assure you that I expect to be back at 100% eventually, but unfortunately I do not have a set timetable for an exact date. Honestly, I feel rather self-involved for making this post, but it's difficult to keep up with all of your inquiries, so I feel this is the best way.

I know a lot of you have gotten frustrated with the tendency for the blog to go "subscription-only" -- unfortunately it's done for preventative measures against those in the business who wish to cause difficulties for TUC and its associates via indirect and unsophisticated methods. Those who remain paranoid and obsessive about the writings of a lowly local weekly columnist need to check themselves, and those who can't handle TUC's criticism should investigate whether they have been afflicted with specific hemorrhaging normally reserved for those of a double-x chromosome persuasion.

(Illness has made me belligerent...and apparently, rather gauche.)

Hopefully I will be back soon -- thanks again for all your kind words and support. Before I sign off on this post, I figured I should relay a Sens-related story from a while back that I never got around to writing about. A couple of months ago I was having a generally crappy week -- some people would head out to their local pub and pound a few with friends. I don't do that. Me, I put in a call, get on a plane and go and see Bad Religion.

I took an 18-seater plane to Allentown, PA (home of the AAA Lehigh Valley Ironpigs -- formally known as the Ottawa Lynx). Tiny venue, completely packed and totally crazy. After the show, The Driver and I went to thank guitarist Greg Hetson for looking out for us (as he has for several years now -- sometimes I forget what a charmed life I lead). I asked him about his in-studio appearance on The Jim Rome Show that occurred about a month prior. (Rome and Hetson have known each other for ages -- it was through Rome that I originally met Greg.)

I asked him about the Stanley Cup Finals and said, "Okay, so just to be sure...you weren't cheering for the dark side? (Hetson is a huge Kings fan.) His reply? "Fuck no! I wore my old Senators jersey the whole time (there are photos of him sporting said old-school jersey inside the liner notes from the '93 album Recipe For Hate). When I told Rome that I cried (when the Ducks won), I meant it."

Atta boy, Greg. We're all for SoCals who cannot be swayed. We then tried to hammer out a ludicrous trade between our two franchises (Emery for Jack Johnson, straight up), but even Hetson knows too much about Ottawa's "off-ice" issues . (Yes, the story has reached that far. My 60 year-old, hockey ignorant, pseudo-maternal unit has also asked me about it, editors from national dailies inquire if I'm going to pursue it* and choice teammates have angrily spoken about the subject -- in public, no less. But it's a secret, right? It can still be a secret, even though it's broaching the 18-month mark. That's some high comedy, kids.)

That's all for now. Thanks for reading, take care and yeah hey.

More...at an unknown later date.


*Me? A mercenary for hire? Aw, that's sweet.