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

This one makes the list, because it's my favourite post of all-time. What can I say? I have a soft spot for King of the Hill references.


What's Swedish for "Where's my shin jelly?" (Posted September 18, 2007)

When the hell is this going to end? Now Bryan Murray is enlisting the help of Daniel Alfredsson in an attempt to woo Peter Forsberg to the capital with a well-timed phone call. What is this, junior high? Why doesn't Alfie just send a folded note with the traditional "Do you like me?" query, followed by boxes labelled "yes" and "no". And you just know that Forsberg, being the crafty bugger that he is, will return it with an additional square created (and checked) that reads, "I don't know." Of course, said note will need to be passed through Toronto and snickered at for the full effect.

Keep in mind that Forsberg is recovering from ankle surgery (again), but will still expect the Brinks truck to back up, regardless of the situation. Not to be overly harsh, but the only way I'd consider this is if Peter literally removed all problems, and surgically attached his knees to his feet like Cotton Hill. Think about it: He could skate around headbutting players (read: Sidney Crosby) in the stomach and groin with no remorse. Words cannot express how badly I would like to see that happen.

P.S. I know his feet are torched as well. When it's time for those to go, that's when Ottawa can ship him to the Leafs for their turn.

P.P.S. Doesn't the cartoon version of Jimmy Carter look just a bit like Bryan Murray? C'mon...I know you see it.

Driving TUC: Who is this guy?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

(The Driver: Better than you; funnier than anyone. Also pictured: Miss Eleanor Southworth Ewing, the superbeagle.)

Since my very first days in sports media, people have been trying to find out about my personal life -- specifically if I had a boyfriend or husband. If I did, what was he like?

Well, after so many years, I figured it was time to pull back the curtain a bit.

The Driver (real name: Gary) is a very private person. People have been trying to interview him since the beginning and he's always said no. If I remember correctly, Barre Campbell was the first to try. In the tradition of Simmons, I gave him a moniker. "Sports Guy" was already taken (not that I wanted it). "The Driver" was never intended to be a long-term thing, but it stuck, and so I kept it.

So why "The Driver"? You've asked and asked, so I'll tell you. No, he doesn't have a head shaped like a Big Bertha, although he's quite a decent golfer. Here's the real reason: I didn't get my driver's license until I was in my mid-20's. Three guesses as to was chauffeuring me around?

The Driver, who is also from Thunder Bay, grew up as a Winnipeg Jets fan. He lived in Winnipeg for a short period for school and was at the game where Teemu Selanne broke the rookie scoring record:

He still has a soft spot for the Jets, but discussions of bringing a team back to Canada make him crazy. As for the Senators, he's largely checked out on them, and began following the Kings not too long after the lockout (favourite player: Wayne Simmonds). Worthy of note: He was hating on Wade Redden long before it was considered fresh.

These days, The Driver is a lot like myself -- becoming the most vocal when it involves the media. Sun Media drives him absolutely bonkers, and he claims that he can't watch Steve Simmons on TSN's The Reporters, because he can't get over his "fumbling fingers." Impressions are his specialty in this department. He does a killer Jim Fox, Steve Lloyd, Jim Jerome and surprisingly, Patricia Boal (which eventually morphs into a Chi Pig). Like a lot of people, he's become disillusioned with newspapers, and has a difficult time taking most local coverage seriously. One of the few exceptions is James Gordon of the Citizen, and for national coverage, I've recently turned him on to Bruce Arthur of the National Post. (He's more of a Globe guy, but their sports section leaves a lot to be desired. He also doesn't worship at the Church of Mirtle.)

What turns him on in sports? San Diego Chargers wins (in spite of Norv Turner's incompetence). Also in that same vein -- seeing LaDainian Tomlinson hit the bricks. He loves ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series, watching games at Staples and Xcel Energy Center, live baseball (except for the Jays), unconventional goaltenders and mobile, speedy Swedish forwards.

Sound a lot like me? Well, we are very similar, hence the reason why I think many suspected that he was the one writing the columns. You'll never know, now...will you? (That was a joke, Mensas.)

Don't take this post as a sign that The Driver will somehow begin appearing more often. He still prefers to stay in the background, although I will continue to tweet his best takes whenever possible. And as long as you're good to me, he won't have a problem with you...unless you try and corner one or both of us to talk about the Summit Series. Then he'll probably kill you.

More later.

The most popular post in TUC history owes everything to our dear friend Colin, who tipped us off to this story. How two TiCats cheerleaders go from discussing fitness to riding a Sybian (website NSFW) is beyond comprehension, but hey, it was the Howard Stern show.

Four years later, readers are still Googling this story. Check it out here (SFW).

Jim Lampley nails a troika of whiskey, vodka and pot, then chases (and manhandles) a former Miss California around his couch while his 14-year-old son watches. Welcome to one of the most popular posts in TUC history.

P.S.: The first comment? DAMN. And you guys thought I was harsh...

No, I didn't write this. But I do love it.

Again, this is a cluster of posts from the period when the Senators thought they should (or rather, could get away with) charging their fans for games on pay-per-view. I got into a fair amount of trouble for these posts, both with the Ottawa Senators and Sun Media. In hindsight it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but at the time it surely wasn't pleasant. I didn't have to come down on them as hard as I did, but I was vehemently against their decision and took serious issue with the product. Of course, the blog is a looser format, and so I took advantage of that fact. Me and my mouth...err...fingers.

I'd like to think that I helped make a difference during this period - the Sens and media are constantly lurking around here for some bloody reason or other - but c'mon...I'm just a dumb girl blogger. [Insert picture of Malibu Stacy hunched over a laptop] Special acknowledgment goes to Rob Brodie, who stuck by me the whole time. He's good people.

Here are the most controversial posts from the Senators' short and sour PPV era:

Give me my Bloody HD

Soupe du Jour

The Vicious Revolt

Question The Answers

Pass the Buck

Ah, "Dress Up Jake." The madness, the mayhem, the use of R-rated accessories.

Dress Up Jake came to me one night as I was sitting in my office, staring in total contempt at my Jake Plummer inaction figure after another brutal Denver loss. Plummer, the No. 1 QB of the Broncos at the time, could best be described as a mercurial, inconsistent fusspot. Basically the kid got on my nerves more than Brian Lee and Wade Redden combined.

(Ed. Note: I know that's a lot of hatred, but this is football we're talking about.)

I needed a way to convey my feelings on Plummer and the games in a quick-fire manner, but I also didn't want to a) pretend I was an NFL expert and b) piss off my hockey readers. I figured the best (and most amusing way) to do this, was to pose the doll in a manner fitting his performance. If he played well, I'd reward the action figure with pork tenderloin and porn. If he played poorly, I'd make him drink cosmopolitans with Daniel Alfredsson (see above).

I never would have guessed that DUJ would take off the way it did. Deadspin linked to every week I featured it, and Stefan Fatsis (a noted Bronco honk) of the New York Times also picked it up, and included it in a piece for Slate.

Looking back on it, I probably wouldn't have been so ribald, but the readers were eating it up, so I felt I had no reason to take my foot off the gas. It was all meant in fun, regardless.

For the entire DUJ archive, click here.

The premise is a simple one: TUC is counting down 10 of the most (occasionally) memorable posts from the blog's history. Choices will be based on popularity, controversy and maybe a couple of my personal favourites, with a little write-up on each on my current feelings towards the posts (possible regrets, changes in opinion etc.). Please enjoy it --hopefully it helps to fill the time while we wait for Kovalchuk to see his shadow.

Stay tuned for No. 10, after the break.