Sunday, December 21


Save for some brief comments during our most recent podcast, I've ignored the Sean Avery issue, mostly by design. I've had to tread lightly on the topic because, as you may recall, after I wrote this Greener suspended ME for three weeks.

I don't have an opinion about what he did, or what his punishment should have been. Who cares? If anything, he should be suspended for that shitty delivery of an obviously pre-rehearsed joke. I mean, why wasn't Jere Lehtinen rehearsing lines with him before hand? Jerk.

But now that all the hearings are over and the punishments have been handed down, the most interesting aspect of all this is what becomes of Sean Avery's career? Will he ever play hockey again? Almost certainly. But there's reason to believe he may never be worth another big contract, or even the price of admission for the curious sideshow seekers. Why? Because a pre-condition of Sean Avery's return is that he no longer be Sean Avery. In agreeing to go to counseling for anger management, Avery made a concession to save his job, but it might just cost him his career.

In a recent article Avery spoke of the on-ice abuse he has taken for his interest in fashion. Big fucking deal. In a game where mental warfare can be a real tool, Sean Avery, and his therapy, have now given the other guy the upper hand. What do you think is gonna happen the first time he saunters up to Dion Phaneuf at a face-off?

Avery: "Hey Dion, how does my cum taste?"

Phaneuf: "Good, Sean...but how does that make you feel?"

Game over. How can a guy like that get under your skin, when you've got that ammo in your gun. I don't care how dumb hockey players are, those comebacks write themselves. Let me tell you something, if it were me, the first time I lined-up next to Avery I'd have a fucking Rorschach drawing stuffed under my jersey.

Rachel Hunter?
You see, Avery has made his living with pre-meditated trash talk that strikes at other players most vulnerable and personal points. Now the tables have turned. In the fallout created from Avery taking his act off-ice, he effectively bargained away his competitive advantage. The one thing that made Sean Avery a difference maker.

Now you can argue, that Avery doesn't have to change on the ice, so long as he keeps his mouth shut off it. The NHL has never criminalized trash talking, and Avery's past transgressions in that area have gone largely unpunished. Furthermore, you can argue that Avery will probably never embrace, or take seriously, the anger management part of his "punishment". He probably sees it as a means to an end, a necessary evil to put up with until he gets back to the NHL. Surely there's a desperate team (see: Tampa Bay Lightning) with a contract and a wink-wink, nod-nod agreement for him, right? But that's missing the point. Without his "edge" Sean Avery is just a slightly above average NHL hockey player. Certainly not a $4 million-per-year hockey player.

Sean Avery has no desire to win anything. A game, a Stanley Cup, even his teammates respect. He draws his satisfaction from being, as he puts it, the villain. His antics are the product of needing to fulfill a personal desire for attention. In the past, his teams got a residual benefit from his shtick when he got opposing players off their game. But now it's certainly debatable as to whether he can even do that anymore.

But hey, don't cry for Sean Avery. Even if his hockey career never returns him to the level of prosperity he once enjoyed, he's pretty savvy. He'll find a way to turn this into a second career.

I know we here at HS/HS were excited when his agent contacted us. You see, we've been longing to tap into the lucrative adult entertainment market, and with Sean out of work for a while, we figured this was the perfect opportunity. We're pleased to announce the release of HS/HS's first...cumming of age film.

It's here just in time for Christmas, and it makes a great "stocking stuffer." What, too much?

Thursday, December 18


NHL Trade Deadline Countdown; 75 days, 20 hours, 30 minutes, 18 seconds.

Tuesday, December 16

All Jeremy Williams Does Is Score: Leafs Sure to Get Rid of Him

In regards to Toronto's recent success at the NHL draft, history will have to work extra hard to smile upon the Leafs. I'm not saying that the "cupboard is bare" analogy is completely appropriate, but I will mention that under "Career Highlights", the Leafs draft day C.V. lists such illuminati as Kris Vernarsky, Karel Pilar and everybody's favorite (C? LW? RW? D?) Nicolas Corbeil.

Well, perhaps the ol' TML resume just got some much needed padding from Glenavon, Saskatchewan called Jeremy Williams.

Glenavon, with a population of 104- roughly the number of people in Ottawa who'll show up next year to watch the Senators- released young Williams in 2003 to the waiting hands of an organization which knows how to nurture and develop its homegrown talent. Wait, no. What I meant to say was an organization that knows how to trade its homegrown talent for Yanic Perreault.

So all Jeremy Williams does is score and look great in a Leafs uniform, two things of which only the former is really hard. He's taken 7 shots with the Leafs this season, and scored on 3 of them. For those of us out there who're obsessive compulsive, and really, who isn't, it breaks down like this:

To contrast and compare those numbers: If say, I were on the Leafs, my call up stat would look something like this:

Now, in all seriousness, which of us would YOU send down?!


Just a reminder for you to check out our newest podcast: HS/HS Radio 7, found conveniently one post below us. Moose worked really hard on this one, and by that, I mean he showed up at my house. Hey! Thanks for listening!

Sunday, December 14

HS/HS Radio 7! Number, No Longer Lucky

I once sent away for a VHS dub to be made of a Japanese version of "Planet of the Apes". I threw caution to the wind (and money down the internet), at some dubbing house in the Far East, with dreams of actors in pathetic gorilla suits driving Cadillac's, supported by poorly executed voice acting. Four months later a package came to my door looking like it'd been wrapped and addressed by those same simians. I excitedly opened it up, and popped it in. Yes, everything I'd lousily hoped for in this lousy movie was there...along with the internal tracking error in the dubbing process that caused the film to roll over on my screen once every ten seconds.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, presenting HS/HS Radio 7. Or, as you will come to know it, "The podcast those apes made that featured poor voice acting and rolled over every 10 seconds after I waited for 4 months!"

Click this space to hear the amazing advancements being made in primate communications. Barring that, then to listen to a hockey podcast.
Truth be known, I've been sitting here the whole time, waiting patiently every week for Moose to show up so we could record. I only just recently found out that he isn't just a lazy asshole, carelessly squandering the appreciation and goodwill of all of our readers. No. Moose has actually been on the television talk show circuit, giving hope and support to others with his affliction:

Brave, yes. But where would he be without the love and support of viewers like you?


Monday, December 8


That 5.5 magnitude tremor California residents felt on Friday night? That was me logging on to the HS/HS dashboard. I’m not gonna get into the details of my prolonged sabbatical, so let’s just say that I’m superstitious. When the Oilers went 4-0 to start the season, I hadn't written for three weeks, so I thought “fuck it,” a Stanley Cup is more important than the personal glory I get from this blog (in this movie “Glory” is played by Greener bitching me out for not writing). Unfortunately, on the way to an 82-0 season I figured out that superstition is a nebulous creature on the same level as religion: full of contradictions, top-heavy on blind faith, with a dash of God complex thrown in. So the Oilers actually play better when I’m sitting on the MIDDLE cushion of the couch? Interesting. Is it chicken soft tacos that snap a losing streak? At any rate, thanks to the Oilers modest three game winning streak, I’ve decided to do away with superstitions and start writing again. Wait, does that mean not being superstitious is my new superstition? Fuck.

Monday, December 1st - Leafs 3, Kings 1

Way back when Tomas Kaberle wasn’t being “McCabed” by the Toronto media, fans, and management alike, the Leafs paid a visit to the local arena to take on the Kings. Like any credible hockey journalist, I was there to cover it for HS/HS. Greener came along to destroy that credibility and generally make a complete ass out of himself. Here’s some of the highlights:


- I arrive at the rink to find Greener shouting things like “I love you, Fingy!” and waxing poetic about a time when Jason Blake was actually a man. Then suddenly, as Kaberle skates by, Greener becomes THAT guy. Yup, bang-on-glass-guy. I wish I could explain it, but there’s some involuntary bodily reflex, triggered by a hockey player skating by, that prompts normal, intelligent, composed human beings to want to punch a pain of Plexiglass. Come to think of it, Greener is none of those things, so never mind.

First Period

- We settle into our seats in Row 6, behind the Leafs net, 'cos that's how we roll at HS/HS. Toskala looks sharp and ready to go.

Greener: “Here we go boys!”

Moose: “They need to get off to a good...” 1-0 Kings.

Greener: “We’re outta here.”

Second Period

- There wasn’t much to get excited about, so Greener and Jeff Finger decide to rally the troops with a fight. Finger’s scrap with Derek Armstrong unleashes the inner-Domi in Greener who serenades sections 114 and 115 with some “you went down” hand gestures, then calls for the championship belt. That bit of lunacy apparently catches the attention of Leafs TV reporter Paul Hendrick, who is standing a few feet to our right.

- After a big Leafs penalty kill to end the period, Hendrick pulls Greener aside to tell us to watch how hard the Leafs will come out to begin the 3rd period.
- The Leafs pop two quick ones to begin the 3rd, which prompts Hendrick to turn to us and mouth, “I told you!” Simultaneously, he is met with nods and “you-the-man” finger points from us. We agree to meet for hookers and blow after the game.

- Greener’s cell phone rings with a call from an unknown Toronto number. HS/HS has been unmasked! It’s his cousin telling him we are on Leafs TV. I’m not going to tell you at what point during the period this occurs, but needless to say, I’m the good looking one.
- The Leafs add an empty net goal for a satisfying 3-1 win.


- While waiting for some friends out on the concourse, Greener spots a girl with a hand-knitted Leafs scarf, which he compliments her on. Upon closer inspection, he realizes it’s an homage-to-Kyle Wellwood scarf. He then uses it to wipe the gushing bile from his mouth.

- Greener thanks me profusely for the tickets, which I plan to hold over his head at every possible chance. “Remember when I bought you those Leafs tickets?” has a shelf-life of at least 2-3 years.

Friday, December 5th - Oilers 5, Kings 4 (SO).

The Edmonton Oilers strolled into town on Friday, looking like a team beginning to pull itself out of a long funk. Guys not named 'Hemsky' have finally started to find their game (Gilbert, Cogliano, Horcoff, Penner, Pouliot) and they even packed a little Rob Schremp to bring with them on the trip. This just in folks, Rob Schremp finally looks like an NHL hockey player. It’s been a Bataan-like road for Schremp’s game to evolve, but it lo oks like he’s close to sticking in the show.


- Greener is in fine form, yammering on about how the “ridiculously handsome” Sheldon Souray is totally eyeing him every time he skates by (he was looking at me).

- After warm-ups Greener offers to “repay” me for the hockey tickets by buying me a fucking Happy Meal. Never has a meal been more inappropriately named, as Greener does his best Ralph Furley imitation when they tell him it’ll be $22 for the two of us. Breathe, Greener, breathe.

- Back at our seats, a little small talk with broadcasting legend, Gene Principe, is interrupted by some 12 year-old kid with a pituitary problem who begins to taunt me with strange facial and hand gestures. I smile and pat him on the back of his 'Gretzky' Kings jersey. After all, the kid is just having fun.

First Period

- The Oil get off to a great start against something called Erik Ersberg. I think the Kings breed a clone army of bad goaltenders in a lab underneath Staples Center, and trot a new one out under a different name every so often.

- I look over at the young kid to see he's still taunting me despite his team taking an infernal ass beating. You gotta admire that.

- Apparently news has leaked that HS/HS is in the house again, as Greener and I make our second national television appearance in 5 days. This time on a Fox Sports affiliate, showing us celebrating following an Oiler goal. Regrettably, we did not make it on Kiss-Cam.

3-0 Oilers after one.

Second Period

- Ersberg is replaced by #432887, also known as “Jason LaBarbera”.

- Apparently some faulty wiring has caused this one to go rogue, because "LaBarbera" plays like Patrick Roy, and the Kings storm the Oilers net for much of the period to take a 4-3 lead.

- You ever notice when home fans notice the enemy among them, they cheer a bit louder and more directionally? Yeah, let’s just say the witty barbs were coming fast and furious. I mean seriously, “Alice” Hemsky = hilarious. Everyone knows his name is Ales.

- Out on the concourse, the glandular freak, buoyed by his teams 4-3 lead, has taken to taunting me again. This time, I make a throat slitting motion and say “You’re dead.” He looks genuinely scared. He doesn’t know I’m kidding. Which of course I am. I carry around a garrote, not a blade. So it would be more of a strangling motion, than slitting.

Third Period

- Hemsky takes charge and proceeds to embarrass a couple of Kings defencemen, leading to a Dustin Penner tap-in goal. 4-4 tie.

- Shootout

With the shootout tied at 1-1, Hemsky is the final shooter. A beautiful deke and high backhand makes LaBarbera look silly, and my mouth run. I firmly suggest that this would be a good time for everyone in the building to return to their place of residence, as “Alice” has just scored the game winner. Several verbal daggers are thrown my way, but all ends well and the child lives.

It's been fun. As long as this lucky "posting" thing works out, I'll be back.

Monday, December 1

Hooray for 2008: Obama Wins, Leafs Come to L.A.

There are those critics of Gary Bettman out there who criticize, among other things, his administration, his policies, his beliefs, his hair, his voice, and his height. I am one of them. But one thing's for certain with with our Gare, is that he believes that NHL hockey should be played anywhere you can find a palm tree. And since I live a stubby arms length away from one (or ten), that means that tonight, I will be sitting the distance of one dreamy thought balloon filled with "sighs" away from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This is becoming a not uncommon occurrence as it also happened last year, but one I will never get used to. Last years effort was a stellar one, and not at all marred by the fact that the Leafs goalie at the time, someone named "A. Raycroft" let in 4 of the softest goals since any scored by Ryan O'Byrne. OK, that part was a phenomenal drag, but the feeling of being so far from your home rink and seeing 10,000 other people wearing Leafs sweaters more than made up for it. There's an amazing sense of camaraderie to that, and as I said last year:

When grown men are giving smiling acknowledgment to each other in the bathroom, you know it's either because you each have a Leafs jersey on, or you're both cruising for anonymous gay sex. This time, it was the former.
Yes, I did just quote myself, but only because I couldn't think of anything funnier. Or truer.

Hockey in L.A. is a fantastic experience, and one that I've invited lots of you to come out and partake in with me. Out here, they really make a hockey game an adventure for the whole family. Here's a snapshot I took at Staples Center last year:

Ha ha, don't worry guys, they weren't too cold up there, it's warm here all the time! And speaking of warm, those two sold the best soft pretzels this carb-lover's ever tasted! Thanks ladies!

On a side note, Moose and I spent Sunday afternoon as the podcast guests of the great Kings blog A Queen Among Kings. The Queen herself, Connie- taking time away from turning the world on with her smile- humored us for two hours, nodding patiently while pretending she didn't think she knew way, way more about hockey than us. Did I say us? I meant me. My main contribution was, I set up the mic. Moose's, was that he let us in his house. So check out the newest QaK recording, not to mention the rest that she and her non-sexual partner Marie have made.

So watch the game tonight everybody, and look out for me. I'll be the guy against the glass totally sprung, wearing his bathrobe. Just like last year. I know, I know, boring right? Moose will be with me, trying not to look bored. Scratch that. Looking bored, and telling me again why Brian Burke sucks. While he's doing that, at that very moment, I will be sprung, in my bathrobe, watching the Toronto Maple Leafs! Wish us all luck!

Tuesday, November 25


Leave it to the crack staff at He Score, He Shoot, to write about a trade 2 days after it happens. The same night the player coming back in the deal wears the jersey for the first time. Never one to miss an opportunity, next up: He Score/He Shoot Acid Wash Jeans, He Score/He Shoot Cabbagepatch Dolls and right after posting this, the entire editorial staff of HS/HS are in talks to open Iqaliuit's first Delorean dealership.

Keep your fingers crossed.

1.21 Jiggawatts?

In every movie showing a jungle, there's always a scene involving a machete and some heavy undergrowth. A morass so choked that the only way through it is the hack and chop. In much the same way, Fletch and the various Charlie Bergen's that ruin - pardon me- run our team, carved a little more path by getting rid of the 10th and 11th pieces of the former pie. Actually you could say that #'s 8 and 10 got us 12.
And since we're already talking numbers you could also say that #17 and #24 garnered us #148.

Call me cynical, but does this seem like a Jonathon Tavares move on the part of the Blues?

I guess the truth is that I never saw it coming. And...but...uh....I don't want to say I'm whispering when I say this, but is it just me, or has Trader Cliff done it again? It's not quite as horrific as the ass-humping he gave Risebrough, but not bad.

The question is - why isn't Brian "Mr. Brian Burke" Burke making these moves?

It's hard to believe that Steen, a player in the best deal that never happened (Kaberle/Steen for Pronger ) was once that highly regarded. I wouldn't say he was a complete bust, but as a top 9 forward he was completely expendable. Granted he was a terrific defensive player and incredible in the corners, but his offense, now 3 coaches in, never materialized.
And when you are supposed to be the future of the team and you don't score goals, you kind of become the equivalent of buying a clock radio to listen to music.

In all seriousness I hope that both he and Coli develop into the players they were always projected to be. Hopefully Steen with find the confidence to realize he could be more than a defensive forward. And Carlo...I hope Carlo plays 80 games this and every year for the rest of his career. I hope he beats his psyche that must tell him that every shift may be his last.


Here is my thinking; Lee Stempniak stays and plays. As a natural right handed shot who's fast, put him on the first line with Antro and Stajan. Bump Poni down.
Or put him on the 2nd line and replace Kulemin.
Or put him with Moore and Blake.

This is exactly the kind of player the Leafs need.

Then comes March 4th.

That's the day I see Stempniak piggybacking Jason Blake all the way to Pearson and off our team.

Or is Stempniak part of a bigger trade yet to happen? (which is what my Spidey sense is saying). If we sign him to an extension, then mark my words he's going to Florida for Bouwmeester (once he signs an extension too).

Which then allows us to bask in the windfall that Kaberle will fetch. Like how about Kaberle + Kulemin + Leafs 1st round 2009 for Kyle Turris + Daniel Carcillo and Coyotes 1st rounder 2009.

Isn't this Brian Burke's job now?

Wednesday, November 19

Senators in Last. Hubris Screams: "Gotcha!"

I know there are a lot of you out there who, when hearing the name Bryan McCabe, only conjure up the bad, the bitter. The plummeted stats after a huge payday. The own goal against Buffalo. For those of you, I have some soothing salve to rub over that still sore wound: On Tuesday, McCabe scored two goals in the Panthers 4-3 win over the Lightning. By winning this game, the Panthers rose from the number 15 spot in the Eastern Conference to the 14. In going there, the McCabe led Panthers pulled the chair out from the Ottawa Senators, sending them to their rightful place in a peaceful Universe: 20,000 Leagues Under the Leafs.

These are the standings as we speak. I would love this picture to be one of my photoshops, because if it were, I would be more proud of it than any photo I've ever done. But this is the truth, and as the gays say, I'm positively delighted!

This is an uncommon lesson in schadenfreude for me, and I have to say its been brought out organically in response to years of barnyard squeals by the smuggest, most self-satisfied fan in the entire sports world: The Senators fan. The Sens "fan", a member of the "Sens Army"- a crack unit on par with the Swiss Navy- has been bleating on for the last 10 years or so, with the help of EVERYONE in the hockey press, about how great Ottawa were/are/will always be. It was never a question of if they won the Cup, but when, and how long would be their dynasty? Well, you have to actually win something to be something, and I don't give a good Goddamn how may Presidents Trophies a team wins, if you're a bunch of heartless, rail-blowing assholes, you get exactly as many Cups as you deserve: Fuck all.

The Senators window of opportunity shut, all that remains is for the hot sun of hubris to bleach their bones a pearly skeletal white. Only then can the members of the team be released to do something they're all maybe good at, like perhaps playing in Europe, or sword fighting Sinbad the Sailor.

As their team falls into a pit of its own design, just watch the rats fleeing the ship. Remember, with the exception of their fans under, say, 10 years old, every single one of those people who follow that team was once a rabid fan of another. Incredibly, either Toronto or Montreal, and they all bailed when they built that ugly rink in the middle of a field 20 miles down a two-lane highway out of town. Let's just say that over the course of this and future Ottawa seasons, you'll be seeing a lot of #10 Habs sweaters re-emerging from closets filled with Birkenstocks, Teva's and Jorts.

Tuesday, November 18

Bruins 3, Posts 4

There's a scene in every single "Pink Panther" movie, where, to the amazement of everyone, bumbling French detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau actually manages to solve the case he is on, despite having absolutely no actual abilities to do so. In one of the films, his former boss, Inspector Dreyfus, goes completely insane because of Clouseau's diabolical ability to fail upwards. These are great movies to watch, and as is usually the case, there's a parallel between today's NHL, and mid-to-late 70's Hollywood comedies, and its name is Tim Thomas.

On Monday night, late bloomer Thomas- and by late bloomer, I mean he broke into the league in his mid-to-late 70's- did exactly what he does best(?), and that is stymie a better Maple Leafs team by failing upwards enough to get a win. Thomas has that no style-style down so well, he makes the former principle of that school, D. Hasek, look like a mathematician. Tim's goaltending basically breaks down him moving randomly around his crease when he sees the opposing players moving toward him. Then, as they get closer, he falls to the ice until he hears a whistle. And...Oh, what do you know? The puck with the little Leaf on it is in his pads! Somehow he's done it again! Thomas is kind of like those retarded guys who can correctly multiply huge sums in their head, but when you ask them to write their names, they take a crayon and write an "X".

The handsome/multi-dimensional James Duthie wrote a good piece on Thomas at few weeks ago. While somehow restraining himself from insinuating that Thomas is retarded, Duthie writes that because of how Thomas plays, he considers him the most entertaining guy to watch in the NHL. I agree that he is, uh, interesting to watch, but I will stop waaaay short of where Bruins color man and full time homer Andy "The Departed" Brickley goes, which is to fantasy land and back every night. Listen to Brickley, and "Tawmus" is a master of the position, saving the game for Boston each shift. Like last night against the Leafs, when he saved the game for the B's each of the 4 times the Leafs cranked the puck off the post.

Well, the Bruins win over the Leafs 3-2. For Chief Inspector Tim Thomas, another case well closed. Now he can go home and expect to be stalked and attacked by his valet and manservant Cato Fong, admirably played by the nunchuk wielding mongoloid, Zdeno Chara.

Friday, November 14


Dear Jason Blake,
I know this seems weird to be writing you. We barely know each other. You are a player on my beloved hockey team and I am a humble fan.

I am the semi-awesome Norte of He Score, He Shoot, and in a lot of ways you and I are connected through the magical Blue Leaf. It could also be said that both you and I make our living because of the team, except that I don't make any money for doing this.

Since you and I haven't actually met and I don't know where you live, it seemed like the next logical step to write.

I have to be honest right off the bat and tell you that if someone were to ask me who I wanted off the team, my answer, quick as you please, would be you Jason Blake; Jason Blake. I'm not just saying that to be mean and I hope you don't mind me being honest, but it's true. If I were trying to be mean, I would be more blunt and say something like you are the perfect set up to the oft-used yet seldom funny punch line, for a bag of pucks.

I hope I don't sound cavalier when I use the word mulligan to describe your first year in a Leaf jersey. Quite frankly, all things considered, you played heroically. Let's not even talk about it....So what if you are the only player Mats Sundin wasn't able to make better? That was last year. This is fresh and new, like hot bread or kittens.

But you know that this is shit or get off the pot time right?. With it being only year 2 of your 5 year, "you're gonna pay me what?" contract, your only way out is gonna be by playing well.

It's money walks and shit talks time Jason Blake, and right now you're pissing pennies.

(Did it just get creepy?)

Now listen, I know that sounds harsh, but Momma can't lie to you, baby.

"Maybe it's not meant for me to be here."

I have to admit I was a little surprised to hear you say that the other day. I kind of felt like saying to you "Pardon me, Jason? What? This isn't about us Jason, this is about you."
And I felt a little miffed at your description of the team as here. Here has a name and runs pretty deep for some of us. But I knew you were just tired from the bag skates and the benchings.


I watched the game in Edmonton and I have to admit it was the first time I couldn't describe your play as Berezin-esque. You played angry and made two great passes. I hope I don't sound ungrateful when I say, do it every game and you'll be worth every penny you're paid. And except for the weird slow motion take down of Lubomir Visnovsky, which looked like watching Figure Skating at the Special Olympics, I was excited by how you played.

Getting benched must be awful, especially with you being so eager to make mathematically impossible shots and the willingness with which you seem to put yourself offside to kill the rush.
Accountability isn't just owning up to the Bangles being your pre-game music, it's about proving you aren't expendable.

Now understand Jason Blake, that you play on my team and if someone fucks with you, they may as well be fucking with me. It's biker gang rules when it comes to our team, and it's from my perfect and beautiful Leaf heart that I tell you that you bug me Jason Blake.

I know my letter just did a button hook to the left but it's true, you bug me. It's not just because you resemble the heavy from the Chevy Chase/Goldie Hawn vehicle "Foul Play". And it's not just that I know, Jason Blake, that you won't ever score 40 goals again or that maybe even reasonably can't score 40 goals again. I don't blame you for that. You and I are the same age and I have to admit, I chose my footwear on how long I have to be bent over to get them on, I can't imagine how crappy your body feels.
What bugs me about you is that you seem to be willing to be the living embodiment of the economic theory of the law of diminishing returns.

I don't blame you Jason for accepting the contract handed to you. No matter how egregious it is, it will forever be a black mark on the record of JFJ, not yours. And to be fair, the same year you were signed, Daniel Briere was signed to a 6 year deal worth 7.5 a year - and without Googling the information - I believe Jason Smith got something similar, so perhaps, all things considered, the Leafs got off easy. The point is, at this point, at some point, you have to realize that you aren't going to score.
How come I can tell you aren't but you can't?

Jason Blake is an asshole for completely the wrong reasons.
Your Sugar Ray Leonard-ness that you display most nights, when you take those shots, bugs me. Because Jason, a scorer who can't score, fight or pass doesn't belong here. And by here I mean the NHL.
Nobody wants you to succeed more than me, the Fan. I just ask, here humbly and honestly to continue to consider the team first, as you did the other night in Edmonton.

I truly believe the assist is ultimately more awesome than the goal.

Good luck in Vancouver and the rest of the season.

See you March 4th.

Sincerely, Norte.

ps. Could you ask Mikhail Grabovski if he got the muffins I sent.

Thursday, November 13

Jason Blake Finds Religion: Converts to Wilsonism

"Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child" is an old proverb which suggests that the only way to get someone small in stature to do what you want, is to give them a firm but loving lesson in discipline. After all, it's for their own good. This oft used maxim sounds great in theory, but always seems to boil down to some over-weight, over-young, over-kidded woman wailing on her 4 year old in public because he was playing with the bread at the Safeway. Usually...

Ron "Cruella De Vil" Wilson tried out that very notion on someone small in stature this week, when he got out the belt and beat Jason Blake back to Moorhead, Minn. for playing with the very same bread. Or actually, for not playing with enough of it.

For some incredible reason, the term "Healthy Scratch" just kind of gets under your skin when you're a former all-star 1.25 seasons out from a 40 goal year for a rotten team, and doesn't Wilson know it. Similar to what he did with M. Stajan, when he basically told him to fuck off and die on the 4th line (or worse), Wilson did just what he always said he would: He'd hold his players accountable for their play, and those who play well would get rewarded. Those who don't, he hands a parasol and a little sign with "YIKES!" written on it, and kicks them over a cliff.

Wilson walks it after he talks it, and aren't we glad for it? Paul Maurice is great at a lot of things as a coach, but kicking fat asses is not one of them. The ridiculous Leaf tenure of future Finnish League star Kyle Wellwood speaks to that. One of the reasons Wilson is getting so much out of this team is because he absolutely insists that you listen to the icy tough-love that comes from his lump-of-coal heart, or, to push the metaphor even further, from a Gibson ES-335

Thursday's game at The wait...the...yes, The ACC against Edmonton was the very first time in a Leafs uniform I saw the Jason Blake whom I hated when he was with the Islanders: a mean little prick who I'd pray my beloved Darcy would kick the living Jesus Christ out of. I wanted that because he was dangerous every game the Leafs played against him, and because his absolute lack of melanin gave me an easy go-to physical trait which I deemed he must be punished for. Thursday, he drove the Oilers nuts while they ran all over the ice trying to get him to snap. Snap he did, snapping two-points into the boxscore, pausing only once to try and cripple Lubo Visnovsky.

All this coming in the middle of another hard working, everyone-producing, Leafs effort. A commonplace sorely lacking in Toronto teams of the recent past. As the Leafs build toward the future, this is exactly the kind of identity you need once you re-enter the rarefied air of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Friday, November 7


Friends, losers, Leafs fans, lend me your ears. First off let me say, forgive the long absence between posts. To apologize, let me misquote John Lennon in a terrible and self-congratulatory way: life is what happens when you are busy making other blogs.
To show you how important you are to me, acknowledging how neglectful I have been, amd knowing that we are beyond a simple and shitty bouquet of flora, I'm going to tell you something that I have shared with very few people.

Right now between the furor of Howard Berger, the Leafs 3 game losing streak and the fact that tomorrow they play the Habs, I think its a perfect story to tell.

Everything you are about to read is true. You can choose to believe me- which is more fun- or you can chose not to- also cool. I mean hey, some people still wear toupees, know, what are you gonna do?

Of course, if there is some sort of recourse or statute-of-limitations on the crimes I am about to admit to, than let me be the first to say that I am making all of this shit up. Right now as I go along.

It concerns the very last time I ever stepped foot inside Maple Leaf Gardens. Just like you, I consider that shit hallowed. I should also tell you that I have walked on actual consecrated ground, and to me, Maple Leaf Gardens feels the same underfoot. Now granted I was never involved in a moshpit at Machu Picchu as I was while seeing Ministry at the Gardens in 1992. And yes, there are less hookers around the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathian than the corner of Church and Jarvis on any given night. And yes unlike the Gardens, the 24 hour breakfast restaurant across the street from the Acropolis doesn't charge for refills. Regardless. Maple Leafs Gardens besides being the Leafs home since the 12th of November 1931, has hosted the Beatles, Elvis, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones (and others on Q107's playlist). In the late 50's, my old man had season Greens. Duran Duran filmed a video there. Ali once fought there. The Who played the very first of their very last concerts there, and to a much less significant way, so did Queensryche.

Within its very walls I saw Rob Ramage wear the C, and Alan Bester in nets. I saw Mats play in a Nordiques jersey, and a game where Tie Domi got 2 goals. And once, I broke up with a girl outside of it instead of being forced to see Glass Tiger in concert. I grew up a couple blocks East, in Cabbagetown. MLG is my hood.

Hello...Earth to World Heritage people?

But the last time? I was there in an officious manner. Through an intricate web of lies that I had fabricated with the aide of a friend on the inside, whom we'll call "Mark", I somehow got the job of official photographer for a group of retired NHL players and Leafs alum taking a tour of Maple Leaf Gardens for the final time. Little did it matter that my knowledge of photography never went beyond the "appropriate" moments, of merriment. This was MLG, and Mark told them I was the next Youseff Karsh.

I was told to arrive at MLG at 6 am (which I did), and as anyone from Toronto can tell you, standing outside at 6 in the morning, in January, particularly on a wind tunnel like that part of Carlton Street, is plain stupid. What's worse was that when they finally did open the doors, (security: a man with a moustache) I was immediately told,that I couldn't bring my Timmy's into the building. So there I was, chugging my scalding coffee and wondering if my fingers were already too frostbitten to take photos, my burnt tongue telling me it didn't even matter.

Then out of nowhere, they started showing up. The oldtimers I was to photograph. I was hoping for Wendel of course, and expecting say, Ian Turnbull, but these old timers were a tad older. They were camera pan through the crowd on Remembrance Day, old. Maybe it was the same overcoats, or ubiquitous glasses, or that they were all the same size, but these guys were all Grandads. These were gentlemen who could've stunt doubled Pierre Burton.

I made them take a step to the right, then to the left, told them to all say "cheese", and took a photo. I would love to tell you who was there. But truthfully out of respect to these great hockey men and because of the douche-baggery I am about to confess to, I feel I shouldn't. Let me tell you this: I was later allowed to listen in on these great men swap stories about fist-fights with Gordie Howe, and how much they really hated Ted Lindsay. One former Leaf defensemen talked of taking a beating from the Hammer. And later, yet another Leaf, this time a Winger, took off his 1966-67 ring, to let me look at it.


At the same time that this tour was occurring, there was a major motion picture being filmed in Maple Leaf Gardens. I don't want to say which movie, but I will tell you that it was directed by Ron Howard and involved depression era boxing and it's name rhymed with "Ginderalla Nan". I was told by a different cotillion of Security (than Mr. Moustache who told me No to me an my Double Double) who were wearing matching film crew jackets, that I had better not take photos of the boxing ring set up for the movie, (which of course I did) and that all I was allowed to do was basically follow the old guys around and take pictures, of them, as they talked.

At center ice, in a circle like girls at a school dance, the oldies swapped stories and I took photos. Then in the dressing rooms, as they laughed and reminisced, I took photos. Whilst in the hallway talking, I took photos. And it was there that it hit me: the realization that I may never step foot in the Gardens again, certainly not in its current state.
So at some point, while all of us were in the hallway and I began to look at the camera in a way that implied I knew what I was doing and quietly snuck away towards ice level.

Knowing really that it was now or never, my first thought was to get a seat, one of those horrible, tiny little things that I hated sitting on but now coveted like the Ark. But to remove a seat was pointless. I had neither the tools for removal nor the leaden cojones needed to say, "No, no - I came in with this seat."

I ran to the home bench knowing that I had only moments before the collective Security tandem of Mr. Moustache and Film Crew Jacket realized I was no longer on radar. My hand on a stack of Bibles, I jumped the boards. You can think that I only thought of that later but I didn't...I jumped the boards, which was way way harder than I thought. I got to my knees, and with alacrity akin to a panther, began to pry a tile off the floor.*

(*At this point I would like to remind law enforcement types that this is all false.)

I chose the one with the most skate nicks (and that wasn't broken) and with a little help from an issue of Hockey News I had with me, the tile gave way like the Sens in the playoffs. All in one piece, swish. I then went for the tile beside it. You may think I was motivated by greed, I wish I could say I had thought of that (I didn't). The next tile was for my brother. Not to be competitive with him, but he's almost as big a Leafs fan as me. Not quite, but almost.

As the 2nd tile began to give way, and the first tile, hidden inside the Hockey News, I felt pleased with myself, but then suddenly wondered: is this even right to do? Has opportunity blinded my desecration? Did I just scrape Norte Wuz Here on some precious fresco wall?
And then it's almost funny how karma has a way of holding you down and forcibly fucking your face because the 2nd tile, which, up until that point, was gliding like Fred Astaire, suddenly stopped. Instead of moving on to another tile, my fingers getting more and more moist from my fear and hubris, I began to sweet talk it. Quietly. "C'mon baby," I told it, feminizing it in my head. "C'mon..." I said again, rocking it gently. "C'mon babygirl..." I said, getting creepy. "You like that?" I continued, taking it too far.

Then panic came on and I imagined being humiliated in front of men whose names graced the Stanley Cup. And panic riding shotgun is never a good idea. I pulled the tile once more and then again much harder until up it came...except for the final corner, which stayed glued down.

In the end, I stashed the 3/4 tile and the full tile in the Hockey News and jumped back over the boards (not gracefully), making my way back to the Oldtimers, none of whom even realized I was gone.
And now, November 2008, my piece of tile, framed and perfect, hangs on the wall, not 5 feet away from me. I never caught a puck at a game, but feel that my very own piece of MLG is even better. You may say that I stole and I would answer, what's it to you, you goddamn bastard?

Monday, November 3

Howard Berger: The Bad Writing That Unites Us All

As any and all of you know/repeat to friends/tattoo as your Tramp Stamp, the Leafs are Canada's team. This is one of those inarguable, universal truths which galvanizes each and every one of us to our team. And as any and all of you know, one of the ingredients in the mortar which binds those very bricks, is how much we all detest Howard Berger.

Terrible writer Berger, a flinty-voiced contrarian who spends too much time getting his hair to part perfectly in the center, this week stooped to new, lazy, literary lows, by calling Leafs fans "losers". Why so? Well, just because we happen to love our team every single year, no matter what configuration it takes. Because we will never, ever be accused of being fair-weather, bandwagon jumpers. The kind you will see this season not following the Ottawa Senators. Yes, we really have it coming to us. Thank God the friendless Berger is around with his made up stats, to tell us that it's our fault that the Leafs don't make the playoffs, as he drones on and on about games he and his father saw in 1966 when they wentZZZ-zzzzzz-zzzz...

Well for every (in)action, there is an opposite reaction, and in this case, its name is A simple site that is taking the internet by storm, and one which is being lauded by truth seekers all over the world:

"...a site whose time has come..." - B. Geldolf

"...makes Amnesty International look like crap..."-M. Gandhi
And it hasn't stopped there. Even American television pundits not known for opinionating about the business of big time hockey have weighed in on the matter:

Not one to back down from a fight -even though his pants are already down around his kanckles- Berger has responded to the calls for his dismissal, posting on that site an annoyingly smug little piece where he sniffs through his moustache at the very notion of people wanting him fired because he's incredibly bad at his job. It must take a thick skin to be Berger, as 99.9% of all his mail contains some variation on the phrase, "You are the worst thing in Canada".

Please visit and add your name to the growing throng of losers smart enough to stand against everything Howard "19 Years Without a Promotion" Berger has ever written.

Friday, October 31

Howard Berger: Still Allowed to Write, Walk the Streets

Dear Most Valuable Losers

Yesterday, continuing a long-standing trend, another Toronto reporter took his shot at Leaf fans. This time it was Howard Berger calling us "losers" but we've seem the same cookie-cutter article before from virtually everyone who covers the team.

Quitre frankly, we've had enough.

As fans, we believe that those most deserving of our praise and our scorn are directly inovlved in the game, whether it's on the ice, in the press box or in the executive corridors. Fans don't pencil in the starting five, make bad trades, or write the headlines of the day and shouldn't be blamed (or praised) for the totals in the wins and loss column.

Hockey may be just a game but it's also a passion. If you're looking for passionate hockey coverage that offers insight and humour and you're sick of being blamed for supporting a team you're passionate about, you have a better option.

It's time to leave the media superstars behind. There's compelling, timely, wide-ranging content waiting just for you online in the Barilkosphere.

Many have found this better way of following the Leafs, but not every Leafs fan has been so lucky. Please send this message to your fellow Leaf fans via e-mail or postings on message boards and let them know that they do have a choice.

We hope you'll join us here in the Barilkosphere and become regular readers.

Sunday, October 26

HS/HS: Your One-Stop Shoppe For Senators Hate

That cool breeze you feel blowing across the land comes from millions of clapping hands celebrating the 2-5-1 record of the Ottawa Senators. It's certainly not coming from their window of Stanley Cup winning opportunity, as that thing has been shut, painted over, and has tin foil up to stop any daylight from peeking in.

The asshole Senators, a group so historically gutless they have to eat over the toilet, were shown up Saturday night by a Leafs team devoid of "stars" and "firepower" -two things the Senators supposedly have in abundance- with things like "courage" and "heart", two words unpronounceable to any NHL team in the eastern townships.

"OK, who's going to step up?! Anybody?...Anybody?!?"
Writing a post ripping a team so bereft of quality hockey players/people comes easy, as one gets to indulge in an orgy of choice. From the bottom of their roster, to the, well, bottom of their roster, just point your finger and you're sure to come up with the name of someone worthy of a beating doled out by an 18 year old kid. Well, hey, lets start there, with a piece of shit I hate to call "Chris Neil".

On Saturday night, Neil, who scientists refer to as "slightly smarter than Sasquatch", did what he's done since he began polluting the NHL: not score any points. Oh, wait, he did do one other thing: he tried to cripple Matt Stajan by hitting him knee on knee. Of course, how could I forget? Luke "Kelowna Who?" Schenn couldn't, and did what anyone would do when they see someone so blatantly victimized by criminals; step up and punch its face in.

The idiot Neil, seen here taking post-game questions, was asked how it felt to get punched in his face by a kid with not even 1 NHL fight, but then run crying to the bench later in the game when challenged by Jamal Mayers. Neil squirmed, fussed and appeared confused at first by all the lights and shiny objects on display, at one point exclaiming, "Pee pee!" Senators trainers got to work soothing him, by exposing him to the warm, familiar smell of hot dogs, back sweat and sleep apnea, courtesy of Ottawa Sun reporter Bruce Garrioch.

Running around, playing tough until it counts. We shouldn't expect anything less from Chris Neil, a man whos patron saint is Ike Turner. The character of the club he works for is now well and truly known. Their soul non-existent, and their talent fishy, the Senators will have to kill themselves to get a playoff spot. Then, two months later, they'll get to choke down the taste of a mid-round pick. And doing that will continue the only thing the Senators do with any gusto at all.

Saturday, October 25


This goes beyond renewing old rivalries and I know hate is a strong word. You have to believe me when I tell you that I am not a misanthrope by nature, so the word isn't one I use very often. But I fucking do. I fucking hate them. The H word, although not as anti-social as the N, as feisty as the F or cataclysmic as the Big C, encompasses how I feel, whether noun or verb regarding that asshole team.

And when I use it as a verb, I'm using it in the third-person singular simple present hates, as in "She hates the Ottawa Senators", the present participle hating, as in "Look at all those people hating the Ottawa Senators" and the simple past and past participle hated, as in "All of us in the orgy hated the Ottawa Senators."
I wouldn't even have to crack a Roget's to know the synonyms of how I feel about that team would be; detest, loathe, can't stand, despise, abhor, revile.

And if I were on Jeopardy and given the answer, it is the antonym of love, I would write down, in the form of a question natch, who are the Ottawa Senators?

And when I say Ottawa Senators, let me be perfectly frank; I'm painting all of you with that brush. My hate is so marrow deep that it goes beyond the product on the ice and transgresses into the city and fans as well. My dislike, as black and uninviting as the devil's anus goes for Rick Dudley and the canal too; the Corel Centre, 240 Sparks, The Rideau Center, Max Keeping, The 87, CFRA, beaver tails, Bagel Bagel, Deluxe, the fucking Glebe, the Chateau Laurier, Hull and the OC goddamn, you know what... basically everything from the Ottawa valley in.

G'day, eh.

You assholes.

Yesterday I saw a man not only wearing a Sens jersey and cap, but a loud and, quite frankly, ugly Sens jacket. A leather monstrosity that literally stopped me in my tracks. I looked at this guy and I thought, you standing right there, with your atrocious apparel are picking Alexandre Daigle over Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya in the draft.
You and your team deserve that pick and that jacket. Then I allowed myself ten seconds where I thought how awesome it would be to punch him in the stomach.

You team is in a shambles Mr. Coat and that makes my day. So much so that I am breaking with HS/HS tradition and posting during the day.


Right now, I am not wearing a shirt and I am painted Leaf Blue and I am wearing comical pants and playing the trumpet. I am starting the wave and getting the crowd into it.

Tonight as we watch our young team play, a team that will absolutely not give up, it won't even matter if we beat the Sens score wise, because we already have beaten them in every other way.

Na na na na hey hey hey you fucking assholes (fucking assholes)
Na na na na
hey hey hey you fucking assholes (fucking assholes).

repeat and fade

ps. Did I mention I don't like the Sens?

Tuesday, October 21


While watching the excellent Stevie Yzerman take the proverbial mantle of El General del Hockey Internacional Canadiense away from Wayne 'How are my clothes selling at Sears' Gretzky, I wondered, like we all did, not just how did Stevie Y get so handsome, but who? Who is he going to chose?

Rocking a hairdo that said both I am a man comfortable in my sexuality and I will win Gold for Canada at the 2010 Olympics; this phantom team, Yzerman promised, would comprise players who played a fast, skilled, multi-dimensional game.

It's pretty safe to assume there are certain locks to the team, regardless if we're talking about Yzerman's, yours or mine. Names like Crosby, Iginla, Pronger, Brodeur are on that list. What immediately went through my mind wasn't their names, but the names of the players who won't be on the team. As Canada's hockey talent overflows like peeing into a thimble, a team made up of guys not on the Olympic squad, would be way too good to be considered Team B. And even though they'd be hard pressed against the Russians who are, once again, scary good and the aging Swedes, who even without Mats as Captain, are a team you cannot count out, I still think they'd play Team Canada in the gold medal game.

(And with all due respect to Tavares or Hedman and even Stamkos with the Olympics being 16 months away, anything can happen but as of this , you are not considered).

Having said that, Ladies and Germs, may I present players that won't be proud to represent this country at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

FORWARDS (and in no particular order) Ryan Smyth. It hurts me to even write, because Captain Canada stands for everything I love about a hockey player. And although I believe there will be some veterans presence on the team that plays in Vancouver; I believe Sakic and Brind'Amour have the edge over Smyth.

Ryan Getzlaf: Even though the the line of Getzlaf, Heatley and Nash are wanted by Interpol for being international killers, (gay) and it would be insane to split them up, I think, in the end, they're going to go with Richards or Morrow instead. Both of whom play a better 2 way game.

Also available for weddings, birthdays and bar-mitzvahs will be Martin St. Louis (who will now be played by Marc Savard) Simone Gagne and Paul Kariya.
By the way, Shane Doan
meet Jonathon Toews, who thinks an honour just to be nominated. Thunder Bay's own Eric Staal will be the eldest of the Staal brothers not chosen and Jason Spezza; Jason Spezza is a 1984 Pontiac Fiero.

Taxi Squad's Taxi Squad:
Paul Stastny, Mike Cammallari, Derek Roy, Corey Perry, Jordan Staal

DEFENSE: The same way it felt almost guilty saying that I don't think Ryan Smyth will be on the team, is the same way I feel saying Scott Niedermayer won't be either. First off you have to know that I heart Scott Niedermayer and thinking how the Leafs lost him for Tom Kurvers still causes me abdominal pain, but part of the problem with the 2006 Olympic squad was that exact feeling. And its an ooey-gooey place with secret handshakes and Josten's rings glad-handing itself into thinking that Todd Bertuzzi is a better idea than Sidney Crosby.
And it's in the heart where loyalty resides, and my heart tells me that in 16 months time, Ol' Neidsy will be the Captain but my brain says, that in another 16 months, I'd rather have Mike Greene on the team.

Also available those 2 weeks as golfing buddy, Dad taxi and home renovator, will be Robyn Regehr, Brian Campbell and Brett Burns. Brayden Coburn will be catching up on his soaps so don't bother him.

Taxi Squad's Taxi Squad: Marc Staal, Francois
Beauchemin, Eric Brewer, Luke Schenn, Sheldon Souray.

GOALIES: Marty Turco, Carey Price, Marc-Andre Fleury.
Even though I believe Turco was the best goalie in the NHL playoffs last year, with it being in Vancouver, and the advantages of home ice, I think Luongo is the man. As for Price and Fleury - they're #5 and 6 as of now.

Friday, October 17

Canucks Waive Kyle Wellwood

News just out that confirms what many in the Gillis family have long suspected, that most successful/popular Gillis, Mike, a.k.a. Vancouver Canucks General Manager, has a brain in his head, as he has waived Kyle Wellwood. Is there such thing as a reverse spit-take? There is now, as I just did one. This move comes as a surprise to everybody named Absolutely No One.

Kyle, seen here in his Vancouver condo, has yet to issue an official statement, but was heard leaving G.M. place muttering "Sizzle...sizzle...pop...sizzle!"

In related news, Seppo Sutela, General Manager of TPS Turko in Finland's SM-liiga has just released this statement: "I look forward to waiving Kyle from TPS 6 months from now."