HiR:tb Toots (@warwalker)

Storm Damage August 25, 2011

View of Turkey BarnSheared off No. 1Sheared Off No. 2Sheared Off No. 3Sheared Off No. 4Picture 020

Storm Damage August 25, 2011, a set on Flickr.

Those trees along the north wall of that turkey barn? They used to have tops.

We had quite a storm last night around 9:30. Very strong winds for a short period of time, and protracted lightning/thunder. This morning, we discovered that we had several large trees down on the property.

These pictures were taken just down the road from our house. Apparently, Environment Canada is investigating reports of a possible tornado that tracked from Cambridge to Burlington; if so, I think it went right past our front door.

Thanking our lucky stars no one was hurt, and that the house and cars weren’t damaged.

A Visit From a Ninja: Maple Leafs Annual 2011-2012

A Ninja

A Ninja, doing the hokey pokey

You may have noticed that this blog has fallen dormant over the last little while.  I am a ninja, and I am here to tell you about that.  Why has a ninja been sent to explain these things?  Fool! It is not the right time for you to ask questions.  When will that time be?  Sometime shortly after the next Atlanta Thrashers Stanley Cup parade will do fine.

The Junior, Lord and Master of the Juniorvanian Realm, has been a busy Lord and Master.  Not just “I need to fix the trailer tire” busy – as you have seen, he can find time to write while being that kind of busy – but Very Busy In A Work Related Way busy.  Also, you may have heard that there has come a child to Juniorvania.  So, Very Busy In A Work Related Way has also been augmented by Very Busy In An Emptying Diapers Way.  All of which is very busy indeed.

I would think it’s fairly obvious now why a ninja has been sent to speak to you.  Yes, that’s right, because of global warming.

I, the Ninja, will now bring the message to you.  It is in several parts, which I have not bothered to count yet, because I have been busy sneaking around instead.  You may not know this, but sneaking around is a major part of pretty much any ninja’s day.  I didn’t know, before I went to ninja school.  For some reason, I thought there would be a lot more singing and dancing, but I suppose I was mixed up and thinking of Broadway actors by mistake.

Maple Leafs Annual 2011-2012 from Maple Street Press

One thing James Reimer can't stop: the momentum of the Maple Leafs Annual

Anyway, here is the message:

  1. There has NOT been an unfortunate tire repair-related explosion;  The Junior is alive and well;
  2. The Junior does plan to return to regular – or what passes for “regular”around here, anyway – blogging, probably sometime in September;
  3. In the meantime, The Junior has written a something, once again, for Maple Street Press’ Maple Leafs Annual.  The book is available for pre-order online now ($9.99 plus shipping).  It will appear on newsstands throughout the GTA and in Chapters bookstores across Canada beginning August 30th.

It doesn’t take a Ninja to figure out that 112 pages of content  with no ads, for less than ten bucks, is a pretty good deal.  As Alec Brownscombe (esteemed editor of the mag and Resident Padishah of Maple Leafs Hot Stove) pointed out, you were probably going to spend that ten bucks on a crappy calendar anyway.

Anyway, I gotta get back to skulking around invisibly, or I’ll have to answer to my boss.  Ever had your work environment supervised by a Master Ninja?  Let me tell you, it’s no day at the beach;  you can’t get away with anything.   You can’t ever tell when he’s in the room.  At least I think my boss is a male.  Not sure, now come to think of it.

See ya!  You won’t see me, though…

Setting the Bead With Fire: A Tractor Story


The boy on the right may have a dangerous idiot for a father.

Had you seen me, ’round about six o’clock in the evening on Sunday, heading in the general direction of the People’s Lawn Tractor with a gas can, some matches and a distinct air of purpose about me – well, no one would have blamed you for feeling a little uneasy.  That vague sense of foreboding may just have gained some urgency, if you were told that just minutes earlier, I had been studying intently a page on the Internet that used words like “fire”, “explosion” and “gasoline.”  Let’s face it, there’s a certain gleam that a man gets in his eye when he’s fixing to blow something up, a gleam that you would recognize instantly though you’ve never seen it before.

Here’s the thing:  Spouse, Furious G and I have been residing beyond the borders of little Juniorvania for about a month, or rather we had been away, living at my parents’ place, up until Saturday afternoon.  The reasons for the exodus are complicated, but boil down to the serious strain placed upon the People’s Treasury as a result of paying for electricity to heat the house when it gets cold outside, which is “always” on account of Juniorvania’s extreme proximity to Canada.  Accordingly, the People’s Department of Public Works, Heatery and Assorted Mechanicals contracted with an external provider to bash a bunch of holes in the walls of the house, install duct work and hide the workshop by placing a giant furnace on it.   This arrangement, of course, has caused the People’s Treasury to ratchet up the level of complaining to “jet engine” volume levels, as the People’s Minister of Finance is incapable of understanding how such an enormous expenditure could ever “save” money, and is instead convinced that this is all some sort of preposterous and grotesque joke perpetrated at the expense of his fragile nerves and anxious bowels.  In the silver lining department, however, this hugely destructive and horrendously unaffordable and unsightly project brings a bonus: air conditioning!

Where was I?  Oh yes, explaining how Spouse, The Boy and I made like Jed Clampett and Clan, packed up the truck and moved to Beverley in order to avoid being demolished along with the walls and ceilings.  Did you know that walls and ceilings are highly offensive to HVAC contractors?  Well, based on the nature and extent of the destruction I have seen, I can only assume that walls and ceilings have an unfortunate habit of making intemperate comparisons between HVAC contractors and uncouth and unattractive individuals with small penises, because the walls and ceilings really do seem to take a walloping from these fellows.

Our month long banishment from the premises thus allowed the stainless steel behemoth to take root and grow within the house;  outside the four (or fewer) walls of the house, however, also growing and taking root was an enormous rainforest where the front lawn used to be.

Now, I don’t want to say that the lawn was a little overgrown, but just this past weekend, scientists discovered three heretofore unknown species of snake, two tribes of nomadic peoples and a dinosaur roaming among the densely packed vegetation on the front forty.

If you look closely, you can see the dinosaur peeking over the top at left.

The long and the short, but mostly just the long, of the problem.

The lawn needed to be cut, but this was not going to be just any mowing; in musical terms, whereas the usual lawn mowing is a three-chord doo wop tune,  this particular excursion was going to be a Wagnerian opera with a side discharge chute.  There were many technical problems to be confronted – how to keep the engine from stalling when asked to chop down the giant trunks of the grass trees, how to illuminate the path of the mower (with the dense canopy of the lawn blocking out the sun from above), how to keep the Operator’s beer cold for the prolonged Mission time – but chief among these worries was the Problem of the Clippings.

When you cut large amounts of long grass, you create a commensurately large pile of clippings on the lawn, which pile must be moved, because if you don’t move them then you have essentially just piled a bunch of dead stuff on your (now shorter) lawn, thus depriving the living part of it entirely of sunlight and making the whole damn thing dead.

Complicating the problem, it’s been raining continuously here since August 6, 1942, so the clippings were a little wet.  Huge piles of wet grass clippings that need to be moved by means of manual raking means that the People’s Lawn Tractor Trailer must be utilized.  Patience, I’m getting really close to explaining the bit about fires and explosions and such now.

The trailer was banished outdoors from the relative safety of the garage this past winter, and there was one casualty: the left tire on the People’s Trailer lost the bead on its rim and came up flat.  The bead needed to be reset, and the tire re-inflated.

Like any reasonable person, I turned to everybody’s most trusted technical advisor: random and completely anonymous people with no verifiable credentials whatsoever.  They taught me this trick:

I didn’t have ether, so I used (a VERY little bit of) gasoline instead.  It took three attempts, but each one featured a very satisfying “thwumpf” sound, and enough of a fiery flourish to excite all but the most finicky of pyromaniacs. Still have all my limbs, didn’t set the house on fire, and did not launch any exploding fiery wheels through the upper story windows of the house either. Time elapsed: maybe five minutes (including time required to fill a really big bucket with water as a precaution measure, lest there be any unfortunate incidents).

Trailer’s working like a charm.

Fuel, Meet Fire: U of T Report Says GTA Could Support 3 NHL teams

Copps Coliseum Panorama_0122

Round and round and round they go, where they stop, nobody knows except that everybody knows it's not here.


Noted fishwrapper/parakeet cage liner the Toronto Star has news today that is guaranteed to fan the already raging nationalistic fire that burns so brightly among many about the state of professional hockey.  According to the Star, a report published today by the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation at the University of Toronto argues that the league “should focus on bolstering the game in Canada where demand is greatest”.

Canada’s six teams account for nearly one-third of league revenue. Most of those loonies end up in the United States, which has 24 teams, through revenue sharing.

The report, titled “The New Economics of the NHL,” uses potential gate revenue as a measure of economic success. It looks at 10 Canadian cities and ranks each as a potential host for an NHL team, based on size, wealth, geographic location and other factors.

There are six Canadian markets where a new NHL team would thrive, the report found, citing Greater Toronto as the best one.

In fact, with 9 million people, the larger Golden Horseshoe could successfully support as many as three NHL teams. The study found that another team would be successful in Hamilton, London or Kitchener-Waterloo.

Montreal and Vancouver also have enough demand, as do Winnipeg and Quebec City. Teams in any of those cities would generate higher gate revenues than the average U.S. Sun Belt team.

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t read the report.  It follows, then, that in reacting to this news, I am relying heavily upon the Star to have accurately summarized the content of the report in question.  I am well aware that there is little compelling evidence to suggest that such reliance is warranted. Click here to continue reading Fuel, Meet Fire: U of T Report Says GTA Could Support 3 NHL teams

We Need Us Some of That Medicine

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.  ~Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts,” Saturday Night Live

Click here to hear some of that medicine – The Boy Laughing

We’ve been ill around here for the last little bit.  A noxious, soul-destroying cold, first imported into the Land by Spouse, has layed us low and challenged our little nation’s strategic tissue reserves. The outbreak cannot be blamed upon Spouse; she became infected late last week (we believe) at a

Hi everybody!

"I recommend amputation!"

Moms and Babies program when one of the typhoid-spewing ignoramuses in attendance lacked the good sense to stay home, then promptly hacked up a sputum-covered lung all over Spouse’s immediate vicinity.  By this past Wednesday, little Juniorvania was being overrun by phlegm and cough drops were being imported by the gross, for the really gross.  On Thursday, I brought a whack of my work home to attend to The Boy (who, praise be to the magical breast milk antibodies, remained untouched by The Crud) while Spouse endured the worst of her affliction.   Sometime mid-morning on Friday, the plague settled in my nasal cavities and began ejecting fluids at an alarming rate.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to reduce the impact on myself – I’ve been munching ginseng capsules like they’re Cheerios since last Sunday morning – but Spouse can’t avail herself of any of the myriad common cold remedies because she is nursing.  Her lot, sadly, has been to suffer The Crap unshielded, unmedicated and undiminished, praying for the onset of convalescensce.

It’s not May yet, but we like to be ahead of the curve here at HiR:tb. It rarely happens, but we like it. Anyway, Moms of the world – including my own Mom – you rock.  Thanks for doing all the stuff you do for the rest of us jackasses.  We might not act like it, but we do appreciate it.

Welcome to the Tribe, Little Guy

Somebody has a brand new Leaf fan in the family.

Somebody at this Brantford Garden Centre has a brand new Leaf fan in the family (Click image for larger version).

I was rushing home from the office with a hot meal for a sickly Spouse (I cook only the best take out dishes), late for an appointment at the bank to clean up the latest of my absurd little financial disasters.

It was Tuesday night.  The Leafs were set to face off at 7:30 (ed. showing my age here) 7:00 that night against the Capitals, needing to claim all the points left on the table, and further needing the Sabres to go oh-fer, in order to have a shot at the playoffs.  On April 5th, with three games left on the schedule, the Leafs were – for a change – playing a game that mattered.

I was excited, I was tired, I was harried.  I was charging along possessed by that momentous urgency that develops, seemingly of its own accord, out of the need to get too many things done in too short a period of time.  In addition to my pending nutritional errand and the dollars and cents issues, my mind was idly grappling with any number of a series of problems I’ve been trying to solve in this enormous and rapidly approaching assignment at work.

As I sped along Park Rd. north of Brantford, having relegated tasks concerning the operation of a motor vehicle to the hypothalmus, I was jolted from my near automatic state by a glimpse – just out of the corner of my otherwise occupied eye, mind you – of the sign pictured at left.

The car charged further north along the road, and I found myself glancing in the rear view mirror trying to make sense of the incomplete image of the letters left in my mind.

“I’m sure,” I told myself, “that the sign contained a message addressed to Brian Burke.”  And I was pretty sure that part of the message was something to the effect that our “prayers have been answered.”  I had to fight the urge to turn the car around and go back for a second look.  “I am a grown up person,” I told myself, “late for a meeting and with a starving and sick wife at home.”   This last bit, staring at myself sternly in the rear-view mirror, as I very determinedly did not slow down.   Willing myself to let maturity prevail over juvenile excitement and curiosity.

I am as shocked as you are to report that my car did not slow down that night;  I really wasn’t sure I had that in me.

The following morning, however, it was amazing how easy it was to talk myself into the naturalness, the reasonableness – no, the necessity of taking a slightly adjusted path to work.  One that took me past the sign, with my cell phone camera armed and ready.

Of course, most anyone who’s reading this is well aware by now that the jerkstore Tampa Bay Lightning were unable to conquer the Sabres that night and the Maple Leaf playoff dream died with about two minutes remaining in the Leafs/Caps 3rd period.  The game was tied, the issue between those two teams not yet sorted, but the conclusion of another season foregone and unhappy.  Still, with the play of James Reimer leading the way, there is much to be hopeful about among Leafs fans.  It is possible to believe that the team may have turned a very important corner since the All-Star break.

We’re not in the playoffs again this year, but I am happy that this team has instilled in me a sort of hope and excitement that feels youthful.  My love for the team has been re-invigorated over the last two and a half months.  There is a freshness for me about the idea of being a Leafs fan again; I’d say I’m not alone, judging by the sign pictured above.

Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

I don't think whales smile like that, either.

Attention Mr. Cole: Eight birds might not actually be able to lift a whale out of the ocean.

Cam Cole wrote a ridiculous article today about social media and the National Hockey League trade deadline.

Cole mentions that during the intense discussions surrounding today’s NHL trade deadline, many people availed themselves of the opportunity to have a little fun;  some folk decided to create Twitter accounts that appeared to emanate from real hockey media personalitiesDown Goes Brown decided to spice up a dull morning by using the new media to organize the 21st century (ahem) grownup equivalent of a class clown prank.  Following the lead of an old high school classic, the  “co-ordinated, math-class-derailing pre-arranged 11:45 coughing fit”, DGB suggested that at 12:50, everyone should send the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul (@JLupul) a tweet that appeared to refer to his “trade” to Long Island (that trade being, of course, an entirely fictitious event which had not occurred).  The tweets were sent en masse.  Lupul appears to have played along with the gag, tweeting shortly afterwards that he was “Long Island bound. So I hear…”

I didn’t see it, but apparently the “Lupul trade” was, for a time, being reported by some as an actual event.  I saw some Tweets indicating that it was briefly posted on the Philadelphia Flyers’ website, and – according to Cole’s article – Gord Miller and TSN briefly fell for it too, relaying the information to unsuspecting viewers watching their Trade Deadline Special.

At first, Cole’s article reads like a more or less good-natured look at these virtual hijinks in the social context within which they occurred.  The first two thirds of the article, at times, read a bit like a barely concealed admiration for the inherent hunour in the Lupul prank in particular:

Fake Twitter accounts impersonating hockey reporters moved April Fool’s Day ahead by a month and pranked the National Hockey League’s massively over-hyped trade deadline, briefly duping both those trying so feverishly to be first with the news and those hungering to get it — and, in the process, greatly enlivening a day of sparse activity and mostly minor deals.

Got it?  The Twitterers “pranked” the NHL and lampooned the “over-hyped” deadline, “greatly enlivening” the day.  Pretty good stuff, huh?

In the end, though, Cole ends up clucking his tongue at those involved like a disapproving schoolmaster:

The actual Bob McKenzie (TSNBobMcKenzie) has 114,000 followers. BMcKenzieTSN and TSN—BobMcKenzie? They have fooled 957 and 549 gullible followers, respectively, by attaching McKenzie’s photo to their Twitter accounts, and yes, there ought to be a law against that.

But there isn’t. So they are free to live in their parents’ basements, plotting to bring the world to its knees with their cleverness, nibbling away at the social network’s credibility — as if it cared — one little white lie at a time.

Really?  Is there really a need for either (a) another “blogger in the basement” joke or (b) a law prohibiting the creation of  spoof Twitter accounts?
I don’t wish to position myself as a defender of mendacity, but if Mr. Cole and the rest of the world can’t stomach the thought of people lying to one another over the Internet, I sincerely hope he never has occasion to be made aware of Internet dating sites.  Also, he would be well advised to avoid taking up fishing for sport, as the ability to spin a tall tale, though far from rare, is very much a quality to be nurtured and developed among anglers.  Maybe it would be best to stay out of the “fiction” section of the library, and the cinema too, just to be safe.

Now, I’m not here to tell you that I understand why some people would get their jollies concocting fake trades to whirl around the Internet, and I’m not suggesting that DGB’s little prank is the comic equivalent of Newton’s contribution to calculus;  I can tell you, however, that people discussing things amongst each other, having fun, and taking the piss out of one another is probably nothing to be terribly alarmed about.  It’s been happening wherever people have gathered socially for thousands of years.  I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that somewhere, deep in an unexplored cave in northern Europe, there is a cave painting that is now difficult to comprehend, but which – back on the day it was first splattered on the rock – was the functional equivalent of a Star Wars Kid mashup.

My point is not that I think “fake Twitter accounts” are desirable and necessary, but rather that social media platforms represent a meeting place, not just another broadcast medium.  Twitter is a conversation;  the content may be partly based in the news, but it is wholly about entertainment.  Journalists who choose to rely on it and rebroadcast it unfiltered and without any value (such as fact-checking) added – in my opinion – do their readers or viewers a disservice.

Lastly, the final point about “nibbling away at the social network’s credibility” is so astonishing I honestly don’t know what the hell he’s talking about.  It’s Twitter; it HAS NO CREDIBILITY in the first place.

The logic is so confused in this article, it’s honestly difficult to follow Cole’s reasoning as to why he feels that the legislative process needs to be invoked.  It’s very hard, however, to escape the general feeling that the Cam Cole No Pissing Around on Twitter Law is necessary solely to protect lazy journalists who are in such a breakneck rush to report the news that they’re basically just reading their Twitter feed directly into the camera without doing some basic fact-checking first.

Evidently, the Damien Cox example didn’t take. You remember the Toronto Star (now also Sportsnet) columnist who broke news of former coach Pat Burns’s death in September, two months before it happened, because of an honest mistake? Oh, the copycats who leaped on the story that day and spread it without making sure it was true were duly apologetic at the time, and a little cautious for a while afterward, but that was more than five months ago.

All kinds of highly respected, earnest reporters were duped, if only for a matter of minutes, and a lot of effort was wasted trying to chase down the truth, revealing the mean-spirited side of the pranks, which all had one thing in common: none originated with mainstream media, but rather with those trying to make the MSM chase its own tail.

Do you follow that?  Damien Cox made an “honest mistake” when he wrongly reported Pat Burns’ death, but “highly respected” and “earnest reporters” were “duped” when they failed to do the minimal checks necessary to make sure @ForREELZESPN_LeBrun – the account reporting the trade of a puck moving defenceman for a bag of doughnuts – is actually related to the hockey journalist in question.  To review: Damien Cox makes an honest mistake, those engaged in that line of work fail to learn from it, and – by breathlessly reporting gossip overheard in a virtual barroom as fact – are victims of  “mean-spirited” and socially destructive users of the Internet.  Heads I win, tails you lose.

The part I have a very difficult time understanding is how Cole misses the point.  He actually points out, in the middle portion of the article, how easy it is in most cases to spot a fake Gord Miller Twitter account merely by reading the contents of the page on which the tweets appear (Gord Miller’s Twitter account has probably been around for more than two hours, likely contains more than eight tweets, and it’s highly likely the real Gord Miller has more than 52 followers).  In other words, Cole identifies the ease with which these “frauds” can be discovered, but swerves right past the legitimate target – so-called reporters relying on random stuff posted on the Internet for Christ’s sake as accurate – and instead delivers a confusing, poorly reasoned and somewhat startling conclusion generally indicting humans for just fucking around.

Good luck putting a stop to that.

Dustin Byfuglien: Jerkstore

Yes, I really wish the Leafs could’ve managed to hold on to either:

(a) a one goal third-period lead vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday; OR

(b) a two goal lead vs. Atlanta this afternoon.

…but I’m really more worried about James Reimer.  He’s looking more and more like the future of our team between the pipes.

Couldn’t help noticing that all those whose tongues were loudly clucking at the end of the recent Boston game (the one where Grabovski played after taking a couple hard hits and wobbled coming off the ice) were nowhere to be found tonight;  no one was applauding the Leafs’ apparent cautious regard for Reimer’s health.  Despite desperately trying to climb into a playoff spot, and with the young Leaf netminder nursing a shutout through most of two periods,  Reimer was replaced by J.S. Giguere after taking an apparent knee to the side of his noggin from Evander Kane.

One other thing that went mostly un-noticed (though, to be fair, the Sportsnet crew was on it) was this: Dustin Byfuglien is a jerkstore.  With time expired at the end of the third period, he skated up behind Freddie Sjostrom and speared him in the back of the knee.  Every hockey player knows that’s a dick move that risks injuring the  opponent.  This particularly spear behind the knee was a cowardly attack from behind after the period had ended.

Here’s the video evidence:

Reflections on the WJC: Still Proud, Canada

Still Flying the Colours

About an hour ago, everybody watching the World Junior Hockey Championships (including the half dozen viewers south of the border in Bronzeland*) saw one of the most gutsy comebacks in the history of junior hockey unfold on our television screens.

Trailing 3-0 at the outset of the third period of the gold medal game, a gutsy group of teenagers stormed back to claim a stunning 5-3 victory over a traditional rival.  If you’re reading this blog, there’s a safe bet you got redirected here from a hockey-centric site, so it’s an equally safe bet that you know the result by now.  The kids who walked out of Buffalo with the gold medals were wearing Russian, not Canadian, sweaters.

You can bet your sweet ass (yeah, you…I been lookin’, I confess) that if the roles were reversed, those of us here in the Great White North who like to write about hockey (and for sure those who get PAID to do it) would  be trumpeting to high heaven the virtues of the brave Canadians who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.   We would be right about that.  It’s no less true tonight because the kids who stormed back from oblivion were yelling Russian (rather than English) swear words into the camera during the post game.  Give these Russian kids their due:  it took skill, guts and heart to come all the way back in such dramatic fashion in front of a building filled with 18,000 people desperate to see you fail.   Enjoy that win, Boris, Igor and Dmitry:  you earned it.

There are those – in the media, in the coffeeshops of this nation, and in the blogosphere – who will want to call the Canadians “chokers.”  The word “gutless” will get pulled out.  Synonyms will be sought for “embarrassment” and “travesty”.  Give it a rest.

Look, I think I understand the proper role of sporting events like this in our culture: they’re a diversionary entertainment.  Part of the fun of watching is rooting for your team to win.  Part of rooting for your team is caring about the result, and part of the fun of rooting and caring is trading good-natured jabs with your rivals.  In the run-up to the Canada-U.S. game, our American friends were doing a little shit-talking about the beating their defending champion team was going to put on our entry.  It was fun to watch virtual Canadian gums flap back at our Yankee brethren as the game unfolded and it became evident that our red and white rocked, while their red and white just blew.  There will be some chirping back and forth now and in the future that refers to this stunning collapse, and that’s as it should be (though it seems to me that the ones who’ve earned the right to do the chirping use a cyrillic alphabet;  anybody who lives in the land of White Castle and bronze medals, on the other hand, would do well to remember their place in the Pecking Order of Puck).

All of that heckling and kidding around is as it should be.  But don’t let anyone try to seriously tell you that the group of kids who wore the red and white for us this time around should be “ashamed” or “embarrassed” or anything like that.  Yes, they got their asses handed to them on a plate.  Yes, it was because they stopped skating at the critical moment and allowed their Russian adversaries up off the mat long enough to administer the knockout blows.  But watching Brayden Schenn, Ryan Ellis  and Mark Visentin look into the camera and own all that just minutes after suffering what must have been a profound disappointment – at their young age – speaks volumes about the character that was in that dressing room.  Before you disagree, think back to when you were 18 or 19 years old, and imagine how you would have behaved if YOU had suffered that kind of setback on national TV.

I’m proud of those kids.  I wish like hell the result had been different, but there you have it.  Things like this happen in junior hockey.  We’ve seen them before;  things like this are what the legend of Jordan Eberle is built upon.  We had seen some pretty epic comebacks from this very Russian team earlier in the tournament.  In fact, during the 2nd intermission, Dmitry Chesnokov was lamenting the apparent death of the Canada/Russia hockey rivalry here in Canada (guess what, Dmitry? It’s ON, brother).  He then opined that “this loss will hurt.”

I was struck by his apparent certainty that the Russians would go down.  I tweeted back at him:

@dchesnokov Not trying to be a jerk here, but are you writing off your guys even though they pulled off those comebacks vs FIN/SWE?

He wrote me back:

@warwalker coming back from 3:0 against Canada will be Miracle on Ice part III

Before the period began, I wrote back to him one more time:

@dchesnokov Of course I hope you’re right, but things happen fast in junior hockey. I never thought Canada would come back in ’09.

No sooner had I hit the “post” button, it seemed, and Russia pumped home a goal.  Then two.  Not long after, there were three.   You know the rest.

Ironically, TSN’s telecast began tonight with James Duthie taking viewers on a tour in the Team Canada dressing room.  The tour ended in the vicinity of a quote from Aleksander Yakushev (a Russian player from the ’72 Summit Series) to the effect that Canadians “never stop” trying until they get what they want.  It was a reminder for the players of what we like to see reflected in ourselves by way of our approach to this game, a tribute from a respected rival.  The Russians have earned from us a tribute to their heart;  their determination; their guts.  Focussing on what happened on the Canadian side of the ice ignores and diminishes the significance of the accomplishment on the other bench.  Russia, your guys played a hell of a period when the chips were down.

In the end, this was a game for the international junior hockey scrap book.   For every collapse, there is a comeback.  There are those who will want to make this about the failure of Team Canada rather than the success of Team Russia.

See it for what it was: the best of sport, both in the drama of the competition between two great rivals and in the dignity, class and respect for the game and their opponents that the losers showed in the aftermath.


* Oh relax, my American friends.  It’s a joke.  You know, like your team’s defence.

Go Canada Go!

We Stand on Guard For Theeeeeeeeeee

Beat the ‘Mericans for the World Under 20 Hockey Championship.  Go.