The Hockey Gods

Yesterday, I foolishly opined that the hockey gods had turned their malevolent attentions upon Ottawa fans, leaving Leaf fans alone to suffer another long, hot summer while the hopes and dreams of the Capital City bunch were crushed in agonizing fashion.


I tuned my virtual Intarwebs radio in to the Leafs/Senators game tonight, deliciously anticipating the beginning of the end for our cross-province rivals from the National Capital Region. It’s now just shortly after 9 p.m., the Senators are missing Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher and were at one time being outshot by the Leafs, but with 3:30 remaining in the second period it’s 4-1 Senaturds and my pathetic Leafs cannot seem to muster even a faint whiff of offence that might suggest comeback.

It seems that the hockey gods, far from abandoning their mission of humiliating the Leafs and their fans – oh, fer Chrissake, it’s 5-1 Ottawa now – the gods chose instead to pummel their plaything and then appear to leave it for dead, feigning an intention to concentrate on the despoilment of another, only to reveal a further and more frustrating, disappointing and degrading level of losing for the chaps in blue and white.

I am really trying to figure out why I shouldn’t go downstairs and pound the brains out of my head with an iron bar as punishment for my own stupidity. How could I have hoped and believed that the Leafs would give me even this tiny joy in a woebegone season? I mean, Lord God and Sonny Jesus in a Sidecar, this was a year that began with one of our top-two D-men confidently and forcefully golfing the puck into his own net in overtime. Did I really expect this team to close the deal in a game like this?


What sacrifice do you demand for our release from your ever-lasting wrath, o cruel and capricious hockey gods?  The blood of a fatted calf?  How ’bout Kyle Wellwood instead, would that do?  What about Johnny Pohl and a second round draft choice in the ’09 draft?   Send us a sign – enough with the famine and pestilence, couldn’t we just go with a burning bush or something from here on in?


Quinn it is.

I wrote a post the other day about the Leafs/Flyers game on Wednesday night, listening to it on the radio, and the memories that awakened for me about following my teams as a kid; in particular, I wrote a little about listening to the radio broadcasts of Windsor Spitfires games.

First, a correction: the games were NOT on CKWW; they were on CKLW AM 800 (I always had trouble, truthfully, keeping the two straight when I was a kid). windsorarena Second, my Dad and I were having some trouble remembering the name of the fellow who did the play-by-play for those games. I Googled around a bit but couldn’t find anything about the Spitfires’ broadcasting crews of yore, save and except for some information about Budd Lynch, such as this article telling the story of how Budd went from World War II to broadcasting (original) Spitfires games in the 40’s and then moving up to the show and taking over the microphone for Red Wings broadcasts, all in time to call such memorable moments as Gordie Howe’s 545th career goal (breaking Rocket Richard’s then existing career goal-scoring record) and the only two Stanley Cup Final Game Sevens to ever go into overtime.

Finally, I broke down and sought out the answer the old-fashioned way: I asked somebody who I though might know. I sent (in a somewhat less old-fashioned way) an email to CKLW and asked them if they could tell me the name of the play by play guy from the late 70s, early 80s. You will see from the comments following the post in question that my Dad and I were pretty sure the man’s name was “Dave”, and that I had previously hazarded a guess that his surname might have been “Quinn”.

A very nice person by the name of Tania D’Angela, a programming assistant with the company who owns the station, emailed me back (within 14 hours, I might add) to advise that she had made some inquiries of her own and that indeed, the gentleman whose name I was looking for, was none other than – drum roll please – Dave Quinn. Apparently, Mr. Quinn did the games until 1987, possibly starting as early as 1972. Just in case there’s anybody out there searching for the answer to the question, “Who followed Dave Quinn as the Windsor Spitfires’ play-by-play man?” the answer to that question is “Steve Bell”, the current Sports Director at the station.

Thank you Tania and Steve for allowing me to properly identify the man by name, and to thank him for the many hours of enjoyment I spent listening to his calls from the old barn on McDougall Avenue (pictured above in a photo copped from wikicommons): thank you, Dave Quinn, for helping me love the game of hockey.

What if we just bleed all over the blue ones?

As if Leaf fans needed more discouraging news, here comes the science.  Who knew the “power tie” concept would find its way into sports?

But hey, they won last night! They’re now five points back of eighth place.  Still, the observation by Leaf broadcaster, former backup goalie and chief bagpipe player Glenn Healy that the Leafs “need 13 wins” with 11 games left is pretty accurate.

Trying to measure a moment: Leafs/Flyers March 11th, 2008

Back in the mid-1970s, when I was about seven or eight years old, I built a crystal radio set. The radio came in a kit, and I got it as a gift, I think probably for my birthday. Building the radio was fun, and I learned a little bit about electronics and how radios work; really just enough to whet my already substantial appetite for any kind of technology. It was cool fitting the pieces together and actually using a piece of technology that I built with my own two hands (thanks to heavily scripted and almost entirely idiot-proof instructions in the Radio Shack kit). In my mind’s eye, I can still see the little dark green box made of transparent plastic (all the better to see the resistors, capacitors and such).

Even more fun than that, though, was listening to the radio at night when I went to bed. Once tucked away under the covers, I would pop the (one) greyish, ugly and bulky earphone into my ear and tune in whatever I could find on the AM dial (man would the kids today, with their fancy noise-cancelling iPod earbuds and 80 GB mp3 capacity be shocked by this whole concept). I learned that Elvis had died listening to my crystal radio. [ed. note: for clarity, Elvis died on the toilet – my radio was nowhere near him at the time. I learned about the King’s unfortunate demise while I was listening to the set; that’s what I meant to say. ]

Trade Deadline Day

I haven’t had a chance to sit down and look at all the deals, but just off the top of my head, here are a couple of thoughts:

Biggest Trade: Atlanta sends Marian Hossa to Pittsburgh for prospect Angelo Esposito, Colby Armstrong and Eric Christensen. Sid the Kid gets some help – like he needs it with that guy Malkin around. If Pittsburgh gets any kind of decent goaltending out of Conklin/Fleury/Sabourin/Patrick Lalime/Ken Wregget/Bunny Larocque, they could make some noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The way is open for pretty much any club that qualifies for the dance to take a shot at Lord Stanley’s mug. Which makes the following all the more puzzling…

Meme First!

I have been tagged with a meme by Mike.* For those of you unfamiliar with the concept – I’m looking in your direction, Geez – it’s definition time:

The Blog Meme
A blog meme is a type of Internet meme that requires active participation by the blogger and rarely traces back to an originating source. It’s often a series of questions that a blogger answers to share some personal perspective or experience on random topics.

Source: Quixtar Blog.

Aside from using the word “meme” in defining the term “Blog Meme” that definition seems pretty good. So I’ve been asked to answer a series of questions, basically. Here they are:

a) What issues/topic interests you most–non-fiction, i.e, cooking, knitting, stitching, there are infinite topics that has nothing to do with novels?

Honestly, I have such a great deal of difficulty narrowing the list of my topical interests down to the point where I could accurately specify that some interests predominate over others. I guess it would be fair to say that my curiosity is more likely to be piqued by articles/books/films/websites that concern technology, politics, science, music or literature than it is by knitting or decoupage but, as may already be evident, one of my enduring problems in life has been that I am (too?) easily amused, fascinated and distracted by detailed information on virtually any topic. I generally find such information infinitely more fascinating when I have a great deal of (other) work to do and very little time in which to accomplish it. I think that I could easily be mesmerized by almost any written material on any topic, provided that it is well-written and brings the historical context and the technical detail.