Hey there,

It’s been a while, but I have a few excuses. My wife and I had a little baby girl and the first two months have been an adjustment.  Lot’s of sleepless nights, but I think we may have a future defense(wo)man for the Canadian Olympic team on our hands?  Also, the band has been doing a lot of rehearsing lately working out the new material for our next album.  These two things have been taking up the majority of my time these days; but things have settled down with the baby and routines are starting to surface so I’m getting back to the blog.

First of all let me introduce you to the BILLY TALENT RED WINGS:

This awesome team was sponsored by the band.  We gave them a little bit of money to put toward their season and buy their uniforms.  They play in the Moss Park Hockey League which is committed to the promotion of equitable access to organized hockey programs for people living in the local community. The leagues philosophy is that every child should have the opportunity and access to the resources necessary to ensure their participation and development.  The opportunities are seen as an investment and provide children regardless of social status, nationality or gender with opportunities to grow morally, physically, socially and emotionally in an organized and structured environment.

If the above paragraph makes me sound smart it’s because I lifted it right from their mission statement on their website.  Check out the league, they do good work.  http://gsmhl.goalline.ca/

The guy with the hat is Paul Dineen, he approached me about the donation.  He plays defense on my hockey team and he and his wife coach the Wings.  Good people doing good things!

Anyway, a lot has happened in hockey the last 2 months, here are my thoughts on some of them:

The World Junior Tourney:

The Russian junior team upset the Canadian juniors with an incredible third period comeback.  Funny story about this game.  I had PVR’d/TVO’d the game because I had to move a table across town with the help of my buddy Vance.  We got back to my place and started watching the game about an hour behind the live broadcast.   Sometimes negligence can get the best of me and because I hadn’t cleaned out the hard drive of my PVR receiver I ran out of space as it was recording.  The recording stopped after the 2nd period and we were gutted because we were enjoying the game up until that moment, the Canadian’s were destroying them.  When we flipped it over to the live broadcast, the Canadian’s were collecting their medals; but they looked sad and the medals looked silver. Vance and I looked at each other a bit confused and started pointing out the strange things that were happening… silver medals? Sad faces? Did the lose?  No way!  They couldn’t have?!  Sure enough the truth was revealed and we were absolutely shocked.  I’m still shocked actually.  The only good thing was that we didn’t have to watch it happen.

Anyway, good for the Russian team and I’m glad they partied so hard that they got booted off their flight home.  That’s pretty great in my opinion, people need to have fun in life and that was the time for it.

The Winter Classic:

This is a strange event in my opionion because I don’t need to have hockey “sold” to me, and basically that is what this game is for.  I tried to keep an open mind and enjoy the spectacle of it all and eventually warmed to the point of the event.  I thought it was cool that the two teams walked onto the ice side by side.   I couldn’t help but visualize fierce Gladiators entering the ring, armoured up and battle ready. The kings and their people waiting for blood in the stadium stands.  The hype was enormous, especially with the cast of characters playing in the game and the HBO series documenting the event.  Pity about the weather, but as a whole I thought it was great.

One thing that was a major bother was the terrible camera angles.  I’ve been watching hockey my whole life and I’ve never had problems following the puck; but it was brutal in this broadcast.  NBC also had problems switching cameras; often the screen would go black between two different camera angles.   I was forced to watch the US broadcast for about half the game because the weather delay pushed it into conjunction with the Leaf game that was being broadcast on CBC.   The US broadcast is usually tailored to the casual fan resulting in basic commentary geared at educating rather than analyzing.  Sometimes that can be annoying… I guess I’m spoiled by the CBC’s experience in hockey broadcasting.

The worst part was the Sid the Kid concussion at the end of the 2nd period.  This sucks royally.  I hope for Crosby’s sake and the NHL’s that it doesn’t destroy his career.  If anything it has caused a major uproar against head shots.  Maybe the NHL will start to think a little more proactive about this stuff and come up with a hard-line.  How about this:  NO HEAD SHOTS.

The All Star game:

I really enjoyed all the All Star stuff they did this year.  Having the draft was great and seeing Phil Kessel get picked last seemed very appropriate to me as a Leaf fan.  What else could happen?  We’ve had a terrible season, why not have the worst All Star?  I thought he handled it very well though.  I really like Kessel and hope he has an awesome career.  I think the guy is misunderstood and gets a lot of unnecessary heat.  The guys in the band and I have this saying, “Shy/Asshole Confusion” and I think this happens with Kessel.  It’s when people confuse shy and awkward behavior with asshole behavior.  Sometimes people come across as an asshole; but they are just socially awkward or shy.  Throw a guy like that into the cynical world of sports entertainment and you can compound that confusion ten fold.  Here is a great pick from the Toronto Star from the draft night:

Poor Phil… I kinda wanna give him a hug.

Thanks for checking in!  I’ll be updating more frequently as the NHL kicks into the unoffical second half of the season.



HBO 24/7

Posted: December 17, 2010 in Good Stuff

Last night I watched the first episode of HBO’s 24/7 Penguins-Capitals series.  It was amazing.  Its the best insiders look of the NHL  that I have ever seen.  The production was slick, the interviews candid and the story line was captivating.

HBO really got lucky because the drama produced by the Capitals poor play and the 12 game winning streak that the Penguins were on during the filming of the program really enhanced the story. The viewer gets a great sense of the power of winning.  The Penguins are upbeat, tight and loose during their winning streak.  They made me feel like I was missing out on something special by not being a part of their team.  They have fun in practice, on the plane, in the hotels, all the time and it helps them win.  You can see the respect they have for one another and especially for their star player Sidney Crosby.  The Caps, on the other side of the coin, can’t win a game and you can see defeat in their eyes.  During the interviews you sense a depressed feeling from the players.  They’re body language is crushed and confused; they don’t seem to be having any fun on or off the ice and the viewer is left feeling awkward after watching them.  It’s quite a juxtaposition that makes for fantastic drama.

It’s a four part series concluding at the Winter Classic.  I can’t wait to see the rest.  Here is a preview:

Here is the real preview:

The Price is Wrong…

Posted: December 16, 2010 in Weird

Yesterday TSN reported that Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin are going to appear on “The Price is Right” next week.

They will also be joined by Jeremy Roenick to introduce an NHL-themed showcase that includes a trip to the Winter Classic on new years day.

In honor of this news here is Bob Barker beating up the hockey mad Happy Gilmore:

And a funny Price is Right moment:

The show with Crosby and Ovechkin airs Monday.

On the O-mark

Posted: December 15, 2010 in Good Stuff

Another beauty prospect for the Oilers.  Linus Omark has some great hands.  If you’re a hockey fan you’ve already seen his “controversial” shootout winner against Tampa from the other night (Dec 10th).  If you haven’t here it is again:

It was considered controversial because of the fancy 360 he did at the red line.  Martin St. Louis from Tampa suggested that it was unnecessary, classless and a “slap in the face”.  What a joke!  In my opinion anyone complaining from Tampa looks like a sore loser.  It’s the shootout for crying out loud; it’s supposed to be entertaining!  Besides, Omark was the one putting it all out there; if he had  missed he would have looked like a jack ass.  Player’s have been commenting that he’s young and cocky… I say bullocks to that.  The shootout is lame anyway, the players could at least make it entertaining.

Omark has another famous shootout goal, this one is amazing:

It was copied by Pavel Datsyuk a few months later:

He’s amazing!!

The shootout is a display of pure skill.  The moves these players make to try and score (statistically they miss more often) are incredible.  Moves like these can’t be done during a game, so it’s nice to see what these guys are actually capable of especially when it means something.

I’ve toured with a lot of bands and met several hockey fans along the way.  The biggest fan of them all was Number 2, the bassist of the mighty Anti-Flag (there are 2 Chris’s in Anti-Flag, hence the cool nick name).

I got to know him on Warped tour in 2005 – I think that was the year; Warped tours kinda blend into one another – and we bonded quickly over our love of hockey.

When Anti-Flag supported Billy Talent through Canada during the touring of our second album, Number 2 and I brought our hockey gear and played in a bunch of towns across Canada.  It was great.  We’d wake up at about 10am, he would have the local arena pick-up schedule ready, I’d arrange a runner to drive us, we would play at around 12pm with some locals and be back at the venue by 2:30ish in time for a pre-show nap.  Those were the days!  He’s a great hockey player and I had a lot of fun trying to keep up to his energy.

Ben and Number 2 performing some song, some time, some where.

Anti-Flag is based out of Pittsburgh, so naturally 2 is a Pens fan.  We text each other every time the Leafs play the Penguins.  I got him to do this interview after the last Leafs/Pens game, back when the Leafs were 4-0 and had just beaten the Pens.

You are one of the biggest hockey fans that I know. How did a punk rocker like you get into hockey?

A: I actually played hockey and followed the game before I ever knew what punk rock was/is. I was a product of the mario lemuiex generation in pittsburgh. Any one born around his arrival was handed a stick. I played organized youth and jr leagues until I was 16 going on 17. That was when I found the dead kennedys and said motherfuck all authority, especially you COACH! Ha. In all seriousness, there was a bit of a fiasco in my towns hockey league, there were parents running the show, coaching and playing their own kids more than others. Coming from a lower income single mother, it was so expensive, I grew frustrated with the bureaucracy and favoritism, told my mom to save her money, and started playing music.

You’re from Pittsburgh and have been relishing the good times. I was on the road and watched the Pens win the cup at 5am in Switzerland.   Did you experience any live games during the cup run?  How fun was that!?

A: yea I went to a few games that run. A friend of mine works in the penguins graphics department and works on jumbotron images. Part of his perks is he gets 2 season tickets, but he is working during the games, thankfully he often takes great care of me.

Those games were amazing. Pittsburgh goes off, it was certainly an exciting time.

Who’s your favorite player? Why?

A: favorite all time – sergei federov. He was king when I was playing as a kid, I took his 91 and made it a 19. Current evgeni malkin – I love him through the neutral zone, effortlessly he makes moves, never gets hit, if you think he’s lined up he dodges checks at the very last second, I love his reach, the way he steals pucks and causes turn-overs. That reach is the main trick I’ve been trying to steal from his game.

In our work, our backstage pass gets us everywhere. They don’t have them in the NHL, but you’re a sweet talker. Have you worked your way into the inner circle of the Penguins?  Into the dressing room? On the ice?

A: I’ve never been further than my jumbotron buddy. Ha. Never in the dressing room. I have played several games at Mellon Arena, not yet at Consol. I play on an adult team that travels a bit. We’ve played Mellon, Joe Louis in Detroit, Nationwide in Columbus and this winter we’re playing out doors in Michigan at the stadium. So exciting.

I’ve also sweet talked myself into awesome gear. I worked a deal with Warrior Sports where they used some A-F music on their site and in exchange suited me with gear. I always used Warrior sticks, this deal just made them free to me. Now, I’m skating on a new skate called MLX, mario lemuiex is the face of the company that makes skates in Canada, its the best skate I’ve ever had. I wrote to them about a similar hook up deal and they made me a tester. I skate on the skate and fill out a homework sheet letting them know my thoughts on the skates. Its an awesome deal.

We played hockey a lot when we toured together. You’re a goal scorer… good wheels and a nice shot. Who do you model your game after.

A: I really should play D, I use a very long stick and I like to take slap shots from the point,  but because I wanna pad my own stats I play center. Ha. I love malkins back check, but it really stops at center red, mine does too I suppose. Ha.

Were you insulted by Patrick Kane’s obvious lift of Jaromir Jagr’s old haircut during last years hawks cup run?

A: loved it. Malkin has adopted a bit of it this year, with his shaved lines in the sides of his head.

Besides me, who is the coolest guy you ever played hockey with?

A: Eric Melvin of NOFX.
He’s learning. Getting better each time I skate with him.

Who are your cup finalists this year and who will win?

A: Pittsburgh vs San Jose. Pittsburgh wins.

Do you like Ovechkin?

A: I love ovi. You’re allowed to like both. He should not be the teams captain. He is also probably a dude I wouldn’t wanna hang with. But boy do I hold my breath every time he touches the puck. Blink and its in the net.

Imagine this scenario: Crosby becomes a fan of your band. You guys strike up a great friendship and hangout all the time. The Pens win the cup and your invited into the dressing room after the last game. The cup is being passed around and Crosby passes it to you and tells you to take a drink from it.  Would you break strait edge to drink champagne from Lord Stanley’s mug?

A: lord stanley, lord stanley, give me the brandy! Absolutely I would!

Thanks for doing this, hope to get out and play with you again really soon.

Go Leafs Go!

A:Leafs are flying! I love colby, and versteeg. Good luck! I wanna see the leafs in the playoffs!

Check out Number 2’s band at their website: http://www.anti-flag.com

1/2 a Dozen Disgusting Donuts

Posted: December 2, 2010 in Good Stuff

Man, the Leafs suck! They just got shut out by the Oilers. It’s so painful. The 6th time this year they’ve been shut out.

Ugg… What are they going to do?  I’m on the fire Ron Wilson bandwagon now for sure.  Can you believe I watched the whole game?

OV is Killing me!

Posted: December 2, 2010 in Good Stuff

Ovechkin is pissing me off.  Where are the bloody goals?!

Is it because he scored so much so young (goals, that is)?  Is it because the Capitals are again near the top of the standings?  Is it because he has won so many individual awards? Is it all the campy magazine cover’s, news features and fanfare?  What is going on here!

Some how he seems to have lost his killer instinct… his mojo… or what ever else you want call it.  He is still near the top in points scoring; but he’s not scoring goals at his regular pace.  He had a three assist performance the other night; but I’m beginning to think that it’s because he plays with Semin and Backstrom.  Who’s making who better now?  It’s starting to look like he’s riding their coattails.

Also, I find it strange that the Crosby/Ovechkin banter is nowhere to be heard this year.   I never thought the argument would end because it was always enticing.  Crosby the humble, committed work horse who wills points ugly or beautiful.  He ‘s got the cup, the gold medal and is the poster boy for Canadian hockey – and Tim Hortons –  VS Alex the Great, a tank that powers his way to dominating the scoring race and the highlight reel; adding to his personal trophy case year after year.  MVP as selected by his peers, “the best player in hockey”.

Not this year.  The only talk is of Crosby and Stamkos.  Unless its bizarre talk about OV’s dinner dates with his buddy Ilya Kovalcuk – He was caught laughing it up with Kovalcuk after Washington’s 5-0 loss to the Devils.

It appears that complacency has set in.  Besides winning the Cup or Olympic gold (which should motivate any player) what else is there for him to accomplish?  He’s got the millions needed to live a life most could only dream of.  Has Ovechkin decided to just go along for the ride?  Why work hard and destroy your body to keep up this pace?

This happens with bands all the time.  Some bands struggle for years and when they finally make it they lose the hunger that got them to the top.  They rest on their laurels throwing off motivation which leads to complacency and poor artistic effort.

Objectively, I really don’t think Ovechkin has reached this point yet; but it’s beginning to irritate me that he’s not the story or the goal scorer he has been since he entered the league.  I got him in my pool for crying out loud!  Start dominating!  I picked you because your consistent and supreme! Picked second over all to Crosby (my buddy Miska picked Crosby first)!

Not only that; STOP HITTING ON MY WIFE!!!

This picture of my wife with Ovechkin  was taken by my friend Dustin at the 2009 Much Music Video Awards.  I missed the chance encounter and was very jealous because I didn’t get to meet him.  He looks pretty happy with his arm around my wife.  I would have hated to have to take him out if he had tried to get fresh with her.