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I'm Saving Hockey: A BTN January 30th Recap

Well, I'm disappointed in all of you, to say the least. I ask you "Who can you trust less?" and you came up with the wrong answer. No fault of yours, I didn't realize how far gone you all were. The answer was "Swedes." I was held for a couple of years in the 70s in a Swedish prison (with a Turkish cellmate, don't get any ideas) on a charge of private nudity and let me tell you, that pitepalt-and-water diet was brutal. Not to mention I think Borje Salming was my prison guard; he was one of the good ones. He slipped me a little bruna bonor after lights-out (not what you think it is, seriously nothing happened).

There was a request for a bit about myself, and since I think it will be a helpful lesson to you all...

I was born April 11th, 1943 in London; my father was a WWII B-17 pilot, and my mother was a volunteer nurse when she wasn't dodging Nazi shells. My mother was in labour for two hours; I was propelled out by the concussion of nearby artillery onto a cricket bat (the most sanitary thing in London at the time). I was served to my father like a warm pizza pie.

I learned to skate when I was 2 and I learned to fight when I was 2-and-a-half. We didn't have much money when I was a kid, but my father made sure we had all we needed, including our own rink in the backyard, neighbours who had a kid willing to play goalie without much equipment, and skates fashioned from old shoes and Bowie knives. I got a little bit of a reputation in youth hockey -- it was no coincidence that helmets became much more popular after me. I had a lot of promise (Editor's note: he fought a lot and averaged about 3-5 goals a year) but not a lot of size (Editor's note: he was 5'1", 105 lbs), and my career in the Central Coast Minor Professional Hockey Organization of Minor Hockey Associations (or CCMPHOMHA for short) came to a crashing halt because of a nagging summer baseball injury in the mid-1960s. I don't have enough time to set the scene, but let's just say that a wayward bat splinter passed completely through my right testicle and lodged underneath my kneecap. I took up watching hockey when I served during Vietnam; I didn't actually serve in Vietnam, because they didn't need the Coast Guard. Did my time in the Aleutian Islands playing pond hockey on the Pacific Ocean; I single-handedly thwarted a Soviet invasion by challenging the soldiers to a hockey game and playing the body, checking them onto departing ice floes. I was honourably discharged after being stung by an exposed jellyfish tentacle while crashing the crease. My hockey-watching turned religious during the recovery from my burns; my favourite team became the Minnesota North Stars, though they (like so many other fallen "soldiers") eventually went to warmer, sunnier places.

I guess I have the Wild now, but their jerseys hurt my eyes and I can't stop calling our captain "Mickey."

Imagine my excitement when my grandson informed me that he would be analysing hockey. Imagine my horror when I read his first offerings. Imagine my disgust when I learned other people read it. It was then I realized my magnum opus wouldn't be winning a lock of Don Cherry's hair on Ebay (Editor's note: it's bleach-blond and curly) but saving hockey from all of you.

What am I saving you from, you might ask?

Sunday: Stanley Cup Odds and a Cautionary Tale on Goal Differential

Grandpa's Analysis: Any article encouraging young adults to gamble on hockey is despicable. It is also highly disturbing to know that Gabe is in cahoots with people that engage in such activity. My advice? Stick to the slots, and if two men in leather jackets ever approach you throw your cup of quarters in their faces (regardless of the situation...don't trust leather jackets).

Monday: Impact of Firing a Coach on Fenwick %

GA: I don't know if "Fenwick %" is some kind of drug you pinkos are on, but I would fire any coach who's on it. In my opinion, you fire a coach for five reasons: they aren't inspiring their team (which is reflected in the amount they are losing), they are losing, they are losers, they don't let their team fight, and now a fifth, when they're high on Fenwick %.

Tuesday: The League of Extraordinary Statisticians: The Greatest Game

GA:'s almost like they have a heart, those soulless bastards. They were way off, though. Best game ever? February 25th, 1981, Boston Bruins versus the Minnesota North Stars. 392 penalty minutes. A lot of toughness and determination left out on the ice (and a little bit in the stands). And I sparked it by leaning over the glass and asking Terry O'Reilly for his pot o' gold.

Tuesday: Poll Time: Would You Have Picked Guy Lafleur Over Marcel Dionne?

GA: The California Golden Seals were the worst idea in NHL history.

Wednesday: Score Effects on Even-Strength Shooting Percentage

GA: There's that Fenwick % again. Somebody call Jeff VanVonderen.

Thursday: The Impossibility of Projecting Goaltenders

GA: In my day, you only called up a goalie because your starter's eye popped out or their stitches kept bleeding. Terry Sawchuk...rabble rabble...Johnny Bower...rabble rabble...did you know Glenn Hall puked all the time?

Friday: Looking Back at Ovechkin's Usage

GA: Maybe if he'd take off his Ray Ban visor he'd be able to find the net.

Friday: More McCracken

GA: You see, Gabe? This is what happens when you try to ruin a good American sport like baseball. You should stick to a sport that nobody in the world cares about, like soccer.

Saturday: Bruins Ready for a Fall

GA: Unlike the weak nature of Southern teams, Original 6 teams usually thrive in the months leading up to and including the playoffs. A team like the Montreal Canadiens would never collapse after winning their conference, in the same way that the Detroit Red Wings would never lose to an understandably tired and ready-for-a-clambake team like the San Jose Sharks (what does a shark do on ice?) or Anaheim Mighty Ducks (I refuse to call them just the "Ducks"; they need all the "Mighty" they can get).

Now, I promised you a good way to measure heart this week, but let this be your first lesson: old men say things that aren't sensible. You made me sleepy with your incessant "Who is this guy?" and "What a xenophobe." comments from last week, and now I need a nap. You will just have to wait until I get the energy to work my abacus again (next week, in other words).

By the way, try getting hit by a metal Aerobie before calling me xenophobic. You're damn right I'm scared.