Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche

“Forced Watching” is a weekly feature where the loser of the wagering game on the podcast is forced to watch the least interesting game on the schedule (in the opinion of the winner), and write about it. No offense if your favourite team is involved. Well, some offense, understandably. 


Well, this is happening. ‘Tis I instead of Jake this week, doing my second Forced Watched challenge of the year, and you’re getting Grumpy Bourne. Grumpy Bourne because Jake picked a late game (which he absolutely should have done, because this game is sh**) and I go to bed oddly early, and because we had celebratory “first day in the new office!” beers/champage and now I’m tired.

Oh god this is going to be terrible.


Okay! Pre-puck drop thoughts, stereotypes, etc:

Avs: sort of interesting because of Duchene, Landeskog, and O’Reilly. Kinda find Stastny interesting too. Think he’s a guy who has to be on your team for fans to appreciate him. Smart, sneaky, generally good.

Also, the Avs are pretty legitimately bad, are getting one of Jones/MacKinnon/Drouin, and will suddenly boasts a pretty solid young core. But for tonight, *fake gag motion*

Flames: This roster is a mess. But I mean, at least they can claim the losing is intentional the rest of the way. “We’re trying to tank.” (They are.) I’ve never had to play in a situation where losing is beneficial for the organization, and can’t imagine it in the dressing room before the game, rocking on your skates waiting to get the nod to head out to the ice. “What the f*** am I doing this for?”

19:30 – Hey look, it’s Maxwell Reinhart. This games already going better for him than the last one. He took his first NHL shift last game, and sat back down a minus. HOT START.

18:15 – Goldsbie just tweeted this at me:


Goldsbie’s a dick.

17:55 – God, Jamie McGinn just crushed some dude (Brett Carson, it turns out), and Landeskog smoked Wideman earlier. I periodically forget what getting truly smoked feels like. Most hits you don’t even feel. Then some animal forces your lungs to collapse like a whoopie cushion and you can’t breathe and f**********k, I think I’m just going to sit down.

Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche

That looks like one of the latter types.

17:20 – Advanced stats may be seeping into mainstream media analysis with certain people (whaddup Mirtle, Friedman), but for the most part…nope. SN commentators lamenting someone’s plus/minus just now.

16:42 – Hey, Tim Jackman sighting! Let’s play a game: guess when they Flames decided to trade everyone tank and (totally not) rebuild(, you guys):

New Jersey Devils v Buffalo Sabres

Hint: the answer is April. Before the trade deadline. (Good hint.)

13:30 – That just took me a few minutes to make, which is cool, cause I missed a few minutes.

12: 45 – Steve Begin is on the Flames, wonder how hard other teams game plan to prepare for what he brings (I’m being a dick. I’m sorry). It’s occurring to me that these teams, save for a few Avalanche players, are essentially teams compiled from the waiver wire of your 24-team fantasy league.

12: 38 – Patrick Bordeleau just smashed Matt Stajan late after a whistle then immediately gave it the “wait, no one saw me do that, right?” He looked like a dog that clearly just nosed through the trash after his owner got home. “Power”play Flames.


10:40 – Flames on a 5-on-3. Cervenka, Giordano, Brodie, Horak, Backlund.   ♫ Show ‘em your a tiger. Show ‘em what you can do! ♫

09:06 – Matt Duchene is the best player on the Colorado Avalanche. You may like Ryan O’Reilly’s well-rounded game (he’s a great player), and Gabriel Landeskog is very good, but if you can pick one for your team today, you take Duchene. I (still) contend that creating offense is the hardest thing to do in hockey, so he has more value than a guy like O’Reilly (who I think he’ll outscore over the next decade), who does the little things better.

07:41 – Joey MacDonald just made his first solid save of the night. Dude was my stallmate for a bit (did you guys know I played hockey at one point? I know, it hardly comes up), so a tidbit for those of you who aren’t that familiar with him: he has a gaggle of kids and a hilarious east coast accent.

06:16 – Cory Sarich just beat up Jan Hejda, who has three career fights (four now!) in 458 NHL games, and didn’t want to be in that one. And when I say “beat up,” I mean beat up like you would a punching bag that can’t hit you back. Just sit back, throw some punches at your leisure, and be done when you feel like it.

03:00 – Just saw TJ Brodie make a nice offensive play on a rush, remembered they had him out on the powerplay and thought “Y’know, I should really look up this kid’s numbers.” He’s a young defensman, sure, but…dude has three goals in 93 NHL games, and didn’t exactly pour them in in junior. This is a 5-on-3 PP guy? …Okay, I’m nitpicking now.

02:48 – Greg Zanon’s beard, from what I can tell, is his most redeemable quality as an NHL player. And MAN, is it a redeemable quality. So cool.

By the way, I’m well aware that I’m not as good as any of the players I’m chirping, so remember that this is the forced watched challenge, which means you get stream-of-consciousness commentary that would be like sitting on the couch beside me, not thoughtful musings on real things. ZANON BAD.

00:20 –  Players tend to get judged through the prism of their contract and expectations, so I kind of feel bad for Erik Johnson. Still can be a good NHL d-man, won’t ever be what some thought he could, so he’s going to get slagged a lot.

1,000 words after one period. I’ll rein it in.


Intermission show is hosted by Jeff Marek. Marek’s my boy, he does a great job hosting. I love, love, love that this panel (Marek, Brad May and John Shannon) was basically like “Yep there’s a game going on but ANYWAY what do you guys think about having more outdoor games?” They know what they’re showing here.

This is Greg Zanon’s beard, by the way:



Speaking of hair: I found my first grey not this past weekend but the one before. I turned 30 in December (I’m an ’82 baby, go Isles). I’ve always said I want salt-and-pepper or grey or white hair, and now that it’s starting to show up…I’m still down. The power alleys will show up in my hairline soon (it runs in the family), so the distinguished colour seems a welcome alternative to bald. No offense to bald people. I’ll be there at some point too.

20:00 – The commentators just sang the organ version of the song I know from NHL ’94 with “na-na-na’s,” and the whimsy was legit amazing. Not even being a jerk here. I feel like they’re in mail it in mode here too and having fun with this.

19:00 - You realize that like the last five Forced Watching games Goldsbie’s got have been like 5-4 thrillers, right? My first game was 1-1, went to OT. That’s happening again, isn’t it?

18:15 – There’s one. I’m happy it was the Avs so we can talk about the ridiculous puck possession by Ryan O’Reilly, which I was starting to write about as it ended in a goal. THAT BALANCE. Holy bananas, man. He makes the dude leaning on him (Roman Horak) look like a kid in hockey school trying to get the puck from an instructor.

That’s some possessing of the puck right thurr.

And, I should note, the goal was tipped in by ex-North Dakota Fighting Sioux player Brad Malone, giving him his first career NHL goal.

17:08“We just got word that Matt Stajan will not return from the hit by Bordeleau…” Don’t take this too seriously, as I’m not accusing Stajan of a damn thing, but honestly: what incentive is there to play hurt, risk anything if you’re on the Flames. He may have snapped the lower half of his leg off Kevin Ware-style for all I know, but if he’s on the Blues (or whoever) and battling for playoffs does he try to finish the game? If I got breathed on wrong and I’m an NHL vet on this Flames team I’m like “I’m good for the night, kthxbai.”

13:29 – The most underrated difference between your average rec leaguer and a guy in the NHL is balance. It comes from a combination of edgework and core strength and all that stuff, but I remember that being almost funny when I started playing rec and was still in shape. Big, big dudes can give you their best, and it’s pointless. Incidentally, it’s why some really tough, big guys are terrible hockey fighters and get stuck in the ECHL/AHL. Big guys with balance ragdoll them. George Parros is a monster that should kill people in every fight, but has terrible balance. John Scott has bad balance too. There’s no reason anyone should be able to hang with those two, but Colton Orr and Fraser MacLaren both hung with Scott this year. And they aren’t exactly reincarnations of Kurt Browning on their edges.

11:50 – My wife just now “I haaaaate hoooockey.” She doesn’t hate hockey. This is her Dad’s jersey in the Hockey Hall of Fame (interestingly, the mini-Masterton below it is my Dad’s. No idea if they did that on purpose or not):

gillies hhof

But she does get annoyed that I go to work during the day, eat dinner and hang out for a bit, then have to watch hockey if I want to have a clue what I’m talking about/doing the next day.

11:34 – Commentators are bemoaning the lack of Brian McGratton (“even if he’s just sitting on the bench he’s a deterrent”), as Sebastien Bordeleau just threw ANOTHER dicey hit.


Avs short again. Bordeleau, by the way, is 6’6″, 225.

LARGE. Not in charge.

10:30 – Roman Cervenka scores as Bordeleau comes out of the penalty box. So annoying as a killer. “Hey, we killed that oAWwwwww….” So close to a job-well-done back-pat, instead you get a minus.

That goal was your standard “we’re not a talent-heavy team” goal. “Get traffic in front, throw it on net, it might go in, you might get a rebound.”

07:50 – What is with the commercial where Jim Hughson is calling a fake game and they choose terrible fake names for players? “Lando! To Shanko!” You can pick any names in the world, and you go with those?

07:00 – Speaking of commercials, two thoughts: A) Keystone Ice has a commercial? Doesn’t seem like a company that can (or needs) to advertise. I thought the understanding was “the beer is terrible, but it’s the cheapest thing in the store’s fridge, so if you want to get smashed cheap, we both know what’s happening here,” and B) “Keystone: grab some stones” is the slogan? My little homie Jake Goldsbie loaaaaathes commercials that imply “Aren’t you a man? Then buy this. Don’t be a bitch,” for fairly obvious reasons: those ad campaigns are terrible.

04:22 – They just said Zanon’s beard is one of the more awesome in the history of awesome. It is, but c’mon now. Emil Kaberg of Örebro in Sweden’s second division says “what’s up now.”

emil kaberg

Radko Gudas too.

03:07 – Cammalleri just scored – I believe he’s currently on a line with Roman Horak and Steve Begin. And not to carve those guys, but knowing how serious/passionate/intense Cammalleri is about hockey and his career, I promise you he’s not that pumped about that. Dude has 27 points in 35 games as a 30 year old which isn’t bad, and I could see him being valuable for someone for another half-dozen years. He’s a support scorer though, and shouldn’t be leading an NHL team in points…which he currently is.

02:14 – Wife just sent me this (yes, we’re in the same house, whatever), so you get to enjoy it too:

00:30 – JS Giguere just made two ridiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiculous saves, oh man. He is getting absolutely shelled right now. Check ‘em out:

00:10 – JS Giguere just made another sick save. It’s 2-1 Calgary, who are taking it to Colorado. I guess having a bunch of decent 30-year-old support scorers is the key to taking it to the Avs these days.

Avs: U, G, L, Y, you ain’t got no alibi, this ugly.


I just spent the entirety of the intermission tweeting cat pics with people, because if you haven’t noticed, I sort of like cats. This is Jiggs, our gigantic Ragdoll.

jiggs big

Ignore the bar, I’m due for a reload, I just can’t bring myself to do it here when booze cost less than water in Phoenix, the city I moved to Toronto from six months ago. I used to stock up at Costco, for crying out loud. You can buy a bottle of tequila in the line at the pharmacy there. That city is insane.

By the way, I love dogs too, all animals, really. But I live in an apartment and like to spend my afternoon doing stuff and not having to report home so an animal doesn’t poop on my floor, so y’know, cats for now.

In the interest of fair play, this is our other cat, Tyson.


Enough cats. Hockey’s back on.

18:00 – Backlund has seven of the Flames 28 shots right now…woosh. Getting one quarter of your teams shots is generally a sign that you’re playing well.

16:12 – Bordeleau just ran into/over Joey MacDonald. This guy has two assists in 36 games. He seems quite aware that his role is “opponent masher.”

15:43 – Oh my good gravy, the ref just got DA-rilled with a slapper. I mean, that might have exploded one of the jewels. Excuse me for not dancing around that, but from what I could tell, the man got straight bagged. Not sure how you want me to sugarcoat that.

(Update: he returned to the game. The boys must be intact.)

12:33 – PA Parenteau with some nifty stickhandling in his own zone before turning it over in the neutral zone. Gotta wonder if playing on a struggling team (or definitely non-playoff bound one, specifically) would make you be more prone to think “eff it, I’m trying this.” I mean, especially in Parenteau’s situation, being atop the Avs list of scoring leaders. You know your place in the lineup is safe, so whatever. I can only image what a downhill spiral that’d be once players start thinking that way.

10:10 – Commentators officially call Zanon “Zed.” Noted.

07:47 – Oh god this is going to go to overtime isn’t it. It’s 2-1 Flames still, for those who’ve long since forgot. I just took a melatonin and started drinking peach ginger tea, because when I said I’m 30, I meant 74.

06:34 – Man, Matt Duchene through the neutral zone is seriously next-level. Like, there’s good at hockey, and that gear. I should put together a Top 10 Players of Note in the Neutral Zone list, of which Phil Kessel would feature prominently. I’m open to checking out other suggestions on this.

05:00 – And there’s Duchene on his next shift drawing a penalty. He’s been a handful this period.

03:20 – Alex Tanguay, short-handed goal! Nice, this isn’t going to overtime. The Avs were all over the Flames this period too, I’m genuinely surprised this is just going to end with the Flames winning, because that’s too easy. I would do a Systems Analyst on that shorty, but I can just sum it up here:

* An Avs players stares at the puck

* Some Avs players stare at the puck

* All the Avs players stare at the puck

* A Calgary Flame gets said puck and passes it to a human who is not a puck. Tanguay then loses the handle on it, but makes a nice shot to (likely) put the game away.

01:46 – Talking about the mental fatigue of being on a struggling team now. Don’t underestimate how f*****g tiring this is. Every damn day when you show up to the room you’re not allowed to laugh and goof around because it’s after your latest loss, so it’s just somber, somber, play game, get beat, somber, somber. Boo. Hiss.


And while I’m closing up with Homestar Runner clips, here’s what I’m doing with that game in my mind: