This is one of Justin Bourne's cats. This is what July has done to us.

This is one of Justin Bourne’s cats. This is what July has done to us.

Mid-July. It’s the worst time of year for a sports fan. Let us count the ways.

1. Baseball, the only true sport during the heart of summer, takes three days off to play an All-Star Game no one wants to watch.  The spectacle includes the torture of American civilians, as Chris Berman screams the word BACK for three consecutive hours during the HR Derby.

2. Football is still seven weeks away.

3. Basketball is still…I don’t know. Whatever.

4. The oppressive heat of July is especially terrible for the sports fan, for the sports fan is generally overweight and out of shape, thus leaving him or her sweating through parts of their bodies no one else dare dreams.

5. Most importantly, the NHL season is in the desert of emptiness. The rush of free agency a week old, fans go into a painful detox, twitching in their beds as the signings of Harry Zolnierczyk and Benn Ferriero serve as the useless drug to treat the sweats and vomiting caused by NHL withdrawal. The new season is still more than two months away, and times are tough.

That pain hockey fans feel is felt even more by people who run hockey Web sites, as there is just simply nothing to write about these days. That’s why you see heated 11-hour Twitter debates about where to place a locker-room logo. It’s the hockey person’s way of dealing with withdrawal by lashing out at those they love.

Instead of being a hockey writer who waits around for stories to write about – the Olympics! – why not be a proactive hockey writer and write about the stories that aren’t true but you wish they were? That’s journalism, people. You can’t spell journalism without fiction.

So without further ado, although I do love ado, here are the five biggest hockey stories of the offseason that haven’t happened but I hope they do.

1. Patrick Kane accidentally melts the Stanley Cup.

CHICAGO – Three years ago, Patrick Kane spent his day with the Stanley Cup in Buffalo. After winning the Cup in 2013, he chose to celebrate in Chicago, and it will be a decision the NHL and Hockey Hall of Fame will forever regret.

During an early-morning appearance at a smelting plant owned by H. Kramer & Co., Kane had the Stanley Cup slip out of his hands and directly into a vat of molten liquid metal, irreparably destroying the sporting world’s most celebrated-trophy.

A panicked Phil Pritchard, aka the Keeper of the Cup, lost both arms up to the elbows reaching in to the bubbling hot cauldron in a failed attempt to save the trophy.

“I feel like an idiot,” said Kane, who was on his fourth beer of the morning. “It’s really hot in there and my hands were really sweaty. And one of them was holding a beer. In hindsight, I could’ve been more responsible.”

A spokesman for the Hockey Hall of Fame said a new trophy will be built immediately – at Kane’s expense – but they will not be able to inscribe the names of the winners on the new trophy. When the Stanley Cup melted, the names on the trophy were lost forever.

“We don’t remember the names on the trophy,” the spokesman said. “Why would we write a list of names of people on the Cup? We had the list on the Cup!”

Kane won back fans later in the day when his caravan ran over Justin Bieber on a street just outside the United Center.

2. Ilya Kovalchuk signs 10-year, $300 million deal to play on the moon.

First, he retired from the New Jersey Devils and signed with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg. But Ilya Kovalchuk found himself retiring again Friday, unable to pass on an offer that was out of this world.

Kovalchuk retired for the second time in two weeks, leaving SKA St. Petersburg to sign a 10-year, $300 million contract to play for team in a league that will exist on the moon.

“It’s not about money,” said Kovalchuk, who was wearing a shirt made of money and pants made of money and a hat made of money. “It’s about my family and what’s best for them. In a way, we are going home. If you choose to believe our planet was created out of the big bang that happened in outerspace, that means we were created in outerspace, and with the moon located in outerspace, I am actually doing my family a favor by forcing them to live in outerspace.”

The Lunar League was founded by eccentric billionaire and Facebook founder Mark Zuckberg, a well-known hockey fan who is hoping to use hockey and Kovalchuk to expand his social media empire to the moon. Zuckerberg started negotiations with Kovalchuk first by poking him, then by writing on his wall.

That’s not Facebook speak, either. Zuckerberg saw Kovalchuk at a Russian airport, poked him repeatedly in the shoulder, then wrote the contract offer on a wall in Kovalchuk’s home. Zuckerberg is mentally unstable.

Critics in Russia and America are upset with Kovalchuk breaking another contract.

“On the bright side, with gravity being what it is on the moon, his laziness won’t be as noticeable,” said NBC’s Jeremy Roenick, as he cried into a tub of ice cream. “The lack of gravity means he can work half as hard. This is a sad day for Russian hockey, but this is what we should expect from hockey players who love space.”

3. Staal brothers retire to start boy band.

THUNDER BAY, Ontario – Feeling they have accomplished everything they could in hockey, Eric, Jordan, Marc and…who’s the other one again? Oh right. …and Jared Staal announced at a joint press conference in Thunder Bay, Ontario, that they were giving up hockey to start a four-man musical act that will perform internationally.

“We call ourselves, It’s Staal Right,” said Eric, who along with his siblings took the stage in white shirts, white pants, white shoes, and delivered a four-minute choreographed dance routine before answering the question in a sing-song voice.

“We’ve done everything we can as professional hockey players,” said Jordan. “I have a Cup, Eric has a Cup, Marc has seen us with the Cup and Jared has several plastic souvenir cups he has taken home after watching our games. We have been playing hockey since we were kids, and we decided we need a new challenge.”

It’s Staal Right will begin a six-continent world tour in September. They will also no longer be referred to as their birth names, instead adopting the blueprint that made the Spice Girls so popular in the 1990s. Eric Staal is calling himself Sporty Staal; Jordan will go by Scary Staal; Marc’s new name is Posh Staal and Jared will now be known as Other Staal, making the transition easiest for him.

“Staal power,” the group exclaimed at the conclusion of their press conference which was followed by the first public performance of their song, “Brothers Gotta Hug.”

4. Montreal Canadiens secede from the NHL

MONTREAL – Weary of playing inferior teams and having to answer questions in English, the Montreal Canadiens announced Friday they will break ties with the NHL and start their own league in which the Canadiens will play nothing but intra-squad scrimmages at Bell Centre.

“Nous aurons également que les joueurs canadiens-français qui ne parlent que français,” said Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin, although no one is quite sure what it means. According to a source in France, it means the Habs will only employ French-Canadian players who can speak the French language to the French-speaking people of Quebec.

Canadiens owner, president and CEO Geoff Molson said he was tired of demeaning his franchise by having the team play the likes of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Ducks, teams that lack the glorious history of the Montreal Canadiens, ignoring the fact those three teams have all won Stanley Cups more recently than the Habs.

While all Habs games will be scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET, the new pregame ceremonies to honor the team will push the start times back to 11:45 a.m. the following the morning.

5. Leafs sign Mikhail Grabovski to four-year contract.

Nah, that’s too ridiculous.

Four letters: One food forever, cuteness and the Joel/Henrik quandary

Hey Lozo, 

Since you’re homering for them this week: Which Columbus Blue Jacket is the cutest Columbus Blue Jacket?

- Ella

For those who don’t know, which is all of you, I grew tired of homer hockey writing during free agency, offered my writing services to the highest bidder for one week to whoever donated the most money to the You Can Play Team, and now I am a homer hockey writer for the Columbus Blue Jackets. It sounds really dumb when you type it out like that.

Personally, I think they are all beautiful. You’re asking me to choose between my children, my sexy, sexy children who are not really my children but are actually hunky adult men. Much like Michael Bolton’s music, I celebrate the Jackets the entire catalog of players.


If you could only eat the cuisine of one culture (Chinese, French, Mexican etc) for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?

Remember, this decision is forever. If you choose Hungarian, it’s Borscht for breakfast and no more of your beloved Honey Bunches of Oats (they’re American, or maybe Canadian. Either way, they’re not Hungarian.) for the rest of your life.

I’ll hang up and listen.

Sent from a device of some sort

Thanks for the warning. I almost chose Hungarian.

I don’t know how anyone could eat Chinese food for the rest of their life. It’s so greasy and heavy. It’s like my grandmother used to say – too much brown sauce in your diet leads to too much brown sauce in your toilet. Man, I miss that lady.

To me, it comes down to Mexican and Italian. I also contemplated Middle Eastern, but I don’t think that counts as it’s too broad. The problem with Mexican is their foods are different but mostly the same. Jim Gaffigan explains this. I love a burrito something fierce, but there’s just not much variety.

It’s boring, but I’d go Italian. You have various pastas and sauces, chicken parm, veal parm, eggplant parm. Technically, if you put parmesan cheese on anything, it makes it Italian. A Caesar salad is technically Italian. Garlic bread with mozzarella is something I could live off on its own for a year.

There are Italian wines, too. Ever have a Mexican wine? I thought not.

Hi Dave, 

How did you decide on your email address? Were “dave1″ through “dave111176″ all taken? Or perhaps you really like Mark Messier, Saku Koivu and Ray Bourque?



It’s my birthday. You’d be a bad detective. I picked it way back when the Internet was new and just kept it. I don’t know. This was really your question?


Do you think Joel Lundqvist ever questions his decision to be a player instead of a goalie? Normally these questions are useless and impossible to predict, but evidence CLEARLY shows that he’d be living a different life right now. I bet he would never admit it but deep down the thought crosses his mind from time to time.



There’s no doubt in my mind that not a day goes by when Joel Lundqvist doesn’t cry while watching highlights of his brother in the NHL. Same thing goes for Chris Paul and his brother, Cliff, who became an insurance agent while his twin is a star in the NBA.

The really strange thing to me is once the Lundqvist brothers got past their teen years, they stopped looking exactly the same. You can barely tell they are twins. It’s as if the Handsome Gene was activated in Henrik and remained dormant in Joel.

My scientific explanation is a decade worth of wind chapping from skating as a forward damaged Joel’s skin, while Henrik’s beautiful face was preserved behind a goalie mask lined with lotion and papaya extract.

(You can always send Bag Skate questions to dave111177 at gmail but they are always subject to ignoring and mocking)