Posted in Community, Daddy, hockey, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Insert Toronto Maple Leafs Joke here…


Fine, okay, I get it… Being a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs has never been easy. No Stanley Cups in my life-time, and very few players to get excited about.  Save for Rick Vaive, Wendel Clark, Mats Sundin, Doug Gilmour, Jiri Crha, and likely the best goaltender they have had in a very long time, Ed Belfour.

There are teams retiring the numbers of legends that people actually knew about. Among the Leafs retired numbers is Ace Bailey, who was almost killed on the ice, and the NHL held an all-star game to raise funds to benefit his medical bills – and we’ve suffered through all-star games ever since.  Then there is Bill Barilko, who I know about from a Tragically Hip song, 50 Mission Cap.  There is also the number up in the rafters which my middle child pointed at during a Toronto Rock Lacrosse game and said; “Dad, that’s my favourite former Leaf.” After going through pretty much the entire list, he blurted out, “it’s Tim Horton… I love his coffee.”  So I had to explain the who Tim Horton’s situation to him (Leaf, traded, Buffalo, Coffee Shop, Died, Wife sold the 2 shops for like $36,000)…

But this current crop of Leafs is the absolute best I have ever seen. They are very talented, and very skilled and very young, and even though the Marleau contract is not paying dividends, having his leadership is hopefully helpful. If it is not, they can always ship him to Robidas Island where Jeoffrey Lupel lives.

But when I look at this team I cannot help but see the elephant in the room that people are not talking about. The elephant is what caused the Leafs season to turn from being one of the best to being eliminated in game 7, yet again at the hands of the Boston Bruins.

Willie Nylander.

He held out much like his old man did when he played in the NHL, and he was rewarded by the Leafs rookie GM Kyle Dubas for doing so.

The day they brought Willy back was the day the team was destined for failure.

Need proof?

I have some.

The team was 20-8 with out Willy (.714 win percentage), and they ended 46-28 which means with Willy (I am a superstar so pay me like a superstar), they were 26-20 (.565 winning percentage).

Willie Nylander scored 7 goals and 20 assists for his $12,000,000 salary this year.  12-million. The percentage of points per dollars is so small, I’m not even going to put it here… It’s embarrassing.   The player who was filling his role at a $832,000 salary was Kaspari Kapanen and he managed a mere 20 goals, and 22 assists for 44 points. It’s fair to say that if Nylander had stayed home, Kapanen would have had upwards of 60 points and he wouldn’t demand $12,000,000 in salary.

For all of the players who say its a business, there are some players on the team who really love to play the game and seeing Nylander take care of himself and not help the team, it had to have a negative impact on the team morale.

Watching Nylander on the ice and you could see clearly that he was disinterested, disengaged and not giving it his all. Could it be from missing training camp and getting up to the same pace as the rest of the players? I don’t buy that. If he’s a true superstar, then he should have had no issues getting back into the swing of things within a few games. Instead, he had brain cramps on the ice, didn’t hustle where they needed him to, and scored a couple of garbage goals – either empty nets, or when the score didn’t matter.

And how did the “superstar” do in the playoffs? 1 goal, 2 assists (all points were even strength) and a whopping 14 shots on goal. WOW.

I think the fact that the team performed as they did, Matthews, Marner, Kadri (when he was suspended), Marleau, and to a much lesser extent Tavares, Brown, Hyman and Kapanen, the Leafs didn’t play like a team. It’s Nylander that I blame for that.

The Buds would be best to move off from Willie in the off-season. Unfortunately, before his selfishness and lack of interest in playing like a $12,000,000 player I felt they could have gotten a really good player in exchange, however, now that his true self has shown through, I don’t feel the team can get back anything of value if they can trade that salary at all.

I think the Nylander money can be used to keep Gardiner, and the team will be better without him.

Thanks Willy! Enjoy counting your money.

 

 

Posted in Canada, Coffee, hockey, money, Parenting

Overheard


Overheard

I love when I have the opportunity to create a blog post entitled “Overheard”. It means I am in the right place and the right time, and I am able to quickly jot down conversations between random strangers from very public places, which are utter nonsense.

It’s been a while, but I have such a post.

The Location

I was just settling in to a local hockey arena, when I noticed that there were 2 guys not too far from me who looked quite suspicious. They were waiting for the rest of the group to leave, or looking for some privacy.  At first, I thought there was going to be a drug deal, or something illegal going down, so I placed my ear buds into my ears, flipped open my laptop, and pretended to be working while I listened to – what I thought was going to be – a sketchy transaction.

Little did I know, they wanted privacy to begin a conversation of absolute nonsense.

In fact, their conversation was so inaccurate that I really wanted to interject and correct them… But I couldn’t.

So I typed away on my laptop a bit quieter and I took down some of their brilliance.

The Conversation

“So I need to earn some more money and pay for all this hockey.”

“I’ve noticed there are a lot of Chinese kids playing – is it because they have billions of dollars and billions of citizens and they come to Canada to spend their money so they choose hockey because it’s the most expensive sport?”

“Yes.”

“So I need to compete or the entire NHL will be Chinese and there will be one else playing.”

“Right.”

“Or, I need to train these kids.”

“No.”

“You need to earn money and compete. You need to earn your money in Bitcoins.  Bitcoins are the future.  The Government is going to seize all the money.  They won’t print money anymore.  Every country is going to stop printing money.  Money is in the real estate.  Buy now, sell later.  It’s a conspiracy.”

“Like what’s going on in the US?”

“Yes. It’s a massive conspiracy to get money out of the hands of people.  Then the government will tell people what to spend and how much they can spend.  It will be like they’re controlling you.”

“We’re going to have to move to China to get away from it all. There will be room, because they are ALL moving here.”

“Is Trudeau Chinese?”

“No. He’s an Indian.  But not from India or Indiana.  From here.”

“Is Trump part-Chinese?”

“No, but I hear he likes coffee enemas…”

 

SILENCE

 

Then they whispered a bit more. People showed up.  I packed up and left.

Leave it to the words; Trump, coffee and enema to kill a conversation.

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, events, family, hockey, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Laine + FortNite = Fewer Goals + Late For Work


For those of you familiar with Patrik Laine, the NHL superstar in the making who is playing with the Winnipeg Jets, you will know that his bread-and-butter goal-scoring has gone someone AWOL this season.

The forward who was chosen second overall in the 2016 NHL entry draft behind the Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews, has seen his production drop from 44 goals last season to just 29, so far, this season which is still fantastic, but for a player of his skills, there was expectations that he was going to score close to 60-goals this season.

His play has looked somewhat uninspired, and his plus/minus has taken a beating this season on a very, very good, Jets team.

Through Laine’s struggles media reports circle back to comments he made about FortNite, the uber-popular video game, which the Vancouver Canucks has tried to ban in order to prevent their players from playing too much and not being prepared for games.

Maybe Laine is not playing well because he’s playing too much FortNite…

Or maybe not.

The purpose of bring up the addictive nature of this game is to loop in a personal story about being late for work.

Earlier in the school year, and on more than one occasion, I had sent of my wife and 2/3rds of our children to school, and was going to drop the 3rd one off on my way to office, when suddenly, I noticed that he was no-where to be found.

As the clock continued to click, and time slowly went by, it became quite obvious that he was going to be late for school, I was going to be late for work, and the very real possibility that he was not feeling well started to creep into my head.

After spending a few minutes yelling instructions throughout the house – “I’m leaving!”, “If you want a lift to school, you had better get to the front door right away!” and “Hurry up, you’re going to be late”, I decided the better parenting technique would be to see if he’s really okay (at least that is what I imagined my wife asking me as I relayed this story to her).

I walked upstairs to his bedroom, and it was empty.

Maybe he left on his own, took transit to school, and I’ve been standing in the front hall yelling to myself…

So I called his name, and received a muffled, downtrodden response, “I’m in the bathroom… I don’t feel well.”

Ugh.  Poor thing.

So I started to notify my clients, my network and my wife that this was the case and that I would contact his school to let them know he was sick.

Every couple of minutes I would check on his, asking him through the door how he was doing, if he needed to stay home, and what hurt.

It was his tummy.

He would not need to stay home.

He just needed a few more minutes…

I gave him 20-minutes, and kept checking on him to see if there was anything that I could do to help him feel better.

He re-assured me that he was good to go, and just needed a few more minutes.

Then I heard it…

The noise.

It made me stop in my tracks…

I might even have stopped breathing for a few seconds…

He said; “YES!  Victory Royale!  Okay, Dad… Let’s go to school.”

He was playing FortNite.

Locked in the bathroom.

Feigning illness, making himself late for school, me late for work, and for what?  A Victory Royale?!?

I shook my head, told him he can’t do this, and restricted his morning access to video games (it’s never been an issue before) and on the ride to school I got to hear the details of his win.

Then I started thinking about Laine… the Vancouver Canucks, other parents, that I need to change the password on my iPad, and that someday this FortNite craze will be over.  All the kids will suffer withdrawal symptoms and then life will go back to normal.

That was the expectation until I was informed today by my son that “Apex Legends” already has 50-million players, or about 1/4 of the number of players that FortNite has, but Apex has only been out for one month…

Oh my.

So much for this being the exception and not the norm…

 

 

This is a NJN Blog Post (No Judgement Necessary)

Posted in Canada, hockey, news, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Put Up Or Shut Up: William Nylander


What are the Toronto Maple Leafs going to do with William Nylander?  Sign him by 5pm today, December 1st, 2018, let that time pass and force him to sit out the entire NHL season, or trade him?

The saga might end today, or maybe it doesn’t.

The team certainly could use him, but then again, Kasperi Kapanen has been great in Willie’s spot.

The Leafs could let him sit out the entire season to teach him a lesson?  He’s an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so he belongs to the Leafs and just has to agree to the dollars and length of a contract and play, but he wants a lot of money and the Leafs don’t want to pay him a lot.

That’s a problem.

Maybe the Leafs make him sit out.

People keep saying that Willie needs to take the most money he can get because hockey careers are short and he should maximize his earnings and while we might think that’s greedy, and not best for the team, maybe losing the million or so he would have earned this season, plus the $4-5 million that he would have earned had he signed could be money he’ll never get back, especially if he can’t recapture his touch, or produce at a level he thinks he can while playing for the Hurricanes or Coyotes after the Leafs ship him out of town.

Personally, I think he’s got to sit, or go.  I think that he’s producing at his rate because he’s skilled but also so is the team, and while he might think he’s comparable to Dreiseitl in Edmonton at $8 million per year, if you were to remove Leon and place him on, say, Arizona, does he produce on his own at the rate he is now?  We know that to be a resounding no.

So what happens to Willie after 5pm today if he doesn’t sign, you ask?

Well, he’s only 22-years-old, and has only played in 2 NHL seasons so he falls way short of the 27-year-old / 7-season threshold needed to become an unrestricted free agent (meaning he could then sign with any team).

As for next season… He would still be a restricted free agent (RFA), meaning he would be in exactly the same spot he is in this year, but he would have missed an entire season and not been paid at all.

How about arbitration?  Maybe an arbitrator could solve this?  Again, no.  Willie hasn’t met the NHL requirements of playing 4-seasons, so he is ineligible.

Ouch.

He can be traded at any time, but he can’t then sign a contract until July 1st, 2019 because he’s ineligible to play this season if him and his daddy decide that money takes precedence over everything.

The Leafs are hoping that faced with these options Willie will take their offer.  Willie, I’m sure is being told that the Leafs need him (they do and they don’t) and that they’ll cave as the deadline approaches.

If the Leafs cave, what does that say to Marner and Matthew’s agents?

As a fan of the team, I’m positive that there are players on the team who would like to see him moved.  No player is bigger than a team – see Las Vegas last season – and his actions at the end of the day may be his right, but they’re selfish.

Sure, the team could trade him at a moment’s notice, blah, blah, blah, but that’s the price you pay for making it to the NHL.  You get a ton of money if you’re good.  But somehow, if suddenly you suck, the players don’t seem to be offering it back to the team, do they?

Today is put up or shut up time for Willie, but I really feel the damage has been done.

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, hockey, Life, Parenting, sleep, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

What’s Better Than Coaching Hockey?


What’s better than coaching hockey?  Coaching AND being the convener!

Oh yes!

I’ve always loved coaching hockey.  I’ve never actually ever played a single game of ice hockey in my life, but I have coached ice hockey before.  This year represents my 7th year coaching hockey.  My previous 6-years were in my early 20’s when my sports rehab coach, Michael Grafstein (he was the BEST!), asked me to open and close the doors in the bench for him as he was the head coach of a team in North Toronto Hockey Association.

He failed to tell me that the games were at 6am.

So I asked a friend of mine to join me, and together we would go out Saturday nights, come home at 3am or 4am, then get up at 5am and head to the rink.  It was way more fun than it seemed.

After doing that for 3-years, my “Uncle” asked me to help coach his oldest son all the way up in Richmond Hill, Ontario, for the Richmond Hill Hockey Association, and again I would drive up there and open and close the doors for that team.  I went on the ice as little as possible, but I was there, and I learned.

I decided I wanted to be a real coach, so I started the process of getting certified by Hockey Canada, and I took courses towards my National Canadian Coaching Certification, but stopped when I had to pick a sport to specialize in.  I didn’t want to specialize in baseball, for example, only to find my future children would never play that sport.

All this time, I was playing and coaching my ball hockey team.  From the age of 19 up to 45-years-old, I played in a the North West Toronto Ball Hockey League and the York Central / North Central Ball Hockey League, until I tore my calf muscle in a game.

I was awarded the Coach / Manager of the year award 6 or 7 times, and we won the championships somewhere around 7-10 times, and it’s funny how many hockey players tried out ball hockey but couldn’t play because there is no coasting in ball hockey like you can do in ice hockey.

With all that being said, when asked if I wanted to coach my 11-year-old son this season in his house league in the Forest Hill Hockey Association, I jumped at the opportunity.  We had moved from that horrible experience last season back to the league where he played his first 2 seasons and in this league, when you make the select team, you have to play house league too.

With coaches in place, the league was then looking for a convener or two to run their division this season and I must not have said no quick enough because that’s now part of my role.  I’m actually really happy about it, and really excited to see how the season is going to play out.  The other convener that I’m working with is absolutely fantastic.  He’s been around the game much longer than I have and his personality and thoughts about how teams should run themselves are a perfect match with mine.

So this season, while my oldest continues to swim competitively, and my youngest dances and trains in synchronized swimming, I get to spend time with my middle son at his select hockey practices, and his house league hockey games, and taking him to basketball games because why play only one or 2 sports when you can play them all and make your parents drive you around every evening and weekend.

I wish I had these opportunities as a kid…

I’m happy to do this for the fitness component, and so that my kids have an opportunity to work in a team, to have responsibilities to their team and their coaches, and because it’s proven that exercise helps kids focus and sleep better.

It’s a win-win-win-win-win… Scenario.

I prefer being called “Coach”.  I’m not sure what people call conveners other than really nasty words.  lol.

Thank goodness I have a brand new Canada Goose jacket to keep me warm!