Monday, June 22, 2015

The Lounge Adds a Touch of Class

That's right. Your local bartender was treated like a king for Father's Day. My daughters gave me plenty of snacks, clothes and a great BBQ meal. And to top it off, I was the happy recipient of a Budweiser Red Light, which is now available in the United States.

It's has been placed in the perfect spot, near the big screen, in the Lounge. The light, which can be synced to the Internet via WiFi, allows the user to set it to mark the goals of his or her favorite team. I have set mine to the Kings. Good thing I did not have this during last season, when the Kings most definitely did not light the lamp too many times. I hope for better this season.

A word of warning to those of you living near the Lounge, the Kings play more than half their games between the times of 10:30 pm and 1:30 am Eastern time. So it could get quite noisy for a few seconds next season. But who doesn't like ringing in the morning with one last goal.

Next on the Lounge's wish list?

Why the Red Zeppelin, of course.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

One Season Ends, a New One Begins

A few second after the final horn sounded last night for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, I walked to my library and begin to fashion a reading list for the summer.

Hockey books, mixed with the fiction, theater and film sections of The New Yorker, will get me to mid-September, when the Canadian junior leagues and the KHL begin regular-season play and the NHL opens training camps.

Summer, which begins Sunday, is the time to check the work of the analytics writers, whose books attempt to project a possible outcome based on mathematical models and some keen observations. They are much more fun to read once a season is done rather than before them. Ditto the forecasts for the past season from several websites. The least valuable are most of the newspaper forecasts, which traffic in the usual cliches (clutch players, good guys, veterans, etc.) and which give a reader very little in the way of depth.

I am not much of a swimmer (I cannot) nor am I a math wizard, but I know enough to say I will not drown in facts when it comes to a newspaper projection or any article from a dead-tree edition, for that matter. But with the analytics books and websites, as well as the work done on,, and, I am getting a thorough report.

Wondering why I am not writing more? (At least I hope some of you are.) It is because I am drowning in the deep end with all the good information online. I hope to do better with my writing production this offseason and during the 2015-16 NHL season.

The draft is coming and the above websites, along with, is providing more information than any newspaper or that of The Hockey News (sadly) could hope to do. And these sites are producing content all the time. No complaints about early deadlines or production problems on presses. Writers write, editors edit and the button is pushed to post this material at whatever time. Late is not a problem with the web. Those quotes and a deeper dive into the statistics will be there when you wake up. Just sign on, log in and breathe in the information.

The younger readers know that the old sports pages, stale game reports, tired columnists and abbreviated box scores can be dropped in the bin. One season is over. It is time to be born again, fresh, alive and ready for 2015-16. This is what keeps me going.

I have moved from snotty nosed kid, to annoying teenager to young punk, young father, wiser not-so-young father and, lately, a much wiser old man (in his 50s, at least). While I now move as slow as I write, I move with the emotion, passion and intention of a man who will go right through you if it means I can see another year of with my family, my dogs, the game of hockey and all that can be written online about it. A few slices of pie would be good, too.

Time to mix up a batch of Jack Honey Lemonade and clean both the drink and reading glasses. Starting right now, I'll first toast the Chicago Blackhawks on their victory. Then I'll savor the possibilities for next season. No time like the present.