Sunday, August 26, 2007


Yup! Season’s getting ready to start and everybody better be in shape. Ehh? You guys ready for this shit?

Some a ya took the summer off but I know that the rest a ya played right on through. That’s good cuz you’re going to be ready when its time to make the cut.

I’m pulling together a team this year and I spent a bit a time naming it. The Outlaws are still kicking some shit elsewhere and I didn’t wanna infringe on their nasty reputation so I had to come up with something new, you know. My first thought was that the name had to be “Jasper’s somebodies”. Right?

So I went through my trusty old (yeah its probably thirty years old) dictionary looking for some good names that would start with the letter “J”. Take a look at the list below, plus my side comments, and let me know what ya think, ehh.

Jasper’s Jackals - not bad
Jasper’s Jackasses - Lady’s Home Journal probably wouldn’t approve
Jasper’s Jackhammers - that’s got some meat to it, ehh?
Jasper’s Jackpot - sounds like a Vegas Tournament team
Jasper’s Jailbirds - probably a little too accurate
Jasper’s Jailers - nah, that’s the refs job
Jasper’s Jalopies - based on the average age and current physical condition of my old Outlaws that’s probably what they should change their name to
Jasper’s Jams - sounds a little too much like roller derby
Jasper’s Jangles - do the dangle and hear our jangle
Jasper’s Javelins - spearheaded attacks from the neutral zone, ehh?
Jasper’s Jaywalkers - we never cross the blue line legally
Jasper’s Jazz - nah, too basketballish
Jasper’s Jellyfish - sure if we played near the Nova Scotia coast
Jasper’s Jerks - I’d have to see if Steve Martin would sponsor us
Jasper’s Jets - Bobby Hull probably already owns that name
Jasper’s Jewels - we’d wear some fuckin necklaces when we played - right …
Jasper’s Jinx’s - sure for shit - for the other team
Jasper’s Jitterbugs - drop the gloves fucka - we gonna dance!
Jasper’s Jockeys - nope, makes me think of that Frank Zappa song where the little statue dudes are getting knocked over on rich folks’ lawns
Jasper’s Johnnies - ya gotta think about all the different meanings this name carries
Jasper’s Journeymen - I kinda like that
Jasper’s Joyriders - we’re definitely in for a reckless good time
Jasper’s Judges - too dorky
Jasper’s Jugglers - we spin, we dance, we do it all
Jasper’s Juicers - that’s got some oomph to it, ehh?
Jasper’s Jumbos - nah - Jumbos like Dumbos we ain’t no elephants
Jasper’s Jumpers - jump your bones in the corner shit head
Jasper’s Juniors - just a little too limited
Jasper’s Junkies - uh huh - we’re in the shit
Jasper’s Junkyard Dogs - I like that - has some appeal
Jasper’s Jury - we decide the outcome of the game - yup - we control the horizontal - we control the vertical - take me back to the Twilight Zone
Jasper’s Jutemen - tough and fibrous - are we all
Jasper’s Juvies - again just a bit limited

Ok - ya read those through. Right? Did ya read them a second or third time? I’m telling you guys, I read through that list so many times trying to make a stinkin decision. I couldn’t pick the right one. None of them seemed to be the perfect fit to convey the aura and attitude of the team that I was going to run.

So I slept on it for a couple a days and still nothing.

Along the way though I had some inspiration. And inspiration comes from the strangest places.


Here’s how it came to me:

I took the honey to the state fair this past week. She wanted to see all the display stuff and awards handed out for student artwork, etc. I wanted to see the rodeo, demolition derby, some of the livestock (avoid the poultry - ain’t nothin worse then the smell a chicken shit ya know) and behind my sunglasses - eye all the other cutie-pies on display (shit she knows I do this …). Seems as though neither of us are into the rides and carny crap anymore.

So we’re wandering about going from one expedition hall to another and I’m gathering up brochures on the tourist and sightseeing activities available in the various counties of the state as we stop at the county booths. I like to take drives, ya know and see the sights, so these brochures give me some ideas for future day trips. I also stopped at the booths of an outdoor publication and a used car weekly rag where at each I snagged free sample magazines to look through while later back at the cabin.

On the way home we stop at one of our favorite spots for a late lunch/early dinner with some great amber brews. She sacks out when we get home and I look through the car ad magazine while catching a flick on the cable. So, like within about five minutes time two things of a curious nature happen. Some real co-inky-dinky! And you guys know how I am about that shit, ehh ! ? ! ?

First while looking at the car ads I come across this old Ford Anglia for sale where the ad states that the car was once owned by Chuck Norris. Then during a commercial on TV they announce that Chuck Norris never sleeps. (Hmmm - I wonder why?)

Eureka !!!!

The team’s gotta be named after Chuck Norris. I gotta tell ya this is just so damned inspirational I just about shit my pants thinkin of the potential for this team’s name. The man does it all without nary a blemish! He’s been walkin with wood since I don’t know when!

I bounced a few additive terms around to go with both “Chuck” and “Norris” and finally decided to toss out anything using “Chuck” cuz I figured that our opponents would regularly substitute it with “fuck” or would just shortcut the name by calling us the “Chuck Fucks” which I didn’t want. It’s got some pazazz when ya think about it but ya know most leagues won’t let you use some of the common vulgar terms in your team name. And I tried some things like the Norris Numbskulls, the Norris Nomads, Norris’ Nightwalkers and the Norris Nighthawks - but no-go. I still wanted to stick to the duplication of first letters so I continued to cogitate on this team’s handle.

I was really leaning towards “Nightwalkers” cuz it associates with the term “thieves” like the Outlaws and has some correlation to my walking with wood theme but unfortunately it’s first synonym is hooker/prostitute and we’d rather be pimps then whores. Ehh?

It finally came to me. I’d name the team: Norris’ Nightmares.

How’s that work, ehh?

Look it up dudes and dudettes.

My dictionary says “A dream full of great fear or terror. Any terrifying thought or experience.”

If Chuck Norris ever has a nightmare then it has to be a doozie. (Of course he never sleeps though - and now you know why.) And that’s what I want this team to represent. I want every team and every opposing player to be scared shitless when they know that they’ll be going up against us! They’ll have so much pain and agony from playing us. And we’ll run up that scoreboard every game like the Texas Rangers did last week in baseball.

It works for me. Does it work for you? Let me know. (As if your opinion means a rats ass to me and what I name my team - you can name your team whatever the fuck you want. Right?)

Ok. There’s more to come but that’ll be next week.

Skate hard!

See ya next time when we meet along the boards.

Jasper Wheats

Sunday, August 19, 2007

NHL Expands

Can ya believe this shit?

The NHL is expanding again!

Per my local paper, the Daily Republic, I picked up this wee bit a data in their “Deals” report in the sports section of the August 17th, 2007 edition. This is the shit you guys: San Antonio and Hershey teams are now in the NHL. No bullshit -- it was right there in print.

I’m thinkin: What the fuck is Bettman up to now. I mean what the ba-dinky? Newspapers don’t feed ya lies do they? I mean my blog here is often times full a shit - but that’s cuz “I’m allowed!”. But don’t newspapers have to feed ya the straight shit? Ehh?

Screw Bettman - maybe this is a good deal. San Antonio in recent years has grown bigger then Dallas and Dallas has the Stars so why shouldn’t San Antone have a team. In my visits to the home of the Alamo over the years I’ve seen that they’ve had the Iguanas that were in the CHL and then there were the Dragons that were in the IHL. So why not now, shouldn’t San Antonio have the Rampage in the NHL instead of the AHL.

Can you imagine the excitement that journeyman tough guy, Pete Vandemeer, was feeling when he found out that he was joining the NHL’s new San Antonio team. That’s what the “Deals” blurb said right there with the another blurb that said left wing, Tanner Glass, agreed to terms with the Florida Panthers.

I’m telling ya those folks in Bexar County, Texas are in for some excitement with Vandemeer. He’s led three different leagues in penalty minutes over the last eleven years. In 1998/1999 he led the UHL with 390 minutes, in 1999/2000 he led the ECHL with 457 minutes and then in 2003/2004 he led the AHL with 398 penalty minutes. The dude plays some old time hockey, ehh? Like to see him and Sean Avery dance a bit wouldn’t ya guys?

The little spec of text about Hershey under the NHL heading stated that Grant Potulny was joining the Bears. I didn’t know much about Grant so I Googled him and found out that he’d gone the full term with the University of Minnesota and then did some time with the Binghamton Senators. Crap, he’s Senators’ property having been drafted by them in the fifth round of 2000.

Now I’m sure that everybody in Hershey, Pennsylvania was excited that the Bears were going NHL after fifty or sixty years, ehh.

But now I’m becoming a little leery of this shit I read. I’m thinking that Hershey really couldn’t support an NHL franchise. It’s definitely a great town for chocolate, yup. But the Bears have been associated with the Capitals lately. So what gives?

So I go back and Google Vandemeer too and low and behold I see that he’s been property of the Capitals.

Shit are the gears spinning in my head now! I’ve got to figure that this section of sports transactions listed in my local paper just might be a conspiracy coming out of Washington, DC. There’s just too much co-inky-dinky for it to be anything else. Those folks over there in our nation’s capital are so good at spinning the shit that this has got to be the case.

It’s got to be the case, ehh? I’m beginning to think that this is all a big fat lie. The Caps are just trying to stress out the upper management of all the other teams. The other NHL management, right, are now trying to figure out how to revise their schedules and make new hotel and flight arrangements to accommodate the coming changes? That shit can just really throw ya off your game, ya know. I've been there, done that.

Yeah, its gotta be a big spin by the Caps …..

..... Or was it just a stupid typo in my local paper?

The season’s coming soon and your summer leagues are winding down so skate hard my friends and walk with wood!

Stay tuned for next week’s pile a shit.

Catch ya in the corner!


Saturday, August 11, 2007


What a great time a the year, ehh guys ! ? ! ?

The end of summer is rapidly approaching and Bonds has now broken Aaron’s home run record. Makes me wonder how many more dingers he’s going to hit before he finally retires from the sport of baseball and the rumors and shit hangin over his head with the steroid fiasco. But what’s he going to do?

Damn, I’ll be glad when baseball season and playoffs are finally over cuz it means that we’ll have then started our season of hockey. Wooo - Wooo !!

Of course for all of you knuckleheads we’ll have the start of football season in there too. School starts up for a whole bunch a you guys too I guess. Oh, those were the days, huh? Hookin up with your buds and trashin on each other about what you didn’t do over the summer and a course givin a good look-see at the parade of the opposite sex material. Good shit all around, ehh!

Next weekend, in a little town in Maine, the folks there will be celebrating their Wild Blueberry Festival. I happened to read about it in the American Profile, a weekly publication delivered in my local newspaper. The town is named Machias and they have a blueberry pie-eating contest and other activities that draws about 20,000 people to the small community.

The town that I currently live in has their Tomato Festival this same weekend. Guess I’d rather be in Maine though. Nothin wrong with tomatoes I’m telling ya but I just love blueberries.

Maine’s got lobster’s too and I sure like them a lot, uh huh. And it’s usually got a fairly good hockey team, the Black Bears, that quite often makes the finals for NCAA Division 1 playoffs. Quality hustler and skater extreme, NHL’er Paul Kariya played for them, even though he wasn’t born and raised in Maine. As a matter of fact there have only been four NHL players that have been born in Maine.

For half the school year and most of the following summer of the fifth grade I spent in Maine. A little town down east called Damariscotta, it was. Shared the opposite side of the river, named the same, with another little village that goes by the name of Newcastle. The Damariscotta River at this point is a tidal river. At high tide it looks like a river and at low tide it looks like a creek running through a mud flat. When the tides coming in the river flows inland which surprised the living shit out a me one time.

We were friends with the Reed family. They owned the dry goods store in town and lived right on the river. Dad rented a cabin from them before we joined him and rented the Page house. Anyway it was a hot day and a couple of the Reed kids wanted to go swimming so I decided to join them in diving off their dock. I dove in and I swear the water felt like it was about only thirty-five fuckin degrees which was shock enough to take my breath away, but when I surfaced I was already about forty feet upstream from the dock and awfully stinkin disoriented. I just about didn’t have enough strength to swim back to the dock against the incoming current and I sure as shit wasn’t going to try to go to the rocky shore. Climbing through the shallower water, rocks and those scary horseshoe crabs wasn’t going to get it for me. Shit, I figured I was going to drown, there for a minute.

When we first moved up there it was winter. Supposedly one of the worst that they had in years. So at school at recess we went out in the playground and I learned how to play marbles on top of packed snow. Yeah, marbles you guys, weren’t no Game Boys back then. I don’t remember that there was any hockey in town either. Shit there might not be any yet. The grade school was Castner and our nickname was the Coasters. Would-a been a good name for a slacker hockey team, ehh?

I did play some baseball there though. One of my classmates thought I was a good pitcher so he talked the coach into letting me pitch one afternoon. After the coach relented he told us to go off to the side and warm up. So we did and the first pitch I nailed the coach in the back of the head. So much for getting a chance to pitch.

What else do I remember about Maine?

Damariscotta has the Chapman House that I used to walk beside when I went uptown (yeah they said "uptown" not "downtown") to the drugstore for an ice cream. Its about 250 years old and is of historical value. I always thought it was the home of “Johnny Appleseed“ Chapman, but I checked on it recently and discovered that it was built by and lived in by Nathaniel Chapman, one of his relatives.

We drove somewhere once to see the total eclipse of the sun because it wasn’t "total" right in Damariscotta. We got to an old fort or something and the damn place was pretty much clouded over. Didn’t get to see much of anything. It was the shits! But that’s what ya did back then. If ya were kind of a techie like Dad then ya were into telescopes and outer-space shit. There weren’t any computers to fart around on and TV was only what ya could pick up with an antenna.

Newcastle, across the river, had an author, Mary C. Jane (maryjane???), that wrote kids’ mysteries that I had read much of before we moved to Maine. I hoped that I would run into her sometime and tell her that I liked her stories. Never did. I often times think that Stephen King must have read her stories as a kid too. Besides being scary-good they had some similar subject titles as King’s work; like “The Dark Tower Mystery (1966). I don’t know, but I’d like to meet Mr. King, too, and ask him about that.

Fifth grade at Castner still had cursive writing class and I’ll be damned if the bitch instructor wouldn’t rap your knuckles with a wooden ruler if ya talked or messed up. And we had French classes - that - I thought was pretty cool for fifth grade.

During the winter we could leave our free lunch milk out in the snow to keep cold or we could choose chocolate milk and take it inside and put it on the heating register ending up with hot chocolate for lunch. Mmmmnnn - not bad!

I got my first dog while we lived in Maine. She was a lab/golden mix and we named her George. Though I’ve got a shit load of siblings, George was mine to feed and clean up after. She used to leave little pretzel shaped turds behind the stove that I had to fuckin clean up. Yeah that’s the shits. Later when we had to move out of the Page house at the end of the school year and had moved into a guest house at a tourist farm, she’d break her choke chain to get into the lake when we’d take her along for our summer swims. She just loved water. Yup! Taught Jingles how to jump two feet flat right into fresh cow patties on those jaunts down to the lake, too. Caught hell for that exercise.

That was a great place, that farm. They had a bunk house above the barn that would sleep about sixteen. I always wanted to sleep up there but the folks never let me. I got to help gather hay and did some other odd chores. Got to see the farmer get his hair cut by his wife with hand shears (not scissors) with a damn bowl over his head. No shit - it cracked me up even then. We had raccoons that raided our trash and Dad shot woodchucks that he’d see on his way to work down closer to Pemaquid Point.

I’d look for blueberries out there on that farm, but never found any. I found some wild strawberries, really small suckers, but nope, no blueberries.

Now Nova Scotia’s got some blueberries, guys! Seems as though they got them like that town from the newspaper story.

Again due to Dad’s work we were in the coastal northeast. This had been a few years earlier then the time in Maine. We lived outside of Shelburne on a farm that we rented from the MaHaneys. This farm had been their grandparents or something and they lived on the farm right next to us. It was right on Shelburne Harbor where lobstering was pretty big. Once in while we would hear about someone from town whose boat had been swamped.

This place was pretty remote. We had electricity for lighting and such and had a phone that was on a party line. Don’t know what that is do ya? Just know how to text and shit on your cell phone, ehh? Well a party line means that several farms are on the same phone line and you had to pay attention to the ring sequence to determine the call was for your place. For instance: two short rings and one long ring might be for your place and two shorts and three longs might be for a neighbor. No ring tones here you guys.

Lets’ see, what else?

We didn’t have indoor plumbing until Dad fixed the hand pump at the sink in the kitchen. The hand pump above the well outside worked all the time but like the one inside you had to remember to prime it once in a while or all it did was draw air. So that meant we didn’t have an indoor toilet either but we had a double seat outhouse at the end of the driveway that was full of daddy long legs. No point in spending much time in that shanty. Same for no bathtub or tank type water heater. Took a bath in a big galvanized wash tub and the water got heated on the stove or with a submersible electric unit. Yeah and the stove was this big black cast iron wood burning baby. No electric or gas range gas and no fuckin microwave guys.

There were some woods between the house and the main dirt road that was about a quarter a mile away. I remember one time in the evening after coming back from town that we had to stop to let a freakin porcupine cross the drive way.

A lot of deer on the property too. Pretty wild and remote. I loved every bit of it though. Once in a while I’ll smell the combination of the scent of live cedar with ocean odors and it takes me right back there again!

I don’t remember much about Shelburne, the town, except that the grocery store sold peanut butter in colored plastic pails and that they had a place to get chocolate ice cream cones. Didn’t go to school there cuz we were just there for the summer.

I guess that was good that I didn’t. Later while playing senior hockey I got talking in the bar with Eddie, a guy from the opposing team. In the course of the bull shit he said that he was from Nova Scotia. So I told him that I had spent a summer in Shelburne. He raised one eyebrow and asked me what kind a shit I’d gotten into. I didn’t quite understand, but he explained that Shelburne had one of Nova Scotia’s boys reformatories - Shelburne School for Boys. Yeah, I was a good kid, unless ya talked to my ma - she always threatened to send me away to reform school.

Cuz it was summer, I didn’t see any hockey while we were in Nova Scotia either. But shit for sure they’ve got some, ehh? Almost sixty of the boys from this Maritime Province have made it to the NHL. Most current fan favorite from here is Sydney Crosby who was born in Cole Harbor. I don’t think anybody uses a picture of him as their background on their home page. LOL !!! We all know that Crosby’s walking wood. A couple a other guys from Nova Scotia that you’ll recognize by name are Al MacInnis and Glenn Murray. Big guns themselves, ehh?

One time I was climbing on a rock fence that divided our farm from the vacant one next to us and I discovered this thorny plant with grape like fruit. Sour as shit with a little prickly end on them. I took some back to mom and she said that they were gooseberries and that I should go get some more for a pie. I did, she baked it up and it was a damn good pie - kinda like rhubarb. Bring it on!

The folks coulda bought that vacant farm for about $4,000 back then. I sure wish they would have.

So now your sayin “Jasper, what about the freakin Nova Scotia blueberries, ehh?”

Yeah, right. The side of the house away from the road sloped on down to the ocean. A railroad tracks ran through this area running parallel to the shore line. There wasn’t really a beach, not much sand, mostly rocks. And there were washed up ugly eight to twelve inch diameter yellowish jelly fish drying out in the rocks. Nasty suckers they were. Before we got to stay on the farm we stayed in a cabin tent at a campground on the shore. It had a diving dock and one evening some guy dove face-first into one of these burning sensations. You could hear him screaming for about and hour or so that night. Yikes!

So it was nice slope down to the ocean that a couple of cows pastured in sometimes. This whole area was filled with scrubby little wild blueberry plants. I don’t remember if they flowered or anything - just too stupid for that shit - but we picked a hell of a mess of blueberries. Everyday! Remember those plastic pails I was telling ya about that the peanut butter came in? Well we filled a couple of those up and that was enough for a pie. In that one summer, Mom made almost thirty blueberry pies from the berries that us kids picked. But ya gotta remember that everyone of those pies that we ate, Mom had baked in that wood burning stove. And I’ll be damned if I know a women now that could do that.

I never got sick of blueberry pie. It’s still one of my favorites - probably equal to rhubarb - and every time I have some it makes me think of Nova Scotia - not Maine. Any of you honeys or chefs out there want to bake me up one then just email me and I’ll be there in a New York minute. Make sure ya got some vanilla ice cream to top it off, ehh. Best when its warm, you guys!

Either place - Maine or Nova Scotia - are great! I wouldn’t mind retiring in either one. And they both kick out some great hockey not to mention great blueberries.

Guess I’m getting fat on my memories.

Jasper Wheats here, just blueberried out.

Until next time, skate hard!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Agitator Status

This week has been especially good. I accepted a job offer and start a new position on Tuesday, August 7th. Last week’s blog story Durty Deeds (dun durt cheap) was especially good so I chuckled about that all week long. The honey’s sister’s bird went back home so the cabin was quiet again. Went to a concert in the park Friday night and a small beer fest/microbrew tasting event Saturday.

Now buds … I mean … let me tell you guys … that beer fest was a good event. For twelve bucks you got a commemorative glass and eight tickets for samples. And damn if they weren’t drawing full twelve ouncers. Got a good buzz! Favor the ambers myself - good stuff! And the whole while that me and the honey were there we listened to live bands - first a nice little jazz gang then some boys playing some good blusey rock. Wooot - Wooot !!

So how the hell was your week, you guys? Kick some shit? Chill with the guys or gals? Snake a little ass? Hope it was good for all a ya.

Anybody payin any attention to the trades and contract offers going on in the NHL? Ehh? There’s a lot a shit going on and by that I mean a lot a controversy.

Teams are scramblin to get their key guys resigned again - or not. They’re getting draft picks under contract and dosing the dudes that have hit the free agent market. It’s all interesting and adds to compassion that we have for this sport and our favorite teams.

You guys, know that I’m a die-hard LA Kings fan, right? Recently, they really suck but I still gotta love em, ehh? My own opinion, over the years, all-in-all, they don’t know jackshit about building a team or how to maintain it once they have something good. In particular I wanta go back to February before the playoffs started.

As usual the Kings weren’t a contender for the playoffs. And they did what so many hack teams do - they traded away players to teams that were going into the second season. Some of these players that vanish have been stalwarts and others may not have been - just journeymen grinders. But what really pisses me off is when they dump fan favorites. Sure, sometimes it’s good for the player, cuz he might end up finally gettin his name scribed on the Stanley Cup. Talk to any Bruins fan about that issue, ehh.

But wtf makes a fan favorite? Being a super star, helps. Being beefcake, hunk material helps. Being charitable and able to handle the media helps too.

Well, cuz I’m a fan of old time hockey (yeah I even advertise that shit wearin an NHL hat and hero’s jacket that sports that trademarked phrase) - blood and guts, bench clearing brawls, the whole fuckin shebang - I think the guy that acquires team agitator status is a fan favorite. Shit, from my point of view, he just might be “the fan favorite.” Who gets your team pumped up? Who rallies the fans into a screamin bunch of idiots? Who throws the opposing team off of their pace? Who do the opposing fans just hate? The agitator!

The Kings traded their agitator, Sean Avery, to the Rangers on February 5, 2007. I loved the guy. Hated him when he played for Detroit. Gonna hate him again if the Kings get a chance to play the Rangers this year. But what did he do after the trade?

Became a Ranger fuckin fan favorite, that’s what he did. And we all know that Ranger fans are old time hockey fans. Ehh? Some of his Ranger teammates say he was their post season catalyst. The sportscasters during the playoffs mentioned him almost every shift that he was on the ice. The little pain in the butt Avery was some kinda attention getter for fans and players alike.

But Sean Avery is not just a pain in the ass, he can play the game too. Ranger fans got to see that early on. He had a four point game on St. Patty’s Day against the Bruins and had a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist and fight) on April Fools Day against the Leafs. That’s some good shit, ehh, you guys! This guy is walking with wood and I think he probably was from day one. He popped outta his momma’s womb back on April 10, 1980 sportin a stiff one I’m sure.

This past week Sean and the Rangers went to arbitration. Avery wanted $2.6 million and the Rangers only offered $1.3 million. The arbitrators split the diff and awarded him $1.9 million for the coming season. Nice jump of $800,000, over the contract he brought over from the Kings, for a guy that got eighteen goals and thirty assists combined for both teams last year. Noted, he had much fewer penalty minutes last year (only 174) compared to his two previous seasons but still enough to show his worth. Ranger management tried to weaken his worth by saying that he’s both a benefit and a detriment to the team. WTF????

Just look at your bottom line buck-o’s - how many Ranger fans are going to be wearing Avery jerseys this season, ehh?

But what makes a player an agitator? Well, this is key, he’s got to get in the face of the other team. He’s got a be talkin some shit down there on the ice. And not backin down too often. Take the other team off their game and sending some guys to the box. I think that’s why Sean’s penalty minutes were lower this year. He’s matured in technique. Previously he carried his agitation a little too far and ended up going to the sin bin himself. This past season, many times I saw him push until the opponent drew a penalty and then he’d just get back into the flow of the play instead of retaliating. Smart shit, that is.

My younger brother, Jingles, can play a good agitator. He’ll get in your face, smilin all the time, and take you out. I remember watching one game when he was playing juniors where his coach sent him out to take a certain opposing player off the ice. Jingles went out in that one shift and took not only the specified player out with a penalty but a second one too and did it without even drawing an infraction himself. That’s some shit! Hell, in a recent game, he told me that some guy had parked in the slot and wouldn’t budge. So ticked off and protective of his goalie he just picked the guy up by his upper arms and moved him outta the way - with that shit eatin grin and all. Got a holding penalty, but wtf, stirred up the other team a mess a horse shit for sure.

So the agitator is gettin in your face and talkin shit. He’s talkin about your momma, your wife, your girlfriend, your sister and even your ancestry. Hell, your anatomy sure the shit isn’t safe from comment either. He’s calling you an asshole, craky, nigga, fuckface. He’s commenting on your hockey skills and the fag color of your team’s jersey. He’s not being delicate having a parlor discussion with you. While he’s gettin his elbows up in the corner he’s being as damn derogatory has he can be. And at faceoffs he’s slappin your ankles and whisperin sweet nothings in your ear. He’s playing dirty and he’s playing mind games. The fans see the outcome but don’t know the reality.

They love it.

Sean Avery, we know, does it all. Truth or false, he got fined about a thousand bucks for calling Georges Laraque a monkey. My opinion, that’s lightweight verbalization - not worth the money nor the press. It’s just part a the game and part a the job. Penalty minutes, he’s had his share. Over 322 NHL regular season games he’s had 913 penalty minutes. Being a statistical sort a guy that I am, that works out to around 2.84 penalty minutes per game. How’s that rate compared to others?

Tie Domi, another guy that I loved to hate, had an average of about 3.45 penalty minutes per game. But he couldn’t put up the goals and assists like Avery can.

Here’s a little list of the lifetime NHL regular season stats of some other former LA Kings. Some you’d call agitators and some you’d call enforcers. But take a look and see how Sean compares.

Gerry “King” Korab - 1.67 penalty minutes per game
Ian Laperriere - 1.74 penalty minutes per game
Tony Granato - 1.84 penalty minutes per game
Rick Tocchet - 2.60 penalty minutes per game
Larry Playfair - 2.63 penalty minutes per game
Dave Hutchinson - 2.65 penalty minutes per game
Sean Avery - 2.84 penalty minutes per game
Stu Grimsom - 2.90 penalty minutes per game
Kenny Baumgartner - 3.35 penalty minutes per game
Warren Rychel - 3.50 penalty minutes per game
Marty McSorly - 3.52 penalty minutes per game
Dave “Tiger” Williams - 4.12 penalty minutes per game
Dave Schultz - 4.29 penalty minutes per game

So you can see, Avery, fits in there pretty good with some of the heavy weights from around the league over the years and is out penalized compared to the guys that I remember as being real agitators while with the Kings, like Granato, Tocchet and Laperrier.

Take a look a Avery, he’s not all that big. He lists out at 5’-9” and 185 pounds. He’s not the most handsome dude, looks more like a boxer then anything. But he’s been rumored to have chilled with some babes in his day. Take Rachel Hunter, Rod Stewart’s former flame, that he hung with for about a year. Back in the day, she was always one of my favorite Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit models. So he hangs pretty good off the ice too.

Is he getting the credit that he’s due? Is he being allowed to play up to his potential? I think not on both counts. He wasn’t even originally selected in an NHL entry draft. During the lockout season he ended up playing for the Motor City Mechanics along with Chelios and several other NHLers. He’s the only player in their history to record two hat tricks in one season and he did that over less than twenty games played. I think that he’s got waaaaay more potential then what we’ve seen. But I think that the Rangers and any of his future teams will continue to utilize him as an agitator. He’s become extremely skilled at this and few players in the league can compare. In a recent poll, of a big chunk of the current NHL players, about two-thirds of them have ranked him as the most hated player in the league.

The Ranger fans will give him the credit and appreciation that he’s due!

Sean Avery, of Pickery, Ontario, Canada, has attained agitator status! He walks with wood.

Me, I’m just a has been. I’m your favorite old fart hockey humorist taking a look this week at a part of hockey that inspires the sport. Let those from the NHL governing body never take the spirit of the game away! Long live those that love the old time hockey.

Until next time, this is Jasper Wheats, over and out.

Skate hard !