Friday, February 11, 2011

How to never say anything interesting: An NHLer's guide

Shhh... You had me at "flurry of
roundhouse punches to the face"
If you're a National Hockey League personality, odds are you spend much of your day with a microphone in your face and somebody asking you a question. Many newcomers make the mistake of interpreting this as an invitation to share their honest thoughts and opinions.

It's not. In fact, there are only a few dozen acceptable answers to any hockey-related question, and you'll be expected to simply choose the right one and recite it verbatim. Sure, some will accuse you of speaking in clich├ęs, but it's better than the alternative: revealing yourself to have an actual personality, and being torn to shreds for it.

So for those of you who may be new to life in the NHL, here's a quick guide to the sort of things that are acceptable to say, and what you should make sure you avoid.

If you want to say: "Wow, a player on our team just committed a sickening act of violence for which he will surely be suspended."
Instead say: "I can't comment on that, since I haven't seen the replay."
But don't also say: "… because there was blood and bone fragments all over the scoreboard."

If you want to say: "Did we pay that guy too much? I think we paid that guy too much. Let me see the contract again. Oh man, we paid that guy way too much."
Instead say: "As per team policy, financial terms were not disclosed."
But don't also say: "… even though they'll be posted on seven seconds after you read this."

If you want to say: "Sure, fighting Brent Johnson sounds like a super idea!"
Instead say: "I think I'll just curl up in a little ball inside my net where it's safe."
But don't also say: "… hey, where'd this puddle come from?"

If you want to say: "Even though we're in last place and have lost seventeen games in a row, I'm not allowed to waive my no-trade clause because my wife says she really likes the shopping in this city."
Instead say: "I am absolutely committed to this team and want to win a championship here."
But don't also say: "Yes honey, I was just … no, just talking to some reporters and… yes dear, of course, I'll be home immediately."

If you want to say: "This player is lazy, doesn't try hard, stops caring entirely for weeks at a time, and all his teammates want to strangle him."
Instead say: "This player is enigmatic."
But don't also say: "… that's Russian for 'total headcase', right?"

If you want to say: "Our coach has been fired? Hallelujah! Now maybe we can all start trying again!"
Instead say: "It's always tough to see somebody lose their job."
But don't also say: "… now quick, somebody help me set his office on fire before they change their mind."

If you want to say: "Hey, you know what would be fantastic? If my defencemen could go one shift without turning the puck over, screening me, and then deflecting slapshots past me. Can we maybe try that once, guys, just for a change?"
Instead say: "We win as a team, and we lose as a team."
But don't also say: "… and after looking at this team, I've decided to go fight Brent Johnson."

If you want to say: "I'm pretty sure our star player might be dead."
Instead say: "He is questionable to return after suffering an upper body injury."
But don't also say: "… in the sense that, technically, his upper body was the last known location of his head."

If you want to say: "We are completely hopeless."
Instead say: "Hey, we just need a few bounces to go our way!"
But don't also say: "… like if the other team's bus bounced off of the overpass on the way to the game, we could probably pick up a point."

If you want to say: "Maybe it's just not working out here, I guess. Who knows? I can't get anything going, so maybe it's time for a change or something."
Instead say: "I want to be here. I love the city. I love the fans. I love the team. I want to be here for a very long time."
But don't also say: … all of the above, while blinking "Oh God, won't somebody please rescue me?" in morse code.


  1. This was bloody. Good work, DGB.

    However, BizNasty2point0 might be insulted by this.

    Well, he and Emerson Etem, i.e. I hate Buffalo.

  2. Hilarious... 'stops caring for weeks at a time'...should be above Zherdev's locker. Very funny

  3. Kessel's too dumb to know morse code

  4. Best line: "… and after looking at this team, I've decided to go fight Brent Johnston."

    Good work on this one.

  5. If you want to say: "Hi guys, its me, PK!"
    Instead say: (Nothing)
    But don't also say: (Seriously... just don't say anything... don't do anything either)

  6. Is Kessel the new Toronto whipping boy, replacing Toskala and before him Wellwood? He seems to be unbelievably well qualified....

  7. Poor DiPietro. On one hand, he's clearly one of DGB's new whipping boys. OTOH, he clearly deserves the whippin'.

    Awesome as always!

  8. Don't whip DiPietro! He'll shatter like the delicate crystal figurine he is.

  9. Brent Johnston? Sounds like the writer already took one too many rights to the noggin.

  10. This was in the National Post's Sports section today!

  11. This has to be your funniest blog all year! I love all the DiPietro jokes. His so-called "fight" will be providing plenty of material for future DGB blogs! :)

  12. Did you see the Pens/Isles brawls tonight! Damien Cox is going to have a heart attack. With this and Bruins/Habs, this has been like 80's week.

  13. Is this the Toronto Maple Leafs "Player Guide to Talking to the Media"?

  14. That article was funnier than hell... :)