Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A hall of famer, a neurosurgeon, a journalist and a blogger walk into a studio...

Dryden listened intently as the random blogger
explained the finer points of hockey to him.
As those of you who follow on twitter or facebook may know, I had the opportunity last week to appear on TVO's The Agenda With Steve Paikin as part of a panel discussing hockey violence and concussions. Also appearing were Hall Of Fame goalie and former Maple Leafs' GM Ken Dryden; Professor of Neurosurgery at U of T Dr. Charles Tator; and longtime Toronto Star sportswriter Mary Ormsby.

I think it went really well, which is to say that I didn't piddle myself, drop any accidental f-bombs, or interrupt Dryden to demand an explanation for the Jason Smith trade, except for that one time and they were able to edit my outburst and subsequent tasing out of the final broadcast.

The show is now available online:

(Viewing this in an RSS feed? Click here.)

A few thoughts:
  • If you're wondering how a lowly blogger winds up on a show like this with three well-respected professionals, consider that the taping coincided with both March break and St. Patrick's Day. On that note, be sure to check out the episode page (click the "Concussions" tab) for the guest descriptions. I really think TVO should have gone all the way and just put "Sean McIndoe was available".

  • Speaking of which, if I told you that a former NHL enforcer was invited to appear on the show but declined because they had committed to playing the bag pipes at a St. Patty's event even though they're not Irish, who would you think it was? Not that I am telling you this. I'm just curious.

  • Pro tip: If you're ever invited to be on TV, figure out what to do with your hands when you're not talking before they start filming you. Just trust me on this one.

  • Actual conversation that took place after filming:

    Me (feeling very proud of myself for handling the whole thing very professionally): Well, excellent show everyone, this has been a great experience. I have a flight to catch so I'm going to head out now.

    (Strides confidently towards door.)

    Producer: Yeah, you're probably going to want to have your makeup removed before you get on the Toronto subway.

  • I ended up having the chance to spend a solid ten minutes in conversation with Dryden in the green room before the show. Did I spend most of that time engaging in a detailed discussion of the intricacies of the Rob Brown vs. Sylvain Lefevbre fight from 1992? Yes. Yes I did. I regret nothing.

  • Finally, and in all seriousness, a sincere thanks to the other guests and to the nice people at TVO for making an obvious rookie feel comfortable. The entire experience was a lot of fun, mostly thanks to their patience.

    And again, sorry about all the tasing.


  1. Looks like you held yourself lucky S.O.B. You sure you were not wearing a Depends diaper sitting that close to Mr. Dryden? My first question to him would have been "How strong was Mr. Bowman's pimp hand? And did he ever use elctro- shook treatments to prove his points?"

  2. Nice work, dude. The hands thing is totally the one thing they never tell you about TV before you do it. You totally should've joked with Dryden afterwards, but I know gotta keep it professional. Nice work on your media debut. HNIC next? :)

  3. Great to see DGB getting some TV time - You couldn't convince them to show the NHL secret suspension flowchart on TV though?

  4. Dryden's your "source" who is getting you all that inside information, isn't he?

    Nice job. You don't sound or look anything like I thought you would. Which is unsurprising. I'm much taller in person than I am on the internet.

  5. When I want a solid opinion on the intricacies of a good hockey hit, I too ask 100 year-old neurosurgeons.

  6. Ken Dryden's mini-bio on the site is "Liberal MP and author"?

    Guess the TVO staffer who wrote the bio isn't a hockey fan?

    If they didn't have enough room for it all, they could have put it beside DGB's name. "Sean McIndoe watched Ken Dryden, who was also a HOF goaltender, play hockey.

  7. You'd be fine with the makeup on until you got to Wellesley station. Then all bets are off, cutie.

  8. Other than the fact that all of you were much too hard on Steckel, it was worthwhile watching.

    I understand the point that the NHL's moneymaker has been out all season, may not return, and may not resume his career path post-concussion (and for the record, I certainly don't hope for that), Steckel obviously was trying to avoid the collision (leaning away before contact) as he was trying to get back up ice to get back into the play while Crosby coasted into him, unaware of his surroundings on the ice.

    Should Steckel have had his head up earlier to see Crosby earlier? Probably. Should Crosby have had his head up at all to know where he was on the ice? Certainly. But to say Steckel intentionally hit Crosby at all, but especially to say in the head, contorts the truth, IMO.

    But congratulations, reagrdless, on the appearance. Must have been a thrill.

  9. Well done DGB, good to see an internet personality getting some media recognition. Now Eklund is probably asking when he will get to appear on TMZ.

  10. Love the url for the video -- ""

    oh, and some blogger dude!

  11. Why didn't you jump on the Doc about the follow thru to the head by Chara? You've seen the overhead view that shows he never came close to hitting him in the head - if that's the Doc's big beef, he's dead wrong.

    And, please tell me you showed up in a suit but they grabbed that sweater off a staffer instead to make you look more "bloggerish"?

  12. What a round table. I loved every second of it.

    I gotta say, as an American who moved to Canada, this is part of the reason. You would NEVER find such an intelligent, thought provoking and respectful discussion on TV in the US. MAYBE on PBS, but even then, the blogger would be a bit of a blowhard.

    And if I didn't know that Ken Dryden used to be an NHL goalie, I would think he's a professional documentary cast member. Because he's in EVERY Canadian documentary I've seen.

    He has become my answer to the "Name one person you'd like to have dinner with." Such a smart guy.

  13. Very disappointed about the conclusion that the Steckel/Crosby hit was deliberate and "premeditated", when it was neither. The various video angles show that the collision was accidental. Just because one of the league's top players is out with a serious concussion is no reason to lose objectivity and sully another player's reputation. Few players are as clean as Steckel. The panelists have done him a great injustice.

  14. Re: Steckel...

    One of the best points I've read on the hit (and I wish I could remember where so I could give credit) was this: When you accidentally run into something, what's the first thing you do? You look behind you to see what you hit. Steckel doesn't. He heads straight for the bench.

  15. I thought the same thing about Chara: He didn't even look back.

    I gotta say, all the excuses of "the game is too fast for these guys to notice things" is BS. They all make split seconds decisions and work to be aware of everything on the ice. Give and go's, tic-tac-toe plays, stretch passes, how can you watch these guys do that kind of stuff but then say, "Whoa, hold on, how can someone know where someone's head is or where a stanchion is when the game moves that fast?"

    What a crock

  16. DGB: I really think taking Steckel's "failure" to look behind [himself] to see what [he] hit, as evidence that he meant to blindside 87 is a remarkable stretch. What might he think he ran into -- an armchair?
    The guy's got a muuuuch gentler record than, say, Zdeno Chara. If Crosby is looking and skating in *approximately* the same direction, the collision never happens. Unless one believes all players yield right-of-way to Crosby AND crouch down to his height whenever he draws nigh, it's absurd to accuse Steckel of intent to hit Crosby, much less to hit him in the head.

  17. Great caption, as always! And a really interesting show as well. Ken Dryden is kind of smart, eh?

  18. The "didn't look behind him" is irrelevant and doesn't convey guilt. Not everyone looks behind them to see what/who ran into them. Colliding in hockey isn't a rare occurrence. Steckel was following the play and trying to get to the puck. That is what they are supposed to do.

    He also has a spotless record (which you and the other panel members seem to ignore), he tends not to play the body/lay hits, he isn't a quick decision maker so when chasing the puck he is likely not going to change his focus, and he isn't agile enough quickly change course (although he tried) when someone drifts into his path.

    You also have the audacity of giving Chara a pass because of his height. Guess what, the difference in height between Steckel and Crosby is not much less than that of Chara and Pacioretty. Your reasoning on that factor is two-faced.

  19. @Cookie... Height matters if you're talking about whether someone intentionally hit a guy in the head. It doesn't matter if you're talking about whether he even saw him in the first place. That's been Steckel's defence - "I didn't see him at all" - and that's why his total non-reaction seems so out of place.

    I don't know whether he was intentionally targeting his head, and I doubt he was trying to hurt him. But I do think he saw him, and I think he knew who he was colliding with.

  20. Well done, Sean.

    I'm glad that Ken and Sean both managed to touch on the fact that while Chara may not have meant to injure MP as severely as he did (and yes, regardless of how fast MP is recovering, the fact that he has a broken vertebrae in his neck is pretty damned severe), he certainly meant to interfere illegally and it was that choice that left MP with a broken neck.

    Therefore Chara deserved a suspension. Maybe not 10 games but certainly 4 or 5.

    I liken it to choosing to blow through a stop sign late at night. If you don't hurt anyone and a cop sees you do it you're gonna get a ticket (minor penalty). However, if a cop catches you blowing through a stop sign and a pedestrian ends up dead, you're going to see the inside of a jail. Sure, you might not get Murder One (because you didn't intend to kill someone) but that won't make much of a difference to "Bubba" when you're his "little spoon" every night for the next few years.

  21. "Speaking of which, if I told you that a former NHL enforcer was invited to appear on the show but declined because they had committed to playing the bag pipes at a St. Patty's event even though they're not Irish, who would you think it was? Not that I am telling you this. I'm just curious."

    I need more details on this

  22. I guarantee that if the roles were reversed no one would care that Steckel had a concussion and everyone would believe that it was just an accident on the part of Crosby, that he was just following the play.

    The argument that he didn't look behind him after the hit is pretty absurd. Especially during a hockey game where there is constant contact, a fair amount incidental where players couldn't tell you who or what they hit.

  23. It wasn't intentional. Height does matter in this case because Crosby's head is at Steckel's shoulder level and that became a point of contact. If the difference were less, then the collision probably wouldn't have had the outcome it did, thus no one would be talking about it.

    Also, in an earlier response to me, you said Steckel skated back to the bench after the hit. He did not. He continued on his unchanged trajectory up ice toward the puck.(Have people forgotten, don't care, or overlooked that Crosby turned his back and skated in a lazy arc into Steckel's path?) Hendricks picked up the puck in the neutral zone and Steckel joined the play near the blue line. I still don't see why not looking back is considered out of place. He was focused on trying to get scoring chances before the period ended. You are taught to play until you hear the whistle; that's what he did.

    Here's a question relating only to the collision: If you are driving in your lane and the driver in the lane next to you isn't paying attention and veers into your lane causing a collision, who is at fault?

    As for the misleading "didn't see him," what Steckel actually said in the post-game presser was, "I didn't even know that I hit him [Crosby]" and "When the puck went the other way...I came back, joined the rush. I didn't even know it was him [Crosby] until I looked back." Although during the intermission immediately after the hit Steckel said he didn't know it was Crosby until someone in the locker room told him who it was.

    I think what he saw was something in a blur quickly appering on the edge of his path before he could identify it and effectively respond to it.

    As news of the severity Crosby's injury came out after he left the ice due to a deliberate hit in another game, everyone returned to the Steckel/Crosby hit and tried to find all the answers and blame there.

    Subsequent questioning has muddied the waters of what did and didn't happen, in what order things happened, and what was said and not said, when and by whom. It has lead to the trashing of a player who did nothing wrong and doesn't deserve the negative things being said about him. Steckel rarely hits people and he certainly never tries to hurt anybody. It isn't his nature off the ice and it isn't his game on the ice.

  24. @Cookie... Here's the article where the "I didn't see him at all" quote comes from.

    As for the rest of, we just disagree. We can both see Crosby circle into him, which causes the collision. You think Steckel never saw him and couldn't have avoided him. I think Steckel did see him, and figured "well, if he's going to skate into me anyways I'm going to get my money's worth". It's a thin but important line, and nobody really knows but Steckel.

    At the end of the day, the bigger point (that I tried to make on the show but didn't really get a chance to) is that it would be nice if the NHL had headshot rules that didn't require us to read minds.

  25. @pikaporeon...

    Yeah, I'm surprised that hasn't inspired more discussion.

  26. Downie, pikaporeon:

    We are clearly preoccupied with whodunnit mysteries.

  27. In regards to Steckel, ya didn't really do much homework. While being a great face-off guy and decent defensive guy, the fact remains that he's about as big, and certainly just as clumsy as an ox on skates. Just ask former teammate Eric Fehr. Steckel also took him out while both were in uniform for the Caps in a collision not long after the Winter Classic, which resulted in a fairly major injury to Fehr that saw him miss significant ice time. My point? Accidentally colliding with Steckel has potentially serious repercussions. Given his history as a clean player and considering his same history as a less-than-graceful skater, I think y'all are doing a disservice to Steckel by imposing colored perceptions (and with reed thin conjecture as "evidence", to boot) on his obviously accidental hit on Crosby.
    Stick to comedy, dude, you're good at it. Analysis? Not so much.

  28. Glen Healy is the bag piper, right?

    Nice showing DGB. I'm surprised they didn't list you as being from your Mom's basement.

  29. You look curiously like Marc Savard.

  30. Sean,

    I think you did well. No idea why you are so hard on yourself there.

    First of all, a big shout from Pittsburgh, where many of us follow you. Thank you for your efforts on the blog. There is a simple solution here, folks...go to the olympic size rink. Speed and talent would be valued above size. Right now hockey is following football, bigger,faster, with no compensations for the area the game is played on. I championed this when the lockout was on as an answer to the trap, and no one wanted to hear it. Maybe someone will consider it now.

  31. hmm... I didn't know it was possible to agree with everything a MP has to say.

  32. Great job, Sean.

    I'm surprised more people don't realize the Chara hit was completely deliberate. Put yourself in Chara's shoes and watch how Pacioretty behaves after his OT winner against Boston two months before.

    If Pacioretty hadn't acted like a punk, that hit would have never happened. Score settled. Lesson hopefully learned.

  33. Not that I didn't watch the video, but...
    "Speaking of which, if I told you that a former NHL enforcer was invited to appear on the show but declined because they had committed to playing the bag pipes at a St. Patty's event even though they're not Irish, who would you think it was? Not that I am telling you this. I'm just curious."

    ....Really, you're going to tease us like this?

  34. For a long time, I've believed that there is an easy way to reduce the amount of head contact in games.

    Ken Dryden spoke a great deal about the evolution of the game's speed, through the shortening of shifts and the increased size and strength of players. Someone also noted that, although players are bigger, faster and stronger, the ice remains the same size.

    Why not simply increase the ice surface, making it closer to international size? With more ground to cover, players will not be as close to each other, nor will they be willing to take a run at someone if they leave a gaping hole behind them for other opponents to exploit. As well, with more space between players, charging calls may become more evident.

    With a wider, longer rink, we may even see a renaissance of smaller, quicker and more skilled players.

    Way to represent the casual look, by the way. I think you may have intimidated the suits a little bit.

  35. Interesting interview. Scott is the man. Really good stuff. Dryden is a smart man. He should be PM! DGB, great job and continued success.