Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book update: Shipping any day now, some e-books available right now

It's been a few weeks since I shared the exciting news about The Best Of Down Goes Brown. In that time I've had several people send me questions, and had a few more updates from the people in charge. So with just a few days left before the book becomes officially available, this seems like a good time for an update.

Wait, what? You have a book?
Yes. You can find out all about it here, or just keep reading since I'm going into third-person spam mode starting... now.

Wow, that sounds awesome! Where can I buy it?
Thank you, fictional question-asker who sounds sincere and not like shameless marketing at all! You can pre-order the paperback version today from sites like,, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, or directly from Wiley.

It should also be available in bookstores throughout North America, although it will probably be easier to find in hockey markets. If you're outside North America, check your local online store – many of them seem to be stocking it.

I haven't bought an actual book since the 1990s. What about an ebook version?
This was the question I heard most often over the last month, so I'm happy to confirm that there will be various ebook options. I'm told that there will be versions available for the Kindle (Amazon) and the Kobo (Indigo), as well as an ePDF available directly from the publisher. These versions should be appearing on the sites shortly, perhaps before the print version ships.

In fact, appears to have their Kindle version available already and the Apple iBook version is available too. My guess is the other ebooks will start coming online fairly soon. And I'm told the book is also listed as coming to Google Play in September.

I pre-ordered the book from an online store. When will it ship?
The book is being printed pretty much any day now, and will be sent to the resellers shortly. It should start shipping from online stores shortly after, as well as appearing in local bookstores once they have time to shelve their new titles.

I keep getting emails from (insert online bookstore here) that say the release date has changed.
Ignore those. One of the things I'm learning through all of this is that pre-order ship dates are often basically guesses, and as time goes on they get updated often with newer, less accurate guesses. The book should ship early September-ish or maybe sooner, and that's pretty much as specific as anyone seems to be able to get.

Do you make more money based on what version or where people buy it from?
Not really. It varies slightly but not enough to make a difference, so please buy whatever you want from whoever you want.

Can I get an autographed copy?
I will totally sign your book if you run into me in a bar and/or mail your copy to me. However, be warned that I haven't hand-written anything legibly since I first got the internet in 1995, so you could achieve the same effect yourself by just taking a sharpie and scribbling all over the front page.

Hey wait, are you going to turn into one of those people who clogs my Twitter feed with annoying retweets of positive reviews from random people all day?
Probably. Sorry about that in advance.

Which posts are included? What's the new stuff?
Here's a full list of chapters. The new stuff is bolded.

Foreword by Bob McKenzie
Foreword by James Duthie
1. A Complete Transcript of Every NHL Game Ever Broadcast
2. The Ten Greatest Coaches in NHL History
3. The Other Former NHL Stars Who Interviewed for Colin Campbell's Job
4. Know Your Sports: The NHL vs. the NFL
5. A Look Back at Game Seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final (which, due to a scheduling error, had to be published twelve hours early)
6. Take the Quiz: Do You Have a Concussion?
7. The Code: Hockey's Unwritten Rules Revealed
8. A Moment with the Guy Who Has to Go Out and Fix the Glass When It Breaks
9. What an Official NHL Trade Call Really Sounds Like
10. The Signs of the Hockey Zodiac
11. The Not-So-Original Six: A Look Back at the NHL's First Expansion Teams
12. The NHL's Top-Secret Flow Chart for Handing Out Suspensions
13. A Brief History of Mats Sundin
14. Signs Your City May Not Be a Viable Hockey Market
15. Behind the Scenes at the Rehearsal for the Presentation of the Stanley Cup
16. You Wanna Go? A History of Hockey Brawls
17. From the Archives: The 1993 Leafs/Kings Game Six Live Blog
18. An In-depth Comparison: Mario Lemieux vs. Patrick Roy
19. The NHL's Plan for Appealing to Video Game Fans
20. A Period-by-Period Recap of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final
21. Know Your Sports: The NHL vs. Soccer
22. Behind the Scenes at an NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Session
23. Other Complaints about Brendan Shanahan
24. Leafs vs. Habs: Hockey's Greatest Rivalry
25. The Details of Don Cherry's Contract
26. An In-depth Comparison: Daniel Alfredsson vs. Zdeno Chara
27. Take the Quiz: How Will Your Team Do this Year?
28. Behind the Scenes at NHL Referee Tryouts
29. Come On Down: A History of NHL Game Show Appearances
30. The Official Map of an NHL Rink
31. A Brief History of Wayne Gretzky
32. How to Spend Your Day with the Stanley Cup
33. Determining Whether a Goal Should Count: The NHL War Room's Top-Secret Flow Chart
34. Know Your Sports: The NHL vs. MLB
35. The Pros and Cons of Fighting In the NHL
36. An NHLer's Guide to Never Saying Anything Interesting
37. Democracy Doesn't Work: A History of All-Star Voting
38. Take the Quiz: Should You Rebuild?
39. A Tale of Two Homecomings
40. The NHL's Hall of Fame Application Form
41. Rating the NHL's Relocation Candidates
42. What an Offi cial NHL Suspension Call Really Sounds Like
43. Other Mario Lemieux Grievances
44. Understanding the New Wave of Advanced Statistics
45. A Brief History of Teemu Selanne
46. Other Ways NHL Teams Use Home Ice Advantage for an Unfair Edge
47. Seventh Heaven: When One Game Decides the Stanley Cup
48. How to Dominate Your Fantasy Hockey League
49. A Period-by-Period Recap of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final
50. NHL Hockey, Then vs. Now
51. An In-depth Comparison: Eric Lindros vs. Peter Forsberg
52. Take the Quiz: Was that a Dive?
53. No Ties Allowed: A History of the Shoot-out
54. So You Want to Be the Commissioner: The NHL's 1993 Job Application Form
55. The NHL's Top-secret Flow Chart for Dealing with Scandals
56. Nobody Remembers Number Two: A History of First Overall Draft Picks
57. How to Become an Ironman
58. Behind the Scenes at NHL Fan Training Camp
59. Signs You May Be Injury Prone
60. Inside the NHL's Legal Brief on the 2011 NFL Work Stoppage
61. An In-depth Comparison: Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Ovechkin
62. Make His Head Bleed: A History of the NHL in Pop Culture
63. When a Day with the Stanley Cup Goes Wrong
64. Breaking Down the Battles: Inside Canada's Provincial Rivalries
65. Welcome to the Doghouse: A History of Coach vs. Player Feuds
66. Know Your Sports: The NHL vs. UFC
67. A Hockey Fan's Guide to Modern TV Technology
68. Behind the Scenes at the Matt Cooke Suspension Hearing
69. A Complete Transcript of Every Post-game Call-in Show Ever Broadcast
70. Dear Son, Welcome to Life as a Toronto Maple Leafs Fan

I have a short attention span. Remind me again where I can buy this?
Thanks again, ficitonal question-asker who's actually starting to get kind of pushy. Order today from sites like,, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, or directly from Wiley.

OK, I read the book. Now what?
If you've read the book and enjoyed it, probably the single biggest way you could help spread the word is by writing a review on one of the major sites. For a relatively unknown author without much marketing budget, a positive review on a major site is priceless. So if you'd like to help spread the word about this book, please take a few minutes to add a review to your favourite book site.

(If you read the book and didn't like it, you can send me a nasty email instead. I promise that it will ruin my day and make me drink too much.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Winners and losers from the NHL offseason

Last week’s hockey headlines were once again dominated by the ongoing collective bargaining talks. With every talking point, sound bite and cancelled meeting being debated and analyzed in agonizing detail, it almost feels like the days of talking about actual hockey are a distant memory.

But before we move into full-on lockout countdown mode, let’s take one last look back at the 2012 offseason. Despite the spectre of an expiring CBA overshadowing everything, it was still a summer full of wheeling of dealing for most of the league’s teams.

Here’s a look back at some of the winners and losers from the NHL offseason.

Winner: Carolina Hurricanes – The Jordan Staal trade has lead the front office to realize that the fortune cookie message reading “Go out and acquire the all-star brother of that player you already had” makes a lot more sense when you flip it over and notice that the other side says “Unless it’s Tomas Kaberle”.

Losers: Nashville Predators – While it’s always inspirational when the franchise’s star player believes the team is ready to soar upwards in the standings, some teammates are starting to worry that that’s not the actual meaning of that “Flyers 4ever” tattoo Shea Weber keeps trying to hide from everyone.

Winners: Montreal Canadiens – Assuming the lockout wipes out the first 70 games of next season, may finally get a full year out of Andrei Markov.

Loser: Tim Thomas – The Bruins’ lovable franchise player can’t shake the feeling that everyone has been acting weird around him ever since that day a giggling Tuukka Rask casually asked him what his Facebook password was.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What NHL negotiators can learn from the NBA and NFL lockouts

Gary Bettman is asked how big a set of balls it took for
the owners to make their last offer with a straight face.
Whatever sense of optimism existed in the NHL's ongoing collective bargaining talks ended quickly last week, thanks to Gary Bettman telling reporters that the players weren't yet "taking into account what recently happened with the NFL and the NBA."

Some cynics viewed the comment as transparent posturing, but let's take Bettman at his word. Maybe the key really is to look more closely at what the NFL and NBA went through to get new CBAs last year. After all, both leagues went through difficult negotiations that threatened their seasons. Maybe Bettman's right, and the key to NHL labor peace can be found by looking to the competition.

It's worth a shot. Here's an in-depth look at how the CBAs compare in the three leagues.

NBA: In order to get a deal done, owners made concessions on the salary floor and minimum spending requirements.
NFL: In order to get a deal done, owners made concessions on their demands for a longer schedule.
NHL: The owners just heard you say the word "concessions", and just made themselves a note to get food and drink sales excluded from hockey-related revenue.

NBA: Players signing long-term contracts can make more money by staying with their current team rather than signing elsewhere.
NFL: Players signing long-term contracts know that their deals aren't guaranteed, and ask for large bonuses up front.
NHL: Players who signed a long-term contract this summer thought it was kind of strange how the owner responded to every demand by typing "minus 24%" into a calculator and then giggling to himself.

NBA: The players got 51% of league revenues, leaving 49% for the owners.
NFL: The owners got 53% of league revenues, leaving for 47% for the players.
NHL: Gary Bettman is pretty sure that both sides can make well over 50%, just as soon as he figures out how to implement the shootout and bonus point into a CBA.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Other "thank you" newspaper ads from NHL stars through the years

Rick Nash said his final farewell to the city of Columbus last week. Days after being traded to the New York Rangers, Nash purchased a full-page ad in the Columbus Dispatch, featuring a personal letter thanking Blue Jacket fans for their support.

While the move was widely hailed as classy, it wasn't especially original. After all, star players taking out a full-page ad on their way out of town has become a hockey tradition. There's practically a template at this point, and Nash followed it to the letter: The player's name at the top, the big full-color photograph, the personal note at the bottom.

Where have we seen that before? From plenty of other star players who were moving on, as it turns out. Let's take a look through some newspaper archives around the league.

Here's a good example of a classy goodbye by a departing free agent.