All posts by Dennis Kane

Hey Mr. Canning, Where Are You? I’d Like To Pay You Back!

School’s winding down for kids who are mostly about 100 years younger than me, and when I thought about that, I thought about the teachers I had those many years ago. And it kind of pisses me off.

There were those nuns, of course, who helped guide and direct by giving me several good strappings on the hand after I got sassy or said a bad word or snapped a girl’s bra strap when she least expected it. So I guess I deserved it, and if you must know, there’s nothing like a nice piece of quarter-inch black leather whipped across the palms of the hands to help someone settle down and learn more.

Most of all, I remember Mr. Canning from grade six. I suppose Mr. Canning was probably in his mid-20s, although I never thought about it at the time. He had greased-back Elvis hair and was probably a kind, gentle soul on parent-teacher night. I seem to recall, although it’s fuzzy, that he sometimes had his good days. But I can clearly recall his bad days.

You see, Mr. Canning got mad at us when we were sassy or said a bad word or snapped a girl’s bra strap, but I can’t ever remember him using the strap. Nope, he never used the strap. Mr. Canning made his point a different way.

You’d first get the hint you were in trouble because his face turned beet red. Then he’d slowly walk down the aisle toward you, and the room grew quiet. His hands would then gently touch the top of your head, and you could feel the fingers wrapping themselves around your hair. After that, it wasn’t a great feeling as he lifted you up, right out of your seat, almost with feet leaving the ground, by the hair. Then he shook and shook and shook, and finally would slam you back down into your desk.

Geez, did that hurt. You wondered if he’d pulled your hair right out of your skull. Your head hurt for hours. So did your pride. Mr. Canning did this to most of the boys.

However, the guy wasn’t a one-trick pony. I guess sometimes he got tired of pulling boys out of their seats by the hair. Sometimes, when he got mad, he would simply stay at the front of the class and throw blackboard erasers, the ones made of wood, as hard as he could at our faces. Mr. Canning was probably a pretty good baseball player, because more times than not, he connected with a fastball eraser square between our eyes. I mean, that must have taken talent.

Mr. Canning taught in the days when teachers could pretty well pummel and torture students and get away with it. Sure, he was a quick-tempered madman, and I suppose he was unusual, even for those times.

He’d be in big trouble nowadays. First, he’d be removed from his teaching position very quickly. A police investigation would begin. Parents would be up in arms. Mr. Canning would retain a lawyer and his defence would be that children have great imaginations and naturally tell stories that the parents would interpret in an adult way, making it sound worse than it was. The lawyer might argue that the parents had other issues with Mr. Canning and they used their kids as a way to get him fired. He could win or lose, depending on his defence.

Two things are for sure. Mr. Canning’s lucky he taught when he did, because I’m assuming he got away with what he did. He’s also lucky he taught only grade-sixers. If he had taught high school kids, he just might have got his ass kicked.

More “Stealing Quotes.” My Second Day Of Laziness

Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice: “My sister’s expecting a baby, and I don’t know if I’m going to be an uncle or an aunt.”

Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson hooking up again with promoter Don King: “Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton.”

Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left winger, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker: “That’s so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes.”

Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regime of heavyweight Andrew Golota: “He’s a guy who gets up at six o’clock in the morning regardless of what time it is.”

Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F’s and one D: “Son, looks to me like you’re spending too much time on one subject.”

Stealing Quotes On A Lazy, Hazy, Summer’s Day

It’s late afternoon, and I’m home after a long, hot day at work. I’ve been up since 3 am, and all I want to do is drink some beer and watch television. So I’m pulling out this paper I found in a stack of papers, and I’m going to use it today and maybe even some more tomorrow. I know it’s cheating.
But you might like it!

The original title was “Why Athletes Can’t Have Real Jobs.”

Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model. “I wan’ all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan’ all the kids to copulate me.” (Dennis’ note: Andre got crossed up on a mix between ‘copy’ and ’emulate’ for those of you who didn’t get it.)

New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season. “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.”

And, upon hearing Joe Jacobi of the ‘Skins say, “I’d run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl,” Matt Millen of the Raiders said: “To win, I’d run over Joe’s mom too.”

Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins: “He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings.”

Football commentator and former player Joe Theisman, 1996. “Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”

Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh: “I’m going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes.”

Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: “You guys line up alphabetically by height.” And, “You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle.”

I Sort Of Won Rookie Of The Year Last Night At The NHL Awards Show

If the NHL Awards show wants to become more of a flashy and polished affair, they might want to think about replacing host Ron McLean. For as much as he’s a quick-witted and able sidekick to Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner, he comes across on these glittering nights as a bit of a hick. Really hokey. With lame jokes like the Brian Burke bobbing head doll and the cell phone thing. He’s not too funny at all. Maybe he’s overrated?
Gary Bettman looked embarrassed and I felt embarrassed.

Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one in the world who feels like this.

On the brighter side, there sure were a lot of good looking wives there. It seems that hot women like millionaire athletes! Go figure.

Washington’s Bruce Boudreau beat out Guy Carbonneau and Mike Babcock to win the Adams trophy for coach of the year. For me it could’ve gone either way between him and Carbonneau so this is okay.

Alex Ovechkin won both the Hart for league MVP and the Lester B. Pearson for top player as voted by his peers. This is fine, but my question is, who dresses this guy? He looked so out of sorts with his silly red tie and weird collared shirt that I wondered if he just got off the Red Eye from Moscow.

Niklas Lidstrom took home his sixth Norris for best defenseman. His wife is also right up there for Best Wife.

Gordie Howe was honoured with the very first Lifetime Achievement Award. This is good, but I’m wondering if you have to be alive to win this. Because the Rocket deserves one too. But the Rocket has the Rocket Richard Trophy named for him for most goals in a season, and that’s better than a Lifetime Achievement award in my book.

Last but not least, Patrick Kane beat out Jonathan Toews and Nicklas Backstrom for Rookie of the Year (Calder trophy). I’m happy about this because my name is Dennis Patrick Kane.

The Luckiest Guy In The World. Plus, Max Makes More Money, And Trevor Will Soon Be Canonized.

Who’s the luckiest guy on the face of the earth today? It’s easy. It’s a soccer player named Vastic, that’s who.
It’s not even because I’m a soccer fan that I rushed to check the scores to see how Austria did against Poland in this year’s Euro 2008. I don’t know any players’ names in the tournament except Ronaldo, and I’m not even sure if he’s playing. I don’t know what teams are good and what teams are bad.

But I know Vastic now.

It’s because before the game, an Austrian beer company promised a lifetime supply of free beer to any Austrian player who scored a goal in their last two games of the tournament.
And Vastic did just that in his team’s 1-1 draw with Poland.
Vastic’s going to be the only player on the Austrian National team with a beer gut.

IN OTHER NEWS!

The Habs signed Maxim Lapierre the other day to a two-year $1.375 million dollar contract. This is a good signing, but Max might have to learn how to finish his fights instead of just starting them and letting Tom Kostopoulos or Mike Komisarek do the rest.
He reminds me of myself when I was a smallish yet shifty right winger for Orillia’s Byers Bulldozers Bantams who often had big Rick MacNeil step in and clean the clock of someone who wanted to clean my clock.

IN SOME MORE NEWS!

Vancouver favourite Trevor Linden retired after a 19 year NHL career. Linden’s always been known as a good guy, a constant visitor to hospitals, a fund raiser, and all-round big-hearted fellow, particularly to children with problems.
He’s a legend in Vancouver for his work on and off the ice.

However, he stunk during his two years in Montreal.

He played a total of 107 games there, with 66 points during his injury-filled stint in the mecca. His heart was obviously in Vancouver, where he eventually ended up returning to, and probably where he wanted to be all along. (He also played for the Islanders and Washington but the only thing worth mentioning about this is that he was traded from Vancouver to the Islanders for Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe, which is indeed interesting, right?)

Trevor Linden will have his sweater retired in Vancouver, and is probably the most popular player to ever play there. He owns the town. He could be mayor if he wanted. By all accounts he’s a gem of a fellow, a man of the people.

But like I said, he stunk with the Habs and maybe someday I’ll forgive him for this.

Gerry Barber Was One Tough Son Of A Bitch

He was the meanest, toughest, nastiest bar bouncer in the Hull-Ottawa area, probably the entire country, and my friends and I hold the tremendous honour of being thrown down the stairs by him.

We weren’t the first and we weren’t the last, but at least I can tell my grandkids someday that I once got tossed around like a pillow by the great Gerry Barber.

He wasn’t a giant of a man, this Gerry Barber, maybe five feet, 10 inches and maybe 250 pounds, but he took on all comers – drunken bikers a handful at a time, snotty teenaged kids with one too many quarts of beer in their gut, and shady characters toting guns and knives.

He broke up fights nightly at the Chaudiere Club, busted a lot of heads, and had his own head cracked open several times from pipes and other things that would damage you and me much more than him. Absolutely, Gerry Barber was one tough mother.

The Chaudiere Club sat alone on the road that led from Hull to Alymer on the Quebec side of the river across from Ottawa. It was a testament to a golden era, a massive dirty-white, two-story club built in the 1930s, and it was a monolithic marvel of balconies, rooms, and murals. In its prime, it was one of the finest jazz and swing night spots found anywhere.

Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa, the Inkspots, Duke Ellington, they all played this house affectionately called the Chaud, and folks came from all over the Ottawa Valley tossed their fedoras and mink shawls aside and swung the night away.

But the Chaud, beginning in the 1960s, took a hardcore turn as music and minds changed, and toughs from all over began to make it their beer-soaked clubhouse. Fights, loud arguments, passing out at tables, stabbings, and angry confrontations in the parking lot all came along.

Luckily, so did Gerry Barber.

It didn’t matter how many he had to throw out, he just threw them out. Anybody. Any amount. Any time. He did his damage with sheer power, and was willing to takes great cracks on the head and knuckles on his nose to get the job done. And he’d return the favour.

Gerry Barber’s reputation grew. National magazine write-ups, stories in the Ottawa papers. Curious profiles. Several years ago, Ottawa Sun columnist Earl McRae held a long and fascinating poll with his readers to determine Ottawa’s toughest man ever. Yep, Gerry Barber won.

That’s why being thrown down the stairs at the Chaud by the great Gerry Barber is such an honour for me. I don’t remember what my friends and I had done to deserve the treatment, but guessing that we were young, obnoxious, drunken morons would be a really good guess.

Gerry Barber has been gone many years now, but I’m sure he’s still talked about with reverence and awe in the Ottawa area. The Chaudiere’s gone now too, levelled by a wrecking ball that was probably almost as hard as Barber’s fist and head. Now, for those who partied there, all that’s left are memories, several scars, and a few missing teeth.

The Chaud really had something when it had Gerry Barber to keep things in line. The place might have been out of control if it wasn’t for him. He not only rearranged noses, but he probably saved many lives by booting them out head-first into the parking lot before the worst could happen.

He was a man who can be an inspiration for all bouncers who decide to be the best they can be. Just don’t try to be like him, because you could get hurt. And I don’t want to get thrown down any more stairs.

You’ll Never Look At A Detroit Red Wing Octopus The Same Again.

Did you ever think that that very dead and very smelly octopus being thrown on the ice at Detroit Red Wing games just might have been a very lovely and interesting creature when it was alive swimming around in the ocean?
This five minute video is unbelievable, especially the last minute. It shows octopi like you’ve never imagined. Have a look at just how special these things are. Remember, the last minute is especially neat.

 

It’s No Big Deal. I’ve Got A Better Song In Mind

 

“TSN reports CTV has acquired the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.  The song, which was created by Vancouver’s Dolores Claman in 1968, will now be used in NHL broadcasts on TSN and RDS beginning this Fall. In addition, CTV will utilize the song as part of its hockey coverage during the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”

 

I guess a new song is needed for Hockey Night in Canada.

 

So at this time, June 9, 2009, I would like to nominate Johnny Bower’s “Honky The Christmas Goose” as the new theme song to replace the old.

 

Here’s a little background to make you more familiar.

 

During the 1965-66 season, songwriter Chris Young visited Maple Leaf Gardens to see if any of the Leafs might be interested in becoming recording stars. He talked to cool cat hipsters like Punch Imlach, Red Kelly and the other Leaf rockers, and Johnny Bower, who reminded many at that time as a cross between John Lennon, Frank Zappa, and Bob Dylan, agreed to do it as long as any profits went to charity.

Bower and a bunch of kids including his son Johnny Jr., then became know as Johnny Bower and the Rinky-Dinks, and the rest was history.

The Rinky-Dinks came out with Honky the Christmas Goose, with the flipside being Banjo the Mule. There was no word at the time about if you played either song backwards, there was a hidden message, possibly some meaning of life morsels from spiritual guru Eddie Shack.

Honky debuted on Toronto’s CHUM chart at number 42, and went up against the obviously inferior Beatles and their songs “We Can Work it out” and “Day Tripper.” Sales of Honky exceeded 40,000, and it finally bottomed out at number 29 on the CHUM chart.

The Beatles, for whatever reason, and unfair as it was, did better than the Rinky-Dinks. Some things in life defy explanation.

Early the next day news:
Ron Wilson has his press conference after being announced as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. My prediction is: He’s going to lose his friggin mind after a few months into the season.

A Summit Series Standing Room Story

Sometime during the heat, or maybe a torrential rainfall, of the Quebec summer of 1972, somebody, probably in Montreal, bought two $7 standing room tickets to the very first hockey game of the classic Canada-Russia Summit Series. And for whatever reason, he and his friend or dad or kid or wife, didn’t go.

Most of us know what he missed. The Russians, who were supposed to collapse like a cheap card table, ended up pummelling the overconfident Canadians 7-3 that night in Montreal, and we were all in a tizzy, which didn’t end until Paul Henderson scored with 34 seconds left in game eight in an army-filled arena a million miles away in Moscow.

So this guy missed the big game, but he kept his tickets, and 35 years later, put them on eBay. Those two $7 tickets sold last year for $950 and there’s a lesson to be learned here. Buy tickets for really big events, don’t go, and sell them later and help put your kids through college.

In 1972, Wrangler jeans sold for twelve bucks, popcorn was 75 cents, eggs were 50 cents and apartment rent averaged around $165. I know this because Google told me so. So $14 for standing room tickets was pretty good coin to fork out at the time.

But if he could’ve turned his $14 investment into $950 right then and there, sure he would have missed the Montreal game, but with 1972 gas prices at 36 cents a gallon, he could have easily driven to Toronto for game two, then settled nicely into some fancy digs like the Royal York Hotel and enjoyed games three and four from Winnipeg and Vancouver on television, with room service included. All from the profit made from his two standing room tickets at the Montreal Forum, which he didn’t, for some reason, go to.

Even better, travel agents at that time were offering charter packages to Moscow to take in the four games there, and the cost was around $1,000 for the plane, hotel, and game tickets. So we know what that means. The guy could have sold his Montreal tickets for $950 and taken the trip of a lifetime to dark and mysterious Russia in the midst of the Cold War. He could have seen the four games and witnessed firsthand Alan Eagleson being manhandled by Soviet soldiers, Phil Esposito falling on his rear end during player announcements, and of course, Paul Henderson’s historic goal, all from his profits from two lousy standing room tickets, if only eBay had existed at that time.

Hopefully the poor guy didn’t feel too bad for missing the big opening game way back then. Maybe he was called into work, in which case he had to go to help pay off that new $4,000 1972 Toyota. Possibly he had lots to do in his new home, which he’d just purchased prior to the series for $30,000, and didn’t have the time or the energy to head down to the Forum on St. Catherines Street in Montreal, and jockey his way into good standing room position.

Maybe he’s been kicking himself ever since for missing it, and the $950 only makes him feel slightly better. But, if he really wants to let it go, he should probably think about the poor ticket takers at the Forum. They handled more than 18,000 tickets that night and then threw all the stubs, which are almost as valuable as full tickets, in the garbage. And the cleaners must have swept up dozens of these beautiful little things from under seats and in the aisles.

If anyone should be kicking themselves, it should be them.

Does CBC Stand for “Coddling Bob Cole” Or “Conniving Budget Cuts?”

CBC’s strange yet true decision to axe the Hockey Night in Canada theme song shouldn’t really be a surprise, should it? It’s all about $500 a pop. In their world, 500 bucks is more important than tradition. Can you see ABC/ESPN telling football fans they’re moving Monday Night Football to Sunday to save money?  

You should see the digs the CBC is in in downtown Toronto. Just a stone’s throw from Gretzky’s eatery. With a lease arrangement for the property that must be through the roof. If they want to save money, forget the 500 bucks, just move to Oshawa. There’s a GM plant there that should be empty pretty soon.

It’s a little like 2005 when they fired one of hockey’s best play-by-play guys, Chris Cuthbert. It was budget cuts, they explained. Viewers were livid, wrote nasty letters, and swore they’d never watch hockey again. But head sports lady Nancy Lee didn’t care. Chris Cuthbert goes and Bob Cole stays. The decision was made, regardless of the possibilty that Ms. Lee might have been on a major acid trip at the time.

CBC didn’t care then, and they don’t care now. They’re saving 500 bucks a week. It’s all about the bottom line, as small as it might be. It was a choice. 500 bucks, or music that heralded our hockey game on Saturday night for the last 40 years. The 500 bucks won.

And they figure because we’re Canadian, we’ll put up a fuss now, complain until the season starts, hate the new prize-winning song the first week, then it’ll all be forgotten, we’ll move on, and live happily ever after.

You know, they’re probably right.