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[Archive] 2011 Interview with Blake Comeau

August 10, 2014 Leave a comment

This article was posted on The Score’s Backhand Shelf blog on December 28, 2011. I interviewed Blake Comeau, then of the Calgary Flames, fresh off a trade from the New York Islanders, hoping to make a fresh start after his time on Long Island had gone sour. After only 91 games, 9 goals, 13 assists, and 22 points over two seasons with Calgary, Comeau has since moved onto the Columbus Blue Jackets (2012-14: 70 GP, 7 G, 14 A, 21 PTS) and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Blake Comeau is finding his stride in Calgary, and pleased to be on a playoff contender

Typically when you have a hockey player who improves his point production every season, and is coming off a year of career highs, he’d continue to receive incre

ased levels of playing time, and should subsequently churn out progressively higher point totals with each passing season. However, “typical” is not word that would accurately describe Blake Comeau’s current NHL campaign.

“I was excited with the direction my game was going after last season,” said Comeau, Calgary Flames’ left-winger. “I wanted to build off it this year. I hit a little bump in the road.”

After being healthy scratched by the New York Islanders on October 15th, 20th, and November 21st, the un-injured Comeau knew his days in an Islander uniform were numbered.

He appeared in his last game for New York on November 23rd, where he saw only 6:45 of time on the ice, and was only used for eight shifts. Those numbers were nearly half of his typical game engagement this season –up until then, he was averaging 16 shifts and just under 14 minutes on the ice per game. But even those numbers were in stark contrast to last season, which often saw him play around 22 minutes and get up to 30 shifts some games.

This all translated into Comeau not registering a single point through 16 games with New York, and posting a dismal -11 rating.

”I didn’t feel like anyone was really scoring to start the year off in New York,” Comeau explained. “We were struggling offensively. Honestly I’m still in the dark, and I don’t think I’ll ever know why I was healthy scratched. I asked questions and tried to figure out what I could do to stay in the lineup, and nothing was ever answered. I knew my production was going to go down there, as my opportunities were being cut in half. I wasn’t getting as much ice time as I was in the previous years. It’s on me as well though – I wasn’t producing like I wanted to.”

It was a mind-boggling move by New York, who had re-signed Comeau to a one- year, $2.5 million dollar contract for the 2011-12 season. The Islanders are third lowest in contract spending this year, and have $13 million dollars of salary cap space available, so benching their eighth highest paid player didn’t make any financial sense either.

I’m not really sure what happened over the summer,” said Comeau. “Obviously something changed during that time, and I wasn’t in their plans anymore. I wish I could pinpoint what it was. There wasn’t any communication with me at the start of the year. I didn’t know why I was sitting out, and I didn’t know why anything was going the way it was. I asked questions and there was never really anyone to answer them. To me it didn’t make sense.”

At only 25 years of age, and with improved statistical returns every season, the Islanders decision to delete Comeau from their long-term plans was definitely a head-scratcher.  He was placed on waivers by the Islanders on November 24th, and promptly picked up by the Calgary Flames the following day.

“I was pretty excited when I was picked up by Calgary off waivers,” Comeau said. “I look at it as everything happening for a reason. There are no hard feelings [with the New York Islanders]—I made a lot of good friends in New York. It’s part of the business sometimes – you have to move on, and go to a new team. For me, moving was the best situation. It was a really good time for me to get a change of scenery, and I’m really excited to be in Calgary. The fresh start here has given me a spark.”

Statistically speaking, the scenery change has indeed sparked Comeau  – in his first sixteen games as a member of the Calgary Flames, he’s recorded 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points, and sits at a much improved  -1 rating.

“I’ve gotten better the more I’ve played, and the more comfortable I’ve gotten,” Comeau explained. “There’s still a ways to go—it’d be nice to contribute offensively a little more. But I’m bringing other things to the game when I’m not scoring too, with physical play, on the penalty kill, and things like that. If I can keep doing the things that made me successful last year, more often than not I’m going to be able to get on the score sheet. To me, it doesn’t really matter if I’m scoring, as long as we’re winning.”

Winning is not something Comeau was not able to do very often with the Islanders, who currently sit 28th out of 30 teams in NHL standings, and have failed to qualify for the playoffs the previous four seasons. The Flames have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, but currently sit in a tie for eighth with plenty of hockey to be played in the 2011-12 NHL season.  Comeau is ecstatic to be part of a team in the playoff hunt.

“My first goal is to try to help the team make the playoffs. In New York, we never made the playoffs while I was there, and I haven’t played in them yet. It’d be a nice thing to have in my first year in Calgary. It’s nice to be in a playoff race now. Every game’s important. There were times in New York where we were out of the playoff race pretty early. Not taking anything away from New York – they’ve got a lot of good, young players, a young team, and a good future ahead of them I think – but  it’s a nice change of pace for me to be out here in a playoff race, and able to see how important every game is. It’ll be really nice if we can string some wins together here and get in the playoffs – that’s definitely our goal.”

Calgary’s current three-game winning streak, which boasts victories over top ranked Minnesota, Detroit, and Vancouver, makes the Flames’ playoff aspirations more tangible and realistic.

Comeau will face his old club for the first time later this month, when the Calgary Flames travel to Long Island to face the Islanders on December 29th.

 

Not even an undercover CIA agent enjoys hearing their alias has to pretend to follow the Calgary Flames

February 9, 2013 Leave a comment

This clip was from the September 30, 2012 season premier episode of “Homeland” on Showtime, so it’s a little old, but still neat to see hockey and an NHL team referenced in this show. Too bad it had to be the Calgary Flames that got the mention. Oh well. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

UPDATE:

macgyver flamesIt appears that this Flames mentioned in a spy show may not be as random as once thought — MacGyver, perhaps the greatest spy/secret agent of them all, was a Calgary Flames fan, and mentioned the team and often wore their apparel on the show.

It’s odd that Mac was a Flames fan, as his fictional biography notes he was born in Minnesota — which would suggest that he should have aligned with the North Stars. They arrived in Minnesota in 1967, when MacGyver was 16; which is a good age to solidify an allegiance to a team. The Flames didn’t move to Calgary from Atlanta until 1980, when he was 29. And there are no mentions of MacGyver cheering for the Atlanta Flames in the series, only the Calgary version.

Attempts to find the actor that played MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson, aligned with any particular NHL team have proved inconclusive. Though it is well documented that he used to play as a kid, and continues to be involved in hockey through charity games and such.

But more to the Homeland correlation — the most plausible rabbit trail to follow is that Homeland actors Morena Baccarin (aka Jessica Brody) and Diego Klattenhoff (aka Mike Faber) both acted alongside Richard Dean Anderson (aka MacGyver) on Stargate SG-1 at different periods. Anderson was there as Jack O’Neill from 1997-2007, Baccarin appeared as “Adria” in six episodes from 2006-2007, and Klattenhoff appeared as “Team Leader” in one episode in 2005. Faber is also Canadian (born in Nova Scotia), so there’s that too. It’s believable that MacGyver/hockey/the Flames may have come up in conversation between any combination of the three, and then may have popped into Baccarin or Klattenhoff’s mind at a table read or something when it came time to mention a hockey team in the Homeland episode.

Maybe I should work for the CIA.

Calgary lost again? Some things never change.

(Glove bump to “hocko” on Reddit for picking up on the lead)

Hating the Road, Love For Home: The Geographical Prejudice of Hockey.

November 23, 2009 8 comments

 

Hockey (and all travelling sports) alters your geographical predispositions.  That is, when you play hockey, you play in a lot of different cities and towns, multiple times over.  When you play minor hockey, it’s more likely all the players on the opposing teams are actually from the city that is on their jersey.  When you play junior, college, and pro, you get players brought in from all points of the globe, and it makes you question the notion of who the “home team” really is, if you put some thought into it.

Depending on the outcome of an away game, you immediately form unfair blanket opinions of the entire township and its residents upon the conclusion of the game; perhaps even upon entry into the arena.  These are all loosely based on premature evaluations of the arena, team, and city.  If it’s an old rink, you refer to it as a “barn” from then on.  If it’s a small town, and their team is really bad, they become known as “bush-leaguers”, and their town could be any number of variations on the term “dump” or “hole”.   The less enjoyable the game due to opposing cheap, dirty, chirpy, and general unsportsmanlike conduct, the more all these prejudices become amplified in a player’s mind.  The most common phrase uttered in the dressing room after a road game, without a doubt is, “hurry up and pack your gear so we can get the **** outta here boys!”  All further recollections on a city upon a visit will return to “that time we whooped those hack bush-leaguers in this dumpy little town,” or in the case that the results were not positive, something along the lines of, “I hate playing here because this place sucks and they beat the crap out of us.”  And the spiral funnels downward…

On the flip side, playing hockey for a town builds an abnormal pride in a city that you have little to no connection with outside of hockey.  Generally, the smaller the city you play for, the more you end up loving that place, and its people.  I loved every minute of the time I played for Westside (population: 30,000), Creston (population: 5000), Caronport (village status, population: 1000), and Lyon (population: 5,000,000), and I wore their colors with pride.

So Beaver Valley, Columbia Valley, Castlegar, Golden, Enderby, Princeton, Spokane, Summerland, Osoyoos, Armstrong, Winfield, Lumby, Mission, Dawson Creek, Nakusp, Kitimat, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Camrose, St. James, Cholet; I’m sure you all have good things to offer in your own unique ways, but I don’t like you for no good reasons other than the 20 some-odd players that have represented you on the ice over the years, and/or the few hours in and limited view I had of your town.  Your fans may not have been very nice to us either.  Also, you’re really far away from where I am, and I blame you for my hatred of long-distance driving.  Kimberly; you beating us in game 7 will always sting.  Kamloops; you smell.  Merritt; your continued support of country music infuriates me.  Dauphin, MB; I had to fight when I visited you.  Revelstoke, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Sicamous; I hear good things about you from other people, but I’m still not sold.  100 Mile House, I don’t like you because you’re really, cruelly, cold.  Don’t make me play games at 6am in the dead of winter, wearing my street clothes under my gear to keep warm next time.  Hull, PQ; you were fun to visit actually, but your teams were way better than us. Terrace; you’re cool because I won a championship there.  Mont Blanc, FR; it was fun being in the Alps.  Vernon; you’re an exception, because you’re where I was born, and where I still have family.  And as for Kelowna; well, I’ll tell people I’m from there for ease of geographic explanation (I also have claimed to be from Vancouver when abroad, for the same reason), but I’m Westside till I die.

I’m sure this sounds pretty messed up, and I’ll be the first to admit that it is.  Am I sorry for all my prejudice?  I probably should be, but I don’t know that I truthfully am.  I do think the concept is skewed, but maybe I need some big redeeming moment in each town for me to warm up to them.  That or, it may just be hopeless.  Gooooo Grizzlies/Thundercats/Clippers!

**Discussion/comment provoking question**: Current or former athletes, what city did/do you hate playing in the most, and why?

 

Stuff That Sucks 2: More Pictures Worth 500 Words.

November 13, 2009 Leave a comment
acme final

customerus stupidus

I was in the Safeway on the corner of Richter and Bernard in Kelowna the other day when I noticed, conspicuously placed on the bottom of the doors was the above sticker, notifying those who saw it that the store was being monitored by  Acme Protection Systems, Ltd.  My immediate thought was, of course, HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING FROM WILE E COYOTE? Why do people continue to buy products from people dumb enough to name their company after people who supplied a cartoon Coyote with ineffective, often defective, and always deadly products for catching a roadrunner?  Why would you, as a business owner who could choose any name in the world, want that stigma attached to your products?  Is it worth the nostalgic reference?  I can just hear the Safeway manager saying to himself, “You know, the company I want to trust the millions of dollars worth of product and property in this store can only be safe in a company called Acme.  That makes sense to me.  Let me get my name on this contract right away.

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The Marketplace IGA in Glenmore recently supplied me with evidence of the

102220091743

the final showdown.

engagement of one of most epic battles of our time.  Yes folks, the people at General Mills have taken their flagship product of Cheerios into head-on warfare with Toucan Sam and his mighty Froot Loops.  Apparently, the Honey-Nut, Multi-Grain, Frosted, Apple Cinnamon, Yogurt Burst, Berry Burst, Oat Cluster Crunch, and Banana Nut Cheerios varieties have not been able to corner the market on the very lucrative colored-circle-shape-cereal gravy train that ever lovable/possibly high (have you noticed how much sniffing he does? Always following that nose of his…) tropical bird king of Kellogg’s has monopolized for so long.  Just you wait for the unauthorized biographies and movie rights from this one…

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washroom cups

thirsty?

Kelowna’s Capri Centre Mall recently supplied me with this gem in the men’s washroom.  Yes, you are seeing it right, there is a paper cup dispenser IN THIS VERY PUBLIC WASHROOM.  Apparently so many people were running in, cupping their hands under the tap, trying to corral a mouthful, that the big-wigs that make the big decisions around there decided to put a stop to the whole thing.  Instead of installing, say, a drinking fountain, this must have been the next logical cost-cutting step.  I knew there was some reason those guys were in charge…

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And last but clearly not least, Calgary’s Centennial Arenas, home of my sworn enemy Mt. Royal Cougars, has been working ever so diligently to install a new wheelchair ramp to improve the arena’s disabled accessibility.  At completion, the ramp will allow disabled spectators to enter the arena without having to navigate the stairs– they just have to figure out a way over the brick wall at the end of the ramp.

wheelchair ramp FAIL

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