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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.

 

Hockey Talkie: Penguins on Raw, Byfuglien’s Korean Love Child, NYR Fan Bus

May 15, 2012 Leave a comment

 

Hey New York Rangers fans, Vector Media is “dropping the puck” on NYR’s Eastern Conference Finals showdown with the New Jersey Devils with double-decker buses that will provide NY Ranger “Fan rides” around MSG – Times Sq 42nd street and back. Fans from all over the country will come in for a chance to receive a free ride on the double decker buses and show their team spirit by joining the traveling Pep Rally and cheering for the Rangers. The buses will have former Ranger players (TBA) and video crews who will be filming the action – throughout the game they will show clips of the fan rides on the giant screens in MSG. All New York Rangers fans are eligible to ride the buses! The bus rolls Wednesday, May 16th; Wednesday, May 23rd; and Sunday, May 27th; running from 4-8pm every night. Check out www.vectormedia.com for more info. And if you’re in the New York area, hop on!

Speaking of the Rangers, you need to check out DJ Steve Porter’s latest remix — “Next Question” featuring John Tortorella. Phenomenal. I love these.

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I’ve been a big NHL and WWE fan since I was a kid, so it’s always fun for me when those worlds manage to collide with each other. The 05/14/12 edition of WWE Raw was filmed live from the Consol Energy Center, and a handful of Penguins players in attendance were not immune to public address from John Cena and John Laurinaitis:

This is not the first time the Penguins have crossed paths with WWE — in December 2011, CM Punk tweeted a pic from his meeting with Penguins perennial heel Matt Cooke, who signed a stick for him (perhaps still trying to get over as a good guy at the time).

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I spotted this kid at the school I work at, who sure seems to resemble Dustin Byfuglien quite a bit, wouldn’t you say? Is it possible that in one of Big Buff’s drunken boating excursions, he managed to cross the Pacific Ocean and impregnate a Korean woman with his love child? #unsubstantiated #speculation

 

All That I Really Care to Say About the Mosque Building/Koran Burning Incident.

September 12, 2010 11 comments

The whole Mosque building and Koran burning things seemed to be destined to intersect with each other, didn’t they?  I wanted to wait until after the anniversary of 9/11  to comment on the situation, so here goes.

By now everyone knows the story, so I will only briefly touch on the synopsis; Muslim folks in New York wanted to build a mosque near Ground Zero, and it made a lot of people mad.  A Florida pastor wanted to burn the Muslim Holy book, and that made a lot of people mad too.  The pastor tried to negotiate a halt in the construction by offering to cease his event.  Some people on both sides try to talk reasonably, some “he said, she said”, and now there’s no burning, and probably still some building.  Oh, and a lot of people are still mad. 

Here’s my take.  While we have people who probably have a positive intention at heart (and probably feel enlightened by their deity that their course of chosen action is correct), we still have people who are blindingly ignorant, don’t understand the concept of “in good taste”, and people who still paint an entire nation of people with the actions of only one of its representatives.  Also, people are idiots.   

Here’s what went wrong, from my perspective, on both sides of the fence. 

great take.

For the Muslims in New York and everywhere; you absolutely do have the right to practice your religion, and you have the legal right to purchase land and to construct holy buildings on it, even at the 9/11 Ground Zero site.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should though.  While I understand the argument that building there represents an evolution of healing, tolerance, and understanding of Islam in Western culture, the thing is, you can build a mosque ANYwhere else in the US and (probably) not have any trouble having it built (or at least, a lot less).  Really, truly, it’s not in good taste, and it is a little insensitive to build at that spot.  Not because the current builders and inhabitants would be terrorists or extremists and destroy other things, but for the simple reason that the people that blew up the World Trade Center claimed to be Islamic.  Those people that committed that horrible atrocity, and the rest that they are connected with, do skew and misrepresent the true, peaceful teachings of Islam, I know.  The world needs to see more good Muslim people in order to understand the negative generalization that has been made towards the religion of Islam.  In the past nine years since 9/11, I think we have come a long way and made good progress in seeing people for who they really are, regardless of their religious or non-religious affiliation; there just seem to be many more ways and locations that we can continue to make steady and gainful progress at, and building at this site just is not one of them.  TV interviews that show innocent bystanders that aren’t Muslim and happen to have dark skin berated for wanting to build the mosque shows the level of ignorance that still exists, and that America’s still not quite ready to make that step.  I think they deserve all the time they need.

For Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida; I’m not sure where he was going to get all those Korans from in the first place, but if he purchased them, or if people were voluntarily burning them in a fire on his property, well it would seem he has the legal right to do that as well, as long as he wasn’t violating any local by-laws.  Of course for him as well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he should either.  Jones was quoted as saying the purpose of the burning would be to expose Islam as dangerous and radical.  And while he very well may have felt enlightened by God to perform such an act, or interpreted a certain scripture that made him believe he needed to do that, the only thing he really achieved was painting himself as an equally radical misrepresentation of his religion, and invoking worldwide anger towards him, America, and Christianity from Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

          I think in Terry’s heart, he probably meant well, and that he felt he was doing the right thing (I hope so, anyways).  He obviously believes very strongly in his religious convictions, and wants to defend the Biblical teachings via his own interpretations.  He may also have felt that the mosque building in New York was in poor taste, and thought he had found a way to put a stop to it in the name of God. 

          On one hand, you have to give him credit; garnering worldwide exposure from a church with a congregational populous of 50 is no easy feat.  But on the other, a quick Wikipedia search will show you that Mr. Jones isn’t exactly a “model” Christian.  He has been accused of running a church like a sect leader, using psychological pressure on members; was fined $3800 by Cologne courts for improperly using the title “doctor”; ejected by the congregation in Cologne for being a Christian fundamentalist, and due to untenable theological statements and craving for recognition, amid allegations of financial impropriety; and earlier this year, he published Islam is of the Devil, a book denouncing Islam as a violent faith (only $17.99, available at amazon.com [for interest’s sake only; I am not promoting its sale]).  This has been one hell of a book tour.    

          I don’t think that even Jones himself expected the amount of negative feedback, violence and death threats, and jihadist activity that he has inspired.  Without even one flicker of a flame, he’s now not only endangered himself, but his own congregation, and Christians and Americans currently residing in the US or abroad.  While his now non-action was on a much smaller scale, it was an extreme and unnecessary measure.  The Bible does teach that God is the one, true God, and to not have any other gods before you; but it also teaches love, peace, forgiveness, and tolerance through Jesus Christ.  While the latter are fundamentals of the New Testament, it is interesting that Mr. Jones’ church claims to be a New Testament Church; I really don’t see any of those values coming out of Terry through this event. 

On the outside, a mosque is just a building made of building materials, and the Koran is just paper with words written on it and bound together.  There are plenty of mosques already built, and many more will be built too, all over the world.  There are a lot of Korans that have been printed in the world, and one day’s burning of them is not near enough to even put a dent in the global total of them.  In truth, it will probably make it increase.  But the continuing and ongoing problem is the ignorant view from both sides to each other; clearly neither side has made a large enough effort to understand the other, to understand the deeper meaning of these items to the other party, and to act in good taste and representation of their own religion.  The underlying problem is that we have humans at the root, and that we people are imperfect, no matter how much education, power, money, and enlightenment we acquire.    

As mad as I was after 9/11, it was an opportunity to grow in understanding.  Since then, I have studied a small portion of Islamic teaching in school, and more importantly, met actual Muslim people who are, in fact, quite pleasant.  We need to see people for people, not groups for people.  There are definitely some Islamic terrorists, but there are also some idiotic Christians.  And Atheists, Buddhists, Hindu’s, Americans, Canadians, French, English, Korean, Nigerian, and just some non-religious, all-around jackasses.  But there are also a lot of very nice people from all those groups as well; if we ever took the time to meet more people and understand them on a personal level, maybe then we could stop infuriating each other so frequently.

Let’s hope this is as far as this whole saga goes.

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