After stepping away for a week – I was on the road covering the Winnipeg Jets and, truth be told, kind of ran out of time – I’m back with another installment of your favourite newsletter.
It IS your favourite, right?
Phew. OK, so speaking of the road, I’ve got a few tales to share after making stops in New Jersey, New York and St. Louis.
In no particular order:
You see a lot of interesting things in New York City. But the dude simultaneously walking six extremely chill dogs at the same time was quite something.
Not only that, he was also talking on his cell phone at the time. And, I’m guessing, chewing gum for good measure. Multi-tasking at its finest.
I’m guessing the big yellow bag over his left shoulder is filled with much smaller poop bags for his sidewalk stroll.
Multi-tasking at its finest. (Mike McIntyre / Winnipeg Free Press)
It took until my third-last road trip of the year – I’m doing the Buffalo/Toronto junket later this month, and then the season-ending Florida/Tampa/New York/Carolina one in mid-April that could very well be make or break for the Jets when it comes to the playoffs – before I recorded my first “L” of the season.
That would be my cherished Newsboy-style cap, which I left behind at the NHL’s newest rink, UBS Arena, last Friday.
Frankly, I’m surprised I made it this long, given my penchant for leaving property and possessions behind. (To be clear, I’m not counting my lost luggage in Seattle earlier this year, because that was the fault of the airlines, not yours truly).
Hopefully the losses don’t start mounting.
Logged nearly 70,000 steps in my approximately 72 hours spent in the Big Apple. (Happy to report my sprained ankle survived, and is feeling really good). Not to mention a few subway and train rides.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if I lived there, not sure I’d have any use for a car. It’s so easy and convenient to get around by other means.
The only hitch was, when leaving Newark following the Jets morning skate last Thursday to head back on the train to my hotel in Chelsea, I accidentally zigged when I should have zagged and ended up going two stops in the wrong direction before I realized.
After a brief and very unexpected tour of “Historic Elizabeth, New Jersey” – that’s what the sign says – I was back on the right track. Literally.
Sometimes, I amuse myself. And that was certainly the case as the Jets faced the Islanders and Brenden Dillon and Josh Bailey appeared to exchange slashes to the gentleman’s region.
“Things are getting a bit teste out here,” I Tweeted.
I’ll be here all week. Try the veal!
Consider that my tribute to the late, great Randy Turner, a beloved colleague who absolutely would have made a similar comment.
Speaking of the new home of the Islanders, I was quite surprised – and a wee bit mortified – as I was watching the action play out on the ice below and could hear what sounded like birds chirping above me.
That’s right. Inside the arena.
Turns out there’s a flock or two living in the rafters, a fact I realized once the game was long over and I was typing up my game story, only to catch a few suddenly go flying, no doubt enjoying the silence and freedom once the place emptied out.
That’s definitely a first. And, considering I have a bit of a fear of the winged demons, hopefully a last.
If you haven’t seen the latest mic’d up video featuring Jets forward Evgeny Svechnikov – the team posts them on their social media accounts – well, you’re missing out on some quality stuff.
He is quite a character, and his one-man show on skates is good comedy.
Perhaps the most interesting nugget to emerge from it is the nickname he has for teammate Logan Stanley: Stan-Zila.
Fortunately for the Empire State Building, Stanley steered clear last week.
So I fly from New York to St. Louis early Saturday morning, and I see a guy out of the corner of my eye in the airport operating a “Free Speech” booth.
He waves me over as I’m heading up an escalator to go meet my Uber.
“Sorry, I’ve got to go catch my ride,” I tell him.
“Everyone has somewhere to be,” he laments. “But what you really need is…”
Unfortunately, I got too far away to catch the rest. I’m sure it was captivating.
I got to my St. Louis hotel shortly before noon, only to find myself smack dab in the middle of a parade.
My Irish eyes were quickly smiling as I checked out the various sights and sounds, which included plenty of dancing, piping, signing and even some Shriners racing around in Go-Karts and a massive leprechaun soaring through the air.
Not often you see a massive leprechaun soaring through the air. (Mike McIntyre / Winnipeg Free Press)
No green beer for me – I was working, after all – but a good time was clearly had by all.
However, the good time came to an end for Yours Truly later that day when, upon leaving my hotel, I saw this sign at one of the exits.
“Why do birds, suddenly appear, every time, I am near?” (Mike McIntyre / Winnipeg Free Press)
They’re following me!
“Why do birds, suddenly appear, every time, I am near?”
I used caution, alright – by going to a completely different exit that was far, far away from the low-flying freaks.
Back at home Tuesday night, I found myself riding the elevator to the Canada Life Centre press box with Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon.
Naturally, like all good Manitobans, we talked about the weather.
McCrimmon, who spent much of his life coaching and managing in Brandon, of course, was quite shocked at how much white stuff has fallen this winter.
“At least it’s a bit warmer out,” he cracked.
McCrimmon predicted Mother Nature is going to make it up to us with a delightful spring and summer.
“Mosquito-free?” I asked him.
Not with all the standing water likely to come from the melting snow, he predicted.
Can’t win ‘em all, I guess. (Insert joke here about his Golden Knights losing 7-3 that night, their fifth straight defeat on a brutal road trip).
That’s it for another week, folks.
Mike McIntyre, Sports columnist