Hi folks. Greetings from the road. I’m coming to you today from Buffalo. Or Niagara Falls. Or Toronto. It all depends on what time you read it.
After covering last night’s Winnipeg Jets game in western New York — I’m writing this back in my hotel room in the wee hours — my plan was to hop in the rental and head north later this morning, stopping on the American side of the popular tourist destination for my rapid antigen test, then carry on across the border to the centre of the hockey universe to cover tonight’s tilt with the mighty Maple Leafs.
Flying in and out of Buffalo is a bit of a pain, not to mention pricey, so I made the wise choice to simply book a return flight from Winnipeg to Toronto. I touched down Tuesday, and then took a very scenic detour on my 90-minute drive south to check out how incredible our planet can be.
I’d been to the falls once before, several years ago, but all the snow and ice had melted by then. This time, it was still there and added to the magic.
Quite honestly, it was just the tonic I needed to cleanse the palate after a rough couple weeks.
On that note, I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of you fine people who reached out after my newsletter last Thursday about the loss of our beloved canine companion, Cassie.
Our other rescue, sweet Bodie, is probably taking it harder than any of us. He sure misses his big sister, more than I think we expected he would. We’re smothering him with all the love and attention we can muster, but he’s definitely in a funk. Once again, you just wish your four-legged family members could talk to you, so they can explain exactly what they’re thinking and feeling.
I read all of your kind words, as did my wife and our two children, and we appreciated them. I promise to get back personally to each and every one of you in the coming days.
Truly, they helped a lot.
I promised you a return to the usual nonsense, so here’s a few quick hits I can offer:
I’ve been known to fly by the seat of my pants at times. But last night offered up a new one for yours truly – I RIPPED the seat of my pants while sitting in the press box at KeyBank Center. Whoops. Is it getting drafty in here or is it just me?
In my defence, I snagged them on the chair, causing the tear. It was one of those “you had to be there” moments. Although I’m glad none of you were. Fortunately, my suit jacket offered up just enough backside coverage so that (I hope) it wasn’t noticeable to anyone who had the misfortunate of being behind me.
Given that this was just a quick two-game, three-night trip, I only brought one pair of dress pants. And given their current sorry state, I’m planning to make an emergency shopping trip this afternoon in Toronto so I don’t inadvertently give anyone a show tonight while covering the Jets vs Maple Leafs game. Help me out here, folks. Have you ever had a similar embarrassing wardrobe malfunction? If so, I want to hear it!
Faithful readers of this space will recall I’m talked a time or two about my fear of birds, especially when they get in my space. Such was the case a few weeks ago in New York, where the new home of the Islanders involves winged creatures living in the rafters.
My hotel a few days later in St. Louis then warned of “low-flying birds” outside one of the doors.
Well, I regret to inform you they’re apparently following me. A couple swooped near my head the other day INSIDE Pearson Airport in Toronto, where they’ve apparently taken refuge.
And then I came across this while driving through Niagara Falls later that day. No, I did not stop to go inside.
I got an email the other day that made me do a double-take when I saw the subject matter:“Hockey Fan Fights Increasing.” Considering I had just watched video of a brouhaha — or was it a melee or fracas — break out during a game in San Jose, my interest was piqued. And I literally began laughing out loud when I opened it up to have a read:
Hockey and fighting seemingly go hand in hand. It’s one of the only sports where you regularly see fists fly, but what about when fans start to get in on the action? A new survey shows nearly 25 per cent think fan fights have increased since the pandemic, and NHL fans weighed in on which teams have the biggest instigators. Fans most likely to start a fight: Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks. Fans most likely to lose a fight: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Seattle Kraken.
I have NO idea how they arrived at these conclusions, especially on the second point. I mean, isn’t that just a backwards way of calling spectators in those three cities the weakest and wimpiest in the league? Or maybe they’re just lovers, not fighters in that market.
That’s it for me this week. Peace out.
Mike McIntyre, Sports columnist