Off the Post

Kyle Smith looks like a cross between the lead singer of Coldplay and the gay guy who played Doogie Howser. This makes him understandably angry about life, and he takes that genetic scorn out on movies for the New York Post.

“Set your bosoms to heave and prepare to have your bodices ripped: “The Other Boleyn Girl” is in the house with a pair of 16th century foxes.”

It’s gems such as those that make him completely qualified to talk hockey, right?

Of course.



A stifling cloud of sadness hangs over me as I write these words. Can you taste the despair? All across this great land of ours, from Saskatchewan to Manitoba, the grim fact is beginning to settle in: Hockey season is over.

It’s been a solid month. It settled in that Saturday when there wasn’t a game. We’re okay.

Remember the Stanley Cup final between whoever it was and whoever they beat? Remember how the series lasted several games? Congratulations to all the residents of wherever. Perhaps it was Las Cruces, or Laredo, or Tuscaloosa, or some other hockey-crazed metropolis with a fanatical devotion to the sport dating all the way back to the late spring of 2006.

New Mexico? Texas? Alabama? Someone pulled up Google Maps right quick. This is by far the worst “Red Wings have no fans” joke I’ve ever seen.

Hockey fans may accuse me of not knowing the details of their great love. And they will be right.

Okay, so… why are you still writing?

Because the truth is, I’m not even sure there was a hockey season this year. I mean, are they still on strike, or what? Or was it a lockout? Or do they sometimes just cancel the season for lack of interest?

You mean like when television networks cancel shows because of a lack of interest? Not that you’d know anything about that. You see, everything Kyle Smith writes is gold, including all three episodes of Love Monkey. Great stuff, man; Tom Cavanagh’s best work since “Providence”.

Hockey fans have their mullets in a twist about me. This is because I keep mocking them and their human demolition derby. Last month I got angrygrams protesting my frequent hockey-fan jokes. Why do I keep making fun of these people? Because it is easy, and I am cruel.


One guy sent me an angry e-mail full of surreal references to testicles. Which is a really telling metaphor when you’re defending the only major sport that doesn’t use a ball. Well, there’s curling, which combines the atmosphere of hockey with the skill set of custodial work.

A ball joke? Really? This is where you missed the boat, it’s dick jokes here on the series of tubes.

OK, I just went to Time for some statistics! Last season, which was 37 games long, all teams qualified for the playoffs, which meant an additional 223 postseason matches per team. The current season ended in June, but began in 1974. There were 132 violent fights, and then the second game of the season started.

For the record, the NBA has the same amount of regular season games (82) , playoff teams (16), and playoff series length (best of 7). But I’m sure he’s a baseball fan, their abbreviated season helps keep him interested.

Why is hockey so vile and yet so boring?

Sounds a lot like Bee Movie, which you loved.

Maybe because it wafts down like a low-pressure system from the most boring country on Earth, America’s hat, a place that puts you on trial if you express politically incorrect opinions and makes you wait eight years to get your strep throat treated.

{Waiting for Bryan Adams joke…}

We are talking about the land of Molson, Labatt’s and other strange brews so vile and boring that, even in high school, when I would get drunk on Asti Spumante or Harvey’s Bristol Crème or some other dusty near-poison from the back of the parental liquor cabinet, yes, even in high school, when having a drink with a friend meant gulping in the woods and chuckling feverishly like sprites, I thought Canadian beer tasted like something collected from the floor of the locker room after everyone has taken a shower.

Is that all one sentence? Really? He didn’t even break out a semi colon on that bad boy. I’m not sure if I should be impressed or just confused.

(And drank it anyway.)

Okay, now I’m confused.

I believe, but am not sure, that there is a National Hockey League franchise called the Penguins. There is also one called the Ducks, and the Tinkerbells, and the Wee Willie Winkles (from, of course, Winnipeg). Cute family-friendly names are essential if you are going to get Mom, Dad, Scooter and Trixie to attend the bloodlettings of unibrowed Muscovite thugs.

Non-threatening franchise names:
NFL: Dolphins, Saints, Cardinals
NBA: Clippers, Wizards
MLB: Marlins, Blue Jays, Padres, any form of “Sox”, Twins. Jesus, Tampa Bay’s moniker is literally a freaking ray of sunshine, and you are picking team nicknames as reason hockey is glorified bloodletting?

My friend Chris was once arrested by New York City police after participating in (and winning) a street fight that lasted for exactly one shove and two punches, one of which missed. In a hockey fight the referees stand by like the UN in Darfur while carotids spray the ice like cherry flavoring on a Slurpee.

Is this the “I have cool friends” part of the argument, or the “political metaphor” part of the argument? I know his friend with two punches (Peters?) is important and all, but I really think he tugged on the heartstrings with a Darfur mention. God damn you Don Van Massenhoven, you genocidal maniac.

That last bit wasn’t even an exaggeration. In February a hockey player nearly died on the ice when a skate sliced open his neck. The most surprising detail of this injury is that it happened accidentally.

No, the most surprising detail was that Jokinen didn’t just keep playing after his skate clipped Zednik. Shit like that happens all the time, man.

Even hockey’s one great moment occurred very . . . hockeyishly. The Miracle on Ice against the Soviet Union wasn’t even the final – the USSR still could have won the Gold, and the US team could have finished anywhere from first to fourth depending on how it did in the followup game against Finland.

Greatest, not only. At least Smith had time to look the format up on Wikipedia in between writing the “male version of Sex and the City”. Hey, throw away all the reasons that game was important and point out the tournament set up. You got me there.

And it wasn’t broadcast live, though it happened in Lake Placid at 5 p.m. By the time Jim McKay came on ABC to tell us we were about to see the epic clash, everybody already knew we’d won. That’s hockey for you: when the game was on TV, everyone had to pretend to get excited again.

Yes, because everyone in Lake Placid whipped out their cell phones and text messaged the world the final score. In fact, Al Michaels yelled his famous call because it was a miracle he got a signal up there with his iPhone.

Hockey is far from perfect, but if you are going to knock it at least know what the hell you are talking about. Simply saying “Canada sucks, violence is bad” is not a strong enough case. For being called the American Nick Hornby, he doesn’t know shit about sports.

[Hat tip to Sean Leahy of Going Five Hole for the head’s up.]


  1. firsttimelongtime

    That is, without a doubt, the worst article ever written. Like. Wow. Fine job taking that apart.

  2. twoeightnine


    Smith married Sara Austin in 2007.

    Wait? He’s not gay?

  3. Jennifer

    That was the most WRONG article I have ever wasted my time reading. What a jerk!!!!!

  4. Katie

    Here I was thinking Bucky was a bad journalist – all the “5 for 25” comments in the world couldn’t hold a candle to this article.

    Thanks for finding this, Ryan. I am now going to save it as the perfect example of what NOT to do when I become a journalist.

  5. DCThrowback

    The guy went to Yale and was an Army officer. He should be ashamed of himself for that piece.

  6. Meg

    I think the problem here is that people are reading a newspaper that makes the Buffalo News look like it has sky-high journalistic standards and expecting something other than crap.