So, who the heck is “Budd B.”?

There’s this retired journalist from a Buffalo newspaper by the name of Budd, who spends time reviewing sports books on his personal blog.

He proudly gave my book on John Cangelosi #twostars on Twitter, and his Tweet provides a link to his blog, where he criticized the book.

Two stars? Here’s an excerpt:

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Okay, let me get this straight. A professional athlete who’s been retired for more than 10 years shouldn’t be sharing his stories…. got it. That got me thinking: Did he ever rate the autobiographies on Grant Fuhr and Doug Gilmour, a pair of Sabres hockey stars? But more on that later.

(Regarding the all-time team comment, I’ll have to say that I recall reading parts of Felipe Alou’s book, in which he lists his all-time team in the middle of a chapter. I believe Mickey Lolich did the same in his book. So… what’s Budd’s point?)

First of all, shame on this fella Budd for suggesting that a guy who hit .250 doesn’t deserve a book. Excuse me, Budd, how many years did you play in the big leagues and what’s YOUR average? Your bio says you’ve written 11 books. How many of them were best sellers? So, should more than half of your books not have been written in the first place?

A search on Amazon revealed the following:

  1. Budd wrote books on non-superstars himself! One player he wrote about scored 41 goals and 91 points…. in his entire career! So, don’t pick on another writer and another athlete who didn’t measure up according to you.
  2. From a reviewer on Budd’s hockey book: “…there are multiple errors in text that should have been caught.” Well, I guess someone needs more editing himself, huh?
  3. Here’s another one: “sophomoric book….told like a 6 yr old..no great stories…..after bob probert and dave Schultz books this really stunk..very good admired player..awful storyteller” – So, it looks like Budd’s own books aren’t that great, either, then.

Okay, moving on to the aforementioned ex-Sabres. So, if a book shouldn’t be written about a former athlete who’s been retired more than 10 years, I assumed he didn’t have good things to say about the books of Gilmour and Fuhr… and I was right.

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I mean, I can’t speak for the intentions of Gilmour and Fuhr along with their co-authors, but my intentions with John Cangelosi are pure: Inspire young kids through John’s stories. Anyone who’s been told “You can’t do this” should read this book and be inspired.

I hate to think that this Budd has any kids. Think about the message he’s sending. Well, you know, Babe Ruth was last relevant in the 1930s, so kid shouldn’t read about him, right? Or, some pro athlete who made it despite challenges hits “only” .250 and that’s not good enough. Okay. Good to know.

Of course, when you read the following, you’ll know the kind of person we’re dealing with here.

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“no one cares”? Tell that to former Flames players, who all have very positive things to say about Harley Hotchkiss and the “family” culture he brought to the organization.

Budd B…? Gutless.

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More NHL first-round action…

On Wednesday, Calgary blew a 2-1 lead and lost 3-2 in overtime, falling behind its first-round series 3-1 against Colorado.

The Flames’ overtime struggles in playoff competition – and lack of playoff success, period – are really no surprise… you wonder if they’ve been cursed since their 1989 Cup victory. It seems they can’t win in the playoffs, or if they go into overtime in the playoffs, they lose (other than during their run in 2004).

This particular series in 2018-19 reminds me of the 1989-90 playoffs, when that season’s Flames were also the No. 1 seed in their own conference. Facing the L.A. Kings, they were tied 1-1 after the first two games in Calgary. The Flames then lost 2-1 in overtime in Game Three, and were blown out 12-4 in the fourth game to fall 3-1.

This season, it’s backwards. Tied 1-1, Calgary got blown out 6-2 in the third game and then lost the fourth contest 3-2 in OT. Anyway, an OT loss as well as a blowout loss on the road… and suddenly the Flames are down 3-1.

But it’s interesting how the Flames always seem to lose in playoff OT games… they did so in the third game in Montreal in the 1989 Finals before rallying to win that series. They lost big playoff OT games in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, and 1996… and lost the clinching game in OT in all of those springs.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same, for Calgary.

NHL Series Sweeps

Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh getting swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday night came as big shockers, but once again the playoffs are always unpredictable in hockey.

In particular, the Lightning tying the 1995-96 Red Wings’ single-season mark of 62 wins had many people thinking Tampa was going all the way. There were, in fact, a few articles that came out in recent weeks suggesting Tampa Bay was the greatest NHL team ever because of what the club was doing this season… but c’mon….

But ahhh… this goes back to how the winningest teams in the four professional sports leagues never won the title that year… whether it was the 2001 Mariners, those same Red Wings and now the Lightning, the 2007 Patriots, and the Warriors team that blew the 3-1 series lead to Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

I have no rooting interest here, so I’ll say that Tampa’s meltdown is something that should please fans of the 1992-93 Bruins. When Boston that year got swept by Buffalo in the first round, I remember there was talk about how the Bruins were the first team ever to win 50 games and then get swept in the playoffs. Well, the Lightning of 2018-19 won 62 and then nothing in the playoffs, so at least that takes those B’s off the hook.

And the other series – Pittsburgh vs. Islanders – was a shocker too… The Isles had a great season, but c’mon… New York had accomplished something that it couldn’t do when John Tavares was there. Now with Tavares in Toronto, the Isles are doing what they’re doing… simply amazing. I’m guessing this is New York’s first sweep since the 1983 team swept the Oilers in the Cup Finals.

We’ll see what other upsets occur the rest of the way…

Unfortunately, too many people in our society think like THIS guy….

Last Sunday, news broke about the death of former NHL goaltender Ray Emery. Here’s what one person – who refers to himself as “Beep Beep Ribby Ribby” – decided to write on Twitter:

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That’s disgusting – but, you know, there are lots of people out there who think like that. It just goes to show that some of us don’t treat others like actual human beings. There are those who, unfortunately, look at other human beings as inferior or unworthy.

There are also those who view celebrities – whether they’re athletes or politicians or entertainers – as people to attack and lash out at, particularly on social media. There have been attacks on Twitter and other social media on musicians because of their unwillingness to criticize politicians. There have been attacks on athletes for not making the clutch plays – and even for deciding to go to a new team.

A lot of people out there do not have compassion for other human beings. That’s just plain wrong.

A look-back at the career of 1993 Cup champion Paul DiPietro

Let me first say this to get it out of the way: I’m not a Habs fan and I have never been a Habs fan. Growing up, I loved the Bruins and I thought Denis Savard (who played for Montreal in the early 1990s) was awesome – but I never rooted for the Canadiens in 1993. 

Having said that, the Canadiens’ 1993 Stanley Cup run is a part of hockey history, and that championship is magnified every spring when the last Canadian-based team alive is eliminated – as no Canadian team (not Montreal Canadiens, but Canadian, period) has won a Cup since then. Even if I am not – and was not – a fan, it’s a story that still must be discussed. 

June 9th, 2018, marks the 25th anniversary of the Cup clincher. To “celebrate” that, here’s sportswriter and blogger Rajan Nanavati with a guest post, discussing the career of forgotten Cup champion Paul DiPietro – an unsung hero who was a key contributor during Montreal’s 1993 run. 

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The Interesting, Long-Lasting Hockey Life of Paul DiPietro

By Rajan Nanavati

In life, we tend to be so focused on where we’re going, that we often forget to take a step back and enjoy the journey.

If we could give advice to former NHL player and Stanley Cup champion Paul DiPietro, we would do so. While he was one of the stars of Montreal’s championship in 1993, it was a long and twisted road for DiPietro to get there.

In 1990, the Montreal Canadiens selected DiPietro with their fifth-round pick (102nd overall) in the NHL Draft. Despite scoring 119 points in 66 games as a member of the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), DiPietro lasted that long largely in part because of his size, or lack thereof — he was only 5-foot-9, which didn’t exactly give him the idea frame of someone destined for a long career in the league.

Like most rookies, DiPietro spent his entire rookie season playing with the Fredericton Canadiens — also known as the “Baby Habs” — of the American Hockey League (AHL). But, it didn’t take long for the “big league” Canadiens to realize that they might have a future contributor on their hands. In DiPietro’s rookie season, he had 70 points in 78 games, which included 39 goals.

Clearly encouraged by what they saw, DiPietro spent his next two seasons splitting time between Fredericton and Montreal, playing at last 29 games for the NHL club in both years. In fact, his 17 points in 29 contests during the 1992-93 season solidified a spot for DiPietro on Montreal’s postseason roster, as the Canadiens finished with the third-most points in the Prince of Wales Conference standings.

That decision would unquestionably pay dividends for Montreal. After the Canadiens found themselves in an 0-2 hole against the favored Quebec Nordiques, with the local media even saying that the Canadiens should consider trading away future Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, Montreal turned the tide in the series, winning the next four straight games. DiPietro would help Montreal clinch the series in emphatic manner, as he tallied a hat trick plus an assist in Game 6 of the series, giving Montreal the 4-2 series win.

In Game 1 against the Buffalo Sabres in the ensuing series, DiPietro picked up where he left off, adding another goal and an assist in Montreal’s 4-3 win. His goal in the first 6:23 of the second period helped give Montreal a 3-1 lead in the game. You could say that helped Montreal start off on the right foot against Buffalo, as they swept the Sabres in a series that lasted only six games.

In the Prince of Wales Conference Finals, DiPietro added two more goals and an assist in Montreal’s 4-1 series win against the New York Islanders. His goal in Game 2 helped tie the score up late in the second period, and Montreal would add another in the third to secure the win. DiPietro scored again in Game 4, though Montreal ended up suffering their lone defeat in the series; he was the only score for the Canadiens in their 4-1 loss.

Montreal then advanced to the 1993 Stanley Cup, giving them their third appearance in the league’s final series in a decade. However, while Montreal did most recently make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1989, they were on the losing end of the series, suffering a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames; it was only the second loss in the Stanley Cup in 33 years for the franchise that has been to and won the most Cups. Montreal had most recently won the Cup in 1986, but nothing after that.

The series had an added layer of intrigue, as Montreal would be facing off against Wayne Gretzky – “The Great One” himself – and the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky had led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships, but hadn’t been to the Finals after being traded to the Kings – until now.

Gretzky, Luc Robitaille, and the Kings got off to a fast start, with Robitaille tallying two goals and Gretzky dishing out three assists (and a goal of his own) in the Kings’ 4-1 win over the Canadiens. But LA’s celebration would be short-lived, as Montreal would end up winning the next four games straight.

Ironically, in a series featuring the game’s greatest player in history, DiPietro is the name whom the history books will likely remember, as he scored two goals in the deciding Game 5 of the series, giving Montreal a 4-1 win in the game and the series. DiPietro scored the first goal of the game, and when Los Angeles tried to make a comeback while trailing 3-1 in the game (and the series), DiPietro scored the last goal of the game, which was effectively the nail in the coffin of the Kings.

Members of that Canadiens team that won in 1993 have all lauded how DiPietro emerged as one of the stars for Montreal in that series. Others commented on how DiPietro contributed as a fourth line or reserve player, giving them the types of clutch goals and key plays that are needed from guys deep on the roster in the postseason.

The hero of the 1993 run would go on to play another two seasons with Montreal; in the year after DiPietro helped Montreal win the cup, he registered a career-high 13 goals with the Canadiens. But two seasons later, Montreal traded him to the squad that was “persona non-grata” to any hockey fan in Quebec: the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Unfortunately, DiPietro bounced between the NHL and the minors once again, eventually culminating in the Leafs trading DiPietro to the Los Angeles Kings (in something of an ironic twist). But his career alongside Gretzky was very short-lived, as he spent the vast majority of his time in the IHL, with teams like the Phoenix Roadrunners and Cincinnati Cyclones.

But if you think that was the end of DiPietro’s career, you couldn’t be more wrong. DiPietro went on to play another 16 years of professional hockey, the vast majority of which took place in Switzerland. It wasn’t until 2014 when we officially saw DiPietro retire.

Nobody’s an expert…

Okay, so I haven’t been posting… but I’ve been following what’s going on in the world of sports. I’ve just been too busy with writing three books and teaching full-time. I have thoughts but I’m not that obsessed to be posting daily.

Super Bowl aftermath: So many of these talk-show hosts on FOX Sports Radio and ESPN Radio are just full of it. They’ll say anything just to drive ratings, especially controversial stuff. Blah blah blah, “Bill Belichick goofed up” blah blah blah. So, you’ve got analysts who’ve never coached before criticizing a guy who’s won five Super Bowl titles as a head coach. Really. Seriously. How many titles have those analysts won? We’re talking about one of the greatest head coaches of all-time.

Same deal with certain people on ESPN who say there are red flags with the way Tom Brady played in the Super Bowl. Again, really? Brady threw for how many yards again? And he’s scrutinized? Yes, he fumbled the ball in the dying minutes, but c’mon.

The 49ers. C’mon, give me a break. A guy who’s started only seven NFL games, five for the 49ers, is now the savior in San Francisco? He started five games! Analysts are saying it’s a great deal to lock him up at that contract. How do these experts know he’s not going to be the next Matt Flynn? How many QBs in recent years have proven to be a bust after looking good for a few starts? And let’s not forget the guy played against some crappy teams such as Chicago, Houston, Tennessee… People are just content that this 49ers QB is playing well… just so they can say the Patriots and Belichick made a mistake. Blah blah blah.

Olympic hockey: Those (fans) who keep blaming Gary Bettman for NHL players not being in the Olympics this year should just get over themselves. All these naysayers do is blame Bettman for everything. Then, these same people don’t bother watching the Olympics anymore because the NHLers are not playing. Well, I have never understood the logic of temporarily stopping the NHL season for two weeks just for the Olympics. I don’t care how exciting the Games would become. The NHL should not have its season interrupted. It’s stupid.

41,821 sure isn’t “nobody”

According to a long-time FOX Sports Radio personality from Tennessee, whom I won’t name, he doesn’t watch hockey because “nobody watches hockey anyway.”

Well, attendance for the NHL’s annual New Year’s Day outdoor game was listed at 41,821, meaning tens of thousands of sports fans braved the elements to watch the league’s 10th “Winter Classic” at Citi Field – a 3-2 overtime victory by the New York Rangers over the Buffalo Sabres.

So much for “nobody,” huh? The personality who made that comment? His credibility is shot. How can one take any of his takes seriously?