The Barnstormer has secured the cooperation of a locked-out NHL player who has agreed to document each day he is kept out of action on the condition that we do not reveal his identity. Ever. Read all the daily diary entries of “Cheap Throat” here.
6:12AM — Woah. Europe. Paris. Blackout curtains. What the? Groggy as Marc Savard. Turn on the TV to try and find out the time, the weather, get some highlights, maybe some MLB or AHL. Every channel is in British or French. Can’t understand a word anyone’s saying. Like playing on a line with a couple of Czechs. Sweet Jesus, I just wanna know how fat Nazem Kadri is this morning, where’s my TSN? I’d check my phone, but those roaming fees are a killer.
6:48AM — Room service, bitches! Two eggs over easy, toast, breakfast potatoes, fra’mani rosemary ham, sausage, hobbs bacon, a bottle of Dom and a bucket of OJ. Mim-O-sas! Still can’t find a baseball or hockey score. There’s ESPN Europe, or whatever, but it’s all soccer. No lockout talk at all.
7:30AM — Okay, was that the biggest shower I’ve ever been in in my life? Yes, yes it was. It was bigger than the visitor’s dressing room at TD Garden. There were two heads. Once, on a roadtrip in DC, we fit three of us and seven waitresses from the bar we closed down in a shower at the George. It was pretty tight, and a right winger who shall remain nameless got a quarter wood goin’, and I got outta there pretty quick. Took one of the waitresses back to my room. Good ride, but I think she gave me crabs. Nice girl, though. Julie? Jinny? Jenny? Steph? I had to burn my jock.
8:08AM — Alright, alright. Let’s see some fucking sights. I’m half-cut after the mimosas, but feeling good. Ready for some Paris. According to the girl at the front desk, who I would totally do by the way, if I just take the street I’m on and keep going, eventually I’ll hit the Champs d’Elysees and the Eiffel tower and the Louvre and all that shit. She said I could go down to the metro, but I was like, I’ll go down your metro, and she was all, quoi? And I was all, thanks I’ll walk.
8:39AM — I regret not packing some road apples, though the mimosas are carrying me through. Road apples. Hip. How’s Downie a Bruins fan? That’s some BS. No bars open. Hard time wrapping my head around the time difference. Good thing the iPhone knows what time it is. Went over some river. Don’t think it’s good for swimming, though.
9:15AM — Okay, I’m at that roundabout thingy you see in the movies with the Arc de Triomphe and all the streets goin’ everywhere. Meh. Whatevs. What fucking direction do I go now, hotel desk lady? It’s pretty crowded out here, but no one recognizes me, which is cool. Try to ask a few peeps which way to a pisser ‘cause the mimosas are starting to push their way out. Thought my grade four Quebec French was pretty good yesterday, but today the only sentence I can get out is: “Je voudrais acheter de la farine et des œufs, s’il vous plaît,” and I don’t want flour or eggs, just a fucking pisser.
9:33AM — Bar open, hello! Comptoir de l’Arc, which translates loosely to: Bar open, hello! I love this being able to booze at any hour of the day. During the season it’s real rare that we can have a cocktail at nine-thirty in the morning. Maybe on an off-day, but those are rare. And if coach finds out, you’ll get fucking press boxed for sure. Once, when I was in the A, I was on a bad run and this girl I was dating or fucking or whatever gave a hummer to our back-up goalie. And I was pissed, not because she cheated on me ‘cause I was squeezin’ it through the five hole of every bunny from Hamilton to Norfolk, but who blows the second strong ‘tender? Dude was back in the E like a week later. I hear he works at a Rona in Medicine Hat now. What the fuck?
11:00AM — Okay, was def time to leave that bar. Waiter was giving me the stink eye. I think that the French here might be pricks, kind of like in Quebec City. Had a few more mimosas, and a pint of something that tasted like a fucking shower sandal. No 50 over here. No Labatt anything. Not even Molson. Heading for the Eiffel tower. It’s just like the one in Vegas, only bigger. Hell of a line up, though. This is when I miss being recognized. Haven’t had to wait in a line since back in Atom.
12:38PM — Made it to the top. Puked up my mimosas and French pint. And my two eggs over easy, and my toast, and my breakfast potatoes, and my fra’mani rosemary ham, and my sausage. Didn’t see the hobbs bacon, but you’d have to assume it was in there. Got some on a lady from Chicago, who was pretty pissed at me. I told her to fuck Patrick Kane, which was probs pretty uncool of me, but Kaner’s a twat. Wasn’t the booze so much as the heights. This Eiffel tower is way way way taller than the one in Vegas. There should be a fucking sign out front saying: this Eiffel tower is way way fucking taller than the one in Vegas. That’s some bullshit right there, I tell you what.
1:29PM — Okay, decisions, decisions. I kind of want to go to the Louvre ‘cause if I don’t my mum will kill me. And I kinda want to go to Père Lachaise Cemetery, because Morrison is buried there and the Doors rock. And I kinda want to go to Euro Disney, because it would be cool to see what Disney World is like in French. Like, do they have different characters? And what is the American Pavillion like at French Epcot? Must be like bizarro world. Also, Hotty McHotty at the hotel said that there’s a sports museum. Wonder if they have a section just about the Habs and the Nords.
2:01PM — Hold the phone. New plans. Overheard some couple with a serious drawl talking about the Hippodrome race track. Racing fucking hippos. This I gotta see. In a taxi now. Driver is smoking and listening to jazz and singing along even though there’s no words. I asked him if the hippos were fast, and he was like: “oh ya, vite vite vite hippos.” I’m so stoked.
2:46PM — Super disappointed. It’s just horses. No hippos. What the balls? Why is it called a hippodrome? It should be a horsedrome or chevaldrome. I grabbed a beer and bet on some horse whose name sounded like what we used to call this Slovak kid who played with us a few years back. Horse sucked. Just like the Slovak kid. Fuck the Hippodrome. I’m totally going on Trip Advisor and slamming it.
4:01PM — Back at the Hilton. Wanted to see if the desk girl was getting off, but she doesn’t seem to be working. So I guess she won’t be getting off. Instead there’s some dude with a hipster moustache who says my name funny and keeps telling me that checkout is at 11AM, even though I haven’t even told them when I’m leaving. Prick. Man, do I miss punching people in the head. Maybe I should sign with a Euro team. Just so that I could punch someone in the head and not get a fucking pair of cuffs slapped on me. When we get back on the ice, if we ever get back on the ice, first shift first game I’m dropping the gloves and thinking about this dude as I giver.
7:55PM — Fucking tired. Wish I had by 2K12. Just feel like having some cocktails in the room and rocking out with Fatty Damascus. Not sure where I should go next. Probs stay here for tomorrow, hit Morrison’s grave and get my picture taken with French Goofy. Oh, shit, and the Louvre. Man, seriously, if I don’t go to the Louvre my mum will kill me. I wasn’t kidding. Literally kill me. Had a day off in New York once, and I didn’t go to the MoMA. Holy shit, you’d think I had fucked my cousin. Mum didn’t speak to me for 10 games.
8:31PM — Speaking of fucking cousins, we’re in Calgary once at Ranchman’s, and when you play a road game in Alberta, every player from out there has their entire family come out to the games. I swear, like, half the arena is related. Anyway, this rookie D is grinding away with one of the boy’s cousins, and the rook is getting real dirty out there, and my boy’s losing his shit, and we’re teasing him good because we think it’s ‘cause he’s into his cousin, and the rook is just right on giving it to her right there in the bar, like it’s almost illegal and shit. So finally my boy has had enough, and tears out onto the dance floor and grabs the rook, who’s got the fear of god in him ‘cause he doesn’t know that it’s my boy’s cousin and some vet’s got him lined up for a fucking couple of roundhouses, and just as he’s about to give it to him, my boy loses his balance and falls, but he don’t let go of the rook and he takes him down with ‘em, and the rook fucking faceplants into the floor. He loses two teeth, breaks his nose, and dislocates his shoulder. Upper body injury. Out 4 to 6. Didn’t play well the rest of the year, once he was back. Stopped going into the corners, too. Think he may be in the A now. Or Long Island. Either way, tough break. But, you don’t grind up on a vet’s cousin, you know?
Further NHL Lockout Reading:
- “Cheap Throat: The Diary of a Locked-Out NHLer“. Read all the other entries here.
- “A Fan’s Note: How to Fix the NHL” by Mike Spry
- “Complicit in the NHL’s Demise: How the NHL & its players hate hockey, and how the fan is at fault” by Mike Spry
- The Barnstormer’s Take Hockey Back fan protest event