The Hurricanes Are Jerks (And Damn Proud of It)

Hockey isn’t for everyone. But you know what everyone likes? Group celebrations.

The National Football League lightened up on celebrations two years ago, leading to group celebrations and the “team photo” for defenses after turnovers.

In the National Hockey League, the Carolina Hurricanes have become the game’s first team to have postgame home victory celebrations. They’ve adopted the Skol clap used by Iceland’s soccer team and the Minnesota Vikings, but after leading the PNC Arena crowd in the chant, they follow it up with a new, choreographed celebration.

More recently, we’ve seen “Duck, Duck, Goose” played at center ice, a Jose Bautista bat flip and the limbo.

Nobody really knew what the young Hurricanes were going to do this season. Having a celebration after each home win helps them stand out from the other 30 teams. The New York Rangers do a stick raise salute to the Madison Square Garden crowd after a win. The Hurricanes took that concept and made it fun.

Also, it keeps fans in the stands if they’re winning. A lot of fans like to break for the exits during the final media timeout to beat traffic.

The Hurricanes continue to come up with new celebrations and they’re also in contention for a playoff spot.

So they’re having fun and playing good hockey. Nobody should have a problem with that, right?

Well, Don Cherry does.

The former player, coach and now talking head on CBC called them “jerks”.

Cherry, much like Mike Milbury, is an old school hockey guys that stunts the game’s growth, especially for teams in markets like Carolina.

Cherry is hockey royalty in Canada. Unlike the Hurricanes, Canadian teams in the NHL don’t have to worry about drawing crowds and building a rapport with fans.

Hockey players get slapped with a stigma that they are just emotionless robots who work out, play hockey and repeat all through their careers. Alexander Ovechkin doing a keg stand with the Stanley Cup this past summer helped show that hockey players can have some fun. God forbid the Hurricanes enjoy a win.

How did the team respond to old man Cherry? They put it on a t-shirt.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported late Monday night that they’re very popular, and not just in North Carolina.

How hot are those “Bunch of Jerks” shirts that the Carolina Hurricanes created to goof on Don Cherry? A little more than 24 hours after they went on sale online, the Hurricanes sold 1,680 shirts. Those sales included 41 states and three countries: the U.S., the Netherlands and, of course, Canada. They go on sale in the Hurricanes team store on Tuesday. The team commissioned the shirts in protest of Cherry’s “Hockey Night in Canada” criticism of Carolina’s home ice victory celebrations. He called the players “a bunch of jerks” for their choreographed routines that have ranged from full speed jumps into the glass to human bowling pins being knocked down by a helmet.- Greg Wyshynski

Those t-shirts are a lot better than the suits Cherry throws on every Saturday night.

As long as the jerks don’t keep the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs, they can do a conga line around the ice after a home win and I’ll share it on all social media platforms.

Turning into My Parents: Network Television

Welcome to “Turning into My Parents”. A series on how I’m slowly becoming more like the people who raised me.

Since venturing out on my own, I’ve paid for cable or satellite television.

For most of my 20s, I have gravitated toward cable channels like FX, FXX, AMC, Comedy Central and TBS. When I started making more money, I got HBO and Showtime. Not facing the same restrictions ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC go through, shows on cable are more creative, raunchier and words like s**t and more recently, a f**k or two is now allowed by the censors.

At one time, NBC’s Thursday night lineup was a must-watch. The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and Community (still waiting on the movie, Dan Harmon!) was an amazing two hours. But after those shows got cancelled, I stopped tuning in to the night NBC called “Must See TV”. The peacock also got on my bad side after the way they ruined Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show.

With all the great shows on cable throughout this decade, network television was secondary. Sporting events and local news were main reasons to tune in.

A couple years ago while on a trip to South Bend, Indiana to see a Notre Dame football game, my uncles couldn’t stop talking about ABC shows like Modern Family and The Goldbergs. Not too long after that, I caught Modern in syndication on USA Network and then started watching new episodes on ABC. Then I started watching The Goldbergs and “Hey! Patton Oswalt is grown up Adam! I like Patton!” so that became something to follow.

More lately, Wednesday night has become ABC night at my apartment. The Goldbergs, its spinoff Schooled, Modern Family and Single Parents takes up two hours of my night.

I used to be ahead of my parents and relatives when it came to television. I got my dad hooked on Family Guy. I knew how King of Queens ended before my parents even started watching it.

Maybe I’m the one who is behind now?

AAF: The Fix Football Fans Need

At this time of year, we’re usually undergoing a football withdrawal in this country.

The Super Bowl is played the first Sunday of February (this year’s game was about as bad as the halftime show) and then we’re left without organized football until the preseason in August.

Luckily, America’s football addiction has new methadone clinic to hold it over until the fall with the Alliance of American Football, or The Alliance for short, #AAF for the cool kids on Twitter.

You and I probably saw the announcement of The Alliance a few months back and probably said “Another league? Oh, yeah. I’ve seen this before”.

Since the AFL-NFL merger, there have been several leagues that have come and gone.

The World Football League lasted one season in the 1970s. Donald Trump’s beef with the NFL eventually killed the USFL, which had a good thing going as a spring sports league before an anti-trust lawsuit and attempt to move to the fall. The XFL…well, you already know what happened (XFL 2.0 launches in 2020) and the United Football League had a decent run from 2009-2012.

While all those leagues failed, what could make The Alliance actually work?

Like other leagues, it’s a chance for guys who never reached the NFL, or those who fell out, to get back on the field and a place to play around with some rules.

The Alliance’s made its debut six days after the Super Bowl on CBS…and it was better than most probably expected. Heck, it beat ABC’s Saturday night NBA game in the ratings.

For one, there are rule changes.

Games move quicker with a 35 second clock, there are no kickoffs and teams must go for two points after every touchdown.

Also, during reviews, TV viewers get a first-hand look at the interaction between the replay official in the booth and head referee on the field. Something the NFL should have done years ago.

The league has former NFL players. Two that stood out for me were former Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg and former Browns and Colts running back Trent Richardson.

After watching Hackenberg in Memphis’ first game, his performance didn’t do much to start his path back to the NFL any time soon. Richardson is one who could play his way to a camp invite (and so could several guys in this league).

Call me crazy, but I think this league could work.

Here’s why.

The NFL doesn’t have a minor league system like baseball and hockey, or a developmental league like basketball. The Alliance, if it stays in place during the NFL offseason, can keep us occupied in the dead months and give NFL teams a chance to find a diamond in the rough or fill out their practice squads.

The Alliance only has eight teams, so there’s only four games a week. There’s also a TV deal to put games on CBS, CBS Sports Network, NFL Network and channels like TNT that fall under the Turner Sports banner.

The deaths of the WFL, USFL, XFL and UFL have all led up to this chance for football in the NFL offseason to finally stick after decades of shortcomings.

And no. I don’t have a favorite team…yet. But if you like deep handoffs and jet sweeps, Christian Hackenberg’s Memphis Express might be for you.

“You Choo-Choo Choose Me?”

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day…again.

You fall into one of…let’s say three categories on this Hallmark holiday.

You are either married or in a relationship, which makes this day mandatory, you took to Tinder and found a date for tonight, hoping the app does what it’s intended to do, or you’re single.

I fall into the third category. You’re either content or you feel like society is judging you. I have felt both. This year, I don’t care.

I’m pushing 30 and I just don’t care.

Valentine’s Day is like going to Disney World: there’s pressure to really like it. I’ve been to Disney World as a kid and liked it, but I won’t go back until I have my own kids or I’m named Super Bowl MVP (which won’t happen).

As stated a few paragraphs back, I called the holiday what it is. It’s a commercialized holiday to sell chocolate left over from Halloween and a way to clear space at Walgreens for graduation cards in May.

If anything, I blame the pressure of elementary school Valentine’s Days.

Remember? You had to make a mailbox AND had to give everybody a Valentine.

The Simpsons episode “I Love Lisa” is a great example of this. We all see ourselves as Lisa, but some of us are Ralph Wiggum.

Poor, dim Ralph. Left with zero cards (I guess Miss Hoover didn’t have a “Valentine from each student” policy). Lisa gives him a card out of pity, giving Ralph the idea that Lisa likes him.

In the end, she breaks his heart in what is one of the funniest and at the same time, saddest moments in the show’s history thanks to Bart but like most episodes, it ends with both becoming friends while “Monster Mash” plays on KBBL (the official song of Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day for me).

What’s the lesson? Well, it’s that not everybody loves everybody (sorry, Jackie Moon). Sure, when we’re young, we learn and grow through interaction with kids our age. Someone probably thought this would carry over into adulthood. Well, not entirely.

You learn it’s easier to be mean than nice when you venture out on your own. Each February 14th after you leave grade school is met with the reality that not everyone is going to give you a “Ren and Stimpy” themed Valentine.

So, if you got somebody to spend money on to express your feelings for, great. If you don’t, do what Tom and Donna say and “Treat Yo Self!”. Because not everybody really “Choo Choo Chooses You”.