Rewind: Tour de France; Tour de Life


This past July, PuckBuddy Craig took a month off work to go chase a dream: working the Tour de France.

Craig’s been a cycling fan for some time, and each year, just as hockey tends to be winding down (we wanna see you go deep next year, Caps!), the cycling trifecta is gearing up. From May through September, PuckBuddys HQ is tuned to just about every bootleg Turkish TV signal we can find from Italy, France and Spain for the Triple Crown of cycling.

This year, he (somehow) talked the mucky-mucks at NBCSports to bring him along as part of the video production crew. From the edge of the North Sea at Zéland to peaks of Alp d’Huez, Craig took himself on an adventure. And thanks to this article, one of two published in the Sporting News he took the rest of us, too. It’s not about hockey, but it is about the triumph, the struggle, the humanity and the perseverance common to all athletic competition.

BORDEAUX, France — I got an email the other day letting me know that my JV football coach had passed away. The obit, sent by our QB, Jim Ryan, listed every team Vito Costanza coached, except ours, the Brighton Barons. A veteran of playing fields and WWII battlefields, Coach Costanza passed at 89 after battling lung cancer. Let that be a lesson to me.

Ryan sent the obit to about a dozen of us, former gridiron teammates and other jocks who played on a few of the Brighton teams during those halcyon days of the mid 1970s. We were the class and spirit of ’76; think “Dazed and Confused,” which to us, is a basically a documentary of our high school years. Emphasis on high. Continue reading

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Life’s Not Fehr: Why The Penguins Can Have Him


A rare photo of Eric Fehr playing hockey.

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that they had signed former Washington Capitals center and half-Rocky Dennis Eric Fehr to a three year contract worth $2 million per year. Continue reading

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The Game’s Chess, It Ain’t Checkers: Holtby’s Strategic Move Takes the Capitals to Arbitration

Pictured: Braden McDuck

Pictured: Braden McDuck

Did you hear the air raid sirens and emergency broadcast not-a-tests this morning?

Braden Holtby and the Caps are going to arbitration over the goaltender’s contract, and Holtby’s camp is reportedly demanding EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS per year.

As I previously stated here, Holtby is probably worth about $6 million per year, and everybody – you, me, your mama, your daddy, your auntie – knows it. So what happened? Continue reading

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We Can Re-Sign Him: Braden Holtby, the Six Million Dollar Man


The Washington Capitals’ front office – and presumably their mid and rear offices as well, depending on how feng shuied Kettler is – and goaltender Braden Holtby are currently locked in contract negotiations that are reaching Kissingerian levels of tension.

After a standout 2014-2015 season in which Holtby set career and franchise records for games played, consecutive starts, wins, shutouts, save percentage, saves, and the Capitals still didn’t win shit, the handsome bearded beau of Washington fans is fixing to get paaaaaaaaaaaaid. Continue reading

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Summer in the City

islanders fansToday it’s a great pleasure to welcome a new writer – Scott Marcus. Scott will be covering the Isles for us over the upcoming season.  Good thing, too; if 2015 Isles are anything like 2014 Isles, we need to keep a close eye on them. We’ll do all the official introductions later, but you can follow him on the Twitter @ScottMarcus77 and on Instagram at Scott_Marcus.

Right now, Scott has compiled a lot of thoughts about the next version of the Islanders – what they need, and what they got so far this trade season. 

Take it away, Scott!

The New York Islanders are set to begin their first official summer as residents of NYC, all after an exciting season of renewed hope that the Isles may finally have located this mysterious and elusive “corner” where success apparently can be found hiding around the bend. Of course as fans, we’ve thought that perhaps they had located this mythical corner several times over the past 20 or so years, only to have our dreams shattered in a trash bin full of foul-smelling fish sticks, but this time there certainly does appear to be good reason for optimism.

What’s different than in years past?

1. The trifecta of the Islanders moving in to New York City, coupled with new ownership and the prospect that this team could legitimately win a cup within the next few years may have FINALLY gotten the Isles off of virtually every good players “Oh hell no” list (AKA: No trade list). I think that guys are going to WANT to come and play for the Isles now. The days of having to essentially bribe a player with an absurd contract to join this team are likely over, not that they ever spent that kind of money to begin with.

Continue reading

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2015 Caps Trades: TJ to DC A-OK!

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

While Caps fans in DC are likely celebrating – with good reason – the announced trade that’s bringing Blues stand-out TJ Oshie to Washington next season, so too are longtime fans from his days playing at the University of North Dakota. 

Which means that Michele Johnson – Caps fan, UND grad, and all around hockey sharpie – is probably more excited than almost anyone right now. Michele has been watching Oshie’s play since he came to Grand Forks, and can’t wait to watch him now, years later, at Verizon. 

Although she’s in North Dakota right now, she couldn’t wait but to share some thoughts on why TJ is such a big deal in DC. 

One cold Saturday morning in 2014, I set my DVR for Olympics hockey and headed out to Congressional Cemetery to walk my dog.

Oshie OlympicsWith TJ Oshie and Zach Parise strapping it on for the  USA, and Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews doing the same for Canada, I was confident the alma maters of my alma mater – the University of North Dakota – would represent.

This edition of Olympic hockey meant pretty much everything to me. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise, half way through my walk, to get texts such as “OMG!” “OSHIE!” “Are you losing your mind?!?” and “Go Sioux!”

I knew it my bones: TJ Oshie, former Sioux standout, had saved the day for the U.S. team and electrified fans across the nation. Just as he had back at UND.

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Fun, Sun, and the 2015 NHL Draft

NHL 2015 DraftFor the last five years, PuckBuddys have been fortunate enough to cover one of professional hockey’s biggest events – the NHL Draft. Sure, fans can watch it from home – the awkward smiles, the hockey brass cutting deals, the booing of Gary Bettman, it’s all there. But to attend in person is to get a much clearer look behind the curtain as to all the things that make this game, and league, all that it is. 

This year’s draft was in Tampa, and we asked PuckBuddys contributor Eric Pinder – a.k.a. “Operahockeyguy” – to manage our coverage. He did a great job; below is his comprehensive wrap of this year’s draft, and a look back at the 2014-15 season.

First born children are photographed endlessly and their exploits filmed and shared ad nauseum while the next kids have increasingly less documentation. And so it goes with the NHL Draft. The first round picks are lauded and photographed onstage next to smiling team officials while the second rounders and up are hustled through the process and seem to get less of the attention. Although it does make Day Two go by quicker, I can vouch for that.

This was a really good hockey season for me personally. I became the hockey commentator for the show “After Further Review” on CBS Sports radio here in Orlando. And I was chosen as a Bolts Social Captain in November, meaning that I was the de facto social media cheerleader for the game against Columbus. The Lightning did lose that game which would indicate I won’t be asked back to perform those duties. (Kudos to the Lightning organization for choosing an openly gay blogger and not caring about any potential backlash.) Continue reading

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