Book Review: “Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer”

"Gabby: Confessions of a hockey lifer" is a biography of Bruce Boudreau from 2009. It describes the life of Boudreau who only got a taste of the NHL as a player. But got a full bite as a coach.

“Gabby: Confessions of a hockey lifer” is a biography of Bruce Boudreau from 2009. It describes the life of Boudreau who only got a taste of the NHL as a player. But got a full bite as a coach.

The 2007-08 Washington Capitals were a magical team, for many reasons.

The team was young. Many of the players had worked their way to the National Hockey League from the draft and through the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears, the Capitals minor league affiliate.

Alex Ovechkin was a rising star in the league. After two seasons in the NHL, Ovechkin had notched a 52-goal season in his first year, which propelled him as the league’s rookie of the year, and scored another 46 goals in his sophomore season.

The Caps never gave up. Through 21 games the team had a record of 6-14-1. But with wins in 11 of their final 12 games, the Capitals accomplished something that had never been done — making the playoffs after rallying from 14th or 15th place at the season’s midpoint.

Bruce Boudreau was the main reason for the turn around. He was brought in to coach the Capitals on Thanksgiving 2007. For the first time in his life — after 20 professional hockey seasons — he was a regular face at the NHL level.

“Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer” is Boudreau’s story. From the buses of the minor leagues, both as a player and as a coach, to the private jets of the big league, Boudreau tells his many tales. Including the time he made a cameo in “Slap Shot.”

Along with his time as a player, Boudreau also describes his personal life during his career. Providing insight to the life of a pro hockey player and the hardships that go along with it.

Boudreau focuses on his time as coach of the Manchester Monarchs and the Bears, especially the players he eventually coached in Washington. He even describes in depth his coaching strategies and why he thinks they work.

Boudreau speaks explicitly of people and players he likes and dislikes. He even discusses the penalty call made by Paul Devorski in overtime of Game 7 against the Philadelphia Flyers, which eventually led to his team’s elimination, and the end of the Cinderella season.

I give Paul credit for having the guts, whether he’s right or wrong, to make the call on Poti. Devo had an explanation for everything. However, he was the back referee. Why did he make that call? Why didn’t ref Don Koharski, who had the play right in front of him, make that call? I don’t understand that.

“Gabby” is not a classic hockey novel like Ken Dryden’s “The Game.” It’s different. Fitting as that matches the man telling it, Boudreau.

Boudreau and the Capitals celebrate an unlikely 2008 Southeast Division championship. (Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)

Homers power the Orioles

As a team the Orioles hit 214 home runs in 2012, second behind the New York Yankees for the most baseball. (Photo courtesy of Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America)

In 2012 the Baltimore Orioles shocked the baseball world and made the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

To accomplish this, the Orioles had an excellent bullpen, stellar defense and they used the long ball.

The O’s ranked second in all of baseball in home runs last season, belting 214 homers — trailing on the New York Yankees in that category.

In 2013, it seems as though round trippers will once again be the key to Orioles success.

Continue reading

Movie Review: “The Rocket”

Originally released in Nov. 2005 as "Maurice Richard" in Canada,  "The Rocket" was distributed to the United States in April 2007.

Originally released in Nov. 2005 as “Maurice Richard” in Canada, “The Rocket” was distributed to the United States in Apr. 2007. (Movie poster courtesy of

In the 1930’s, the United States and baseball had Babe Ruth, Canada and hockey had Maurice Richard.

Starring Roy Dupuis as a young Maurice Richard, the film tells the story of Richard’s rise from factory worker to right winger for the National Hockey League’s most historic franchise, the Montreal Canadiens.

“The Rocket” transports viewers into an era where working class French-Canadians were viewed as the “untouchables” of society.

On the ice, Richard battles with the unfair treatment of French-Canadians by NHL officials, coaches, players and referees.

Off the ice, Richard struggles with starting a family. His wife Lucille, played by Julie LeBreton, acts as Richard’s rock, the person he can go home to after wearing a mask of toughness all day.

Stephen McHattie plays Dick Irvin, a firecracker tempered coach of the Canadiens. Irvin at times tests and pushes Richard to his limits, testing the toughness and drive of Montreal’s newest player.

Can Richard survive the onslaught of punishment by the press and fellow players on top of the struggles of starting a family?

Roy Dupuis hits the ice as Maurice Richard in The Rocket. (Image Courtesy Alliance Atlantis. Courtesy Alliance Atlantis).

Roy Dupuis hits the ice as Maurice Richard in The Rocket. (Image Courtesy Alliance Atlantis. Courtesy Alliance Atlantis).

Overall, “The Rocket” is a great hockey movie that illustrates the toughness of the game, showcasing the historic rivalries between the Canadiens and their fellow Original-Six rivals (Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs), while chronicling the illustrious career of Maurice Richard.

Director Charles Biname does a magnificent job emphasizing the harsh treatment of French-Canadians. Perhaps the most disturbing example of their mistreatment is a chain-link fence that separates them from the “upper class.”

Biname entertains and grabs viewers with the fast-paced, hard-hitting hockey action while reminding viewers not to forget the past. Similar to African-Americans in the U.S., French-Canadians were treated unfairly for many years.

Richard’s brilliance on the ice helps unite Canada, giving hockey fans and non-hockey fans something to cheer for in the tough economic times of the 1930’s. His star power on hockey’s most historic franchise became his tool. And he paved the way for future French-Canadian players.

Winner of nine Canadian Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Director, “The Rocket” is available on DVD and on Netflix.