Wednesday, October 08, 2014


 I've always taken pride in being a Dad. Whenever I get the news that people are expecting their first baby my immediate response is to tell the new father to make sure that he is all in. Except for breastfeeding do everything. Diapers. Up at night. Take that baby out first thing in the morning so your wife can get some sleep. Get your wife out for nights out, dinner, drinks, whatever she needs, while you stay home with baby. She will thank you but more importantly you will get a start on being the best father you can be and you will never have a more important job, ever. It goes by fast. Get in there and do it!

I remember being on Twitter once and some guy was boasting to me about how he, a bigshot lawyer (or so he said, maybe he was a Belgian goalie, who knows), never changed a diaper, never got up with a baby in the middle of the night, never washed a dish, never did a load of laundry. He was proud of this. Now obviously he was a huge asshole with a tiny cock but I also felt sorry for the guy. Your ego is so tied up in your life as a lawyer that you can't be bothered to get in there and do the down and dirty work of being a parent and a husband? Pretty sad really. Way to go buddy.

 I've known a couple of guys who either are not involved through their choice (and their wife's ceding this to them - it's their fault too for allowing this to go on) or, amazingly, through their wife's choice. I knew a guy whose wife harped on him about everything he did with the kids because it wasn't 'right' (that is it wasn't the same way she did it) and finally he stopped trying.So everybody lost. She was overwhelmed and he and the kids lost out.

 Before we started having babies I told Jenn that she was going to parent one way and I was going to parent another. Don't get me wrong, we have established goals and are on the same page when it comes to discipline and general beliefs as to what we are working towards but we are different people. When the boy does something I am not going to check with her to see what she wants done, I am going to act according to how I feel is right. And it works the other way too.

 And while I believe and have always believed in what I am doing as a parent I have also gotten better as I have gotten older. I have made mistakes and learned from them. I am calmer now, I can't remember the last time I raised my voice or lost my temper. I've had to work at it. I'm a better father for it.

 Interesting times for the clan. They are always interesting times but these days are even more so. Our oldest just turned 11 (HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!) and the roller coaster has begun. One moment she is sweetness and light, the next she is an angry grunting troll. Every second sentence out of her mouth is 'I've got this under control, you don't have to worry about it'. (The alternate sentence is '...... is not fair').

 We'll be okay, most of the time when she is being difficult a calm response will get through to her. Fun times ahead for sure though!

 As for our youngest, el pistola, well she has come into her own all of a sudden. Reading and swimming and tying her shoes, all conquered within weeks. Suddenly there is no chasing her to do her chores, no threats falling on deaf ears. The spark remains the same but she has, at six, suddenly grown up quite a bit and while it is gratifying and lovely and it makes our lives a lot easier there is also the realization that time is passing us by and we no longer have truly young children and that is sad and it makes those requests for piggy back rides and cuddles all the sweeter when they come now.

 It goes quick though. You young dads, take it from me, enjoy it, even when the sleep deprivation knocks you on your ass, which it will. It's funny, I look back and when we had one kid it was so easy but we were so overwhelmed by being new parents and so crushed by the newness of having no sleep that we never realized it. Anyhow, take it all in stride, do your best and make sure you're right in there and you will never regret it, ever!


New NHL season! Are you excited? I am ... pleased. More excited about Capsule's hot start to this year, five and oh so far. We need to find a league that plays September to November I think, last year we were undefeated in our first nine games and then had a five game losing streak, bounced back to sweep all of the other contenders in our division aside and then never won another game. Crazy collapse. Hopefully this year will see a happier ending. First two games for me since hurting my knee in March were meh but over the weekend I played very well and the knee feels great so I'm feeling pretty good about it all. Not dead yet!

 Anyhow on to the NHL! Last year I figured on there being five honest to goodness Stanley Cup contenders - LA, Chicago, San Jose, St. Louis and Boston, in no particular order. Then I had the Ducks and then after them the pretenders. This year is going to take some time to suss out as there will be injuries, trades, collapses and meteoric rises but for now here is how I see it, for what it's worth. (Reminder not to put any money on anything based on these predictions, I know parenting better than I do hockey ;) )


These are the clubs that, barring disaster, will produce the Cup winner next spring. Again in no particular order.

LA - the defending champs aren't unbeatable, Vlasic staying healthy or a bounce here or there and they go home early last spring, but they will be in the mix again. Quality depth up and down the lineup, elite forwards, Drew Doughty, a couple of kids in Toffoli and Pearson who could break out ... they have an embarrassment of riches. I think losing Willie Mitchell hurts slightly and if they get bad Quick then they have problems but they are a great great team.

Chicago - if not for a bad bounce the Hawks would have gone on to the finals and repeated as champs, they and LA were a coin flip. Unreal forwards, especially on the wings with Kane, Hossa, Sharp and Saad. Unbelievable. Depth up front not as great as either of their Cup teams but if Versteeg bounces back and Ben Smith and Morin step in, not to mention Teuvo Teravainen, then they could be close to the 2013 club. I think Brad Richards is done but he could help an anemic PP and is still an upgrade over Handzus. And of course they have a great top four D. They will be there at the end as well, there's a good chance it will be them and the Kings again, the possibility of bad Crawford and their lack of cap space to augment the lineup if needed could be issues

San Jose - pretty sure if Vlasic stays healthy they beat the Kings but the Sharks, well the Sharks are going to Shark regardless it seems and seem doomed to join the Sens as the greatest club to never win the Cup. Loaded up front, quality youngsters coming up at forward and on the blueline. I would never bet on them after all of these failures but they will be there this year, again. Winning their division might be key, get an easier matchup in the first round, not that there are many easy matchups in the West, but better a wild card than the Kings or Ducks.

Blues - St Louis had Chicago where they wanted them, up two to nil and Seabrook suspended and they coughed it up. Part of me thinks they don't belong in this group but they are a very good team and adding Stastny to the mix up front may be what they need to put them over the top finally, that and the maturation of a couple of kids who can actually score a bit in Tarasenko and Schwartz. Carl Gunnarsson is a great addition too, especially if that surgery puts his hip issues behind him.


The Next Level

 It's early (it gets no earlier) so these clubs might jump to the next level (or slide as well). The top eastern teams are here and of course in a seven game series anything can happen so we might see a champ from the junior circuit but in all of these cases I think we're not talking about the same level as the big boys.

Anaheim - Adding Kesler is going to help and of course Getzlaf and Perry are awesome and they have nice depth up front. I look at that blueline and goaltending though and I don't buy it. I kept waiting for it to all go to shit last year and it didn't but yeah I don't buy it.

Dallas - The blueline is a concern for this sexy pick but if they can add a piece there (hi Jeff Petry) then I think they could make the jump to the next level. They were pretty damn good last year and have added Spezza and Hemsky and ah yeah, this team could be killer especially if Nichushkin makes the leap which I expect he will. A few question marks but the forwards are unreal.

Boston - the Bruins fell out of that elite pack this summer imo though they could return if their collection of kids - Hamilton, Smith, Krug - take the next step. Losing Boychuk means two of their top four Dman from the finalist team are gone and Seidenberg is a question mark and Chara, well Chara is getting older and more than anything this is what is scary for Boston. Their window is closing and there are other eastern teams catching up. That said Rask is great, they have wonderful forwards and old Chara is better than nearly every defenceman in the league. Not the team they once were though (funny to say about the President's Trophy winner, huh?)

Tampa - like Dallas, a sexy pick, like Dallas they are deserving of the designation. Yzerman has added depth up front and on the blue every year and they have some great kids coming up. I really really like their D. Biggest issue is outside of Stamkos their forward group doesn't have the elite talent that the other teams at this level and above, except St Louis, have. They have enough to get out of the conference though which means they have enough to win it all.

Habs - I really rate the Habs though I don't trust Therrien not to blow it. Really though they were a solid club last year and they have Mike Weaver for a full year plus a terrific add in Tom Gilbert plus a kid who I think is going to tear it up this year in Galchenyuk. Elite players in Price and Subban and again a lot of depth up and down the lineup. Pacioretty, Gallagher, Plekanec, Eller, Desharnais, Paranteau, Bourque, Emelin, Markov. Not a western conference quality lineup but definitely amongst the best in the east.

In the next day or two I will look at my guesses for the remaining playoff teams plus the also rans.


bsmart said...

Always a good read, thanks Pat!

I choked on my coffee on the lawyer part. Pretty funny stuff, lol.

rubbertrout said...

I assume you forgot the beloved Oilers in your list. I'm still riding high and assuming that 82-0 isn't out of the question.

Black Dog said...

thanks bsmart!

rubbert - they are in my Stanley Cup lock post, coming soon.

dawgbone said...

Going through the same issues with my 11 year old. I assume it's puberty.

She's one of those "everyone loves her" kind of girls and this switch to being moody and occasionally miserable was a bit of a kick in the pants for us and one I wasn't really prepared for.

So we've divided up the communication. She comes to me for homework, she goes to my wife for all the icky things near-teen girls have to deal with that they don't want their fathers to know about.

Black Dog said...

Same here DB. Lines of communication remain open so far!

@eastcoastoilfan said...

Timely column. I'm about 5 years behind you with a 1.5, 3 and 4.5 year old..all girls. I made a life decision years ago to live the slow life here in the Maritimes. My family is all here. My firends are the same first friends I've ever had. Don't get me wrong, I've travelled and spread my wings, but knew I didn't want to chase the money or big city life and wanted to be there as a father. It's crazy at times. And some days you feel like the worst parent in the world. And others you know you've had a great day and so did they, and that's an amazingly gratifying feeling too.
The funny thing for me is my dad. He's old school. Not that he wasn't around. He was. He coached hockey, drove us here and there and whatnot, but I get the sense he never did any of the heavy lifting. That's just the way it was back then. And I know he thinks I'm a pussy some days when he calls me at the last minute and asks me to go golfing or hunting and I'm like..uhhh..sorry dad, I don't really have plans, but I can't leave the wife home for 8 hours with 3 tiny kids.
Times have changed, and I wonder how hands on the next generation will be?

Speaking of next generation, c'mon Oil. Gimme meaningful games in November. Isn't it about time that things actually go right in the luck department for this team, or is it still recovering from selling its soul in 06?

Black Dog said...

ecoilfan - yeah our dads are different generations, my old man is a great guy and was a terrific dad but he didn't put in the time I do. That's fine. I'm glad I came along when I did I wouldn't have it any other way,

meaningful games in November would be nice

Liam said...

Love the parenting stories/advice, Pat.

My son is almost 2 and a half now, and I've lived it the way you describe. Diapers? Check. Baths? Check. Puke in the backseat of the car? Check. The other night he woke up wailing at about 1:30 AM and as I ran in to see what was the matter, he only looked at me and said "I'm okay, Dada" and promptly laid back down. Just checking that we were still around, I guess. Seriously though, you see some guys who are almost afraid of their own children, and I have to wonder. I love it all and wouldn't trade a single part of being a dad. We'll see what I'm saying after the next one comes around in the new year!

Oh yah, and I'm still on the fence about telling him we're Oiler fans. Might convert to Dallas...less heartache and man, Horcoff AND Hemsky?

Black Dog said...

Great story Liam. As for the future fandom leave all options open ;)