Hope you all had a nice Easter Weekend.
For me, it was pretty low key. I checked out the Bulldog Spring Camp for a short time, hung out at home with the family, watched a couple NHL and WHL playoff games, some of the Houston Open yesterday and enjoyed a couple great dinners.
And then I almost lost those dinners watching the last minute of the Canucks game last night. Scary scary stuff. I'm the perpetual defender of goaltenders, but Roberto Luongo looks like a water logged chunk of liccorice in there.
Ah, rumours. Man do I hate 'em.
You are probably thinking "Yeah right Hammer"
No, really. I really do hate 'em with a passion. Now you probably find that pretty funny with the business I work in. Let me explain.
What's the allure for me in knowing a rumour, when I'm not allowed to repeat it, or publish it? It becomes a burden more than anything as I KNOW the scoop, but I can't REPEAT it. I'm approached about it endlessly, and I have to plead ignorance because I don't want to rock the boat and release or confirm someone elses news. I say one thing, and the next thing you know, it's on a message board "Hammer said......." And I have some angry people to deal with. It's happened before.
The long and the short of it is this - Give me a PRESS RELEASE and I am a happy guy.
This goes on all season long, and all off season too. Throw in the fact that there is an extremely rabid fan base here (I call it "Montreal West" for a reason) and I'm put in a pretty tough position. I run the risk of looking like I'm not doing my job if I'm not chasing and reporting on every rumour that comes up at the rink or in Tim Horton's.
I look forward to the day that I might move up the ladder in the Hockey Media world, so I can leave the "reporting" to the reporters. I am NOT a reporter. I'm a play-by-play guy, I'm a Morning Show Host and a Talk Show Host. However that's not necessarily the end of it. The fact that I'm a bit of a "one-man-band" puts me square in the middle of everything which isn't an easy tap dance sometimes.
My biggest fear, is the biggest danger. That being - sometimes rumours are sometimes just that - rumours.
I have heard more things that AREN'T true, as opposed to things that are indeed TRUTH/FACT/REALITY, etc. You get the picture.
The old Port Alberni saying goes "If you haven't heard a rumour by 9am, start one!"
Let me be really clear with this one - I understand and respect 100% why everyone wants to hear the rumours, talk about the rumours, etc etc etc. From the NHL to the Junior Leagues fans give their respective teams their ALL. Their time, their money, their hearts. When you are emotionally invested in your team to that level and when you are as passionate as a die hard fan is, you just gotta know the scuttlebutt. How does that old saying go again about smoke and fire? Hearing a rumour about your team is sometimes the first step in hearing the NEWS..
Having said all of the above, this one is a bit more than just a "whisper" in a coffee shop, so I'm going to bow to public pressure and other pressures to break my own personal rule to not talk about the dreaded "rumour".
I lost count at emails and texts asking me about this one over the weekend at over 100.
I sat on the news since the end of the week hoping news would come out officially over the weekend, and I returned to the radio station this morning to at least a dozen voicemails from excited fans and sponsors asking the same two questions -
#1 Have I heard "the news"
#2 "is it really true"
The answers would be "YES" and "I THINK SO"
The rumour is - that Bulldogs Forward David Dziurzynski is set to sign a developmental deal with the Ottawa Senators.
Given that this isn't confirmed, that's all the info that you will get at this point.
The fact that this all came down on April fools was a cruel, cruel, cruel twist.
An almost unbelievable story - A guy signing an NHL deal straight out of Junior A, all coming down on April Fools? Come on!
To make matters worse - I played some April 1st pranks earlier on in the day on several of the people that ended up passing details on this story on to ME.
I guess you reap what you sow, eh? I had to ask several people over and over "You know April Fools ends at 12noon, RIGHT?"
No offense to David Dziurzynski, but I'm sure he understands that for some of us when we heard the story, we said "no way"
A question. Who is the last guy to sign an NHL deal straight out of Junior A?
Anyone? Beuller, Beuller?
With all the press his linemates got this season (Mitch MacMillan with 60 plus goals, Mark MacMillan with a team record for points by a rookie, with NHL scouts showing up in droves to watch his games down the stretch) it may be surprising to some that Dziurzynski is the guy that all of a sudden is going to make a major hockey jump.
It's not surprising to me in the least.
Ok, Ok, I'll concede I never thought he'd be signing an NHL contract right out of Junior. But I did see great things in him, like many other hockey watchers.
I still remember in early February when "Dizzy" lit up the Interior Conference with dominating performances in Penticton, Westside, and Trail - on back to back to back nights. I said during that broadcast in Penticton that if he continues to play that way, he could very well be the best player in the league. When I asked the coach about his play on the postgame show that night, he said the exact same thing "Playing that way, he could be the best player in the league"
Well it seems that he garnered more than enough attention for himself down the stretch to give himself an opportunity to further his hockey career.
It couldn't have happened to a better kid.
And it's pretty incredible to see a guy that was voted as the teams "Unsung Hero Award" at the end of the regular season end up anything but "Unsung" less than two months later.
Calling the games, we called Dizzy several things. I used to call him "the great 8" with apologies to Alexander Ovechkin. I never thought it would be a problem, with AO being in the NHL and Dizzy playing in the BCHL.
Yet all of a sudden I'm almost worried I'm going to get a cease and desist letter from the Ovechkin camp saying I'm stealing a nickname.
We also called him "the big man" and I likened him to the World Famous Martin Mars Waterbomber - Big, Red and White, and with that graceful "delay swoop" he did as he crossed the blueline.
Maybe now we should call him the best player to wear an Alberni Valley Bulldog uni? Your thoughts?
Fans of the Senators - both in Ottawa and in Binghamton - should be excited about this kid and his future within your organizations.
No, he's not the High Level Major Junior (OHL/QMJHL/WHL) or NCAA or Euro Pro prospect that might step right in and light up the NHL Playoffs.
He is - a late bloomer prospect that went from not knowing where he was going to play next year just two months ago, to apparently signing a developmental deal with an NHL team, which is a pretty incredible story.
Check the Sens website, check the TSN and Sportsnet "Hockey Insiders" for further information OR check back here and I'll post something when I get confirmation.
For any Sens fans that stumble here, this is a tiny example of what "Dizzy" can do. One of my favorites from him this season.