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Nice to be back! (No, seriously!) For the first blog of 2009, let’s comment on some of the fun and games – and misery and outrageous shenanigans – that took place inside and outside the hockey world while I was staycationing.

1. Rest in peace, Don Sanderson. There is no other way to say it: this sport and its administrators let you, your family and your teammates down. And the massive shoulder shrug the game’s establishment reacted with after your passing convinces me more than ever that, absent some kind of courageous leadership uprising, the intervention of lawmakers is the only cure for the monstrously warped John Wayne mentality that has debased the NHL and the game for too many years.

2. Ricky Gervais is without question the funniest person on the planet right now. I cannot recommend his podcasts, website and books enough. (Oh, and Karl Pilkington is a Manc something-or-other with a head like a $@!%# orange. If this doesn’t make any sense to you, you truly are missing out.)

3. What say ye: Jarkko Ruutu, Ryan Hollweg and Sean Avery in a Steel Cage Match with no holds barred. Three men enter – and that’s where we keep them.

4. The Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins are discovering what the Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes learned after their trips to the Stanley Cup final: when players pull out the old cliché about “the fine line between winning and losing,” they’re actually telling the truth. Sure makes the job done by the perennial Cup contenders in Detroit all the more impressive, doesn’t it?

5. The world of daytime TV is a wasteland of audiences at the giveaway trough, faux judges judging real people’s trivial problems, and massive makeover projects for objects both animate and otherwise. I shudder to think of where the technology’s next regression will take us.

6. In what can only be described as a shocking development, the 2009 World Junior Championship confirmed that Canadians play hockey well. Be sure to tune in the same time next year for another suspense-filled exercise in self-congratulation.

7. Steve Mason may single-handedly be responsible for me getting dressed up like a Civil War soldier for a future game in Columbus. I’m slowly coming to terms with this, but if the rest of his Blue Jackets teammates don’t do much to help Mason out, I think they should have to wear the damn antique clothing too.

8. Have you heard about the new PETA ad campaign aiming to protect the planet’s fish population? In an appeal to society’s love for cute animals, they’re asking us to stop calling them “fish,” and instead classify them as “Sea Kittens.” Now, as absurd-sounding as that is, I hope the animal advocacy group does win over the public and changes the label to its liking. Because, as an avowed consumer of delicious Sea Kittens from a very early age, I would be beside myself with glee at the thought of things such as government health pamphlets advocating kids get a daily, healthy helping of sea kitties, or of course, Captain Highliner’s Family Pack of 24 Frozen Sea Kitten Sticks. And Abe Vigoda could squeeze just a little bit more residual time in the spotlight before he saunters off to the big Sea Kitten Tank in the sky.

9. No, I did not drunkenly write that down on a post-it note while on vacation.

10. I drunkenly typed it.

11. The Hockey News Radio Show on XM Satellite (Channel 204), every Friday from 3-4 p.m. Eastern time, is finding its groove. Sure, tensions between me and my co-host Mike Ross were at an all-time high when I counted out his Sens prior to the season’s halfway point, but I think Rossy would be hard-pressed to bet on an Ottawa resurgence at this point.

12. The best part about my holiday? Only 3,589 people asked me about Mats Sundin. It’s good to know people are finally calming down about the potential impact of the Swedish Skeletor.

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to His blog appears Mondays, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

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