Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review - Gabby: Confessions of a Hockey Lifer

"Gabby" is Bruce Boudreau’s hockey nickname, ‘cause he’s a talker.  As Boudreau points out, it could be worse.  These days it seems to be all about putting a “y” or an “ie” and the end of the players last name.  That might have left him as “Boudie” and that is a bit too close to booty for my tastes.

Well “Gabby” has been in hockey for his whole life and fittingly he and co-author Tim Leone take us step by step through his hockey life.

I thought the book started a bit slow.  Written more like a check list of where he went and who he played for instead of a nice flowing narrative.

There is also a lot of name dropping early on, but that is ok, it’s interesting to see how much paths cross in the minors and how those guys end up all over the league.  Surprising how many recognizable names (though not huge name players) that he has coached and that are now in the league, either on the Avs or otherwise.

Speaking of names we all know, Boudreau played his last season in minors for coach Barry Melrose.  Melrose made quite an impression on Boudreau and his name pops up repeatedly throughout the rest of the book.  Boudreau wraps the chapter by telling his readers: “I keep a picture of Barry Melrose in my house”  I mean, who does that?  Let alone admits it?  Well, it is funny.

I felt that the pace and narrative really picked up a lot with the coaching years.  The writing is average but the material becomes more interesting.  He is quite liberal with revealing his salary as a minor league player and coach and that is certainly interesting.  That info was not so liberally dispensed once he made it to the big leagues.

The book wraps up with a game by game synopsis of his first season as head coach of the Caps.  It was a bit much.

Overall I never did care much for the style of the writing.  The storytelling was disjointed.  A chapter might start with a mention of Alex Ovechkin and his style of play.  Then the text would suddenly shift to something seemingly completely unrelated years previous.  Of course it would get back around to making the point that he laid out in the opening of the chapter.  But it wasn’t smooth.

I suppose if you are a big fan of Bruce Boudreau you will find this an interesting book.  But I didn’t think he gives much insight to many of the players.  He seems to love Mike Green much more than Alex Ovechkin and there are the requisite stories and such.  But overall, meh.

1 comment:

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