Hello, Lowell

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As a result of a Decision™ with infinitely less media attention, I’m taking my talents to the Mill City and join the team over at the Lowell Sun.

I couldn’t be more excited to get started. The Sun is a quality paper, serving a one-of-a-kind community. And I’d be lying if I said the home fries at the Owl Diner didn’t heavily influence my decision.

Time to get back to work.

Why Trash Fancy Stats?

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After listening to debates between advanced stats expert Tyler Dellow and inarticulate Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons, I felt compelled to pen my defense of so-called “fancy stats,” and their increased role in decision-making in the NHL, on Medium. From my piece:

What appears to unnerve the anti-stats camp is the objectification of the sport. They take a folksy, “the only stat I need is two: my eyes” tone, striking fear in the casual fan and afternoon drive listener. The nerds are coming to sterilize the sport. What happened to good ol’ fashioned watching-the-game? What these talking heads are hiding, however, is a fear of objectivity. These nattering nabobs make a living off their opinions, and the prospect of room for subjectivity receding from the sport is deeply troubling. After all, how is one supposed to fill a four-hour time slot or a 500-word column on the offense effectiveness of a player implicated in trade rumors when a quick glance at a handful of metrics yields a quicker, more comprehensive, less bloviated answer. You could say he has no heart, plays “lone wolf hockey,” isn’t a competitor. But does his team score when he’s on the ice? Does the other team?

You can read the piece in its entirety here.

‘BU Inline: Inside the Fight’ Series

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My short-lived career as a member of the Boston University Inline Hockey team has come to a close, and thus, so has my BU Inline: Inside the Fight series. A direct send-up to HBO’s NHL 24/7 and NESN’s Behind the B, the three-part saga covers the prelude to the NCRHA National Championships in Aston, PA. Though we came out empty-handed, it was a hell of a ride.

And at the very least, it gave me an excuse to keep a mustache.

Biometric Line Changes? Interview with Angela Ruggiero

Angela Ruggiero is an ice hockey defenseman with Team USA, four time Olympic medalist and World Champion, Harvard graduate and current Harvard Business School student. She participated in a sports innovation panel at Harvard Innovation Lab to discuss the future of wearable tech and biometrics in sports. I spoke with the star Olympian and Cambridge resident on what that means for hockey.

David Carr on Journalist Guest Speaker Bingo: “Brilliant”

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New York Times writer and newly minted member of the BU College of Communication faculty David Carr visited Prof. Chris Daly’s class today. Before launching into his talk, he pulled up my journalist guest speaker bingo board and proceeded to respond to each cliche. It was surreal.

“I’ll always know you as the wiseacre who made that bingo board,” Carr said.

“Alyosha and the Bike” Reading at Trident Booksellers

Last Thursday, I had an incredible opportunity to read my short story “Alyosha and the Bike” at the launch party for Coup d’Etat, Boston’s newest literary magazine. It was a wonderful event, held at Trident Booksellers, one of my favorite places in all of Boston.

The Coup is attracting a fair amount of attention, with coverage from the Boston Globe and the Daily Free Press.

Thanks to everyone who attended, and my buddy Mike Lupia for snagging the above video.

“Journalist Guest Speaker Bingo Board” on Romenesko

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Back in October, my roommate Alex Reimer and I devised a bingo board filled with cliches we are tired of hearing journalist guest speakers use. I tweeted it that night, and it received a lackluster response — just one favorite, if I recall correctly.

For whatever reason, I decided to send the bingo board to Jim Romenesko to feature on his blog this past Tuesday. The result was overwhelming. Over the next 36 hours, my phone wouldn’t stopped vibrating with notifications from Twitter. Romenesko’s post was shared nearly 5,000 times, making it the most talked-about piece of content amongst journalists Tuesday night, according to Muck Rack. Folks from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, BBC and more were sharing something my buddy and I scribbled out in ten minutes, in Sharpie.

In an odd twist, NewsBusters lauded me and Alex as defenders of the right, behind enemy lines in liberal academia, fighting valiantly against the liberal media and its relentless bias. Not too shabby for two advocates of gay rights and the legalization of pot.

If I had known all this would happen, I would’ve at least drawn straighter lines.

My Top 13 Reads from 2013

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Though I’m not one for year-end sentimentalism, or any year-in-review list or retrospective for that matter, I am especially thankful for all the good fortune I’ve enjoyed in 2013. Last January, I was an unpaid intern at BostInno and bitter hockey blogger in the grips of the NHL lockout. One year later, I have a Stanley Cup Final under my belt as BostInno’s Bruins beat writer. I’ve met some incredible people, winked at Scotty Bowman, done a decent amount of hitchhiking and penned some bizarre headlines, like “Is Your Chicken Boring? Shove Some Angry Orchard Cider Up in There.”

It was a weird year, but a good year nonetheless. Here are my 13 best stories from the wild ride that was 2013.

The Ugly American’s Guide to Enjoying the Barclay’s Premier League

NBC Sports Network began its coverage of the Barclay’s Premier League this year, launching a comprehensive campaign to get Americans interested in soccer. I, like many others, do not care. Fellow BostInno Sports writer Hayden Bird, a fervent fan of Norwich City, tried to convince me otherwise in this dialogue.

Dogfish Head Brews Beer Made With Real Moon Dust

Delaware’s very own Dogfish Head Brewery makes the only IPA I can stomach, as well as a myriad of other cool brews, including their Ancient Ales series, made from chemical analysis of clay pots that once held beer consumed around 1 AD. For whatever perverse reason, no one seems to be nearly as excited about Dogfish Head’s MOON BEER as I am. Brewed with REAL MOON DUST, it lets you quite literally DRINK THE MOON.

It’s Time to Can the NHL Shootout

The shootout is a post-Bettman-lockout-II gimmick that has simply run its course. Rather than letting it continue to taint hockey or even worse, instituting a sudden death, 3-on-3 pond hockey alternative, I offer up my own solution.

On the Fedora, And Why You Should Never Wear One (Unless You Can)

Current BostInno managing editor Alex Weaver and I launched the site’s Style Guide this year, and we’re awfully proud of it. One of the first pieces that came out of it was this one, my attempt to distill every argument against the fedora: the waving standard of the neckbearded weirdo.

NBC Announcers Are Ruining Bruins Playoff Hockey

The Bruins’ long playoff run meant plenty of games broadcasted on the NBC Sports Network instead of NESN, much to the chagrin of Jack Edwards. Doc Edwards is a legendary announcer — the best in the business, in my opinion. But a certain bald rinkside reporter’s evangelizing about the Quebec juniors got to be a bit much.

Death Threats, Accelerators & Pancakes: Future Boston, One Crazy Year Later

I sat down with Malia Lazu, executive director and co-founder of Future Boston Alliance, the nonprofit seeking to change the way Boston operates to make it friendlier to young people and minorities. One of the most electrifying people I’ve ever met, Lazu recounts the early days of Future Boston, in which she would receive threats from Mayor Menino’s administration, to tell her mother to expect her daughter’s body in the Charles River. Lazu explains the problems currently preventing Boston from becoming a fully actualized, world-class city capable of retaining its endless supply of college graduates.

Why Seattle is the Next Great Hockey Town (And Why This Shouldn’t Surprise You)

I had the pleasure of speaking to John Barre, a blogger at the fan forefront of the movement to establish an NHL franchise in Seattle. There are plenty of reasons to believe a club will thrive in birthplace of Starbucks and grunge. And besides, the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans were the first American team to win the Stanley Cup — or back then, the “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup.”

Is the Tyler Seguin Trade Already a Mistake?

It seems every night Tyler Seguin has a multiple-point night for his new team, the Dallas Stars, some Bruins bloggers cry out in despair, that the B’s should’ve never moved the troubled young forward. Comparing the first 19 games of Seguin, Joe Thornton and Phil Kessel with their new teams, it seems the one-time Daisy Buchanan’s regular is somewhere in the middle of the pack in sticking it to his old home. Even still, the Fourth of July trade was far from a mistake.

“The New York Jets Twitter Page is a Sad, Sad Place” Series

Parts One, Two, Three & Four

The Jets went 8-8 this year, just as I predicted back in August. It was perhaps the rockiest .500 I’ve ever seen. I profiled the team’s social media staff’s sad attempts to look on the bright side throughout the season, and the fanbase’s cynical unwillingness to cooperate.

Why I Will Look Like Your Creepy Uncle For Testicular Cancer Awareness

I grew a dastardly mustache for Movember along with my teammates on the Boston University Roller Hockey team. In this piece, I detail my own cancer scare, as well as the need to break through the stigma men face in getting checked down there.

Hockey Doesn’t Have a Fighting Problem, It’s Lack of Respect

Any hockey writer worth his salt has a well-established take on fighting in hockey, the most fiercely contested issue at the heart of the sport. In mine, I argue that hockey’s current problem isn’t fighting — far from it. Hockey’s true problem is something far more pervasive and dangerous: a lack of respect amongst its players.

Nine-Year-Old Local Rapper Lil’ Poopy Rhymes About Coke & the Celtics

Back when I started with BostInno, I was curating tech and national news, like Apple earpod rumors and the attacks on the American embassy in Benghazi. My first break-through piece came with the meteoric rise of Brockton’s own Lil’ Poopy, a nine-year-old rapper and friend of French Montana. It earned me the nickname “Poopy” around the office for a few months, but it was worth it.

Herb Chambers Gives Boston Marathon Hero Carlos Arredondo a New Truck

Making dinner in my former dilapidated residence on Freeman St. in Brookline, I idly checked Twitter and saw a campaign to buy Carlos Arredondo, a Marathon bombing hero known to many as “Cowboy Hat Guy,” a new truck. The next morning, I wrote an article about the online fundraiser. All day, I refreshed the page, watching the meter surge upward, closer to the campaign’s goal. On a grinding C train back home, I received a direct message from an Herb Chambers rep. She told me the auto tycoon had read my article and wished to donate a truck to Arredondo, no strings attached. I was ecstatic.

Because I have no car and no one at the office could give me a lift, I took the 66 bus to Roxbury Crossing and hopped on an Orange Line train to Forest Hills. Once there, I caught the 34E bus and took it 87 stops into Walpole. I got off somewhere on Maple St. and walked a few miles to the entrance ramp of Rt. 1, the Boston-Providence Parkway. I walked along the shoulder until I reached the Herb Chambers Lexus in Sharon, just in time for the presentation of the shiny new red Toyota Tacoma to the man who had rushed into the scene of the blasts, not away from it, to help those wounded.

When Arredondo had learned of my commute to the dealership, he demanded he drive me back home. But first, he treated me and his two friends to the Dunkin Donuts in Sharon. I sipped my iced coffee while his pals recounted Arredondo’s heroics on Patriots Day. He drove me back to the Forest Hills station in his new truck, and we parted ways. It was easily the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

Honorable Mentions

Paula Deen Now Has Her Own Branded Butter Because … I Give Up

The 25 Most Ridiculous Pictures of Brad Marchand to Cheer You Up

10 Pictures of New Celtics Coach Brad Stevens Losing. His. Mind.