How I Spent My Lockout Vacation: Matt Stajan



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The year is 2012. The month is…let’s say December. The NHL lockout is now over and behind us and we never have to think about it again for another seven years. We all survived that Bristol Palin poker celebrity cruise show that aired on Sportsnet every night in place of NHL broadcasts. The locusts, in the end, were merciful invaders and moved onto greener pastures, leaving us with mere crumbs, which we devoured gratefully and without shame. But at least the Mayans were wrong, so high five on that.


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Your Calgary Flames return to the Saddledome, refreshed and relaxed after an extended break away from the rink. With FlamesNation having a tremendous, some would say inappropriate amount of access to the team, coupled with the bluster to do what we want that only comes from knowing there’s no one out there who can stand in our way, we approached the Flames to provide us with  short essays documenting how they spent their lockout vacation. Which is what we’re calling it now. Again, because we can.


Now obviously this is a parody and satire, and do not constitute anything Matt Stajan has ever said or will ever say. BUT CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?!?!

Matt Stajan: International Man of Moshka


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The following diary entries were found in the Himalayas by a hockey loving Sherpa who did the right thing and mailed them to us at Flamesnation. They are an account of Matt Stajan’s final days.

Day 1 – Flying To Kathmandu 

The lockout has just started. I find myself unsure of my own life, my own self. Good buddy and spiritual guru Rene Bourque recommended traveling to the Far East to me, saying "It’s, like, way different, bro. You can live on pennies a day and still nail all the broads you want. And you gotta check out this yaa baa stuff."


Being a millionaire, NHL star player, and Phil Dunphy-esque family man, "nailing broads" isn’t a concern for me. In fact, I’ve recently experienced something of a spiritual crisis. I think someone, somewhere in the cosmos, is screwing with me. I used to be a good hockey player. Not great, but I played in Toronto and was a top six forward. Now it seems as though I put my stick down and the puck slips away. I look to backcheck and my defensive assignment has gotten away with blatant offsides that nobody but me sees. Sometimes a player will look at me angrily and I’ll feel as if a freight train hit me – literally! I don’t know what’s going on and why, but gosh darn it I’m gonna find out!

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So that is how I came to be flying to Kathmandu, a portal to the monasteries of Nepal. I don’t know what I’m looking for. Maybe I’ll fix my game, maybe I’ll leave my material trappings behind, and maybe I will achieve Nirvana. Also, all these people with boils covering their bodies are starting to weird me out.

Day 2 – Kathmandu

I have spent some time in meditation at local temples. I was taught about Dharma, the Natural Order of things that must exist. All this time I thought it was a character on a TV show! Anyways, I wonder if my bad luck is because of Dharma.


One monk has taken time to speak with me and recommended I travel into the Himalayas to a hidden monastery. He thinks I can learn to overcome my hockey weaknesses and gain wisdom to help solve the CBA problems! And why not? It’s not like there’s hockey to be played.


Plus, the buzzing from the locust swarms is giving me headaches 🙁

Day 6 – Kathmandu

I leave for शर्म की बात है और निराशा के मठ tomorrow morning. I am told many athletes have spent time there in meditation and self-reflection, including Ryan Leaf, Grant Hill, Rick DiPietro, and Jamarcus Russell. Wow! I don’t watch many sports, but I know those guys have been paid a LOT so they must be good.


My mountain guide is a man named Paco. How Paco came to be in Nepal is beyond me as I don’t speak a lick of es-pan-yol! Still, he a very hardy man and will assuredly lead me there safely.

Day 12 – A Himalayan Trail

It’s a few days into the journey and boy this is exciting. No more crying into beers for me! Tonight we ran out of food so Paco and I hunted down wild wolves! The meat when we fried it was a little tough, but delicious. Paco has all sorts of handy hunting and skinning knives – I can’t even imagine what they’re all used for. When I tried asking him, all I heard was something like "peel" or "pee-el" and he just smiled. I bet pee-el is a tasty Spanish fruit where he’s from.

Day 13 – अनुष्ठान सहायता के गांव

Whoops – me and ol’ Pacs apparently didn’t kill wolves. We killed the dog of a local family! Thankfully my trusty Nepalese came in handy when I explained the mistake.


They didn’t seem to like Paco too much though, especially once they saw his knives. Apparently he doesn’t just eat dogs – he eats people! Who knows what he wanted to season me with. I hope it wasn’t cumin!


The villagers gave me a map though, and after spending tonight in the local yak barn I will continue on my expedition.

 Day ?? – ??

Oh boy am I in trouble! I set off from अनुष्ठान सहायता के गांव and was doing a great job following the map until a blizzard hit. At this rate I’ll never get to शर्म की बात है और निराशा के मठ !


I’ve been in whiteout conditions for I don’t know how long now. Thankfully the villagers gave me lots of yak jerky to munch on. I think they were worried about me killing another dog. 🙁

Day ?? – ??

It is still blizzarding. I don’t know how long I’ve been out here, but based on the frequency of my bowel movements I’d think at least two weeks.


I am currently inside a yak corpse for warmth, but I don’t know if I did this whole "disembowelment" thing correctly – only my legs fit inside it. Star Wars is not a good survival movie.


Day 32 – शर्म की बात है और निराशा के मठ

I made it! Yesterday the snow lifted and I just started walking "up". My yak jerky supply was almost completely exhausted so I was very excited when I ran into Alexei Yashin and Wade Redden! Apparently they’re the head monks or something here. They said the very first thing to do is deep meditation, so I start that first thing tomorrow. Now, where did Wade say those bon-bons were?

Day 33 – शर्म की बात है और निराशा के मठ

Alex and Wade are saying I’ve made real progress already. They say my dreams and visions are too repetitive to be coincidental.


I spent most of the day in meditation while balancing on a hockey stick without a blade. When I asked him about it, Alex just smiled and said "It is to understand the shaft without the release." That Alex! So enigmatic!


Then Alex talked to me about karma and how it’s the process that takes the things you do in life and makes them into things that happen to you – or "vipaka". I wonder if all my bad luck is about the time I forgot to tip at Applebees. 🙁 Or maybe it was the time I dinged a car with my car door and only left $25,000.00 to cover the damage. I wish I knew more about car stuff, then I could’ve left more to help out.


The food here is darn tasty. I guess Guy Fieri made the trip up here recently and taught everyone to cook extreme Cajun foods and also lots of pastries. I wish I could make my hair look like his. 🙁 

Day 37- शर्म की बात है और निराशा के मठ

I had a recovered memory today! While in "Goalie Caught Unawares"  meditation pose, I had a very clear memory of Darryl Sutter after my contract signing. What I used to remember was after I signed we went out to a very fancy dinner. I always thought that I must have had like four handles of whiskey after dinner though because I had no memories of it. Tonight I had a memory, and it’s not much, but it’s a doozy!


Darryl is leaning over me and saying something, but all I can understand are the words "Scape" and "Goat". I assume we were talking about escaping goats, but that doesn’t make too much sense to me: I know Darryl likes farm animals and stuff, but I have no interest in ANY of that.


Why would we talk about goats?

Day 50 – शर्म की बात है और निराशा के मठ

It is time to go home – I hear rumors about new CBA talks starting again, and hopefully I can pass on my new found wisdom about escaping goats and standing in funny poses for long periods of time to help everyone maintain their inner peace! I think I can make a real difference in the negotiations with my wisdom and knowledge and Cajun food. I even wrote a letter to Mr. Bettman and Mr. Daly saying how much I think I could help the owners see the players side!

Day 54 – The Himalayas

I’m back on the trail to Kathmandu! My new guides don’t talk quite as much as Paco, but they sure are a funny pair. One guy is big and bald and the other is short and funny. They also have some real funny beards on – almost like they glued on a couple mullets to their chins.

Day 55 – The Himalayas

We sure are taking a funny way back – this is DEFINITELY not the way we came. Oh well! My guides are having me build a six foot deep, eight foot long, four foot wide barbeque kit for dinner tonight! Can’t wait! 😀


Publisher’s Note: This was the end of the journal entire. Matt Stajan was never heard from again. Two months later both Bill Daly and Gary Bettman were diagnosed with Kuru.