How I forged a truce with an NHL mascot at All-Star Weekend

RALEIGH, NC -- It all started with a simple post back in August declaring that Louie the Bear of the St. Louis Blues was the NHL's most underrated mascot.

But even after highlighting Louie's impressive dancing abilities, pranks around the Blues' office and vignettes featuring his attempts to use a dating service, Louie began chirping me on Twitter after a discussion about "The Dougie" (of all things).

That's right. A mascot was chirping me on Twitter.

Consider that checked off the "bucket list".

So we got to talking and as part of the original plans for the Blues website, in the week leading up to their home opener in October, separate videos of Louie and I doing our own 'Dougies' were to be shot and placed online. Fans would be able to vote for their favorite performer.

The Blues changed their minds a few days before the stunt ... and yet still Louie had the gall to continue flapping his big furry mouth.

The barbs continued through the season and with the big blue bear making sure, when Tweeting out some trash talk about the Chicago Blackhawks or Detroit Red Wings, to involve some quip involving me.

For example:

So with mascots for almost all 30 teams coming to Raleigh for All-Star Weekend, it was time to face my tormentor.

I made my way to find my arch nemesis inside the Raleigh Convention Center on Sunday afternoon, where the NHL was holding its Fan Fair and the mascots were roaming freely on the festival floor.

I saw Louie walking around taking photos with young fans. I walked over and gave him a high-five, holding his hand in place longer than he expected. I pulled him in close and asked him:

"Do you wanna Dougie?"

The bear stopped in his tracks and wiped his big blue eyes. He reached out and grabbed the credential around my neck to verify it was me. He was stunned and probably a little intimidated, considering the rich history the Irish have of dancing ... especially to hip-hop.

But it wasn't going to go down like that. Louie was very popular with the kids, and having me embarrass him in front of the large crowd at the Convention Center would have really given his street cred a hit.

So we squashed our beef, hugged it out and parted ways as best buds: a blogger and a bear.