Monday, November 21, 2011

The Return of Sidney Crosby

My thoughts on the return of Sidney Crosby. I actually took half the day off work so I could catch the entire game. Didn't want to miss a minute of Crosday!

The Isles "win" the Sidney Crosby Lottery
When they first announced Crosby would return against the Islanders the only thing that I could think of was the Pittsburgh bench with 4 players on it. You know, last year when the Isles sucker punched Max Talbot and concussed Eric Tangradi and Brent ‘MoFo’ Johnson decided to beat the snot out of Rick Depietro. Yeah that. I mean sure the Isles, who have yet to win an away game this season, seem like a easy win but it made me nervous.

Captain Canada
So I hear this title goes to Ryan Smyth but until BOTH CBC and Versus interrupt regularly scheduled programming to nationally feature Smyth returning from an injury, I will continue to call Sidney Crosby Captain Canada. And I would argue that most of the NHL would too. Yes he’s The Face of The Game but he’s not just the NHL poster boy he is the face of Canada in the game as well. Sure the league is dominated by Canadians but Sid IS this eras Great One. He is Canada’s most famous active hockey player.

The Game
On his first shift he almost gets an assist and on his second he scores. Crosby screamed "FUCK YEAH" and NHL fans everywhere echoed that sentiment. He went on to play seconds short of 16 minutes and get 4 points. More importantly than his large point tally, his presence elevated the Penguins game as a whole. Not only was their much more fire under all their skates but things like their struggling Power Play was improved. Even after such a long absence Crosby showed patience and remained unselfish setting up many teammates including Orpik and Malkin (Malkin numerous times, only one of which he scored on.)

As for contact, Sidney took an easy crosscheck but that was about it. The real test will be when he plays teams with more grit like Montreal or teams with less morals like Boston.

The Take Away
Ovechkin is a lazy douche. Yes, that’s what I am taking away from this. So many people for the last several years have debated who is better Sid or Ovie. Sidney Crosby’s injury left the door wide open for Alexandre Ovechkin to run away with the league. Literally. Ovie could have owned the league in scoring, in assists, in penalty minutes - in ANYTHING. But he did absolutely nothing of value. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Zip.

Let’s face it, Ovechkin has 15 points so far this season. If Crosby averages 4 points a game he will pass that in 4 games. There is no debate. Sidney Crosby is a better hockey player than Alexandre Ovechkin. End of story. The only debate is why. Is Ovechkin simply not as skilled or is he just incredibly lazy. Discuss.
(The answer is both)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Either You're With Him, Or Against Us

The title of my blog seems to be the general consensus of Canucks diehards when it comes to their goalie. You either love him unconditionally and with blinding faith or you’re labeled a bandwagoner, a fake fan and a hockey ‘tard who knows nothing about the Canucks. I have to admit the peer pressure on this one gets to me. I rarely say a bad thing about Roberto Luongo because I love my twitter friends and don’t want to be the kid who has to eat lunch by themselves (or more accurately, eat dinner by themselves at the next tweet-up).

But the night before my wedding last week I had a revelation as I was being teased by my future husband’s relatives (all diehard, lifelong Habs fans). One of his cousins said to me “Do you still believe in your goalie?” And I was honest with him. For the first time out loud I uttered the truth. My answer was “I have to believe in him because he’s not going anywhere.”

The fact is I’m not honestly sure if Roberto Luongo can or will ever win a Stanley Cup in Vancouver. Now before you log off this blog and block me on twitter, I will fully admit that last year he was a beast in regular season. We could not have won the division without him. We couldn’t have had such great comebacks or wins. He isn’t a horrible goalie. He’s not even a mediocre one. I once got into such a heated fight with my now-husband when he said Luongo didn’t earn his Olympic Gold Medal that I slept on the couch. Seriously. But the fact is – if I can reveal my true feelings and not be attacked – I don’t trust Roberto Luongo. I think he’s sporadic in both his abilities and his drive.

Is he lazy? Is he comfortable? Is his skin too thick? My thoughts – No, Yes and Yes. He’s not lazy. He trains hard and works hard. I won’t fault him that. But is he comfortable? Most definitely. He’s got a solid contract locked down with no chance of a trade and a guaranteed, serious paycheck until the end of his career. It doesn’t matter what happens, how many fans rant about him or TSN commentators snark about him, or how many times he belly flops (Example 1001: Malkin’s shoot out goal in the home opener). Lu’s not going anywhere.

As for the thick skin – the only two goalies in the league that are playing in a pressure cooker are Luongo and Price. Habs fans are rabid and merciless. Vancouver fans can be that way too but on top of that Luongo has the pressure of playing on the most hated team in the league and the one voted most overrated by players themselves. He’s got added negativity, pressure and scrutiny so he has to have a thick skin. The problem is I think his skin has become too thick. Every time he’s interviewed after a loss he blows it off BIG time. Like with hurricane wind-like force.

After the game 6 loss in 2010 to the Hawks he said “I don’t know what to tell you. I battle as hard as I can out there you know?” His demeanor was flippant and lackadaisical. His comments since the Stanley Cup game 7 loss have been similar. Stuff like “I’m not going to over analyze things right now. I mean that’s hockey. Sometimes you’re going to win and sometimes you’re going to lose.”

Now here’s some of Ryan Kesler’s comments: “There are no excuses…. We had a chance to put them away in their own building and we didn’t.”

A little bit different. And yeah, Kes is locked into a contract too although not with a No Trade Clause and he also has the sting of an Olympic second best spurring him on I suppose. But either way. Lu too easily shrugs off the failures. It irks the crap out of me. No he shouldn’t carry the entire weight of a loss on his shoulders but he should at least look to be carrying something other than his hair lube.

I really don’t hate him. I am not screaming TRADE HIM. I swallow down the frustration when I watch a goalie like Marc Andre Fleury repeatedly manage drop to his knees to block a shot and not belly flop onto his stomach. REPEATEDLY. Did I mention that – as in more than once…. And I think Luongo CAN lead his team to a Stanley Cup. I just don’t know if he wants to be bothered to do it.

What Can Light His Fire
Ginger Bricks. That’s the answer. AV, who is definitely a big part of making Lu too comfortable, has said he will play Schneider more this season than last. But if he only plays him against the Oilers or the Blue Jackets or other random, no-risk teams he’s not doing Schneids or Lu (or fans) any favors. Cory needs to start in big games. If I had a say, Cory would start every game in the United Center. He’d start in LA, in San Jose and yes, Boston. Give him games against rivals. We all know Luongo is better on home ice so give Schneider the opportunity to be better on away ice.

I’ve been saying it to anyone who will listen – Vancouver has TWO STARTER GOALIES. This is likely the last year we have this advantage – so let’s use it. Play them equally. Lu has proven he is no Carey Price. Where Price turtled under the pressure of a starter quality back-up (Halak), Luongo seemed to get more driven and focused with the emergence of Schneider. This is the only leverage we have – the only way to light his fire. Even he must know that if Schneids out performs him, trade clause or not playing in Vancouver would be unbearable. So throw Schneider out there often and in important circumstances. Luongo, if history remains repeatable, will only get better with the competition.

I think the one thing we can all agree on whether we love Lu or hate him or are ridiculously conflicted over him like I am, is this – Vancouver NEEDS a Cup. If that means sitting a million dollar goalie in a crucial game I'm okay with that. And you should be okay with that too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Do Time, Not Die Time

Dear Vancouver Canucks,

I'm a mix of emotions right now. Good, bad and ugly. I have a feeling you boys feel the same way. So let's vent about the bad and the ugly and have a pity party right here and now so we can move on shall we?

Yes what happened to Raymond was horrible and uncalled for. Yes the referees not calling an interference penalty was complete crap. They totally ripped you off. And yeah, the NHL once again smacked you, Canucks, in the face when they didn't follow up with discipline on Boychuk after what they handed down to Rome. And without a doubt Marchand essentially bitch-slapping Daniel over and over and over because he "felt like it" and the ref only calling a penalty when it was obvious the mentally unbalanced Bruin wasn't going to stop until next tuesday was completely unfair. Humiliating and unfair.

But you know what? Life isn't fair. You know how they say living well is the best revenge? Well in your case, WINNING is your only revenge. So suck up all the crap the league and the Bruins have throw your way and win the Stanley Cup anyway!

Realize this simple fact Vancouver Canucks - you are not any farther away from the Cup than you were Friday night after the final whistle. It's still only one win away. ONE. WIN. That's all.

You did it Friday. I was there. I was the one with the red lettered I Believe In Luongo Sign. Your skill outplayed their brute force. You were faster, smarter and just plain better. I know it feels like climbing a mountain and you're even more battered and beleaguered than you were Friday - but you can do it again. Just once more. Just once more and it's all over. One. More. Win.

Canucks, in Games 1,2 and 5 you took Tim Thomas' sometimes chaotic, mostly lucky (lack-of) style and capitalized on its weaknesses. The fact is he's not confident, he's cocky. There's a difference. The same can be said for the entire Bruins squad - cocky not confident. They're bullies. They're goons. Their fans are cheap and the players are dirty. You can't change that and the NHL certainly won't condemn them for it so just forget about it.

You have to get past their cheap classless moves. Ignore it. Focus on the only thing that matters - that you've reached the end. There is no do-over after Wednesday night. No chance to regroup. No room for error.

You have to be sharp - something that comes easily to you but not the Bruins. They aren't about sharpness or talent. They're about chaos and cheap chances. Don't give them any. Play smart and tight and hard. It's do or die time. And you must DO, not die.

Useless referees and a biased league - so what? You haven't let it stop you all season so don't start now. YOU CONTROL YOUR OWN DESTINY. Never forget that. Wednesday is YOURS to win.

You are back in YOUR house. You are playing YOUR hockey. In front of YOUR fans. It's been YOUR season - from start to finish YOU have OWNED this league. One more win and YOU OWN the Stanley Cup.

I will be screaming just as hard from my couch Wednesday as I was Friday in the stands. And I won't be the only one. You have more people behind you than the media would have you believe, trust me on that. (Yes even you Roberto Luongo. Especially you.)

Do it for Luc. Do it for Hamhuis. Do it for Samuelsson. Do it for Rome. Do it for Raymond. Do it for us, your diehard fans who never give up on you. But most of all do it for yourselves. You've earned it. Now go out there and take it.

Bottom line: you, the Vancouver Canucks, can do this. I believe. YOU believe. Now make it happen!

With all my love, faith and support


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dear Vancouver Canucks

Dear Vancouver Canucks,

It's me again. Your longtime, opinionated and passionate fan. You may remember me from my
Open Letter to Ryan Kesler last year or my ferverent plea during your Chicago Blackhawks series this year. Then again, you may not remember me at all - and that's okay too. You're kinda busy right now and I get that. But I'm writing you once again to chat. I think we need to touch base and regroup after Game 3 and Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

First off I would like to set the record straight - I do NOT hate you. not a single solitary one of you. I know the media in this city love to make it seem like we're all a bunch of incensed, judgemental fans a la Montreal Habs variety but we aren't. Not all Canucks fans cheered when Luongo was pulled last night. I would even dare to venture that not all the fans in Rogers Arena cheered his departure from last night's game. Just because a bunch of towels were raised at the moment he left the ice and Cory Schneider skated onto it doesn't mean squat. I personally was cheering the fact that Cory was going to play in his home state in the Stanley Cup Finals. What a great thing that was for him! I love Lu. And I love Schneids too. I was happy to see him play but it was NOT at Luongo's expense. When Luongo starts Game 5 I will cheer just as loudly for him.

Secondly I want to say this - The 2011 Boston Bruins are not the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks. I think for some reason you, Canucks, might be feeling like they are. Because well frankly you are starting to play like you did against that hideous team that beat the life out of you way back when. And you are so NOT that team anymore. You're past that! Sure the Bruins resemble the Hawks in the fact that they're cheap and dirty, but the Bruins lack the actual skill that the Blackhawks have. They don't have a Kane or a Toews who can score regardless of cheap back-up help. Peverley and Marchand get lucky off their dirty antics and the dirty antics of their teammates - not a lot of base skill there. OWN that information and USE it.

Yes, they're essentially trying to maim the twins on every play. Let them (no offense Hanky and Danky, I wish you no harm and I know you can handle it). But while the Bruins concentrate on harrassing the twins the rest of you should be concentrating on putting pucks to the net like you did in other series. You've proven that the wonder twins are the icing on the Vancouver cake not the cake itself - Hansen, Torres, Kesler, Burrows, Bieksa, Raymond, Malholtra - you can all score and set up plays too. So do it. Don't worry about retaliation. Take the anger at the inaccurate reffing calls and constant bullying by the Dirty Bears, swallow it down and SHOOT.

Thirdly, Thomas is a wall. But it's a wall built of toothpicks, popsicle sticks and junkyard bricks. He's chaotic. He's spastic. He's not impenetrable - he's just unpredictable. I know you know that if you get him out of his crease (which can happen easily any time he goes for a puck) you can get a rebound past him. Just GET ON THOSE REBOUNDS!

You are the CANUCKS. You know how to do this. You've done it all year! Your Power Plays are to be FEARED. Show them why. Crash the net, pepper Thomas with rubber. You did it the first two games - that wasn't that long ago - ignore the petty, cheap dirty style known as "Bruins Hockey" and concentrate on the skilled, intense, unrelenting style known as "Canucks Hockey"

One last thing - are you tired? Because you look tired. And yeah you've earned the right to be tired. But think about it this way, if you're the kid in the backseat whining "are we there yet?" during a long journey - the answer is finally YES you are ALMOST there. Two more games. That's all it'll take - TWO MORE WINS. So buck up! Dig deep. Give it everything you have and then take a deep breath and give it more. You have the skill and the style it takes to win this - the Bruins can only win this if you continue to forget that you, the Vancouver Canucks, are the true talent. You are the ones with the grit, heart and determination. Not the Boston Bruins. Don't let them make you forget that.

I'll be at Game 5 screaming my head off for all of you. I KNOW you've got this. You can and will bring Lord Stanley home.

Much love, support and faith,


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stanley Cup Final by Numbers

So here we go - The 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. Let's make the prediction on the winner after some numbers fun, shall we?

  • 87 - The amount of years the Boston Bruins have been in the NHL.

  • 40 - The amount of years the Vancouver Canucks have been in the NHL.

  • 40 - the amount of years the Canucks have been Cupless.

  • 39 - the amount of years the Boston Bruins have been Cupless.

  • 5 - The amount of times Boston has lost a Stanley Cup final since their last Cup in 1972.

  • 2 - the amount of times Vancouver has lost a Cup Final.

  • 17 - The number of Canadian players on the Boston Bruins roster. Coincidentally, the Vancouver Canucks also have 17 Canadians on their roster. Ironically American born Ryan Kesler wears number 17.

  • 2 - The number of Americans on the Boston Bruins roster.

  • 5 - The number of Americans on the Vancouver Canucks. So dear Boston fans, if you chant "USA" at the Stanley Cup Finals like you have been known to do previously, you will actually be cheering more Canuck players then Bruins players so kindly STFU and save yourself the embarrassment.

  • 2 - the amount of 2010 Olympic gold medalists playing in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Center Patrice Bergeron of Boston and goalie Roberto Luongo of Vancouver both played for Team Canada last year. Coincidentally there are also 2 Olympic silver medalists playing in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Center Ryan Kesler of Vancouver and goalie Tim Thomas of Boston both played for Team USA last year.

  • 21 - The number of points Henrik Sedin has in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

  • 54 - The amount of wins the Canucks had in the regular season. Unfortunately, none of those wins were against Boston. We played them once in regular season and lost.

  • 18 - The amount of games it took BOTH the Bruins and Canucks to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Canucks went to 7 against Hawks, 6 against Preds and 5 against Sharks. Bruins went 7 against Habs, 4 against Flyers and 7 against Tampa. This means, theorectically the Canucks are getting stronger with every series and the bruins are not.

  • 63 - the amount of penalties the bruins have taken in the post season.

  • 28 - the percentage number (28%) of goals the Canucks have scored on PPs in post-season.

  • 61 - the number of Power Play chances the Bruins have had in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to score.

  • 5 - the number of power plays goals the Bruins managed to score on 61 chances

  • 4 - the amount of facts directly above this one that make it clear that if the Bruins do not play 5-on-5 hockey they will lose the Stanley Cup. (and I'm okay with that).

  • And last but not least: 5 - the number of games I think it will take the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Canucks Love Fest

Last night the Vancouver Canucks won the Western Conference Finals of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. They won in Double Overtime exactly 17 years to the day they won last time. I want to write an insightful, quote worthy blog about this but.... to be honest I am still pretty overcome with emotion and I'm drowning in my fangirlness. I don't care about being impartial or insightful.

Blue Believes In Blue
I'm proud of so many things about the vancouver Canucks right now. It's been a long, sometimes tough journey and even when I started to doubt them - Round 1 against the Blackhawks - they didn't doubt themselves. This I honestly believe made all the difference. They KNOW they can do this.

Eat Your Words Wellwood, Not Cheeseburgers

Maybe Wellwood (or as Bieksa called him The Weasel) was right. Maybe when he was on the team we were afraid to lose. But this year the Canucks didn't treat a single game like it was anything more than a single game. Kesler repeated this to the media a lot - they weren't thinking about the Cup or the Western Conference Finals, just about the game at hand. And it worked. Here we are, Western Conference Champions.

From Princess to King
Kesler last year was one of my least favorite Canucks. I am not going to lie, the proof was in the blogging. I called him Princess Kesler. I couldn't stand all his whining and his diving and his Olympic bitching. I love yappy players but only when they have the skill to back it up - re: Burrows. Last year and previous years Kesler, IMO, was more talk than walk. He was the King of Near Misses not goals. This year... he's not a princess he is a KING. He's still the most passioante player on the ice but he's channelled that passion into determination, drive and skill. He is the heart and the backbone of the Vancouver Canucks.

The Brains
If Ryan Kesler is the heart and backbone of the team the Sedin Twins are the brains. And in previous playoffs - and even the beginning of the 2011 playoffs - they've been MIA. But in Round 2 they started to wake up. By Round 3 against the San Jose Sharks the twins were back to playing like it was just another game in February. In other words, they were spectacular. This is the best thing that could ever happen to the Canucks. They are now a full functioning high performance machine. The twins don't get a lot of credit because they aren't flashy players. They don't give high-profile quotes off the ice and they don't score those crazy Bieksa Bounce goals or hand out Ballard Hip Checks on the ice. But their subtly is what makes them brilliant and breath-taking. That pass from Henrik to Burrows through the five-hole of Niemi will forever be etched in my brain as one of the most amazing hockey plays I have ever seen.

There Is No "I" In Team Or the Word "Canucks"
Last night the Hockey Night In Canada Announcers were waxing poetic about Joe Thornton and his injury. Essentially they were eulogizing him and the Sharks. His injury was - according to them - a devastating loss for the Sharks, one that basically put the nail in their coffin. And that's when I realized that yes, the Canucks have some key players - Kesler and the twins. But they aren't the only players that show up. They aren't the only ones that produce. We're deep. We're resilient. I think we're very blessed that Kesler, Daniel and Henrik have remained relatively intact through the playoffs but I also believe with every fiber of my being that if - Hockey Gods forbid - something took one of them out, our team overcome. Bieksa, Burrows, Higgins, Lapierre, Tanev, Hansen, Tambellini, Raymond - you name the guy he has or will step up in a time of need. We are a team of hard working, skilled players. We are not a couple of stars carrying the hopes and dreams of all. I believe in every single one of our players.

We Are Not All Canucks, But Who Cares?
They naysayers are still running rampant. One of the more ridiculous statements on Twitter - "Canucks only got here because of bad reffing calls" (and they don't mean all those bad calls we perservered through). Luongo still "gets Lucky" and the Sedin twins are still "Useless" to some even though Lu made 54 saves in the last game and Henrik leads the playoffs in points. To all of you who hate us I say - so be it. I have no urge to make the Canucks Canada's team or the West's Team. Vancouver fans have stuck with them thru thick and thin - we shouldn't have to share them now anyway. I'm perfectly happy keeping the pride, love and triumph all to myself.

In The Words Of Whitney Houston, I Will Always Love You
I truly, totally and utterly believe that the Vancouver Canucks will win the Stanley Cup. But no matter the end result, I just want to say here and now that I will always be proud of this season. I will always be grateful to every member of the 2010-2011 Vancouver Canucks roster for their heart and their drive and their accomplishments. I am so happy and proud to be your fan.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much Canucks.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Conference Finals Predictions

My predictions haven't been spot-on this year. In Round 1 I got 5 out of 8 match-up winners right. In Round 2 - I got 1 out of 4 right. Let's see if I can redeem myself with the 2011 Stanley Cup playoff conference finals.

The East

Boston Bruins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay have more precision and skill on offensive with Lecavelier, Stamkos, And the Smurf (St. Louis). They also have Douchebag Downie who has been a bit of a rockstar (albeit a douchey one). But Boston has pure, unadulterated goon force. What they lack in graceful offense they make up for in ungraceful defense and just all out force. Tampa Bay doesn't have the depth to get down and dirty and that's how Boston plays. They'll have the Lightning cowering and possibly crying. I would love to see the Smurf cry.
Puck Bunny Prediction: Boston Bruins in 6.

The West Bold
Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Shark
These teams, when you look at previous rounds, have had similiar paths to the final. Both lost 3-game leads and had to claw their way out of a Round. Both have had stars underproduce (Pavelski and the Sedin twins), both have had players dominate (Kesler and Couture) and both have had unexpected, delightful surprises (Setoguchi and Higgins). But here's the biggest difference - the Canucks have gotten more focused and stronger as they progressed. Their near-meltdown happened in Round 1 and though Round 2 was a bit of a battle thanks to Rinne there was no mental break and they stayed focused and dominated throughout, even in the games they lost. The Sharks mental meltdown happened in Round 2 - which may mean they are on a descent instead of an ascent. Also regular season between these teams, if it matters at all, was dominated by the Canucks. If the Sedin twins can wake up this would be easy. I don't think they will, but I still say the Canucks win.
Puck Bunny Prediction: Vancouver Canucks in 7.

Best & Worst of Round 2

Round Two has come and thankfully gone. Overall it was way too short on the East and way too long on the West. Here are the best and the worst of Round 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.

Best Series

For the same reasons I picked Canucks-Hawks in Round 1 as one of the the best series, I'm picking Sharks-Wings for the best of the best in ROund 2. Watching Detroit battle back was not only entertaining but a true example of great hockey and great coaching. I think the Sharks got lucky because Detroit is the team that deserved to win.

Worst Series

Every playoff year at some point the Washington Capitals win this title. This year it was in Round 2. Last year Round 1. It's a good thing they win this because they will never win a Stanley Cup. Not with Bruce Boudreau as the coach or pissy primadonna players like Alex Semin taking up their bankroll and useless ice space in the playoffs. Watchign them fall four in a row to the Lightning was pathetic - and boring. Even I, a true Ovechkin/Boudreay hater, am sick of reveling in their collapses.

Biggest Hero

Pekka Rinne. No his team did not advance but the only reason they survived as long as they did was because he is a freaking superhero. He stopped the best team in the league over and over. He never lost his cool. He never got his feather ruffled despite Ryan Kesler's repeated taunting attempts. He may not have won the Stanley Cup this year (because of his team) but he pretty much earned the Vezna this year.

Biggest Goat

Alexandre Semin. What sealed his deal? For me it was when he got knocked to the ice, didn't get a penalty, and instead of continuing on with the game - like both the Lightning and the rest of the Capitals did - he just stood there and made a pissy face at the referee. Way to go you whiny bitch. The Lightning went on to score. I'm not the only one who thinks he's a overpaid, underproducing waste of NHL space, Team Russia rejected his offer to play for them. None of this should be surprising though, Semin showed his true ways years ago when he tried to
bitch-slap his way through a hockey fight with Marc Staal.

Worst Playoff Beard

Logan Couture. I'm not exactly sure what is happening on his face. I'm sure he's a lovely person (I have no idea honestly) but he's not one of hockey's hottest normally. Now, with that sporadic fuzz growing on his face, he looks like a cast member from Napolean Dynamite or an extra in a 1970s After School Special. He looks like he should be leaving the rink in a white polyester pantsuit and a Firebird.

Best Playoff Beard

Kevin Bieksa. He looks like a full-on beast. A full-on, sexy, I'm-gonna-eff-you-up-and-you're-going-to-like-it BEAST. He's one of hockey's hottest normally, and the playoff beard just makes him even hotter.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sharks or Wings? Decisions, decisions

I'm on the fence about who I want to win the San Jose-Detroit series. I want the easiest route for the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals, but I'm conflicted as to what that is, so I thought I would put the pros and cons in writing.

Why I Want the Canucks to Play the Sharks

* They have always had a history of tanking. At some point, somewhere in the playoff run they pull an Ovechkin and turtle. give up. Wave the white flag. So even if they squash Detroit's comeback, they may still turtle in the conference finals. Let's face it the Canucks aren't going to make it easy on anyone.

* I hate Danny Heatley and would love, love, love to dash his dreams. How fun would it be to see Kevin Bieksa crush him into the boards or Alex Burrows taunt him into taking a ridiculous penalty or Ryan Kesler school him? It would be lovely.

* The travel would be easy. I feel like they don't get under our skin as much as Detroit because they don't come with the badass history. And I feel like we know exactly what they can give and what they can't.

* If the Shane O'Brien Roxy jokes weren't phenomenal enough, now we can have Kyle Wellwood Cheesburger jokes. Wonder if he has ever eaten a Roxy Burger? SOB may have taken him there when they played here together, since it's affliated with his favorite skank hangout... I would ask Shane but he probably was too drunk to remember.

Why I Don't Want the Canucks to Play the Sharks

* Anti Niemi. He's had his sporadic moments but this isn't his first ice capades. Being Chicago's goalie last year means two things - he knows how to win a Cup and he's played a part in keeping Vancouver from advancing in the playoffs. Both of those things make me nervous.

* If they do beat Detroit - as we all know from what happened in the Canucks round 1 - the mental boost and confidence that comes from regaining the series can be huge. It might even be enough to keep them from turtling again this year.

Why I Want to Play the Red Wings

* They're old, they're tired and they tend to break. Coming back from a 3-0 deficit requires a monumental amount of mental and physical endurance. Sure there is a high from doing that but even endorphins can't quel the exhaustion. The Canucks on the other hand have had 5 days off. I think this would make the Wings more easily beatable.

* Jimmy Howard. The goalie may have a better save average than Niemi in the playoffs but he's not a Cup winner. Although they gave him an honorary Stanley Cup ring when they won in 2008, he hadn't played anough games to have his name on the cup. And he lost last year to San Jose. He's shakey more often than Niemi, especially the deeper he goes in playoffs.

Why I Don't Want to Play the Red Wings

* The Detroit Red Wings are the Goonies of the NHL - they never say die. They don't care what the odds are when they're down 3-0 in a series. They don't worry about the clock being in the final second of the third period - they just keep playing, keep shooting and in the end more times than not keep winning.

* Mike Babcock - the man is the epitimy of a playoff coach. And yes, I believe that there is a difference between a a regular season coach and a playoff coach. Your proof is named Bruce Boudreau and sadly, so far, Alain Vigneault. Babcock is also a Gold Medal Winning coach. And another scary little fact - the last time the Detroit Red Wings were swept out of a series it was 2004 and the Anaheim Ducks are the ones that did it - and the Ducks head coach was Mike Babcock. Honestly, Babcock is a bigger secret weapon than Datsyuk and scarier than Todd Bertuzzi's beard.

* I know it's an unpopular opinion but I still like Todd Bertuzzi and remember him fondly from his time here in Vancouver. I don't want to play him in the playoffs because I know it will make me dislike him. Also, it seems the Preds have traded one of their players - Shea Weber's beard - to Todd Bertuzzi's face... and I don't want to have to look at a sasquatch for another round.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Uptown Sports, Damian Goddard & Their Anti-Equality Beliefs

I feel the need to blog about the UpTown Sports versus Sean Avery twitter fiasco that is out there. I will try to keep it brief and concise but unfortunately it may be hard. I am not gay but some of my dearest friends are. And civil rights - particularly the denial of them - really makes me emotional.

It's Not About What He Said
Todd Renoylds of Uptown Sports has the right to an opinion - even a bigoted one (we'll get to that later). The issue is not that he spoke his mind. It's that he spoke it from his company's official twitter account instead of a personal account. By tweeting his personal views on gay marriage on a business account - and not apologizing or removing it but instead defending it - he made it his company's stance on gay marriage. It is now a belief that Uptown Sports has made part of it's company's vision and corporate guidelines - at least the public should see it that way. Techinically now they should not hire or work with anyone who believes in gay marriage, as it goes against company policy. To me - and a lot of other sports fans out there judging by online responses - any athlete who stays with a company that makes Anti-Gay marriage views part of their corporate beliefs, is now also saying that they too share that opinion or belief. It's a pretty significant blunder by Uptown Sports. One that reflects 100% on their clients.

Damian Goddard - same difference.
By tweeting his support and his 'God Bless you' on a twitter account with a picture of him at the SportsNet Connected desk and a reference to the company in his bio, he made his employer part of his bigoted opinion and his regilious views. Rogers SportsNet quickly issued a tweet saying Goddard's bigotry does not reflect the views of the company however if he still sits behind that desk tomorrow Sportsnet is saying: We don't agree with him but we don't care that he is a bigot - and the general public thinks he is a bigot - we'll pay him to represent us anyway. THAT would be very bad business/PR. And seriously Rogers Sportsnet, there are a million sports journalists who are better than him. He would not be missed.

Speaking Out About Intolerance is Not Intolerant
There is a significant backlash to Todd Renoylds and Uptown Sports' anti-gay marriage stance. Sure there are some supporters, but the majority of people have called his comment hateful and bigoted. What angers me is the people who then call the act of speaking out against intolerance intolerant. DB posted in the comments over at Puck Daddy the following insight: I find it ironic that the people who call out most for "tolerance" are the most INTOLERANT when someone else has a different opinion and belief!

Todd Renyolds is saying is that an entire group of people do not deserve the same legal rights as he does. That's not just an opinion that is bigotry and it needs to be spoken out against. Speaking out against Todd Renoylds' intolerance is NOT being intolerant.

Dear DB (and other intolerant, intolerance flag wavers) it's as simple as this: The fact is the basic ideology of what Todd Renoylds tweeted about gay marriage is the EXACT same thing as if he tweeted that black people should not be allowed to marry or people with a full of head of hair (aka people different from him) should be allowed to marry.

Renoylds is NOT speaking out against intolerance - he is being intolerant. Gay people having the right to marry doesn't take away from my right as a straight women - or his right as a bald, social media moron - to get married. Giving a group of people the right to sit at the front of the bus does NOT take away another groups right to sit at the front of the bus. Get it?

We're all Bigots, Technically
The dictionary definition of bigotry is the following: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
The dictionary definition of a bigot is: a person who is intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.
Since the word intolerant is pooping up a lot, the dictionary definition of it: not tolerating or respecting beliefs, opinions, usages, manners, etc., different from one's own, as in political or religious matters; bigoted.

Todd Renyolds does not believe a gays should be allowed to marry and is intolerant to the idea. That makes him a bigot. I am intolerant to the idea that gays are not given the right to marry. Maybe that makes me a bigot too. But as I'm concerned if you are the kind of bigot that doesn't believe that one group of humans has the right to take away or diminish the rights of another group of humans you are the right kind of bigot. Todd Renoylds is not the right kind of bigot.

A Man + a Women Does Not = Sanctity
Tood Renyolds defended his original tweet with this one: But I believe in the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. This is my personal viewpoint. I Do not hate anyone.

Let's pretend that the 52% divorce rate in North America isn't reason enough to laugh at his tweet. Let's add a sports twist to this - Tiger Woods. He married a woman - and cheated on her with over 12 women. Does Todd Renyolds truly believe that Tiger did less damage to the "sanctity of marriage" than Doogie Howser would if he married his male partner David Burtka? Please Uptown Sports explain to me how letting Ellen Degeneres marry Portia De Rossi is destroying the sanctity of marriage more than Martin Brodeur leaving his wife for her brother's wife. (Seriously). Danny Briere got divorced but I guess Todd Renoylds thinks because he married a woman it makes the divorce less painful or less tarnishing on the "sanctity' of the institution? Hardly.

Furthermore the word "sanctity" implies there is some sort of holy or religious involvement in a marriage and there no longer legally has to be. Marriages certificates are issued by the STATE you get married in (or the province) not the church you get married in. Also, you don't need a clergyman's signature, a judge will do just fine. The only way Todd Renyolds can claim to believe or want to perserve the "sanctity" is if he tweets he doesn't think gay people should be allowed to get married in a church. Then he could claim to believe in the "sanctity" of the church wedding.
But to tweet they simply can't get married means Todd Renoylds thinks gay people shouldn't be allowed civil rights. You might as well put a pilowcase over your head, Mr. Renoylds - a rainbow one, but a pillowcase just the same.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Round 2 Predictions

And here we go! Round 2 predictions for the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs


Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators
This is by no means going to be the gutwrenching dramafest that Chicago-Vancouver was... I hope. I'm out of ativan, I can't take another epic battle like that. Nashville is a determined defensive team. They remind me a lot of the Minnesota of the past and lord knows the Canucks had trouble with that. But this is a new Canucks. And if they can ride the moment of the last win and harness mental power of banishing their demon (Hawks) then this should be a surmountable task. Mr. Underwood is no match for Mr. Kesler. Weber is their biggest threat but our D is more than one person deep and if they ALL (I'm looking at you Rome and Glass) work their hardest they'll be able to contain him fairly well. Plus we all know that SOB is a lose cannon. And Burrows as well as the rest of the Canucks know what buttons to push to set O'Brien off. If he takes stupid penalties (a given) we can capitalize.
Puckbunny predicts Canucks in 6.

Detroit Red Wings vs San Jose Sharks
I want this to be a big, grueling battle. I don't even care who wins in the end as long as it goes to 7 and both teams have to perform to their fullest to get a win. Why? Because I see both teams as a formidable opponent for my Canucks and I want whoever wins to be weary, weak and as depleted as possible. I think in the end, Detroit will win. Because if history teaches us anything it's that the Wings never ever give up and the Sharks always at some point do.
Puckbunny predicts Detroit in 7.


Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning
I want Tampa to win. Yes, I am a Penguins fan and they just tore my heart out but the fact is, if the Pens had to go down it's better they go down to someone who doesn't just turtle in the next round. Makes the loss that much cheaper. And besides if the Caps were playing the Devil himself, I'd be in the stands with a pitchfork and horns. Anyone over the Caps. Anyone. That said, the Lightning aren't going to win this, sadly. Realistically they don't have the offensive power or the defensive strength that the Caps have. Well they do have it, but it takes them too long to capitalize on it. The Caps play fast and furious. The Lightning playing more of a thinking man's hockey, taking time to set stuff up and holding back more than rushing. It won't pay off like it did against the Pens (who were already exhausted from just making the post season with a injury-depleted roster).
Puckbunny predicts Caps in 6.

Boston Bruins vs Philadelphia Flyers
Boston just beat their arch nemesis and now have to face last year's demons. Not an easy ride. And their cheap shots and dirty plays are going to be equally matched by a team that wrote Cheap and Dirty Playbook. Difference is, Flyers also have some tried and true scoring talent (Briere). I think it's going to be a battle but I see Philly doing what the Hawks did to Vancouver last year - repeating history.
Puckbunny predicts Flyers in 6.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Round 1 Recap

Sigh. This was one hell of a bumpy ride for fans of just about every team in the NHL Playoffs. There were 14 Overtimes - 2 of them in Game 7 between the most heated rivalries of the Round. Here is my recap of Round 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Best Series
I have say this is a tie between the Canadiens-Bruins and the Blackhawks-Canucks. The games between the Habs and Bruins were much closer and more of a dogfight every night which made it exciting. However, the Canucks falling asleep in Games 4 and 5 and bringing their series against the Hawks to the brink of complete collapse and then grinding it out in OT in Game 7 makes it equally as compelling.
I guess if you put a gun to my head I would have to say the Canucks-Hawks was the best series, but I was at Game 7 and I'm a Canucks fan so.... my fiance (A Habs fan) would argue I'm sure.

Worst Series
I guess the Coyotes and Wings was a bit of a disappointment. I expected more of a fight from the Yotes, after all they had put up a much bigger one last year in the same match-up. Coyotes had it in them, but just couldn't find it in time. Honorable mention should go to the Anaheim - Predators match-up because anyone with a white hot scorer like Corey Perry should have advanced.

Best Playoff Beard
Another tie here. First I have to give props to Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks (see top photo). He's got a beautiful baby face normally but the addition of a little scruff (that grows much more evenly than other baby faces like Sidney Crosby) makes him uber-sexy.
The person who ties him - Jordan Staal. Why? because he's Jordan Freaking Staal and with the Pens gone, I won't be able to say his name again on this blog so... Jordan Staal. But seriously folks, he went from zero to Amish in 7 games - and made it look hot. If you can make Amish look hot, you win Best Playoff Beard. End of Story.

Worst Playoff Beard
Shea Weber. The dude already looks like he's part sasquatch. It scares me. By the end of the 2nd round his whole face will be hair. He's going to have to shave eyeholes so he can see.

Biggest Irony
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis bitching to the media about the refs not calling penalties thereby not giving his team enough Power Plays. Game 7 - Canucks get a Power Play and Jonathan Toews scores a shorthanded goal. That's Irony at its painful best folks.

Biggest Hero
Hands-down Alexandre Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks. What makes him the biggest hero is that he also almost became the biggest goat. He scores the first goal, then failed to score in a penalty shot, takes a penalty in OT, scores the winning goal. He should get his own damn Disney movie.

Biggest Goat
Anti Niemi. Yes the Sharks advanced but it wasn't from his lack of his trying to stop them. He was pulled twice in 3 games. He also had the worst save percentage (.863) of any starter in Round 1, and a lame 3.99 goals-against average.

Dirtiest Team
Let's be honest, there was a lot of dirty hits in all series. Too many. Torres, Bickell, Kunitz, Downie, etc. But the team that, in my opinion, played the dirtiest every night - with consistency - the Boston Bruins. I have never seen one team take so many dirty shots. A shoulder to the head, another face into the stanchion, and even a middle finger to the crowd. The only thing sicker than watching them play like that was watching their Rabid Ostrich of a captain chug a freaking coca-cola in the middle of the game. Barf.

History did NOT Threepeat Itself

We did it. I know this is only round one – at least it appears that way on the outside. But Canucks Nation and the players themselves know that beating the Hawks – is MUCH more than a first round victory. It’s a 3 year battle and we’re finally victorious.

The demon has been exorcised. The monkey is off our back. We did it.

There were a lot of brave words. A lot of confident tweets and tough talk but let’s be honest fans… we were all freaking terrified. We all knew they could do it. We just didn’t know if THEY knew they could do it.

Turns out while my tweets might have been bravado and hope, the Canucks words were truth and fact. For them it was just another game. One they knew they could win.

They came out hard and strong. They were physical and aggressive. And they never not once appeared or seemed defeated. I have to admit the irony was not lost on me when Mike Gillis complained about the lack of power plays and then Toews goes and ties it up shorthanded (on one of our power plays). It was clear to me right then the Hockey Gods had a sick sense of humor.

My Top 5 Moments of Game 7

1) Kesler owning Toews. I know people are complaining Kesler wasn’t scoring goals. But he was doing something else – he was containing Captain Serious. He was also checking the crap out of any Hawk he saw. He was attacking the puck. He was owning the zone. He was setting Burrows up. He was taking pucks to the head. Most importantly he kept his temper in check and was playing cold, hard smart hockey. He was a WARRIOR.

2) Alexandre Burrows – what can you say? He was the best of the game, he was the worst of the game. He was the game. I own a Burrows jersey. It’s my only Canucks jersey. I chose it for 3 reasons – We’re from the same suburb of Montreal. He’s a yippy chirpy guy and I love snarky plaayers. And last but not least when he gets angry or upset, he gets even. Burr may chirp or take a penalty but he also produces. Tonight was textbook Burrows.

3) Reliving the Gold. I wanted to go to the Gold Medal Olympic Men’s hockey game more than I wanted anything else in the world. I guess the Hockey Gods decided to give me a reenactment. I can say thanks now, but when the clock hit 1:56 and Toews shorthanded it past Luongo, I wanted to kill myself. As I waited impatiently for the break to end and OT to start I found myself staring at the stairs of Rogers Arena. They are still painted in the pastel blues and greens of the Olympic theme and then I realized…. Lu’s done this before. My confidence in our goalie swelled like the Grinch’s heart after that. And then Burrows pulled a Sidney Crosby and I screamed and cried. I actually cried.

I have a problem with Lu-haters who get angry that he said this felt better tha a gold medal. Put yourself in his pads people. He didn’t lose the Gold medl two yearsstraight to Team USA (he wasn’t even in goal when they beat us the first time in the series). But he DID have his playoff runs decimated 2 years in a row by the Hawks. Of course this feels like a bigger conquest. I more well-earned victory.

Top 3 Quotes
“I wanted this game more than the gold medal. Not to take anything away from the gold medal, its something really special" - Kesler

“This one might be better than the Olympics.” – Luongo

“I just want to thank the guys for killing that penalty early in OT.” - Burrows

Honorable Mention
Corey Crawford. The kid is a warrior. A king. A beast. The Hawks should be very proud and very happy that this guy is there’s. This was his first rodeo and he almost school the best team in the league. He is the single solitary reason we didn’t blow them out of the water in both Game 6 and 7. He stood on his head. I have to give him nothing but props. Great job Crawford.

On a personal note
A million thank-yous to my amazing friend Christy, who when she won Game 7 box seats, invited me to go with her. It was honestly the best hockey game I have ever seen live and in-person in my life. Truth. Christy, you are a rockstar. Thank you.

Now who wants to join me for a round of drinks at The Roxy? Shane O’Brien , I’m looking at you…..

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dear Vancouver Canucks

Dear Vancouver Canucks,

When you hear your fans bitching and moaning and the media crucifying you I want you to understand why. We’re confused. We don’t understand this at all. It's making us sad, scared and depressed.

What pisses me off and makes me feel sick to my stomach is that you, Vancouver, don’t just lose a playoff game, you completely and utterly meltdown. You implode. You disintergrate.

If these losses were 3-2 or 5-4 I wouldn’t be this panicked or this upset. A 7-2 loss and a 5-0 loss are worse than the collapses the Rangers and the Kings have suffered so far this round – where they give up 3 or 4 goal leads. The reason? At least the Rangers and Kings showed up. You, my dear sweet Canucks, may as well not have left the dressing room for game 4 and 5 against Chicago.

I don’t coach hockey – never have. I don’t even play hockey – never have. Hell I don’t even sleep with hockey players (shocking, I know) so I admit I have absolutely no insight on how this type of all-encompassing breakdown in mental and physical play can happen to a team that won EVERYTHING and NEVER gave up on ANYTHING for 6 months.

(If anyone has a logical explanation for why this happens to the canucks, please – I am begging you – enlighten me.)

I don’t want to pick on Kesler or Burrows who are yet to produce this series. I don’t want to pick on the Sedins who have been better than last year but that just means they’ve been sporadic instead of non-existent. And I don’t even want to pick on the defense – mostly because I was taught not to talk ill of the dead. And I definitely do NOT want to pick on Luongo. I just don’t. It's not about one performance - you're a team - and you need to start playing like one again. So if Kes doesn't score, Hansen does. If the Sedins don't check, Oreskovich does. If Burrows misses a shot, Edler nails the rebound. You remember those days don't you? We do, because it was just last week!

But I will say this to you my Canucks....

After getting blown right out of Game 4 you all went to the media and said the fans were panicking needlessly. That the world was not ending. You didn’t expect to win the cup 16-0. That fans and media were being irrational. The loss was "not a big deal"

You made me feel bad for doubting you, despite your history. So I bit my lip and believed in you. Trusted you. I was confident and excited at puck drop for Game 5.

So now YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO ME CANUCKS: getting blown out of Game 5 - AKA not showing up for 2 games in a row - THAT is a BIG DEAL.

You need to wake the hell up and figure out where your regular season mojo went and get it back – NOW. No more of this crap. The Hawks are not better than you. They’re just trying harder. They aren't winning the games - YOU are losing them! That means you have no one to blame but yourself. So FIX IT.

I believe you can win this series. But I also believe that if you fall apart like this in Round 2 or Round 3 or (please Hockey Gods) the Stanley Cup Final – you won’t get a chance to bounce back.

So figure it out now, kick the Hawks asses, and don’t do it again. Okay? Okay.

Thanking you in advance,


Sunday, April 10, 2011

2011 Round One Playoff Predictions


Capitals – Rangers
On paper this prediction makes me crazy. And to be honest I jumped back and forth with this one. The Caps had the better season. But the Caps always have the better season and are yet to perform at that level in the post. The Rangers work harder and are used to fighting for their lives. Just like Montreal last year, that type of gumption and unrelenting fortitude will undo the Dirty Russian and the rest of the Caps.
Rangers take it in 7

Flyers – Sabres
Flyers will murder the Sabres. They’ve got more talent and experience. Not that I care either way, which is why this synopsis is so short. I refuse to care about the Flyers. I’m hoping if I ignore them, they will go away. (Yes, I’m a 12 year old).
Flyers take it in 4

Bruins – Canadiens
This one is hard for me. According to my Hab-obsessed fiancĂ©, the Canadiens have only fallen to the Bruins 7 of the 24 times they’ve met in playoffs. But my burning concern is Carey Price. He’s been known to turtle under pressure and Halak is not there to save him, or the team when they start slow like they tend to do. But I will throw caution and fear to the wind and go with my fiancĂ© and my other Habs guru – my dad. My dad says Habs in 5 so I say Habs in 5. Let’s hope father knows best.
Canadiens take it in 5

Penguins – Lightning
This one is probably the biggest guess of all, theoretically. The two teams have never met in playoffs before. I know some people are saying it’ll be Lightning because Stamkos and Lecavalier aren’t playing against Crosby or Malkin. But they ARE playing Kennedy and Staal. Talbot and Kunitz and most importantly Marc-Andre Fleury. Penguins have shown all year that they don’t hang their hope on The Kid and Russian Frankenstein and that won’t change in post. They’ll grind and dig and shoot and push and Flower will stand on his adorable French Canadian head.
Penguins take it in 6


Canucks – Blackhawks
First things first, if this was a shirtless player competition, Kesler would annihilate Kane. (See photographic evidence to the right) But since it’s not I have to use different logic and here it is: Canucks aren’t the team they were in previous years – they’re better. On top of that, and maybe more importantly – Hawks are not the same team. Sure they still have Kane and Toews but gone is they’re giant, annoying secret weapon against the Canucks – Dustin Byfuglien. Sure they’ll stick the next fattest person they have in Lu’s face but Lu has tweaked his style, sitting back farther in his crease. Most importantly, the Vancouver Canucks’ mindset is a very different beast this year. Canucks come back from behind, push through bad losses and never give up until the final buzzer. The Hawks, without head games and big fat Buff, won’t threepeat raining on our parade.
Canucks take it (finally!) in 5

Sharks – Kings
This one is simple for me. Sharks all the way. Although they do, like clockwork meltdown at some point in the playoffs, it won’t be against the Kings. The Kings have raw talent in Quick, Doughty, Simmonds and Stoll but the key word is “raw”. LA won’t have the emotional aptitude to be a real threat to a bunch of veterans who are no strangers to this dogfight.
Sharks take it in 4

Red Wings – Coyotes
I want the Coyotes to win this. But they won’t. The Wings have age as both an asset and a deficit. It means they’re like to suffer injury and exhaustion before other teams, but it also means they’re players play smarter than a team stack with youngins’ like the Yotes. Although Coyotes will put up a might good fight because they are young and tough and because they’ve played the Wings in playoffs before. But in the end, even without Zetterberg, the Wings will prevail.
Wings take it in 6.

Predators – Ducks
This is the hardest match-up in the West for me to predict. The Predators are a defensive wall. They shut down and wear down their opponents. The big question is will they be able to do that to Corey Perry, one of the hottest streaking scorers in the league? I say yes. Barely but yes.
Preds take it in 7

Friday, March 4, 2011

3 Things More Exciting than the Canucks - Preds

I’ve been wracking my brain all day long to try and find some really interesting and exciting facts about the Nashville- Vancouver game that occurred last night. But honestly? There isn’t any. The game was, IMO, the most boring one of the entire season.

I don’t want to talk about how the Sedins seem to be in a coma-nap, Kes is slumping, Samuelsson has lost his edge or anything like that. We all know this. It’s not news. And I personally would rather see them play like this in regulation than in playoffs so I say slump/sleep your way through March Canucks, but make sure the alarm is set to wake you up in mid-April. I don't care about the President's Cup. I want the Stanley Cup.

Since the only exciting things I could think to write about the Canucks-Predators game was the ref spraining his ankle and the cute little Maxime Lapierre/Shane O’Brien sandwich that happened in the corner of the boards, I’ve decided instead to write about the Top 3 Things Happening Last Night That Were MORE Exciting Than the Canucks Game

1) Jordan Staal got his hair cut
Yes that’s right. Last night Jordan Staal got rid of all that blonde, crazy winged madness he was calling hair. It’s unfortunate, as I was just starting to become obsessed with it. Staal's hair not only poked and popped it's way through every helmet or hat he wore, it also defied gravity. It stood straight off his head at 90 degree angles (even after 3 periods of sweaty hockey) and sometimes even appeared to actually be growing upward. Anyway, I’m fairly certain that the hairdresser who got to restructure that pretty mess had way more fun than anyone watching the Canucks game.

2) Ovie Tweeted
I followed him because I will follow ANY NHL player. Yes, I’m a twitterwhore. And although the Dirty Russian is one of my least favorite NHLers, I have to say I’m digging all his tweet pics, like the one of Phil Kessel sitting by himself during the All-Star draft. And the picture he tweeted last night of himself and Alexandre Semin celebrating Semin’s birthday – in an empty room with nothing but 3 helium balloons - looked more exciting than the Canucks game.

Side note: Between Ovechkin’s return and Charlie Sheen’s arrival my twitter feed now gives me the heebie jeebies. I don’t follow Sheen but everyone is tweeting his #winning #tigerblood crap so much that I feel like I follow him. If you’re THAT into Charlie Sheen and his f*ed up life philosphies, then get off twitter, go cover yourself in cocaine and sparkles and glue yourself to his vision board.

3) The Leafs beat the Flyers
This is not so much exciting as it is a sign of the apocalypse. But I find it worth mentioning because the monumental event means Canucks – despite being as exciting as a librarian on Ambien – are still first overall in the league.

Here’s hoping that the Canucks drink Red Bull before the LA game tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why Can't Athletes be People Too?

Phoenix Coyotes winger Paul Bissonnette recently made an appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM station on the Scott Ferrell show. He did what any good guest on the Howard Stern Network should do – he talked about getting laid. Yes that’s right sex. With women. God forbid.

As I was driving home tonight I heard Ferrell losing his mind. Now I turned it on in the middle of his rant but from what I can tell after Bissonnette’s honest, refreshing and entertaining interview irate listeners started emailing the Coyotes franchise complaining they were offended.

Can I just take a moment to touch on the fact that if you are listening to the Howard Stern Station and you are offended by words like sex, pussy and tits – you are clearly an idiot. Now let’s also briefly mention that if you spend 20 or 30 minutes of your life composing an email of complaint instead of taking 1 second of your life to put yourself out of your own misery and change the channel you are a self-loathing, miserable, douche.

Now to the real heart of the matter - Paul Bissonnette should not get grief for his interview. Not from the Coyotes or the NHL or fans of hockey. He's not a liability to the league he’s an asset!

Bissonette’s on twitter and, unlike 90% of the other NHLers on there, he’s not afraid to use it. Biznasty2point0, as he goes by, has over 45,000 followers. Ryan Kesler, a forward with the number one team in the league only has 21,000. Michael Grabner a scoring machine and hottest rookie in the league right now has 7,000.

So why does a 4th liner on a bankrupt team in the desert have more followers than NHL poster boys? Because he’s honest and interesting. I started following Biz on twitter because people kept retweeting his tweets and they were funny. I was pleasantly surprised he was an NHL player. And I’m willing to bet there’s a good number of his followers that are discovering the NHL because of Biznasty’s twitter. So you should thank him, Bettman.

How many more cocktail waitresses does Tiger Woods have to bang before we realize that professional athletes who make millions a year are doing exactly what ANY of us would do with that money, talent and fame – enjoying it.

It’s so ridiculous to me that there are still people out there that expect athletes to be these immaculate versions of human beings.

Remember when Tiger Woods cheating hit the media? Remember how he handle it with rehearsed, vague, inoffensive and insincere statements? Remember when David Letterman was caught cheating? Remember how he just went on the air and admitted he’d done it, it was a screw up and his wife was pissed? Did you know David Letterman’s ratings shot up after that?

Clearly people appreciate honesty & candor. So I can't be the only one who realizes that if we not only allowed these celebrities and athletes to be normal human beings but also embraced them for it, we'd all be better off.

The NHL loves Sid the Kid as the face of the sport not just because he’s the best player in the world but because of this squeaky clean public persona. It’s the one part of him I don’t like. I mean, not that I’d kick him out of bed for it or anything, but Sidney’s scripted, bland interviews are not nearly as engaging as Biznasty waxing poetic about girls in yoga pants.

I’m sure Sidney Crosby is an actual human being when the cameras are off. I’m sure he sleeps with women and gets drunk and does all the things that any 20-something male with a giant paycheck and a very pretty face should do. But I appreciate Paul Bissonnette for not being afraid to publicly be what we all know (but won't admit) professional athletes are – women-loving, partying, opinionated, normal people.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Louis has Vancouver Singing the Blues

We're Learning to Handle Hiccups
This is one of the key things that has changed in Vancouver's game this season. When we fall behind, we don't immeadiately fall apart. Despite blips... okay fatal flaws... on our PK and Luongo's retro puck handling skills (you know from when he sucked worse than this year) we came back. Canucks didn't give up. Lu shook it off. This is further proof we're not the team we used to be. We bounce back - and it takes minutes, not games. This is a good sign. Yes we lost but the Canucks of yesteryear would have lost by more.

Monkey Stat on our Back
When we started this game in St. Louis we hadn't won a game when trailing after the first 20. We still haven't. I hate stats.

Let's Not Panic
We have to remember that this really is not a big deal. So Bobby Lu's streak ends here. That means we get to see his new goalie mask in action! We're still number one in the league. The LEAGUE people - with 81 points. Philly is 4 points behind us. Also, Canucks lead the league in scoring with 192 goals. In 2nd place is Detroit with 187. I love stats!

D is for Decimated
We lost Alberts - again. With a broken wrist he's out indefinitely. (new twitter rumors say it is not broken although I heard Av say it was in interview) Hamhuis, Ballard and Edler are not set to return any time soon. And now there are rumors of a Salo injury. I hope that's a joke - it sounds like a joke. Av has announced that Yann Sauve is being called up from the Moose. To say we're scraping the bottom of the barrel is probably accurate right about now.

Sauve means Save in French!
Yann Sauve was drafted 41st overall by the Canucks. He's not exactly a two-way defenseman, but he's big and skates well. At this point what else can we ask for? And even if Sauve’s offensive game is not as developed as we may like, his name is French for Save so that can only mean he's going to save us... right? Save us from losing one more. It would be horrendous to slip into 2nd overall. How horrible. Yann, it's all up to you buddy! No pressure. Get it done.

My Canucks 3 Stars of the Game
1) Andrew Alberts because I feel sorry for the big lug. If you seen him and his gimp wrist around Vancouver, give him a hug. Tell him Concretefluff sent you.
2) Bieksa for being a lean mean skating machine who just never gives up.
3) Luongo - also known as Lulongo by stupid American Announcers. Sure he totally shit the bed on the Steen goal but he shook it off and went on to be the main reason the game was as close as it was. Great job Bobby Lu!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 is the new 1977

If you watch this week's hockey highlights, 2011 looks more like 1977. I feel like I should be wearing bell bottoms not yoga pants.

Honestly when the Boston-Montreal slamfest happened I was amused. It was unexpected. It was unheard of (in the last 10 - 20 years or so) and it seemed harmless enough. I joked about Johnson and Depietra starting a new trend since they were the first goalies to drop the gloves.

But after the Penguins- Islanders slamfest last night I am no longer amused.

The Islanders took that to a whole new level. And it wasn't pretty. It wasn't classy. It shouldn't be without heavy repercussions.

I get retribution is a part of hockey. I fully understand that it's not going to go anywhere no matter what the NHL does. But just like anything, there is a right and wrong way to handle it.

In the "right" category - the way the Penguins handled the retribution on Steckel for giving Crosby a concussion. They dropped the gloves and duked it out and it ended there. Steckel manned up (unlike Steve Moore way back when) and faced his punishment.

The Isles wanted revenge on both Brent Johnson and Maxime Talbot for the goalie fight and the questionable hit. Fine. So if the fact that the Isles scored 6 goals before the 2nd was over wasn't good enough for them, then engage Talbot in a fight, engaged Johnson in a fight AND THEN MOVE ON.

That would have been the right thing to do and clearly the Islanders - as their season record shows - are all about the "wrong" thing (losing a lot and winning without class).

I don't want to go into all the gory details - although you can find them here and a million other places on the net. Here's what I do want to point out. This is the National Hockey League's opportunity to do the right thing.

The NHL has been acting like a shitty parent. Randomly tossing around punishments with no rhyme or reason. You can't keep blaming/punishing Cooke cuz he's the bad kid but cutting Getzlaf and Steckel and others slack because they're "normally such good boys". A hit that is dangerous is a hit that is dangerous - no matter the intention the injury (and the anger of the team losing a player) is real.

Matt Martin's sucker punch of Max Talbot can in NO WAY be overlooked. The fact that Talbot skated away - unlike Moore - should NOT be a factor. If the league lets the extent of an injury be the leading factor in punishment instead of the dangerous act then it's the same as a judge saying "I know you shot a gun at this guy's face but you missed so it's fine."

The league may want to turn their famous blind-eye to the Gillies hit on Tangradi but they definitely shouldn't ignore the way Gillies kept attacking the guy who was clearly injured and fighting for consciousness. The only thing more offensive and classless than that, is Gillies moustache.

I'm not sure how big a suspension should be handed down to Hayley. The recent AHL call-up was like a rabid dog out there swinging at everything in a Pens jersey. I find it mostly just disturbing that the kid really thought that was the best way to make his NHL debut. Sure right now the Isles fans - all 12 of them - think he's a rockstar but 2 seasons from now he'll be begrudgingly looked at as their version of Cooke/Avery/Carcillo. Is that really a reputation that a boy dreams about earning?

The Penguins Godard leaving the bench was ridiculous. Johnson clearly proved prior that he could handle himself in a fight. But that said I couldn’t imagine the anger, fear and frustration that had developed at that point. Godard should get his mandatory suspension but Bylsma should be left out of it. If you penalize Bylsma you really have to look at the lack of control Capuano had over his team too. No one left the bench but just about every Islander was out of control. I believe Crawford took a hit (fine) for Bertuzzi's actions - the league should consider depleting Capuano's pocketbook for the Martin sucker punch too. That is if they feel like being consistent and making a statement that may stop this from happening in the future.

Come on NHL, let's put a stop to the time warp. Maybe everything old should not be new again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Canucks Ducks Recap

Okay my lovely Verizon Wireless phone roams on Telus in Canada – for some reason this means I have absolutely ZERO reception in Rogers Arena (Rogers Arena, Telus roaming... Coincidence? Doubt it) So I couldn’t tweet everything I wanted to about the Anaheim-Vancouver game I attended.

Without further adieu here are my thoughts.

We Need Alberts
Alberts is not afraid to hit. In fact he seems to like it and he’s definitely good at it. Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of people who finish checks and we need someone. Alberts is our man. He was checking like a rockstar out there.

Hodgson Is Afraid
The kid has a lot of potential and he makes some smart plays but as I watched him it became very clear that he’s afraid to hit and be hit. He’s always looking over his shoulder and he never ever finishes a check. Maybe it’s his long list of injuries that makes him nervous or the fact that he’s just getting his NHL feet wet. Whatever it is, I hope he grows out of it or gets over it. He’s never going to live up to his hype or potential if he doesn’t.

The Refs Sucked Donkey’s Balls
The Ducks were hooking and tripping machines out there tonight and somehow the refs just couldn’t find their whistles. I shouldn’t be complaining about this because sucktastic reffage is what had us beat Chicago so maybe this is karma. Who knows?

I Know He’s Cute But I Wanna Bitchslap Raymond
The kid is making me mental. He just can’t do anything right. Even after he scores and you think the slump would be over – he somehow returns to the land of Suck the very next game. I keep telling myself it’s okay right now. That if he has to suck at some point now is better than April. But if he still sucks in April… we’re in trouble.

Ducks Net Was Wrapped in Saran Right?
Like in anything luck plays a part. We just didn’t have it tonight. There were so many shots that should have gone in and just completely did not. Daniel’s fan on the final shot with a second left – that was the perfectly unlucky end to the perfectly luckless night. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. We’ll bounce back from this.

Top Shelf! TOP Freaking SHELF!
McWhatsHisFace, the Ducks goalie, spent the entire game on his knees. And if you watch him in every game he plays that's what he does. he goes down - always down on his knees/pads. He lives on his knees. If he was a girl in high school he'd have been very popular. If the Canucks had taken more top shelf shots the score would have been very different.

I didn’t see it happen. I just saw him lying there seemingly unconscious and I started screaming like I was auditioning for a horror movie. I only saw it at home on replay. Getzlaf was interviewed and gave his best innocent eyes. His coach acted like it was no big deal. But yeah. It’s a BIG fucking deal. Getzlaf left his feet. And yes, Hamhuis turned away but that means that Getzlaf also hit him from behind – and Hamhuis no longer had the puck. The hit needs to be reviewed. I think Getzlaf should be suspended a game or at least fined. It was a dirty hit. Unintentional or not the damage was done and Getzlaf should pay. End of story.

Luongo’s Own a Magic Eight Ball & He’s Not Afraid to Use It
We lost. Luongo wasn’t in net which means his streak – not having lost in regulation since Dec. 5 – is still intact. This can only mean Lu has a Magic Eight Ball and he knows how to use it. When it says “It is not to be” Luongo “gets the flu”. I believe it.

Victoria’s 3 Stars of the Game
1 – Kesler for his 32nd goal in the dying seconds.
2- Burrows for getting us in the game.
3 – Bieksa for that lovely, frustration-filled after-the-whistle-hit. God he’s pretty when he’s angry.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Sami Salo Cloud

The Canucks just wrapped up a 5-game road trip with 3 losses and 2 of them were shutouts. Sole ownership of the number 1 spot in the league is gone for the moment. And if we’re being honest, Luongo let in some weak ones in the 4-3 loss to the Avs.

So is the streak over? Are we sliding into a slump? No and no.

As of today the Canucks are tied with the Flyers in points but sit #2 in the league standings. And that Avalanche loss was in OT which means Bobby Lu has not lost in regulation since December 5, 2010. He’s also improved in shootouts and has stopped the two penalty shots he’s faced this season. All that is happening here is that a white-hot team is currently only red-hot.

But that doesn’t mean we Canucks fans have nothing to worry about.

There is a dark, ominous cloud that hangs over the Vancouver franchise and its name is Sami Salo.

If Sami “Made of Glass” Salo steps on the ice for a game the Canucks are in salary cap hell. Keeping the Fin means gambling with the emotional and physical dynamics of a winning team. It also means betting on a guy who can’t seem to sneeze without pulling his groin or tie a skate without breaking a finger.

In a perfect world, Salo would waive his No Trade Clause and we’d dump him on someone else. When Salo is healthy he is great so someone could get a solid game or two out of him, I’m sure. But you can’t trade a player who is not on the active roster and to get him on that roster we have to make salary room. It’s a really nasty dilemma.

It seems like the only option is to mess with the roster of a team that San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan recently called “Complete”.

If we have no other option, who goes?

For the last couple of years no matter the situation, if a trade seemed necessary every Vancouverite, journalist, analyst screamed “Bieksa!” I’m beginning to think it’s because it’s just such a fun name to say. And honestly, I don’t know a girl who wouldn't want to be screaming his name (but maybe not for trade reasons).

Now though, Bieksa has adequately pulled himself out of a point/performance slump and his name seems to be off the trade table. This is a good thing because I would also argue that he’s a solid member of the emotional core of the team and probably contributes off-ice in ways we are unaware of no matter his plus/minus. And on behalf of the female fan contingent I must also point out he is currently the best-looking Canuck. Every team needs a hottie for female fan morale purposes.

Haven’t heard of him? That’s because I Bennifered the names of Rome, Torres and Samuelsson – one or more of them may have to be dumped in order to get one old, under-conditioned, injury-prone defensemen back on the bench.

Now there are arguments that Torres is under performing, Samuelsson is past his prime and Rome sucks. But we need to remember that while Torres might be slumping right now, the man has made it to a Stanley Cup final so he knows what’s required. If he lets Kesler and the Sedins perform now and he picks it up in March, when the twins have repeatedly fallen asleep, I’m okay with that.

Samuelsson is definitely under performing at the moment, however last year Samuelsson didn’t heat up until the latter part of the year and he was stronger in the playoffs than Kesler and Burrows combined.

Rome. Well, my only argument for Rome is that he is able to stay healthy longer than Salo. Why trade someone who stays relatively healthy for someone who completely does not?

The Expensive Hip Check
Ballard is really not living up to his hype or his paycheck. Yeah, the hip checks are entertaining but not that entertaining. Then again, Ballard, like Rome, is currently healthy and likely to stay that way longer than Salo. And for a team that hollered about being plagued with injuries when they went down yet again to the Hawks in the playoffs…. They might live to regret trading him.

Last Year’s Whipping Boy
I can’t believe I’m saying this but trading Alberts would be a bad idea. The defensemen, who was the well-deserved butt of fan jokes everywhere last year, has really picked up his game. He’s hitting, he’s grinding and he’s generally – finally – making more positive plays than negative. Yes, he still skates as fast as geriatric, bloated Big Bird, but as Mason Raymond’s performance lately has shown, speed isn’t everything.

And then there was “E”
Ehrhoff could be seen as a logical trade on paper because his contract is up next year and the Canucks will likely not have the financial means to hold onto him. But that’s exactly why we should keep him. Because he’s brilliant and worth way more than we’re paying. And he’s been a key, integral part of the core players that have worked hard over the last couple of years and gotten the Canucks where they are right now.

It feels like a lose-lose situation. If Salo doesn’t sneeze and rupture his last good ball, or hang a picture in his house and put a nail through his hand, we’re pretty much up the salary cap creek without a paddle.

The team that got us to the top of the league may not be the team that enters the playoff race. And that worries me much more than a 2-2-1 road trip