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.