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Hockey Talkie: Brodeur, Byfuglien for Norris, HBO 24/7, Sutters, Spengler, Waffles, & The DiPietro Deficiency.

December 29, 2010 15 comments

Could the New Jersey Devils’ situation be any worse? Dead last in the entire league (as of Dec 28/10), their bazillion-dollar signee, Ilya Kovalchuk sucks, and their former best-goalie-in-the-world is anything but, often injured lately, and having a tough time doing the most important thing about the goaltending position job description – stopping pucks. You gotta think Martin Brodeur is, at least, contemplating retirement at this point. No disrespect to him, but I mean he’s won everything for a goalie to win (3 Stanley Cups, Olympic Gold twice, 4 Vezina’s, multiple All-Star selections; holds 20 NHL records, including most wins, shutouts, most games and minutes played, even scored a game-winning goal).  But really, at this point, what is the purpose in him hanging around, especially when he’s  now playing for the worst team in the league? After all his accomplishments, it’d be a shame to see him fizzle out and get Chelios’ed in his remaining time.

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secretly, NYI owner Charles Wang was trying to get the NHL to outlaw outlandish contracts all along.

Speaking of bad teams, how many more stints on the IR for Rick DiPietro until the New York Islanders decide buying out the remaining 11 years on his contract is actually the better option?  Tough for the Isles to get the most bang for their $67 million bucks out of a constantly injured goalie who hasn’t played an entire season since around the time he signed that contract. 

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Dustin Byfuglien’s the early favourite for the Norris Trophy, no? He’s 13th in league scoring as I write this, and there is not another defenceman on the list until Nicklas Lidstrom at 26th. He’s even got more points than Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal, Alexander Semin, Jarome Iginla, Jonathan Toews, Dany Heatley, Evgeni Malkin, Teemu Selanne, Joe Thornton, Martin Havlat, Rick Nash, and Patrick Kane, to name a few. To be fair, he is currently 65th in +/- rankings, which may or may not be a more important measure of a defenceman’s worth, depending on who you are. He’s still got my vote, for now.

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Like many of you hockey folks, I’m loving the HBO 24/7 Penguins/Capitals Road To The Winter Classic miniseries. I know lots of people are talking about it, so I’ll try to raise a few points that aren’t being beat to death, too badly.

One – Bruce Boudreau has been getting a lot of heat for his constant cussing in the dressing room and on the bench. My response to this is that the only people balking at this have to be people who are either over-sensitive, or just have never been in a hockey dressing room before; because, and I hate to break it to the weak at heart, but that’s exactly the way hockey dressing rooms and coaches are during the game. They get frustrated when things don’t go right, and when you’re as emotionally invested in the game and the success of the team as a coach has to be, f-bombs begin to flourish, especially in a slumping team situation. Personally, I love the fact that he’s not pulling any punches or walking on egg-shells just because there’s cameras around him all the time.

Two – I love seeing that NHL players are pretty much like every other hockey player that plays on every other team in the world and every other level (minus the skill level and multi-million dollar contracts, of course). It should be pretty obvious, since they all came up through all the same developmental leagues that all other players do to get where they are, but there’s something humanizing about seeing a teammates pulling hotel pranks on each other during road-trips, coaches telling players to “pack up your stuff so we can get the f— outta here” after a road loss, generally being jokers off the ice, and then really dialling in their serious side when it’s time to perform on the ice.

Three – as cool as this build-up to the Winter Classic has been, and as amazing as that game will be, this kind of TV series is tailor-made to a Stanley Cup Finals showdown, is it not? I know the big sell is the Crosby-Ovechkin matchup for American viewers by the networks, but isn’t the confrontation for the Cup, aka the biggest prize in the sport, even easier for fans to invest their advertisement-susceptible eyes to, compared to a gimmicky mid-season outdoor game?

And further, isn’t it a testimony to how unnecessary it is to advertise hockey in Canada that, compared to the Winter Classic media blitzkrieg, there has barely been a mention of the upcoming Heritage Classic outdoor game between Calgary and Montreal? You mean to tell me the mention of Jarome Iginla vs Josh Gorges isn’t enough to put butts in seats, and eyes on TV’s?

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Even though I’m an avid Calgary Flames hater, it’s unfortunate to see Darryl Sutter “resign” as team GM, after team CEO Ken King asked him too.  Seems like an either-quit-or-you’re-fired face-saving situation for Sutter; which, if you’re going to publicly announce that you ask a guy to quit, you might as well just fire him.  I don’t support Flames success, but I have to admit, Sutter has been the only guy to get any out of that organization in recent history, including brother/head coach  Brent, who barely batted an eyelash at the situation, citing his family’s unparalleled ability to separate family from business.  Man, that’s got to be an awkward family to be around at Christmas.

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I love the Spengler Cup.  I wish it could be rescheduled so it actually got some coverage, instead of being overshadowed by the WJC.  With personnel like Mark Messier coaching, Hockey Canada obviously supports the team; why aren’t they allowed to sport the official Hockey Canada jerseys like every other legit Canadian team representing Canada in international play?  Surely HC just doesn’t want to desecrate the uniform with all those euro ads, right?

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a little suspicious that this rink guy has an entire box of Eggo’s….

And finally, I’m loving the waffles being thrown on the ice at Toronto Maple Leafs games. It’s just such an amusing item to throw. It causes a delay of the game, bla bla… some one could get hurt, yadda yadda… let’s be honest, if the Leafs keep sucking, and Kessel keeps not scoring, they’ll be thanking their lucky lifetime season-ticket holders that something as soft (and delicious) as waffles is all that’s being thrown on the ice.

Merry Christmas!! A Song by The Fire, & A Christmas Conspiracy.

December 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Merry Christmas everyone!  I wanted to get one Christmas blog in this season.  So here it is.

Back in college, a few friends and I took a closer look at the classic Christmas song, “Walking In A Winter Wonderland”.  Why this particular song came to our attention, I really don’t know; but then again, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably asked yourself that same question about the majority of the content on this blog :)  

Anyways… so when I was young, I remember singing this song and not thinking twice about it; but now after revisiting it in my later years, I might think twice about having my future kids belt this one out in public.   It’s got a nice ring to it and all, but the lyrics may be a little more “adult” than you realize, or depending on how far down the conspiracy rabbit hole you prefer to venture.  Let’s look at the song a little closer, together, so I can show you what I mean:

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Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, [Bells... a calling card, perhaps?]

In the lane, snow is glistening [The lane... some sort of secret meeting spot?]

A beautiful sight,

We’re happy tonight. [Why so happy?? More on this next stanza...]

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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Gone away is the bluebird, [ok, birds fly south for winter, that makes sense. But....]

Here to stay is a new bird [...who is this new bird?? He’s supposed to be at the bottom of the continent by now... apparently he’s here “to stay”... has the bluebird been replaced?? Or does the new bird only come calling when the bluebird is away on business for the winter months??]

He sings a love song, [Love songs? At Christmas? Fishy...]

As we go along,

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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In the meadow we can build a snowman,

Then pretend that he is Parson Brown [A “Parson” is a member of the church with the authority to marry people. Why are they pretending, and why Parson Brown in particular? Do these two have something up their sleeves? Is this a “dry-run” of sorts?]

He’ll say: Are you married?

We’ll say: No man, [In the words of Elaine Benes, they're "just havin' a good time"]

But you can do the job

When you’re in town. [The job?? Is that what she’s calling whatever it is that the new bird does with her while he’s in town and “bluebird” is gone?? Or are the two “birds” planning on a secret Vegas style hitching via their friend, the real life Parson Brown??]

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Later on, we’ll conspire, [con•spire –verb: to agree together, esp. secretly, to do something wrong, evil, or illegal; to plan or agree on (a crime or harmful act) together in secret]

As we dream by the fire

To face unafraid,

The plans that we’ve made, [what plans have you made that would require you to state you’re not afraid of them?? What is the risk/reward ratio of monetary payoff to jail-time in said made plans?]

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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In the meadow we can build a snowman,

And pretend that he’s a circus clown

We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman,

Until the other kids knock him down.

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When it snows, ain’t it thrilling,

Though your nose gets a chilling

We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way, [and how exactly do the Eskimo Inuit frolic and play? Nose kissing naked in one sleeping bag to keep warm?? I think this one puts us over the open interpretation line...]

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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Haha, I don’t entirely hope I’ve ruined a Christmas classic for you, but I do hope I’ve encouraged you to think twice, or at least re-examine from time to time, the lyrics that you may mindlessly blurt about, just because they sound good, and others are doing it too.

Merry Christmas everyone!! Enjoy the Christmas music by the fire!

Counter-Productive Camo, Vanity Sanity, Taking Care, Dickfor, Invalid Validity & Demonizing Dog Punting.

December 17, 2010 1 comment

well, it looks like at least one guy can't see him.

Ok, so you’re in the military; I’ve legitimately got all the respect in the world for you. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but is it really necessary for you to be dressed in your camouflage fatigues at all times, even out in public, broad daylight, and basically anywhere you can’t hide and can be seen? Isn’t that technology supposed to help you blend in with your surroundings and keep you hidden and safe from enemies? Who are you fooling sitting in an airport LA-Z-Boy while reading the paper?

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The mindless things we say to each other… Why do we tell people to “take care” at the conclusion of an interaction? Sure, it sounds nice, and like you care about their well-being and all; but what are you really advising? Are people forgetting care at home when they leave? Is the notion of being careful lost upon a person unless they are reminded to take it with them? Are people noticeably more wreckless and accident/injury prone after wrapping up a conversation without this prompting?

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I recently heard some 10 year old kid using the classic “dickfor” joke on his friend, which I hadn’t heard since I was about his age.   Some juvenile gags never phase themselves out apparently.

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Is “Invalid” one of the most demeaning descriptive terms out there used to describe someone who is disabled?  I mean, so the person has some sort of physical limitation, now they’re no longer even a valid human being?  Come on, now. 

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I like it when people don’t BS and just call things the way they actually are. I took this pic of the Vanity Salon on Leon in Kelowna, because (in name, at least) finally there’s a salon that isn’t trying to fool anyone; this business promotes vanity, and is probably going to make you pay an exorbitant amount of money for something you could probably do almost as well by yourself at home. Beautiful.

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Gizmo (top left & snoozing bottom right) & Koko (top right/bottom left)

Why does everyone want to punt my dogs? Ok, so they’re small, yappy, and if there was such thing as a canine IQ test, I can’t say they’d score all that well. But I mean, come on, look at them. You’re telling me you’d actually, literally, line one of them up and try to put them through the uprights? You’re pure evil. Feel shame.

Cranial Cleanse: CCM Caught Copying, Soft Reassessment, Intentional Tears, Taliban Takeover, Christmas Shopping/Cute Female Override, & Rider Donuts.

December 10, 2010 8 comments

Bauer Vapor x:60's Limited Edition from 2009 (left) & CCM Crazy Light's from 2010 (right)

CCM’s new Crazy Light skates are just blatant Bauer Vapor x:60 rip offs, aesthetically, are they not? I’m sure they’re made different and all, but look at these pictures, and tell me the CCM guys didn’t at least once say to themselves, “well, if we can’t beat ‘em, lets copy join them.”  It’s an interesting move considering that Bauer has been running away with the skate popularity race for years.  It seems a little surrender-ish from a company that had a lot of people swearing by CCM Tacks for years.  I wonder if their Reebok owners had any input into the design?

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Is it a little disturbing to know that a “baby’s butt” has been determined to be the standard in smoothness, and that this fact is verified and supported by most people? Who’s feeling all these baby’s butts to compare? Potentially worse yet is the thought of a guy with a baby’s butt in one hand, and a comparative object in the other, saying to himself, “Nope, I’m gonna stick with the butt. Still the softness standard to me.” FIND SOMETHING LESS WEIRD TO BE THE SOFTEST THING IN THE WORLD.

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When it comes to shampoo, why is it that when you’re no longer a baby, you’re immediately subjected to the eye-burning formulation? Why can’t all shampoo not hurt when you accidentally get it in your eyes?

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If you’re in the Taliban and you keep hearing on the news about when the armed forces of the US, Canada, and other countries are planning on pulling out of the Middle East, aren’t you just saying to yourselves you’ll just keep hanging on until they’re gone?  Seems like an ineffective peace strategy when literally anyone can look up whatever information they want on the internet.  Hint to North American forces, they don’t all live in caves as you might presume…

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Christmas shopping overrides the importance of all other shopping outings of the year (birthdays, etc).  It takes place all year round, not uncommon to be heard of happening in mid-June, and sometimes Christmases in advance for the hardcore.  But honestly, the hype around that one hot item of the year that everyone wants…I mean, unless you need the Tickle Me Elmo (or whatever it is this year) in your closet for 8 months that bad, everything you need is available from somewhere, either in store or online,  right up to Christmas Eve. And when you pull in to the mall parking lot on Christmas Eve to get that one last present you need to complete your season’s shopping experience, signal to turn into the ONE empty spot in the whole lot, and then slam on the brakes halfway into the spot when you see this sign, how angry would you guess you’d be, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is clam happy, 10 is volcanic)?  I get the whole “green initiative” thing, but this really steams me.

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Speaking of override, once a woman gets the notion that someone or something is “cute” in their mind, there is no turning back. The female recognition of cute overrides all rational and logical thinking. Every man knows he’s heard lines from girls like, “Oh that baby’s so cute, lets buy everything in the world for him!” or “That Leonardo DiCaprio’s a terrible actor, but he’s just so…darn…cute… we should go rent all his movies right now, and tomorrow I’m flying to LA to stalk hi– wait, I mean for, um, business….” or any stereotypical story where a girl falls for a complete numbskull who ends up beating her, getting her pregnant and generally destroying her future all because she thought he was cute, to which all we can (legally) do as males is just shake our heads. Well maybe not all the scenarios are like that last example, but you get my point.

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And lastly… not even Tim Hortons’ special edition Saskatchewan Roughriders sprinkle donuts were enough to bring the 2010 Grey Cup back to Regina.  After all the over-hyping and pro Rider media, you gotta respect Montreal for repeating as Grey Cup champions.

Sports Shorts: Brian Burke Getting Trump-ed, Hometown Hockey Allegiances Query, Basketball Beaks, Marion Jones, and more.

December 1, 2010 5 comments

Sometimes while watching late-night hockey highlights, I’ll zone out and come to again right in the middle of NBA highlights.  As I shake the cobwebs, it’s always a mad dash to get that channel changed asap to something more worthy of my attention (so, pretty much anything else on any other channel, except more NBA highlights).  So, here are some recent sports observations…

Does Brian Burke not ever have 5 minutes to comb his hair and freshen up?  Can we give this guy a 10 minute break for a shower so he can clean up and make himself presentable?  I know it’s a hair-tearing-out environment in Toronto these days, but come on Burkey, you’re getting a little Donald Trump-ish.  I’m sure the potential pending sale of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment isn’t helping either. 

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So the Canucks were the heavy pre-season prediction favourite to win the Stanley Cup, then they lost a few, won a few, lost a few more, and now the discussion is that this may be Alain Vigneault’s last season as Canucks coach if they don’t deliver.  Oh, predictable Vancouver bandwagon dumpings…

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If a team moves, and then a new team starts in the same city, should fans cheer for the team that used to be there (which is inherently the same group of people that left), or stay true to the city and cheer for the new one?  Example: Atlanta Flames move to Calgary, become the Calgary Flames.  Atlanta eventually incarnates the Thrashers; so should those original Atlanta Flames fans now return to the homeland and cheer for the Thrashers, or are they justified in staying Calgary fans?  Same scenario in Minnesota (North Stars to Dallas, Wild now in Minny), and Colorado (Rockies to NJ in ’82, Avalanche sprout up) in recent history.

Mitch Pollock is the inspiration for the "Mitch Pollock Made Me Hate The Calgary Flames" facebook group.

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Based purely on talent and consistency, the Detroit Red Wings are the most overall dominant team of the modern age of hockey, agreed?  From the Yzerman and Federov era to the current Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen et al generation, all mixed in with a handful of Stanley Cup wins, it’s tough to argue this isn’t hockey’s version of the New York Yankees.

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The people who broke into Pat Burns’ widow’s car and stole his stuff booked themselves a one-way, non-refundable ticket to hell, did they not?  I’m still rattled at the Hall of Fame that they couldn’t do that guy the favour of waiving his mandatory waiting period or whatever so he could enter the Hall of Fame WHILE HE WAS ALIVE.  3 Jack Adams Trophies for coach of the year honors (on three different teams), and a Stanley Cup; are there deeper pre-requisites for HOF entrance? 

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I recently saw Marion Jones’ ESPN 30 for 30 special… does it say more about Marion Jones and her athletic ability that she walked on to a WNBA with very little previous basketball experience (played with UNC); or less about the WNBA, a league that is supposed to boast the best female basketball players in the world, yet people can just walk on and make their teams, as Jones has done with the Tulsa Shock?

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