Thanks for making 2011 another record setting year for Serenity Now… The SDC Blogs. Lots of new developments in readership, product reviews, and writing gigs with media outlets have been fun and welcomed. Looking forward to what the next 365 days will bring!
I thought it appropriate to repost an old blog on the old 2012 end-of-the-world hype, which no one is too worried about anymore. It was originally post for a site that is now defunct, so it’s a good opportunity to get it back in circulation. Enjoy!
Isn’t it great when Hollywood, and other media outlets, inspire panic in people by suggesting in a film or other propoganda that the world is going to end in the very near future? Isn’t it also interesting how much material on the topic becomes purchasable in various formats immediately after the report catches fire?
Contrary to suggestions of the 2009 straight-to-dvd blockbuster, Here’s why 2012 will simply be another year in history, and you can take a break from building your refuge tunnel to the center of the earth:
1) The Mayans did indeed have a calendar that ends on 2012. However, just like any other calendar, all you have to do is start it from the beginning again. Their calendar begins from a time Mayans identified as a point of creation, and then counted forward in units of “tun”. Similar to the way we sequentially write 10, then 20, 30, etc., Mayans change the names after 20 units. 20 tun equals 1 k’atun; 20 k’atun equals 1 b’ak’tun; then piktun, kalabtun, k’inchiltun, and so on. On December 21, 2012, the 13th b’ak’tun cycle will end, and then the 14th will begin. After the completion of 20 b’ak’tun’s, the first cycle of 20 piktun’s will begin October 13, 4772, and so on, and so forth. So if the Mayans already had names for all this, why would they/why should we think the world was ending?
2) There’s no planet or celestial body named “Nibiru” (or anything else) that is on a collision course for earth. NASA’s got plenty of instruments in space, like the Spitzer and Hubble telescopes, that would have relayed a message about a planet on an intercept course by now. NASA launched a spacecraft named Voyager 1 in 1977 (yes, there’s a Voyager 2 as well) that is just now in the process of leaving our solar system. So if it took us 33+ years to get something out of our solar system, don’t you think we’d know about something coming towards us by now? The odds of something that size getting to us through our galaxy in one piece (the Milky Way is filled with much larger and dangerous things like larger planets and asteroid fields) is extremely slim. Besides, if something we actually coming, The US or some other country would put up some sort of missle defence system, or we’d just deal with it ala Armageddon style, right?
3) The earth is subject to solar activity ALL THE TIME, and is able to deal with flares and such due to its magnetic field and atmosphere, which deflect harm. The earth’s magnetic field does reverse polarity once and a while (approximately every 400,000 years), but the effect takes several thousand years to complete, and would not interrupt the earth’s rotation or point of axis.
4) Planetary alignments also happen ALL THE TIME. They’re called “eclipses”, and chances are, you’ve heard of, or maybe even seen them. Even if all the planets in the solar system aligned (which they won’t), it wouldn’t be cataclysmic. It might be cold for a few hours or so, but that’d be about it until the sun started hitting us directly again. The earth isn’t going to flood, the oceans won’t boil, Hawaii won’t burn down, and the continents aren’t going to crash into each other.
So there’s the scientific explanation of why 2012 will hold nothing to worry about except for living your life. I’m a Christian, and my personal beliefs are to the tune of what Jesus said himself in the Bible,
“No one knows of the hour of the final days, not even the angels in heaven, except for God alone. The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36, 44)
In other words, none of our fancy methods of determining the end of the earth will be accurate, as it will happen in an incalculable way; no calendars, no psychic or prophetic predictions, it’ll just happen. According to scientific theories, we’ve got a few billion years yet (but no pinpointed time), so don’t pack up or quit your job just yet. Until then, go live and enjoy your life! I’ll do my best to keep you afloat of other catastrophic cosmic events that are of no consequence to your, and everyone else’s, existence.
Alright all you NHL teams that tried to weasel your way around the NHL salary cap by signing players to long-term front loaded contracts, how have your deals been working out for you so far? You thought you were pretty smart by signing those sneaky but legal deals, so let’s see what you’ve come up with so far.
New Jersey Devils, you made the most publicized deal of the bunch, signing Ilya Kovalchuk at age 28 to a 15 year, $100 million dollar contract; keeping him as your property until 2025 when he’ll be 42 years old. That very same year, Kovy appeared in 81 games and put up his worst year’s point total (60) since his rookie year when he only had 51 – a far cry from the 98 he put up as a Thrasher in 05-06. Oh, and you missed the playoffs last year too. You better hope he picks his socks up, because no team in their right mind is ever going to be involved in a trade for that much money for a player with such relatively poor point production. The only offsetting factor is that Kovalchuk’s an outstanding player. He could neutralize most of this heat by playing like a superstar again. If he doesn’t, the Devils get a FAIL on this one.
Philadelphia Flyers, you signed Chris Pronger at age 37 to a 7 year, $34 million deal that locked him up in orange until 2017, when he’ll be 43. You also made him your captain. You’ve had decent playoff success, but still failed to win the Cup. Pronger’s been injured on numerous occasions, with a knee and eye injury being the most recent. Last year he only appeared in 50 games, his lowest since 94-95, and consequently had his lowest point total since then as well. This season he’s missed games due to a virus, the afore mentioned eye injury, and surgery on his knee. Is he going to make it to 43? Although Pronger brings a lot of veteran leadership and experience, I’d say Philly is behind the count on this one. [update: on December 15/2011, it was announced that Pronger will miss the remainder of the NHL season and playoffs due to post-concussion syndrome]
New York Rangers, looks like you didn’t think your signing of Scott Gomez in 2007 for seven years and $51.5 million was that great a move after all, considering you paid him $18 million of that contract before flipping him to the Montreal Canadiens for them to pay the remainder. Might have been a good play though, Gomez’s point production is constantly under criticism, and he’s coming off a career worst point total of 38 (his best was 84 in 05-06 with the New Jersey Devils) — pretty poor for a centerman. He’s the Habs’ problem until 2014, when he’ll be 34 years old. In the end, a win for NYR for moving him, and a tie at best or loss for Montreal when it’s all over.
Vancouver Canucks, you inked Roberto Luongo at age 32 to a 12 year, $64 million contract, keeping him a Canuck until 2022, when he’ll be 43. As much as I hate the Canucks, there’s no question that Roberto is an elite goaltender, so I understand your wanting to keep him around. Thing is though, as great of a run you had last season, Roberto let in more than 20 goals during last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. Between that and your stars not scoring, you failed to win your franchise’s first Stanley Cup, and your fans destroyed your city. And that was only year one. You’ve got 11 to go, and Lu has already been shaky; giving way to “backup” Cory Schneider multiple times this season. Many think that Schneider should be the team’s #1 goaltender. Do that, and you’ll have $5.3 million dollars sitting on the bench every year you allow it. It’s great to have a President’s Trophy winning season and all, but if you fail to win the big trophy, it’s all for not. If Luongo can’t be consistent when it counts over the next decade, Vancouver loses this one. And maps may have to be re-drawn over the area that used to be the city of Vancouver, if rioters are given any more reason to cause carnage.
And New York Islanders, the pièce de résistance unquestionably still belongs to you. In 06-07, you signed Rick DiPietro to a 15 year, $67.5 million contract – keeping him on Long Island until 2021, when he’ll be 40 years of age. Apparently you were not informed that Rick needed to be kept in an antique store with a “FRAGILE” sign around his neck. You got two decent seasons out of him right off the hop, but it has been downhill from there. Due to injury, Rick played in only five games in 08-09, eight games in 09-10, and just 26 last season. Goaltending has been nothing short of a metaphorical revolving door, as DiPietro has shared the net with multiple goalies – none of which seem to be able to keep pucks out of it. The team has been, or close to, dead last in league standings the last number of years. You haven’t made the playoffs since Rick’s first season with the team. Between hip surgery, knee surgery, groin problems, neck injury, concussions, facial fracture, and sickness, DiPietro has only been able to play in a fraction of the games you surely hoped he would. And when he did play, the team still ended up being bad. Sorry NYI, there’s just no way you come out on top from this one. [update: on December 15/2011, DiPietro was placed on injured reserve yet again, after suffering a groin injury]
So, NHL owners, what have you learned?
Follow me on Twitter: Follow @davecunning
The Kelowna Rockets are going to be well represented during the 2012 World Junior Championships this December and January in Calgary and Edmonton.
Not just on the ice, and not just for Team Canada – Brett Bulmer is the only Rockets’ player invited to try out for the home team. Kelowna’s head coach Ryan Huska will backup Don Hay behind Canada’s bench, Rockets’ athletic therapist Jeff Thorburn will be on Canada’s medical staff, and Filip Vasko will be contending for a spot on Slovakia’s national roster.
Coach Huska is just as excited as the players to be representing Canada.
“It’s a thrill,” Huska said. “The players are always excited to put the jersey on and play for Canada, and it’s no different for coaches – I’m honoured to be part of this team again this year. You get a chance to coach some of the best young players in our country and you get a chance to work with and learn from some great coaches. I’m very excited, and looking forward to it.”
Even though Canada’s won the tournament more than any other country (15 times), they haven’t won gold since 2009, and the country has been chomping at the bit to re-take the throne ever since. Huska’s well aware of the pressure to win on home ice that the club will endure.
“Expectations are to win gold,” Huska stated. “Everybody knows that coming in. Canada has a lot of pride in the teams it puts into international competitions, and they expect to win. There are a lot of countries right now that could win instead of us. Our players need to understand that there will be a lot of pressure on them – especially since we are playing at home – but they have to use it in the right way. We’ll need our group to buy in and play as a team as soon as possible. If we can do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win. We all know the expectation is for a gold medal.”
Forty-one of Canada’s top junior players have been invited to take part in Team Canada’s Selection Camp from Dec. 10 to 14 in Calgary. Thirty-six of them are NHL draft picks. Trying to cut another 19 of the country’s best players to get the roster to 22 won’t be any easier than it was to whittle down to the current number.
“Getting down to 41 was a challenge,” explained Huska. “There were probably 15 other guys that were very close to being invited as well. It comes down to putting together the guys that make up the best team. Sometimes that most skilled or most offensive players might not be there in the end, because it’s about having the proper mix of guys that are going to generate offence, but also guys who going to be workers – guys that can kill penalties and bring energy to your team. In a short period of time, you have to find a group of players that are willing to do whatever’s necessary to make this team, and for some that might mean filling different roles than they’re used to. Our job is to find the best 22 guys that can do that.”
Kelowna forward Brett Bulmer is hoping to be one of those final 22 players. Despite being one of only a small handful of other invitees with NHL experience, and playing for Canada’s assistant coach during the season, Bulmer will have to earn his spot just like everyone else.
“The coaches have seen me a lot over the last few years,” said Bulmer. “They know as a big body I can bring a physical element. I want to go in there and be on the body a lot, because I know the European teams probably won’t be able to handle the hitting. I can add offence too though. They have a lot of depth when it comes to scoring – a lot of small, skilled guys – but I can add as much offence as anyone. They’re going to have to cut a lot of great players. I have to show my best at camp and make sure I stand out. I’ll do anything they ask of me – if they tell me to play a certain role, I’ll do it. I can’t go in thinking I have an advantage. I have to work hard, play well and show I deserve to be on the team. I have to make sure I’m ready for it. It’s a huge opportunity for me, and I’m going to make the most of it. I really want to make that team, and I’m excited about my opportunity.
“He needs to be prepared to earn a spot, just the same as the other 40 guys coming to camp. There are no free rides – he’s got to earn a spot just like everyone else. The best way for him to do that will be to use his speed and size. He makes it very difficult for defenceman to handle his size. If he can play to those strengths, he’ll give himself a chance to be on that team. It’s good for me to know him already. I’ve got to know him very well over the last three years. His NHL experience helps too. He’s been in situations in the NHL where he’s played in front of 19,000 people, so he knows every play is important and he can’t have off shifts. It’ll be the same way come Christmas time.”
Rockets’ forward Filip Vasko is excited for his chance to play for his home country of Slovakia as well. Vasko departs on Dec. 15 to join a field of 29 Slovakian players competing to wear their country’s colours on their uniform.
“I think it’s amazing for every guy who gets to play for their nation,” Vasko said. “It’s the same for me. I’m just going to try and play the best I can. I’m very proud.”
The Rockets’ leading scorer Shane McColgan was in contention for Team USA, but was recently announced as being omitted from their roster.
Of the 30 players invited to the American selection camp, 75 per cent were current NCAA players – and only one skater is from the WHL. If players of McColgan’s calibre are not being added to their roster, one has to think Team USA will again be a gold medal contender, and a threat to Canada’s chances.
“It’s a little frustrating for me,” McColgan said. “I’m just going to keep working hard the rest of the season, and try to make that team next year. You can’t really dwell on it though. We have an exciting road trip coming up, and that’s my main focus right now. When I was at the summer evaluation camp, I saw the level of the guys that will be on the final roster. They’re definitely a contender, and I wish them the best of luck. It would have been nice to represent my country, but maybe next year. I hope to be there in the future. It’ll give me time to relax over Christmas, and be fresh for the second half of the season.”
Canada will play intrasquad games on Dec. 11 and 12 and one exhibition game against a CIS all-star team, before finalizing their roster on Dec. 14.
They’ll then play in three exhibition games prior to the tournament, and then open the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship on December 26th against Finland.
***[UPDATE: DEC 14/11]***
For Immediate Release – Dec. 14, 2011
Kelowna Rockets forward Brett Bulmer is heading back to join the Rockets after narrowly missing out on making the Team Canada World Junior Tournament.
Bulmer was among the cuts Wednesday morning as Team Canada named its 22 man roster for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship in Calgary and Edmonton.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” Bulmer said in a media scrum at the team hotel after hearing the news. “I thought I worked hard, did everything they asked of me at camp so it’s really disappointing. I thought I had a good shot. I worked hard, got on the body and did everything they asked but…”
Bulmer was in the Rockets lineup Wednesday when the team faced Regina.
The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Regina Pats 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday night. Wednesday’s game began with a bang when Brett Bulmer scored just 19 seconds into the game, less than 10 hours after being released from Team Canada’s World Junior program. After getting the news, Bulmer made the trip from Calgary to Regina, joining the Rockets and making an immediate impact. For Bulmer it was his 12th goal of the season.
For More Information:
Kevin Parnell, media relations
Call or text: 250-491-8407
Culture in Vancouver is holding a sweepstakes. Enter in your name, email and location for a shot at one of five prizes (each “experience” has been uniquely tailored with themes ranging from Theatrical to Culinary – Their grand prize includes Canucks tickets, valued at $800 (not sure where the seats are, but at that price, assumably they’re good ones), as well as hotel accomodations for 2-3 nights, a visit to the private vault of the Vancouver Art Gallery, live theare, touring the Vancouver Aquarium, and dining at fabulous restaurants such as The Teahouse in Stanley Park, Seasons in Queen Elizabeth Park, and Lift Bar and Grill in beautiful Coal Harbour. The sweepstakes will end with the drawing of the final winner on January 6, 2012.
Culture in Vancouver was started by Tourism Vancouver (with the help of Vancouver-based digital agency, smashLAB), who’ve been around since 1902. They’re a business association representing approximately 1,000 members in tourism and related industries/activities. Their purpose is to effectively market Metro Vancouver as a destination for leisure, meeting and event travelers. Their goals are to attract visitors to the region, encourage them to stay longer and ensure they return. Meanwhile, for those who live in the Metro Vancouver area, the campaign encourages them to take in some of the many events happening in their own city. They highlight the vast amount of arts and culture available in Vancouver; and promote all types of culture as accessible, from opera to burlesque; and encourage people to try something different. Most importantly, their campaign helps to establish Vancouver as a cultural destination.
December 12th is Free Shipping Day in Canada. Online Christmas shoppers might wanna take advantage of this one. Nearly 100 current e-retailers are involved in Free Shipping Day Canada include Under Armour, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Gap, Old Navy, SportChek, Apple Store and many more. Check their website FreeShippingDay.ca for full listings. Might as well save a few bucks this holiday shopping season if you can!
Free Shipping Day was created by Canadian-born Internet entrepreneur Luke Knowles.
A recent article in Entrepreneur highlighted small business participation in Free Shipping Day, mentioning the event “virtually guarantees a bump in sales.” According to a Forrester Research survey of North American online shoppers, “75 percent of participating consumers said they would shift to another retailer at checkout if shipping was not free.” What’s equally interesting is that free shipping boosts sales tremendously. In October 2010, online retailers found it to be “the most effective promotion they can offer to drive sales during the holiday season.”Merchants can register to participate by filling out a simple form on the website.
FreeShipping.ca allows Canadian shoppers to access free shipping codes year round — as well as a dozen other frugality-related websites.
At long last, I finally upgraded my cell phone from my 4 year old Motorola KRZR to an Apple iPhone 4S, after the predecessor decided it no longer wanted to display anything on the screen. After much debate between Apple, Android, and Blackberry, I concluded that Apple is the leader that everyone’s trying to keep up with and just jumped in. My jump to the smartphone world has been enjoyable thus far.
Since my plunge, the fine folks at Pong Research were kind enough to send me a new protective case for my iPhone 4S. I have to be honest and admit that I’ve been avoiding getting a case, because I like the way the phone looks without any coverings, and I don’t see why a phone manufacturer would make a device made to be all covered up. BUT, I also don’t want a cracked screen and would like to avoid breaking my phone and having radiation seep into my brain.
Below is some more info on them, and why you should probably get a case for your phone too. From them, preferably.
Pong is the leading maker of phone and iPad cases that have been proven in FCC-certified labs to protect consumers cell phone radiation. (In May, the World Health Organization classified cell radiation as potentially carcinogenic.)
Just in time for the holidays, Pong has launched a stylish, new collection of cases for the iPhone, BlackBerry, iPad and iPad 2. Unlike any iPad cover on the market, it can be folded into five different vertical or horizontal positions, each of which is optimal for a different iPad activity, i.e., watching videos, reading, typing. The patent-pending design also has a convenient sleep/wake function. Available in a variety of colors, Pong cases are easy to put on and take off, work anywhere in the world, range in price from $49.99 to $99.99 and are available at www.pongresearch.com.
Pong’s new and innovative cases are the perfect gift for anyone who is a heavy phone and/or iPad user, is health conscious and concerned about radiation exposure and/or loves tech gadgets.
About Pong Research Corporation
Founded in 2011, Pong is the world’s leading maker of cell phone and iPad cases that protect smart phone and tablet users from the wireless device radiation that the World Health Organization classified in 2011 as a possible carcinogen. Developed by scientists out of Princeton, Harvard, UCLA and MIT, Pong cases have been tested and proven in FCC-certified labs to reduce the level of exposure to wireless device radiation by up to 95% below the target set by the FCC. Pong embeds in each case a patented and proprietary technology that redirects and redistributes the cell phone radiation that would otherwise be absorbed by the user’s head and body. Easy to put on and take off, Pong cases fit a variety of iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android phones as well as the iPad and iPad 2, are available in a variety of colors and styles and have been designed and tested to work anywhere in the world. For more information, visit www.pongresearch.com.
About Cell Phone Radiation
In May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified cell phone radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans. The WHO based its findings on a large, international study coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that showed an increased risk of a certain type of brain tumor called glioma from regular use of cell phones defined in the study as 1,640 hours or more of cumulative use. In consumer terms, that equates to slightly less than a half hour of daily use over a 10-year period. Adding to the evidence is a separate 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which found that 50 minutes of cell phone use affected brain activity in the area nearest to the phone. Concerns about SAR have led the FCC to impose strict SAR limits on cell phones and tablets and mandate that Apple, Blackberry and other cellular device makers warn consumers not to put their cell phone directly against their head or body when using it. Unbeknownst to most consumers, these warnings can be found in all cellular device manuals. Suggestions on how to limit exposure to cell phone radiation, such as texting, using the speaker, or turning the cell phone off when not in use, are not always possible or practical. In addition, the FCC warns against the use of products that claim to shield or block cell phone radiation because they can actually increase the user?s radiation exposure. Making matters worse, shields can also negatively impact a device?s performance.
Upper lips, nationwide, are finally free.
So Movember is over. And with the end of Movember comes the shaving of the moustaches that plagued the faces of men for an entire month, and the immediate delight of wives and girlfriends everywhere. While my wife was quite happy, I can not imagine that the wife of Ottawa Senators Captain Daniel Alfredsson is too pleased, as apparently no one gave Alfie the memo that the campaign is kaput. As you can tell by the photo on the right from December 5th, the Swede’s pushbroom still has plenty of sweeping to do. I’m sure he can always use the fall-back of “it’s European”, or “it’s the style right now in Sweden”, or some other excuse as to why it’s acceptable somewhere else that’s not where he is currently, so that should make it ok.
Now while I didn’t manage to raise any money for the Movember campaign, some groups did. Below is the press release I was sent from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets:
For Immediate Release – Dec. 7, 2011
The Kelowna Rockets raised a modest $755 as part of this CHL campaign and we have set our goals higher for next year.
This year we started two weeks into Movember and used Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about men’s health and ask for donations from followers. Next year we are already planning to step up the campaign and raise more money.
Kevin Parnell, media relations
Call or text: 250-491-8407
And the WHL’s parent league, the CHL, took a tally from all the leagues under their umbrella. Here’s the report they sent me:
For Immediate Release – Dec. 7, 2011
Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the results of a league-wide initiative where 39 teams consisting of 563 registered members raised $128,222 through their participation in Movember in support of men’s health and prostate cancer awareness.
During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Canada and around the world. The annual month-long moustache growing and appreciation charity event helps raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer.
With the over $128,000 raised, the CHL Network ranked 14th among all registered Canadian networks. The winning CHL team in terms of total fundraising dollars are the “MOfficials” consisting of Western Hockey League officials that raised $33,445 and finished as the 33rd ranked team in Canada. Each of the regional leagues were represented in the CHL’s top four with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen raising $13,972, followed by the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs at $11,251 and the QMJHL’s P.E.I Rocket raising $9,805.
IceDogs owner Bill Burke was the CHL’s top individual fundraiser and finished 96th in Canada raising $6,170. Rocket rookie Patrick McGrath, an 18-year-old native of Wilkes-Barre, PA, earned top spot among CHL players with $5,690 raised.
“On behalf of the Canadian Hockey League I would like to congratulate all participants for their incredible amount of energy and commitment to raising awareness and funds for Movember and thank the many friends, family, sponsors, and fans of the CHL that contributed to such a worthy cause,” said CHL President David Branch. “It was outstanding to see the tremendous support our players and teams received across the CHL in our first year that we are already looking forwarded to next year’s campaign and a continued partnership with Movember.”
The CHL helped contribute to the over $38 million raised by participants across Canada and the $108 million raised worldwide with an increase of over $30 million over the 2010 campaign.
The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and men’s health partner, Prostate Cancer Canada. Together the two channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.
CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE CHL MOVEMBER NETWORK PAGE <http://ca.movember.com/mospace/network/view/id/18234>
I don’t make a point of standing up for too many coaches, so hear me out.
Do the Capitals really think a major-junior coach (albeit former NHLer) ready to lead them to the Stanley Cup right off the hop? Because if Dale Hunter can’t do that, how long could he possibly last himself as Capitals head coach?
Under the four seasons of Boudreau’s watch, Washington won four division championships, a Presidents’ Trophy, an Eastern Conference title, the best regular season records in club history, and a final record of 201-88-40. For you math wizards out there, that’s more than twice as many wins as losses. Boudreau himself won the Jack Adams Trophy in 07-08 as coach of the year, and holds the record for winning 200 games faster than any coach in NHL history. Apparently none of this was good enough to keep him gainfully employed in Washington.
This will be Dale Hunter’s first NHL season as a head coach. Or any level of NHL coach, for that matter. The only stat Hunter really has working in his favour is Capitals coaching history: when Boudreau took over the Capitals from Glen Hanlon in 2007, they had already played 21 games, and were doing poorly. The team is currently 22 games deep into the NHL season, and after Boudreau’s decrescendo, the Caps are once again doing poorly. This is the exact spot where Bruce took over and the team took off from four years ago, and it’s about the only thing I can see that Dale Hunter really has to cling to.
I can’t help but think that the players beat the coach here (or maybe the kids beat the parents, whichever way you want to look at it). It seems as though when Boudreau let the young squad off their leashes to run wild, score as many goals as possible and not play defence, the players were happy, but Boudreau was on the burner for not winning. Then he tried to round out the capabilities of the players by adding the defensive element to their game, but they wouldn’t have it. And they kept losing. More so than before, in fact. And Boudreau was in more trouble.
Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee said he believed Boudreau had lost the team, and cited Washington’s Nov 26th 5-1 loss to Buffalo and recent string of losses as evidence. New Coach Dale Hunter is a self-proclaimed players’ coach, but qualifies that saying “but the players will know when I’m mad at them. I’m stern on them because that’s the way you have to be to win games. Everybody makes mistakes out there, but if they keep making the same mistakes there will be repercussions.”
Did Dale not see the HBO 24/7 special on the Caps/Pens 2010 Winter Classic showdown? In the history of the NHL, you’d be hard pressed to find evidence of a coach who hurled more sternly-laced expletives at the Capitals roster than Bruce Boudreau did. He even benched the team’s star players to try to get a message across. We saw what happened when Bruce tried to get tough – they players put their tails between their legs and started laying eggs on the ice. I’m not sure that Hunter is prepared for what kind of reception his “bad cop” routine is going to get from the Washington Capitals locker room. And surely to the ire of Washington’s (supposedly) gifted offensive core, Hunter was also quoted as saying, “I don’t believe in run-and-gun hockey,” So much for going back to open season on cherry-picking slap-bombs, it seems.
And at what point do the Capitals’ franchise players finally look in the mirror and pose the question to themselves, “what if it was us all along?” How many times can Alex Ovechkin change gear companies, agents, and other variables before he decides to simply pull his socks up, dig the old Ovie out of the dress-up closet, and play some elite level hockey again? If the players truly decided that they weren’t going to put all their effort into games anymore in protest of their coach, then this team is dysfunctional on a level that people can’t even comprehend. If that sort of internally destructive behaviour is actually occurring, then this team will never win anything together, no matter who’s wearing shoes instead of skates behind the bench.
From the owners’ stand-point, I know it’s a good business decision to keep exciting players on your roster – especially ones locked into long-term contracts. But this is one instance where it should be the child getting spanked for being bad, not the dad. At the end of the game, it had to have been the players on the ice that performed, that onus is not ultimately on the coach. It’s going to take some growing up from the Capitals’ players before this team turns the corner on this forgettable season.
[update: Boudreau was hired only days later by the Anaheim Ducks to replace fired Randy Carlyle. As of December 4th/2011, the Ducks are 1-2 with Boudreau aboard. Washington is 1-2 from the same time with Dale Hunter]
[update 2: this video seems to accompany my article perfectly:backhand-shelf-bloge-salming-present-coach-killer]