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XP PSP s01e14: San Jose Sharks’ Matt Irwin interview

March 29, 2014 Leave a comment

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

He may not be a household name just yet, but San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin may work his way into your mental NHL player directory yet. Now in his second NHL season, the 26 year old British Columbian is continuing a trend from his amateur career that has seen his point totals, ice-time, and contributions to his team’s success dynamically increase every year.

Irwin spoke with me at length about his long road to the NHL and what he’ll have to do to stay there, the tough decisions he was required to make and small window of opportunity he had to live out his dream, past teammates that helped get him where he is now, current ones that help make him better, what the San Jose Sharks will have to do to win their first Stanley Cup, what it takes to be consistently inserted into a lineup full of Olympians, All-Stars, and Stanley Cup champions, and more.

Click here to listen to the XP PSP audio podcast at Podbean

Download XP PSP on iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/xppsp/id643817929

Click here to read the written version of this interview on The Score’s Backhand Shelf.

Hockey Talkie: Bobrovsky, Skinner, Worlds, Chi-Van for Winter Classic, Quiet Room Exploit, Coyotes, and Thornton in Flip Flops.

May 9, 2011 2 comments

I love TSN analyst Jay Onrait’s comparisons of Sergei Bobrovsky’s pulls and starts to a cop being pulled off a case, surrendering his gun and badge/getting them back & being reinstated on the case.  The frequency of his being “hired” and “fired” from the “force” is comparable to George Steinbrenner’s yo-yo’ing of Billy Martin.  It’s a classic tale of guy who’s dug himself a hole with a shot at redemption; but instead of realizing that potential, blows it and finds further condemnation, constantly restarting the cycle.  For all we know, he could be living out a real-life hockey player/fictional cop version of Groundhog Day; having to get it right to proceed in life.  The vids will clutter the blog up, but below are some links if you ‘re totally lost on what I’m talking about:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyGSH4Ofuxw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps5IPq7DAgE&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0M9F6GN2Ng&feature=related

Also, why do Philadelphia and Washington refuse to spend money on a dependable goaltender?

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Some perspective food-for thought…. With 63 pts this season, Jeff Skinner entered himself into the all-time-leading-scorer-as –an-18-yr-old conversation.  As remarkable as it was for him (while simultaneously nullifying the Taylor/Tyler debate), that total still put him behind Sidney Crosby’s mark as an 18 year old…trailing him by 39 points (102); and also behind Wayne Gretzky (110 in WHA, 137 in NHL).  As good as Skinner’s numbers were, they’re barely halfway to the best ever. 

BUT consider this too:  Skinner and Ilya Kovalchuk both had 31 goals this year, and Skinner ended up with 3 more total points than Kovy.  The fiscal difference between them? $97.3 million in salary.  So there’s that side of the coin as well. 

Now Skinner’s competing for Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championships, and doing just fine for himself.  I may have touched on this before, but this tournament just isn’t a fair portrayal of the world’s talent in the game; and I maintain that the Olympic tournament should be the measuring stick in world rankings.  Currently, Canada is ranked #2 behind Russia.  But why?  Because Russia does better in tournaments where the world’s best talent is still competing for NHL teams?  In a tournament where rosters are seemingly allowed to change as frequently as teams desire?  Canada destroyed Russia in the Olympic tournament where the world’s best players were ALL playing for their respective country.  A true world championship should be contested by the world’s best players; the IIHF Tournament does not offer this.  Why do they refuse to hold the tournament at a time where all players are available?  The potential for credibility is right there, but it seems more like pride that is holding the IIHF back from changing more than anything else.  In the meantime, Canada will continue to send the best they have available at the time and on short notice to top up their roster as best they can.

And a little further on Worlds rosters…. Toronto Maple Leafs’  Dion Phaneuf, James Reimer, and Luke Schenn were all good to go for Canada at the Worlds, but Phil Kessel said he was too tired to play for the US.  Feel free to insert your own American joke.  On the one hand, I think Kessel deserves the lambaste for this, but on the other, I think it speaks at least a little to how unimportant  some players view this tournament.  Playing for your country is an absolute privilege; it’s too bad that the IIHF refuses to present a tournament that all players wouldn’t waste a second thought on whether they would join their country’s roster or not. 

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If these two ever get teamed up in the announce booth, I'll quit watching hockey.

Can the NHL go ahead and book the Chicago Blackhawks/Vancouver Canucks for next year’s Winter Classic?  Great rivalry that has developed there; would make an entertaining HBO 24/7 special too.  They’d need to do it in Chi-town though, unless they’re prepared to deal with hockey’s first ever rain delay.

Glen Healy is approaching Pierre McGuire-level ridiculousness in some of his HNIC on-air commentary.  Though I hate the Vancouver Canucks, and a high-percentage of their fans, I do at least respect the Green Men.  Healy has, for whatever reason, decided to make it his mission to slag these guys at every on-air opportunity he gets.  Truth is, as annoying as they are, the Greenies  are just fans who have paid their ticket money, are excited about and supportive of their team, and aren’t hurting anyone around them.  If Glen Healy has a problem with fans, he might want to remind himself of who paid him his 14 years worth of NHL salary.

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I thought about this when Brent Seabrook got concussed by Raffi Torres in the first round….The NHL’s new “quiet room” rule (a player that receives a headshot has to sit in a quiet room for 15 minutes and be evaluated by a doctor, good idea) seems easy for a team to exploit to get an opposing team’s good player off the ice for 15 solid minutes.  I don’t know that any player/team would stoop that low, but when you think about it, if you can get a dangerous scoring threat or an impossible to beat defenceman off the ice for nearly an entire period, that doesn’t hurt your chances of winning the game.

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I love DJ Steve Porter’s sports interview remixes, especially these NHL ones: http://t.co/cwXdc6V  http://t.co/Uax93Bc

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It’d be too bad if the Phoenix Coyotes ceased to exist; I do like their red and white howling coyote jerseys.  It’d be a shame to have to ditch them.  Also, how unfair was it to the Coyotes that the media decided to talk about their pending relocation the entire time they were in the playoffs?  They never had a chance this year.  Oh, Glendale’s going to bail them out again next season now?  Wow, glad we had to go through that unnecessary hype and conversation a few weeks ago. 

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Everytime the San Jose Sharks lose a game in the playoffs, I’m pretty sure Joe Thornton thinks to himself about how much more comfortable his flip-flops and boardshorts are than his hockey equipment at that moment.

Hockey Talkie: Gretzky-ASG-Ovie Tidbits, NHL’s Visor Rule and Evgeni Nabokov’s FAIL

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Right off the bat, Happy belated 50th birthday to my boyhood hero Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all-time, and who will incidentally never read this birthday greeting. To read my old “meeting Gretzky” story, click here.

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While I didn’t see Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Staal being picked as NHL All-Star Game captains, I am interested to see who they pick first. And perhaps more interestingly, who they pick last.

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Are we going to find out after this season that Ovechkin had been using corked sticks prior to this year, or something to explain the slump? Could he have been injured this whole time and not have admitted it?

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now wears a contact lens to bring his vision up to 20/400 when playing

After seeing Joe Thornton get busted open above the eye with an unintentional(?) high stick from Vancouver’s Alex Burrows recently, I immediately thought to myself, how dumb is every player in the NHL that doesn’t wear a visor? If that stick hit “Jumbo” Joe half an inch down and to the right, he’s possibly blind in one eye for life, his career is probably over, and all for no good reason. I only inserted “possibly” and “probably” because Bryan Berard suffered an eye injury which he came back from, but needless to say, if he’d been wearing one, he would never have been in a predicament to make a comeback.

I’ve heard the negative side of the issue which is basically “you can’t see as well with them” and “he’ll be a worse player with one on because his vision is obstructed”, but I seriously don’t buy those arguments at all. The things are totally transparent for starters. Secondly, if they get dinged up, just replace them. For people like myself that have to pay $30 to $130 a piece for visors, this is a little easier said than done; but for guys whose yearly contracts end in a number with the word “million” after it, this is peanuts, and the trainer will even install it for you.

It’s strange too, because, as far as I know (and correct me if I’m wrong), visors are mandatory at every level of hockey up to the NHL. That being said, you know that every player who’s in the NHL came up playing with one on, and we all started out wearing those ridiculous (but safe) full cages. And if you go a little further, a lot of players who were scouted to junior teams were observed playing well enough to commit to while playing with a cage on. So if we know that every player who makes it to the NHL has played well enough to get there with an “obstruction” on their face their entire career prior, we know that the “lowered playing ability” notion is complete garbage.  Didn’t Sidney Crosby wear a full fishbowl in the World Juniors and do just fine?

The only time I’ve had the opportunity to not wear a visor has been in beer league, or out on the pond. To be quite honest, when you get going skating fast enough, the wind starts drying out your eyes and they start to water a little bit, which starts to cloud your field of vision, and affects your play. To me that’s the only legitimate vision obstruction.

So it’s gotta just come down to aesthetics then, doesn’t it? The old cliché of looking cool? How many guys have to either have close calls, or actually have life altering injuries that mess their vision up (see: Bryan Berard) before the NHL mandates visors?

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The whole Evgeni Nabokov thing is one part ridiculous, and one part Jersey-Shore-level-drama-induced crazy. Interestingly, so is the NHL’s waiver system.

How a player can be claimed by one team after he’s been signed by another doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, but apparently it’s within the rules (explanations are welcome).

Doesn’t this seem a little Eric-Lindros-refusing-to-play-for-the-Quebec-Nordiques-because-they-were-brutal-at-the-time ‘ish?

Obviously Nabokov wants to play for someone who has a shot at the Cup, and if anyone does, it’s Detroit; so their signing him was an obvious ideal. But doesn’t every player want to play for someone who has the potential to win the Cup? I highly doubt there are many NHL’ers who don’t have hoisting the Cup over their head in the back of their mind somewhere, even if they don’t admit it on camera. So what gives Nabokov the right to be more selfish picky selective about where he plays than anyone who made it there by traditional means?

Playing in the NHL’s rival KHL is a bit of a blackballing move from what I understand, so for guys looking to make their way back into the NHL from there are far behind others trying to get the same chance. So the struggling Islanders, who need to fix a goaltending situation, snap up Nabokov, which they have every right to do. Evgeni then apparently hangs up on Islanders GM Garth Snow (later saying it was an accident), refuses to report to the team, and makes a statement saying,

I think I’m going to stay home for now, I’m sticking with my decision. It’s nothing against the Islanders and their organization. It’s nothing to do with that. It’s just that I’m at the point in my career where I want to help a team win in the playoffs. I don’t see how I could help the Islanders or what I could do for them. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. And I hope they understand that. I was surprised they picked me up. I was like, ‘Wow, what’s the point?”‘

 

Well, I’d say the point is to play in the NHL again, wouldn’t you? He may have put up some good goaltending numbers for a few seasons, but this guy is nowhere near a level that he can just pick and choose who he plays for. Maybe Ray Bourque got away with that in Colorado, but I assure you, Nabokov’s not there yet.

So now New York looks great because they have a bargaining chip they can easily double their money on if they choose (getting Nabokov at near league minimum is a steal) and they’re really no worse off considering their current standings position, and Nabokov looks like a selfish (albeit, rich) idiot sitting at home, suspended. Welcome back, Evgeni.

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.

2010 Stanley Cup Playoff Final Thoughts, and the DCC Champion Declared!

June 14, 2010 12 comments

First off, congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the Stanley-Freaking-Cup (as though they all are collectively reading this blog and saying, “hey thanks man”), and to Rich Abney of Kelowna for winning the 1st Quadrennial SDC Blogs’ Double Championship Challenge!  Along with his prize, Rich receives 4 years of bragging rights.  Keeeerr-rap (doubly for runner up Ryley Herzog, who will be hearing about it at Chevy’s Source for Sports for the next four years J).  It was looking like Ryley and the Flyers had a chance of pulling one over on all of us with that Bruins/Habs massacre, but alas…

What a great playoffs overall.  Complete with a standard Canucks exit,  Pronger’s puck stealing/Carcillo antagonism vs Byfuglien/everyone, Joe Thornton and San Jose’s meltdown, Pronger vs. Burish chirps, awesome NHL “History Will Be Made/No Words” commercials and CBC video montages, 3rd string goalies becoming starters and fading out 1st stringers while fading in huge contracts next year (see: Rask, Halak, Niemi, Leighton, etc), Keith losing 7 TEETH mid-game and continuing, Crosby and Ovechkin eliminated early by an underdog, Hossa rescinding his Cup curse, Vince Vaughn, the rejuvenation of hockey in Chicago and the end of the longest running championship drought, a mullet and a mystery OT Cup winning goal (and a Crosby-Olympic-Golden-Goal-esque one at that) by Kane, a prophetic mural, the Conn Smythe and yet another championship for overshadowed (until now) Jonathan Toews; hard to find anything bad to say about that guy.

The Stanley Cup is just simply awesome.  Winning it is an un-top-able feat (no, not even Dilbert’s Topper could); truly the most difficult trophy to win in sports, by all accounts of comparison of every other sports’ playoff formats.  In no other sports are you required to win 16 games and not lose more than 3 per series to secure final victory.  And when you do accomplish said task, an achievement-appropriate sized trophy awaits you; also the biggest in all sports.  Often described as the lightest 34 pounds you’ll ever lift over your head, most dreamers will never have the opportunity to find out what that really means.  From the first moment video cameras show the Cup in the building to well after it gets lifted over the captain’s head, I get perma-chills and goosebumps every year.   

Justin Bourne did as good a job as anyone could on describing what winning the Cup means here.

I had one idea about something to change in the playoffs though.  You see, it’s always better to win the Cup at home, in front of your own fans.  The Wachovia Center in Philadelphia was dead silent when Patrick Kane scored to win, and rightfully so.  How much better would that moment looked on TV if the Madhouse on Madison had the chance to chant “Chelsea Dagger” alongside Toews’ Cup hoisting?

So here’s my idea: for sure in the Cup final, and perhaps in the previous series’, once a team has won three games, the remaining games should be played at that team’s home rink; unless the other team wins 3, in which case the series would shift to that team’s rink.  It might play havoc with some arena scheduling, but I think it’d make for a better winning atmosphere.  Your thoughts???

Well, that’s it for hockey for a while.  Cripes (I’m sure the female readers out there are breathing a sigh of relief).  No, I won’t watch baseball in the meantime.  Trying reeeeallly hard to give the World Cup and soccer a chance…. but can someone score a goal or two already?  90 +minutes and 0-0 draws are not helping the cause.  It seems too exciting of a tournament to have play that boring, doesn’t it?

If you’re looking for a hockey fix over the summer, why not check out the Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp in Kelowna this summer?? check out www.bournevents.com for more info!

Finale Frenzy! The Office vs Parks & Rec, LOST, Seinfeld, and Canada 2′s IIHF Early Exit; In 3-D!!

May 21, 2010 3 comments

So Canada 2 got bounced from the IIHF World Championships, and Corey Perry is eliminated from the DCC.  Anybody care?  The only thing worth bothering with is that Canada will probably lose some ground in the official world rankings for hockey, after we reclaimed it so awesomely in the Olympics.  Meh, we still rule at hockey.  Did anyone really not think Ray Whitney was going to lead us to international glory against Ovechkin, and every other player who was mad they lost at the Olympics, when all our good players were quite content with what they already accomplished for us?

Chicago’s manhandling of San Jose has awoken Joe Thornton from his comatose state, but is it already too late?  Answer: yes.  Montreal decided they like winning better than losing too.  Interesting hockey coming up…

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So The Office ended its most recent season Thursday night.  All year, I was left with a lingering thought of this, one of my favourite shows: I wish the Office writers turned Parks & Recreation’s writers hadn’t given P&R all the good scripts and storylines this season.  It really was not The Office’s best season.  Though the shows’ writers will deny it, P&R is clearly the Pawnee, Indiana version of The Office.   For whatever reason, Rashida Jones, the former Karen Filippelli on The Office  who ended up as the Manager of Dunder-Mifflin Utica, for some reason changed her name to Ann Perkins, cut her hair, abandoned her child and husband, moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and met and befriended Leslie Knope the female, Indiana version of Michael Scott.  There she also met April, the female Dwight Schrute; Mark, the Indiana Jim Halpert; Tom, the Andy Bernard of Indian descent; Jerry, the fat Toby; and Donna, the large, African-American Kelly.  Surely you can make a few other connections yourself if you watch both shows.  Too bad it means that one show has to get mediocre.  Maybe that’s at least partially why Steve Carell isn’t coming back after next season…

With DVR’s, PVR’s, and torrent downloading, is anyone even watching TV anymore?  It’s great to record TV and watch it when you like, but you still have to fast forward the commercials.  To my wife and I, downloading torrents is definitely the way to go.  You can’t watch it immediately because you have to wait for the show to be uploaded, but no one’s doing that anyway, hence all the D and P V-R’ing.   As far as mindless entertainment goes, there’s nothing like watching your favourite 22 minute episode  commercial free.  The only lame part is that you have to wait a week for new stuff.  One of the best moves I ever made (and I give full credit to my wife for this) is starting to watch LOST this way after four seasons had already gone by.  We could string together 3 or 4 episodes together in one sitting, and never be left dangling off any dramatic cliffs unless we chose to.  Now unfortunately, we’ve caught up to speed; luckily right in time for the big finale of which has no chance in satisfying anyone in tying up all the series’ loose ends to viewers’ satisfaction.  Much like Seinfeld’s finale, and Dr. Dre’s Detox album, the hype has created an unobtainable contentment standard.  When you think about Seinfeld’s finale from a logistical standpoint, where did you think Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer – the most cynical and judgemental fictional characters on the planet (albeit the most hilarious as well) – deserved to end up, besides in prison, with each other?  I have a feeling LOST’s finale is going to make sense in the end, but the majority of people will not be happy with it.    

If you’re looking for the BEST TV TORRENT DOWNLOAD SITE IN THE WORLD, look no further than eztv.it .  Posts every day’s new episode torrents, and they’re always virus-free.  If you live anywhere besides the USA, don’t waste your time with hulu.com , no matter what it says you’ll be able to watch.  I want to hack and destroy hulu.com every time it tells me my video can’t be displayed in my region (note to security people reading this: I’m not  actually capable of doing either of those).  I can watch U.S. shows on TV, download U.S. shows from the internet, but can’t stream them from hulu.com because I live outside the U.S. That seems fair.

And lastly, HD and Blu-Ray, Plasma and LCD all seem a little low-tech now that 3D TV’s exist, don’t they?  The technology train sure has chugging along the last few years; this “Digital Age” that we’re living in may end up being the continually the awesomest thing ever, or the complete and utter death of itself and modern commerce.  What’s that? You bought a 50” HD plasma TV last year for $5000 that’s now obsolete?  That’s a shame…

Double Championship Challenge Update: Off to Round 3!, Amongst Other Hockey Thoughts.

May 15, 2010 2 comments

Alright, an update on the Double Championship Challenge:

With Pittsburgh’s shocking (?) elimination also sees the departure of contestants Grant McMillan and Adam Whitmore. 

Bergeron and the Bruins are done, but no one put any stock in them.  Mark Recchi’s easily the NHL’s best “Old-Guard” player left.  Scored a lot of goals this year, and did well for himself.  I hope he sticks around for a few seasons yet.  That is, unless he can’t take a hint like Chris Chelios went he got sent down to the AHL and kept hanging around.  I think Mark’s value will be decent for a few seasons yet. 

And easily my favorite elimination, the Canucks exit sees Casey Fodor and Jeff Bourne bow out. (my favorite because I hate the Canucks, not because of who picked them).  I’ll admit, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Luongo after the Gold Medal, but not soft enough to cheer for him while there’s a whale on his chest.  I’ve never seen so many people want a captain stripped of his captaincy so badly; sad really.  I’m sure he’s doing a better job in that role than he’s being given credit for.  I know I hate on the Canucks and their fans a lot, but I will miss the way the inhabitants of GM Place sing the Canadian national anthem together.  If there’s one thing they’re doing right, it’s that.  Anytime the singer can stick the mic in the air mid-song and have the crowd take it from there, you know you’ve got a good audience.  Oilers fans at Rexall do it well too. 

So, with those developments, we’re down to 3 contestants and teams.  Here’s what we have left:

Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Keith – represented by Rich Abney.

 

Mike Richards and Chris Pronger – represented by Ryley Herzog.

 

 

Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, and Patrick Marleaurepresented by Rob Cunning.

Did that big duface Chris Pronger and the Flyers make themselves contenders after pulling off the greatest playoff upset in history (only 3 teams in history have ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the series; the Flyers were the only of those teams to comeback from a deficit in the last game to win as well), or did they just burn themselves out to get lit up by Montreal next round?  In that same notion, are the Canadiens a legit Cup contender now, after knocking off arguably the 2 best teams in the playoffs?  As long as Montreal doesn’t keep spoiling everyone’s fun, one of our contestants will be our champion in 2 rounds of play. 

Also, I think I’m going to allow someone to select Corey Perry, who has a chance to win 2 championships for Canada in the same year; that is, if Canada’s B Team can go all the way at the World Championships.  As I’ve said before, that World Championship title doesn’t seem to mean a whole lot when the best players in the world are not competing for it.  It’s far from a Stanley Cup,  but it’d still be pretty cool.  Any takers????

Can Jonathan Toews change his last name’s spelling to Tayves already, or some other phonetic spelling that makes sense?  There really wouldn’t be any worry about disgracing the family name I’d think, Johnny’s easily the top Toews around.  Just a thought.

Double Championship Challenge Update, and Food for Thought… Where To Find The Best Cooking and Wings in the World!

May 7, 2010 6 comments

 First, an update on our remaining candidates in The SDC Blogs’ Double Championship Challenge, and their respective representatives:

 Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Keith – represented by Rich Abney.

  

 

 

Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fluery – represented by Grant McMillan and Adam Whitmore. 

  

 

Patrice Bergeron – unclaimed.

  

Mike Richards and Chris Pronger – represented by Ryley Herzog.

  

Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle, and Patrick Marleau – represented by Rob Cunning.

  

 

Mike Babcock – unclaimed.

  

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Roberto Luongo – represented by Casey Fodor and Jeff Bourne. 

Good Luck to all participants!  I’ve got a feeling we’re going to see a Chicago-Pittsburgh final… we”ll see what pans out!_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Now for something completely different, some good old-fashioned blogging non-sense….

Recently, I got my annual box of Girl Guide cookies.  Every year I have the same thought: why can’t they sell boxes of just the vanilla cookies?  They’re just so much better than the chocolate row.  I can never find anyone in time that’s willing to trade all my chocolate cookies for all their vanilla cookies.  I ate them all.  Don’t act like you’ve never eaten an entire box yourself. 

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I just don’t understand why Saskatchewan is the only place on the planet that knows to mix hot sauce and ranch together to make buffalo wings.  It’s an incredible combination; dare I say the best one out there for chicken wing sauces.  I always have to order a side of ranch dressing with my wings at restaurants, because no one here knows what I’m talking about.  Shoutout to the Moose Jaw Brewsters/Cornerstone Pub for making the best wings I’ve ever had, anywhere.

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Avocadoes are runaway the best vegetable on the planet. Probably ever. Put them on anything and tell me the food’s not instantly better.  Good for you too.  And with great avocadoes, of course come great guacamole, which is currently dominating even Old El Paso salsa (best salsa EVER) in my chip-dipping world.  So hot right now, Avocadoes.   

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Never, EVER,  turn down Mexican food made by an actual Mexicans.  I don’t mean the North American infused Tex-Mex stuff you get at Taco Bell or Taco Time, I mean a homemade meal cooked the way that was passed down through Mexican families.  I’ve been incredibly fortunate to experience it twice, and man, it’s on another level.  Fresh cooked corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa, refried beans, and whatever meat happens to be on the menu… freaking incredible.  So good…

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There should be a rule against selling/growing mandarin oranges with seeds in them.  Ever buy a box of oranges that was full of seeds that just absolutely wrecked your day, all because after you bit into the orange slice and crunched down on an unexpected and unwelcomed seed?  I’ll tell you what it is, the problem arises when you buy “Chinese” oranges instead of “Japanese” oranges (the traditional Christmas oranges).  No I don’t dislike Chinese people for all those jumping to conclusions, I just need the right oranges sent over for me to demolish with pleasure.  That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Nothing Says “Best in the World” Like a Stanley Cup AND a Gold Medal In The Same Season.

April 21, 2010 18 comments

As all of Canada is aware (and most of the US is pretending not to know anything about it or what we’re talking about) CANADA WON THE OLYMPICS AND WE’RE THE BEST IN WORLD AT MORE STUFF THAN EVERYONE ELSE ESPECIALLY HOCKEY STILL. 

With that in mind, I was thinking the other day, that there’s a handful of Canadian hockey players that played for Team Canada this past Olympics and won gold there, that have teams that qualified for the NHL playoffs, and have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup this year.  So for the following list of players (and coaches), there’s a HUGE opportunity to pretty much have the awesomest year of hockey possible, if they were to win both championships in the same season:

 

Vancouver Canucks    -    Roberto Luongo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Penguins   -    Sidney Crosby, Marc-André Fleury (does it count if you didn’t play any games?)

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey Devils         -    Martin Brodeur, Jacques Lemaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks  –   Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Predators  -   Shea Weber

 

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles Kings    -   Drew Doughty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Flyers   -    Chris Pronger, Michael Richards

 

 

 

 

 

San Jose Sharks          -    Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton (does it count if you didn’t contribute?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Bruins           - Patrice Bergeron

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Red Wings     - Mike Babcock

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Sabres            - Lindy Ruff

Members of the Sharks and Blackhawks have the most personnel with the opportunity.  But don’t count out Sid and Fleury’s Pens (mostly Sid’s), Brodeur’s been playing out of his mind for Jersey so far, Doughty may be a darkhorse, wily ol’ Mike Babcock and the Wings always have a chance.  You can count out Luongo. 

So, here’s what I am proposing.  I will allow people to post their bets for Stanley Cup Champs/Olympic Gold aka “Double Hockey Awesomeness & Supremacy” (name subject to change), via the comment board.  Once the last team is eliminated in the first round (to the nearest millisecond) I will tally the final ballots, and close the wagering.  Until the cutoff time, feel free to change your votes, but be warned, I will only take your last choice at the elimination of the final first round team.  The person(s) who correctly choose the correct players/team that win it all this year will receive….something, from me.  I’m thinking an SDC Blogs t-shirt that says “I’M THE SMARTEST MAN/WOMAN ALIVE”, or something like that.  I’ll let you know when I get it nailed down.  Whatever, everyone likes t-shirts, right?

*** SDC TRIVIA: Who was/were the last player/players to win the Stanley Cup /Olympic Gold aka “Double Hockey Awesomeness & Supremacy” in the same season?***

                                                                                                                      (no prize awarded for this one)

So with that, happy betting! Enjoy the playoffs, and may the best/luckiest person win!

GO KINGS GO!

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