As the first round of NHL playoffs comes to a close, 5 SDC Blogs readers have had their picks advance to round 2 of the Double Championship contest. Congrats to Adam Whitmore, Grant McMillan, Casey Fodor, Rob Cunning, and Rich Abney for living to fight another day. I am a little hurt by Drew Doughty and LA’s early exit, but I’ll get over it. Good thing I specified that contestants have until the completion of the final first round series to make their selections. Still time to vote!
Now, on with some hockey thoughts….
As many long-time readers will know, I have a healthy distain for TSN/NBC hockey announcer, Pierre McGuire. It’s generally due to his hyper-sensationalizing of insignificant plays, and ludicrous and completely incorrect game assessments. He’s got a reputation for creeping out other announcers, like Darren Dutchysen. From time to time, he gets paired up with former NHL player, coach, and GM, Mike Milbury. Though no stranger to schizo opinions himself, Milbury put Pierre right in his place the other night, saying to McGuire, “Let’s have an intelligent conversation about this, so you keep real quiet.”
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Exactly what everyone else wants to say to him, but can’t because they’re worried about staying professional. When in doubt, get a former NHL cementhead tough guy to do your dirty work. What’s doubly great is that Milbury’s so much physically bigger than him, that when he verbally belittles him on a TV broadcast, Pierre looks like he just got his lunch money stolen, and though he’s mad, he knows retaliation will mean being housed in a locker, or having his hair washed in the toilet.
How Pierre McGuire continues to be employed as a broadcaster boggles my mind. I know I’m not the only one who thinks so either; there are multiple facebook groups dedicated to his stupidity and/or professional demise. Dave Hodge is another guy that I can’t figure out how he keeps earning a paycheque. The guy’s hosted way too many shows that have all gone up in smoke, and his hair’s way to grandfatherly looking to be allowed on the air still. It’s like he keeps convincing the TSN brass to give him another chance, “Look, I know ‘That’s Hockey’, ‘Inside Sports’, and ‘The Reporters’ , were all bad gigs, but I’m telling you, I can make the next one work, honest! Please-please-please-please-please come on I really need this… I got these cheeseburgers man!”
I long for the “Sportsdesk” days (pre-ESPN corporate buyout ‘Sportscentre’), the days of Gino Reda, Michael Landsberg, Teresa Hegert, Paul Romanuk, and the all powerful moustache of Jim Van Horne. Merge them with the likes of today’s talent, Darren Dutchysen, James Duthie, Jay Onrait, Dan O’Toole, and Jennifer Hedger, and you’ve got a roster that’ll send McGuire and Hodge their pink slips quicker than Vancouver and Montreal fans hang their star players out to dry after they are eliminated from the playoffs every year.
Speaking of eliminations, the Devils are gone. But did you see some of the saves Brodeur made in that series against Philadelphia? I guarantee that if Brodeur had made more saves like this one during the Olympics, Canada would’ve rode him to the gold medal:
From that same series, don’t you hate it when dusters like Dan Carcillo score; especially OT winners? These guys contribute nothing offensively all year (unless you count the ways he offends everyone with his appearance and playing style), and then they happen to find themselves playing on a line with 2 good players to protect them, they’re in the right place at the right time once or twice, score, and then always act like their dirty style and roster spot is so justified after; like there weren’t a million players that couldn’t have scored those tap-in’s just as easily.
Does it amaze anyone else that after 23 years of Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry still doesn’t know how much time he has left for his segment, nor is he able to say everything he wants to in the amount of allotted time that has been the same since the beginning?
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!
Some quick March Madness thoughts before no one cares about college basketball for another 10 or 11 months…
There really should be a rule against college basketball players wearing t-shirts under their uniforms. It just looks so ultra bush league. There’s a reason why NOT ONE player in the NBA wears a t-shirt under his jersey; and I’d speculate it has something to do with looking professional, rather than looking like a high-school freshman wearing a pinny over his gym-strip in P.E. class. Some of these guys will actually go onto the NBA, so they better get used to the cold, or people seeing their non-existent arms sometime.
This whole March Madness thing’s got a lot of people hooked hey? I’ll admit it looks like a cool atmosphere to play in front of for the players, or to be there as a fan. But as far as basketball, I gotta say I Just. Don’t. Care.
Maybe it stems from my own basketball career. In grade 7, I was really good at it; legitimately one of the best at Rose Valley Elementary School. Problem was, we didn’t win a single game that entire year. And even despite my winning the RV 21 championship, I eventually faded into mediocrity once I hit high school, and found other things I was more interested in. But I digress…
It’s bad enough I have to endure the network battling over whether they’re going to air the NBA or NHL playoffs when the games periodically overlap (didn’t Gary Bettman used to work for the NBA? Hmm… suspicious season scheduling…), but this NCAA stuff has really got people gassed up. Admittedly, despite low scores and no dunks, it’s good basketball; which helps its cause (can you imagine what would happen to hockey if if the NHL presented a “New NHL” to American TV networks that featured lower scores, and fewer exciting plays?). I get the Americans, they like there basketball, football, and baseball, and no one’s gonna tell them different; but even in my college town of Caronport, Saskatchewan (population: 919), there are students with brackets posted on the walls, pools, and battles for Bell Express Vu Satellite TV time. So surely if small Canadian prairie towns are digging it, a lot of other places are too. Crazy. Maybe that James Naismith was onto something…