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Posts Tagged ‘2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs’

Anti-Canucks Assessment, Gretzky’s Gall, and a Lebron/Heat chime-in.

June 12, 2011 2 comments

This year’s Stanley Cup Final is just so incredibly polarizing in terms of how valuable home-ice advantage is, it’s amazing.  Name another series where you’ve seen one team lose on the road either by shutout, or only by 1 goal (and not score more than 2), but then upon returning home absolutely obliterate their opponents by scores more fitting of low-scoring football games.  I’ve never been much a believer in home-ice advantage affecting the outcome of games – obviously it’s nice to play in your own digs, not have to travel, have extra prep time, the comfort of your own dressing room, and the support of your home fans – but in the end, all those things are only small advantages, not game outcome determiners; and all those things can go right out the window if the visiting team gets up a goal or two.  But to see the home team’s scores in each game; it’s enough to think that those little advantages have added up somehow.  Besides the fact that the Stanley Cup will be awarded in the next 2 games, it’ll be interesting to see if the winner claims victory on the road or at home.  As I’ve written about before, for the winner’s sake, I hope it’s on their home turf (which now, can only be Vancouver).

Speaking of which, I’ve been contemplating my storied anti-Vancouver Canucks stance more and more as the Canucks have pushed the envelope as far as they have this season.  If I had to whittle down to the root of my hatred, it’s always come down to 2 ultimate factors:  1) The Canucks are always heavily favoured to win by local fans and media, always choke, and have never won the Cup; and therefore 2) their crazy, rabid riot-prone fans cannot accurately claim them to be the best (though they have always continued to do so) without having done just that.  You may or may not hate the Oilers, Flames, Leafs, Habs, Ducks, Bruins, Hawks, Avalanche, Stars, Wings, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, or Penguins; but the fact remains that those teams have all got it done (at least once), and they and their fans will always have that to hang over Vancouver and their fans until they win. 

I guess it comes down to your fandom rooting – I respect a fan that has been cheering for their team from the start, through the dark times, and finally has their cheering rewarded; but I also respect cheering for a team that is rooted in success.  Both Finals teams offer desirable conclusions to both scenarios. 

My latest thought on my personal stance is that if indeed the Canucks were to finally win their first Stanley Cup, I would have to at least reconsider my policy on cheering against this seemingly cursed-to-lose franchise, and perhaps even motion to enter fandom of said team.  Geographically, I should be on board as a resident of BC (though I’m from Kelowna, not Vancouver; a city that prides itself on not being Vancouver), but truth be told I’ve always been an “against-the-grain” kind of guy, and have no problem cheering for or aligning with the less popular.  This is a whole other ball of wax too; as it’s come to my attention that the Canucks are the object of many people’s hate throughout this continent (outside of BC of course); and that in itself, is oddly attractive to me.

I can’t say I care for bangwagoners, and I would be afraid of being viewed as such.  If I were a current Canucks fan that learned someone like me was considering jumping ship to their side, I probably wouldn’t welcome me with open arms after the deserved slogging I’ve given them since I was aware they existed.  Hey, if Wayne Gretzky can jump ship from endorsing Coke to Pepsi, and Bret Hart can come back to WWE, then maybe I can come around on the Canucks.  I have to admit, I love the U2 game-entrance music, and the Vancouver fans are probably the best at singing O Canada as a group.   

I’m not saying this will actually happen (they have to win first, of course), but it’s running through my mind.  I think in the end I’m most likely too far gone, but it may be a very brief window to rid some hate from my brain.  Maybe I’m just proving myself a poor anti-fan. 

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And lastly, the Miami Heat.  I don’t have much to say other than wow, that sure didn’t work out like it was supposed to.  Quite frankly, I think Lebron deserved the negative attention he drew, but I can’t say I wanted to see such an incredible athlete lose.  They probably should have paid more attention to the Mavericks though, who apparently also really wanted to win.  One other thought I had was of Gretzky and the Oilers’ dynasty days – they didn’t win the Cup the first time they made it to the Finals either (I know the Heat have won before, I am comparing the current roster to that roster), and we all know what ended up following.  I’d be very surprised if Lebron James wasn’t an NBA Champion at some point.  

"You F*$& promised me we were gonna win if I came here, dude."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crap, even Wayne's wearing a Vancouver jersey.

Blackhawks Breakdown, Torres-Seabrook, Rule Confusion, & The Elements Of A Championship Team.

April 19, 2011 5 comments

Ok, back to me 🙂

I’m not even an official Chicago Blackhawks fan, but I hate seeing what’s happened to them.

To see last year’s Stanley Cup champions reduced to backing into the 8th seed playoff spot via hopes of others’ misfortune, and now having their asses handed to them by their archrivals is really quite stark in contrast to the Hawks club that celebrated curbing the greatly publicized Chicago Cup drought not so long ago. 

There are two things that strike me about the situation.  One is that it really speaks to the team aspect – how many “cogs” working in harmony it takes to win a championship.  When you think about the Chicago Blackhawks, the names that come to mind most often are probably Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  Obviously they have other strong players, but those two are largely painted as the poster boys for that franchise; and rightfully so.  When the team’s “gutting” unfolded last season, the optimistic ones surely felt that as long as those two were on the roster, they’d be ok.  It’s right about now that the (at times) overshadowed, and perhaps underappreciated necessity of now delinquent Adam Burish, Ben Eager, John Madden, Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, and Anti Niemi (the latter few got their share of attention, mind you) would be welcomed in their lineup.  Even with guys like Hossa, Keith, Seabrook, heck even coach Joel Quenneville, they just can’t pull it back together to what it was. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying those dealt away are the secret to success, because with four of those players on teams not even in the playoffs this year, clearly that’s not the case.  The point I want to make is to show another example of how a team will not necessarily survive on talent alone – look at Montreal again in these playoffs for example – and how necessary it is for the “stars to align” to bring that just-right mix of guys together who can truly function as a working unit and accomplish an ultimate goal.  It’s a lot easier said than done; just ask Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya about their conspiracy to both take less money to play together in Colorado to try and win a Cup in2003.

Better days in the Madhouse.

 I really wanted good Canadian kid Jonathan Toews to come out on top, and prove everyone wrong by winning again.  I sort of get the feeling Patrick Kane’s content with scoring the Cup winning goal last year (I would be too) and is more worried about looking cool while chewing on his mouthguard/negating it’s entire safety function in an era of hockey where the league is trying to reduce head injuries.  Anyways, long point short, this year’s Blackhawks seem like a band that used to be really awesome, split up to do solo records, and never really recaptured the glory they once had; better together than apart.  Unless there’s some miraculous 7-game comeback, we’re going to see a new Stanley Cup champion this year.  I wonder if Dustin Byfuglien thinks now that taking less money to stay on a good team might have been a better idea now?  They sure could use him in front of Luongo.      

And since we’ve dipped into the head injury topic, my thoughts on Raffi Torres’ hit on Brent Seabrook are that the initial penalty called was correct – Seabrook did not have the puck.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if there was a suspension, but I’m not upset there wasn’t.  There were just so many intangibles to factor in to the result though; Seabrook has a concussion history (and it’s insane that he doesn’t wear a new-era memory foam concussion padded helmet), Torres has a suspension history, and the NHL gets eyeballed by the world every time a bodycheck is thrown.  Torres is a role player that is, quite frankly, doing his job: blowing guys up with bodychecks and creating puck turnovers.  The new NHL has been phasing out the fighter position for a while now, and the latest revelation seems to be the big-hitters are the next queued for extinction.  You can see it right in Raffi’s facial expression to the referee after the call was made; while some would read it as a “I didn’t do anything ref!” look, I saw it as a guy who legitimately is unclear as to what he is and isn’t allowed to do anymore in terms of body checking anymore. 

I really think that’s a huge notion to consider, especially in the playoffs.  The quest for a championship requires such a level of focus and perfection that for a player to be second guessing his limitations on the ice will most certainly at some point be the difference of a player that would normally get hammered by Torres instead get around him, make him look ridiculous, and probably earn Raffi a spot on the pine, or worse, on the healthy scratch list next game.

It reminds me of one of my first games playing in France.  Prior to playing there, I had largely defined my style of hockey as quite physical, because that’s what had brought me the most success at every other level.  In fact, I had that style drilled into me since the age we were allowed to run into each other in minor hockey.  We were playing a game on the road, and I went to finish my check on a guy into the boards who had just released the puck in enough of a time frame that I felt I was in the right to complete the hit, which I did; a pretty routine play back in North America.  Whistles, a stoppage in play, and an escort to the penalty box later, I assumed I had done something wrong (though I couldn’t confirm it because everyone was talking in French).  A teammate then joined me in the box.  I asked him what was going on.  He relayed to me that I had been assessed a 10-minute penalty for a “vicious” hit (I’ve hit guys a lot harder with worse results), and he was there to serve an extra two.  When I finally got out of the box and back into the game, I played very tentative because I couldn’t understand what I was allowed to do (the language barrier didn’t help), and I was largely ineffective from there on in. 

So that brings me to my next point – for the sake of the players, and everyone’s general understanding, the NHL needs to clearly define some rules.  No more shades of grey; whatever the ruling is, just tell us and the players, so they can go about figuring out how to play correctly, and we can all stop squabbling about it.  The North American style of hockey is largely physical, and that’s what we were all raised on.  There’s already (nearly) non-contact hockey in Europe.  That’s their style and that’s fine and dandy for them.  Over here, players run into each other and get blown up (as well as scoring goals periodically).  This monster that’s been created by the new rules is something the league needs to learn to manage better before the NHL decides to introduce touch-football rules.  Whether the game is supposed to be full of clutching, grabbing, and fighting, or speed, finesse, and concussions, please someone just let us all know so we can keep up  and eliminate all the second-guessing for the sake of the game we all love.    

 

[Guest Post] 2011 First Round NHL Playoff Drinking Games

April 12, 2011 2 comments

Hi Folks,

I’m pleased to bring you our first guest poster here at The SDC Blogs.  Peter Nygaard (aka @RetepAdam on Twitter) of New Jersey has 8 series’ worth of suggested supplementary drink-along material for you to enjoy the first round with.  I’m sure we’ll be checking back in with Pete for the following rounds as well.  For those of you who may not be so enthused with me promoting alcoholic consumption, please, relax.  Enjoy the humor, and substitute any beverage you feel to be more suitable.  It’s all in good fun!  I think the post is hilarious.  Follow Peter on Twitter for coverage, analysis and whatever else throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.  He will also be occasionally tweeting for @FVSports if you really can’t have enough.

Enjoy!

SDC

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In case you live under a rock or in a television market that doesn’t get Versus (looking at you, TeleVU), you’re probably already aware that the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs begin Wednesday.

In the meantime, the procession of predictions and prognostications has begun. Every network has five analysts debating the mettle of each of the sixteen teams, poking and prodding at their cracks and stating without a shadow of a doubt that each series will play out this way or that way. TSN even has a trained monkey that they trot out every now and then to offer up its picks. But enough about Pierre McGuire (zing!); I digress.

In lieu of a traditional playoff preview with positional breakdowns, analysis and insight, I’ve decided to go in a different direction: Drinking Games. Because what’s better than kicking back and watching playoff hockey while enjoying an adult beverage?

That was rhetorical. The answer is “Nothing.”

So, without further delay, here is your guide to getting an early start on your team’s celebration — or drowning your sorrows after an agonizing defeat— series by series.

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(1) Washington Capitals vs. (8) New York Rangers

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight and finish your drink for every goal.

-If the announcers mention the Capitals’ playoff woes, take a drink.

-If footage is shown of the Capitals’ playoff woes, drink for three seconds — one for every series Washington has lost as a higher seed under Bruce Boudreau.

-If you think Boudreau is probably dropping an ‘F’ bomb, take a drink. (Note: For health reasons, do not include intermissions)

-If Boudreau is actually shown dropping an ‘F’ bomb on live air, finish your drink.

-If the Rangers score a powerplay goal, in your best Sam Rosen expression, shout “That’s a powerplay goal!” and finish your drink.

-If the Capitals change goalies sometime during the series, finish your drink and change drinks for the rest of the series.

-If the Rangers change goalies sometime during the series, whack your TV as hard as you can to fix the colors — then finish your drink and change drinks for the rest of the series.

-If Mike Green is shown driving a moped, finish your drink as fast as you can. The last player to finish must finish another drink.

Penalties:

The Sean Avery Rule: If a player obstructs any other player’s view of the TV by waving his/her arms, the offending player will have to go get the next drink for the obstructed player.

The Tortorella Rule: If a player sprays his/her drink at another player or strikes another player with a bottle, the offending player will be suspended for the duration of one game.

The Alexander Semin Rule: If a member of your playoff viewing party disappears for an extended length of time, you may heckle him/her relentlessly unless he/she returns for the rest of the series.

Prediction: Capitals in 7; Buzzed in 3

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(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (7) Buffalo Sabres

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight and finish your drink for every goal.

-If the Philly crowd boos, take a drink.

-If they return from commercial for games in Buffalo without showing the soul-crushingly bleak surroundings at the HSBC Arena, take a drink.

-That should pretty much do it, in all honesty.

Penalties:

The Pronger Rule: After finishing a drink, do not let another player take your drink for any reason (disposal/refill/etc.). If your empty falls into possession of another player, you must finish his/her current drink.

The Nick Bakay Rule: If the camera crew spotlights a celebrity in the stands of a game in Buffalo, shout “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo,” run a lap around the room and finish your drink.  (Note: This will probably never happen, so just don’t worry about this one.)

The “Amurrica” Rule: If Ryan Miller makes an incredible save and you are drinking an import, just leave the room.

Prediction: Sabres in 6; Tanked in 1

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(3) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Montreal Canadiens

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight, 10 seconds for every fight in the stands and finish your drink for every goal.

-If either crowd boos the opposing team’s national anthem, take a drink.

-If either crowd sarcastically cheers the opposing team’s national anthem, finish your drink.

-If Milan Lucic breaks a pane of glass, finish your drink and switch to bottles. If you’re using bottles, switch to glasses.

-Any mention of Benoit Pouliot’s name immediately triggers a game. If the announcer says “Benoit,” players must respond “Balls.” The last to do so drinks. If the announcer says “Pouliot,” players must responds “Pooli-oolio.” The last to do so drinks.

-If the series does not go to seven games, continue drinking on the scheduled dates for the unnecessary games as though it did.

Penalties:

The Zdeno Chara Rule: When Boston is at home, the tallest player in the room is allowed to introduce any set of rules he/she wants into the game.

The Brian Gionta Rule: When Montreal is at home, the shortest player in the room is allowed to introduce any set of rules he/she wants into the game.

Prediction: Bruins in 7; Rioting in both cities

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(4) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) Tampa Bay Lightning

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight and finish your drink for every goal.

-If the camera crew shows Sidney Crosby watching the game, take a drink.

-If the announcers compare Steve Yzerman to Mario Lemieux for no apparent reason, finish your drink.

-If a Penguins fan uses the words “if,” “but” or “injury,” take a drink.

-If someone in the room wonders aloud why Tampa Bay has a hockey team, take a drink.

Penalties:

The Dwayne Roloson Rule: In complete disregard to the laws of nature, the oldest player in the room must be depended upon to drink twice for every instance of drinking.

The Crosby Rule: If a player loses consciousness, drop everything to discuss how soon he/she will return to action.

Prediction: Lightning in 6; Lingering headaches the day after

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(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (8) Chicago Blackhawks

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight and finish your drink for every goal.

-If the announcers mention a member of last year’s Blackhawks squad who is no longer with the team, take a drink.

-If the announcers mention the Canucks’ playoff history with the Blackhawks, take a drink.

-If Jonathan Toews’ sideburns connect to his chinstrap, finish your drink the first time they show him onscreen.

-If Vancouver wins the series — and you are a Vancouver fan — finish your drink and run outside to join the mini-riot that will likely follow the clinching game.

-If Vancouver wins the series — and you are a Chicago fan — finish your drink and calmly flip back to the Bulls game.

Penalties:

The Sedin Rule: If a player can successfully switch drinks with another player and get that player to drink from it, the player must finish both drinks.

The Patrick Kane Rule: If a player mentions the word “taxi,” he/she must pay for the next round. Exact change.

Prediction: Canucks in 6; Drunk in 5

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(2) San Jose Sharks  vs. (7) Los Angeles Kings

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight and finish your drink for every goal.

-If San Jose’s goal horn gives you the urge to break out Super NES, take a drink.

-If the announcers say the words “California,” “Golden State” or “Bay Area,” take a drink.

-If Ryan Smyth does a hair flip with his mullet, take a drink.

-If the announcers make an awful pun on Jonathan Quick’s name, take a drink.

-If you hear the name “Joe,” take a drink.

-If the announcers say the word “Finland,” take a drink. If they say the word “Finnish,” listen to the man.

-If Dan Boyle shoots the puck into his own goal, finish two drinks.

Penalties:

The California Rule: If nobody watches you finish your drink, it doesn’t really count.

The Sharks Postseason Rule: If someone should start choking, give him/her the Heimlich Maneuver, but also reflect on the irony of the situation.

Prediction: Sharks in 5; Shwasted in 2

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(3) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Phoenix Coyotes

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight and finish your drink for every goal.

-If the announcers refer to last year’s series, take a drink.

-If Phoenix has a sellout crowd, finish your drink.

-If Detroit does not have a sellout crowd, finish your drink.

-If you see an octopus — real or plastic — take a drink.

-If the announcers mention any city in Canada, take a drink.

Penalties:

The Shane Doan Rule: If a player uses a French word during a game in Phoenix, all other players should ignore him/her for the rest of the period.  (Note: This includes all references to “Belanger” and “LaBarbera,” but “Bissonnette” may still be referred to as “Biz Nasty.”)

The Hakan Andersson Rule: If any player has Scandinavian heritage, he/she is to be praised relentlessly throughout each game in Detroit.

The Darren Helm Rule: The player who finishes his/her drinks the fastest shall not be rewarded in any way, shape or form.

Prediction: Red Wings in 6; Relocating in a week

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(4) Anaheim Ducks vs. (5) Nashville Predators

Rules:

-Drink 2 seconds for every penalty, 5 seconds for every fight and finish your drink for every goal.

-If anybody on TV or in the room says the word “Mighty,” take a drink.

-If Ray Emery gets in a fight, drink for 10 seconds.

-If Teemu Selanne gets in a fight, finish your drink.

-If the announcers use the words “Vezina” or “Hart,” take a drink.

-On Nashville goals, each player must yell out “Sheeee-yooooot!” The last player to do so must finish his/her drink.

-On Anaheim goals, each player must yell out “Emiiiilllliiiiooooo” The last player to do so must finish with “The Mighty Duck man” or finish his/her drink. (Note: If the last player does say “The Mighty Duck man,” see Rule 2.)

-If any Anaheim player uses a triple deke or the Knucklepuck, or if Anaheim as a team goes into “Flying V” formation, finish your drink.

-Lastly and most importantly, if any player can identify me in the crowd at a game in Nashville, he/she may dole out as many seconds as he/she pleases.

Penalties:

The Jonas Hiller Rule: If a player loses his/her balance, he/she must remain on the floor for the remainder of the period.

The Nashville Rule: The player with the fewest teeth may introduce any rule he/she chooses during games in Nashville.

The #DanEllisProblems Rule: The player with the most money in his/her wallet at the start of each game may sit in the worst seat available.

Prediction: Ducks in 7; Blackout in Nashville

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