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Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Ovechkin’

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.

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…

Sid Vs Ovie 2010: No Hockey Rivalry Rivals the Crosby-Ovechkin Battle.

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

 

***Heading into their Olympic quarter-final showdown both touted as their respective country’s top players, I thought I’d relaunch my Sid vs. Ovie blog that I previously posted for another site.  While the latest chapter may not be have the gold medal on the line, for Canadian fans, it might as well be in the “do or die” situation we’ve found ourselves in.  Enjoy!*** -SDC

There are battles of Alberta, Summit Series’, and “Magnificence” vs “Greatness”; but is there an NHL rivalry greater than the current individualistic battle between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin?

The two phenoms entered the league as at least respectful rivals of each other. Prior to their simultaneous NHL arrivals, they had only ever competed against each other on the international stage, playing for Canada and Russia, respectively.  With cameras and tape recorders rolling, making campy NHL commercials and delivering birthday cakes at the NHL All-Star game together slowly morphed into on-ice physicality and off-ice verbal sparring.  Welcome to the business of “selling” the new NHL to the American market.

It’s a protagonist-antagonist scenario that seems to be inspired by Vince McMahon himself.  In one corner, you have the abrasive, exciting, inimical Ovechkin; equipped with infinite energy and a talent level he must have exchanged his soul for, hailing from Mother Russia, a country that, according to Hollywood, produces more bad guys than perogies.  His opposition, the humble, hard-working, and traditional Crosby; hailing from Canada, playing and interviewing the way the Canadian hockey heroes of the past did before him.  Of course, as the NHL panders to the North American market, it’s easy to portray Crosby as the “good guy”, though Ovechkin, Federov, and every other Russian NHL star has been adorned in their homeland.  Most Canadian fans would likely admit that there’s Russian NHL’ers that are better than Canadian NHL’ers, but they’d feel like they were betraying their country if they ever uttered it publicly.

Forget all the media hoopla; shouldn’t the NHL be sending royalties to the parents of Sidney and Alexander for deciding to have children that grew up to capture the attention of their entire audience?  In the ongoing battle to

Happy Birthday, Shanny!

procure American advertisers and cable network broadcasters, the NHL can count on at least Penguins and Capitals games as easy ratings sells; providing that Crosby and Ovechkin are in the lineup.  Did anyone care about the Capitals before Alexander the Great?  A team with no Stanley Cups, and nothing more than a conference championship in 1997-98, former Hart and Art Ross Trophy Winner Jaromir Jagr couldn’t even make hockey exciting in Washington.  All of a sudden, the Verizon Center has sell-out crowds, and the team is a contender.  Ovechkin plays with a wreckless abandon that has resulted in a kneeing suspension, but what is coach Bruce Boudreau going to do with his star, bench him?  Tell him to ease up?  Come on.  The Penguins at least got to pair Lemieux and Crosby together in 2006, but the Steel-Town had been pretty dismal since the back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1990-92.  Sure hockey’s a team game, but to suggest that the individual ability and rivalry of Crosby and Ovechkin isn’t largely responsible for the teams’ success and the league’s rising interest, is naive.

The 2008-09 playoffs were an absolute treat to watch, and many people would point to the Pens/Caps Eastern Conference showdown as a highlight, as well as an indication of who would/did become the eventual Cup winner.  Fans got to see Sid and Ovie go at each other for seven consecutive games rather than once a season, and they got to see both players at the top of their respective games; Game 2 featured both players notching hat tricks, and Sid’s 13 series’ points and Ovie’s 14 equaled the highest single-series point total since the 1995 NHL playoffs.  It was awesome.

Penguins win the series 4-3, and the “evil” Ovechkin, was banished back to Russia (well, Washington), screaming promises of revenge (actually he wished that the Pens win the Cup, but just work with me) while he was being dragged away. Meanwhile, the “heroic” Crosby was adorned on a mountain top, cape waving, a dark curl dangling from mid-brow (just above his perv-stache), all while giving an interview where he characteristically puts over his opponents, commenting on how well they played, and not giving himself any selfish credit. Wouldn’t it have been great/justified if he had finally just snapped, either after that series or after winning the Cup, and said, “YOU SEE?!?! I AM BETTER THAN HIM!!”

Ovechkin wins rookie of the year, Sid’s named the youngest captain in history.  Sid wins the Art Ross and the Hart, Ovie wins the Richard and Pearson awards.  And so they dance.  We’re still waiting to see what Ovechkin’s equal to Sid’s Cup win will be.  Alexander’s pursuit of a championship, Sidney’s defence of his, and their continued rivalry will continually be fun to watch, and is easily the best rivalry in the NHL today.  It’s Canada vs. Russia, tradition vs. new school, team vs. team, and man vs. man, all wrapped into one ongoing showdown.  Their 2010 Olympic showdown will be the latest chapter, and perhaps the most exciting for fans thus far.  It’s one thing to have the hopes of a whole city on your back in the case of an NHL team, but entire countries?  If the NHL can’t sell that to Americans, then tearing fans away from the baseball diamond and football field for the hockey rink is a fruitless endeavor anyways.

 

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