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My Annual “Canucks Choke” Post — 2012 Edition!

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s such a beautiful thing. And you can count on it like clockwork. The Canucks are gone — 2012 edition!

As far as I’m concerned, Jarret Stoll’s probably done nothin’ for nobody (probably not true), but after this goal, he need not do anything again. His one shot cashed the cheque the LA Kings’ twitter wrote on April 12, “To everyone in Canada outside of BC, you’re welcome.”

Let’s see that, just one more time:

So who’s fault is it this year?

For a more in-depth/objective analysis by me of the LA/VAN series, click here for my article at betonhockey.com

 

Hockey Talkie: Status Report on the NHL’s Long-Term Front-Loaded Contract Signings

December 16, 2011 1 comment

[Originally post for betonhockey.com on December 6/2011]

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?

Win Vancouver Canucks Tickets, Free Shipping Day, Pong Cell Phone & Tablet Cases

December 10, 2011 1 comment

If you win, you'll probably get to see these two decide who's going to let in the most goals that night.

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.

http://www.cultureinvancouver.com/sweepstakes/

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.

Learn more at www.tourismvancouver.com and  www.cultureinvancouver.com

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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.

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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.

[Guest Post] 2011 Round 2 NHL Playoff Drinking Games: 2nd Round’s On Me

April 29, 2011 2 comments

Hi Folks, Sorry for the hiatus.  My wife, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew and I all took off to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for a little Easter vacay.  After being removed from all english-speaking media for nearly a week, I came back to see that my LA Kings got bounced, Vancouver nearly blew their 3 game lead and went to 7 with the Hawks, somehow the Predators are in the 2nd round, and I think some other stuff happened too.  A lot can happen in 7 days I suppose.  Big shout-out to the hotel bar for getting SkySports and showing a few select playoff games.  Other than that, it was surprisingly easy to be cut off from my phone, computer, email, facebook, twitter, blog, etc for a week.  I suggest everyone give it a try sometime.

MOVING ON…. I’m pleased to bring back guest poster, Peter Nygaard (aka @RetepAdam on Twitter) for 4 playoff series’ worth of suggested supplementary drink-along material for you to enjoy the second round with, after the popularity of his first installment.  Continue to, or begin to Follow Peter on Twitter for coverage, analysis and whatever else throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.  He occasionally tweets for @FVSports , so pop by there too.

Enjoy!

SDC

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Well, that was quite a first round. Between the 14 overtime games, bitter rivalries and countless subplots, the most exciting aspect of the first round was that it was once again a scoretacular affair. For the second straight year, goals came at a clip of nearly six per game in the first round, and there were nearly twice as many games that featured 7+ goals as there were games with less than three. In the context of this column, what that means is that everybody who participated in the First Round Drinking Games got schwasted. 

Yet, somewhere amidst the belligerent stupor, I discovered a newfound ability. My knack for predicting events such as Alexandre Burrows’ series-winner has become so apparent that I’m going to go ahead and say that it borders on precognition.

That’s right. I’m saying I’m psychic.

But I’m not going to lure you in with claims of knowing how the future will unfold, only to turn on you, my loyal reader, and demand a sum fee for a display of my powers. No, I will be giving away these babies for free. So, throw out your Magic 8 Ball. Make chai out of your tea leaves. Sit back and enjoy as I give you a little glimpse of the future.

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(1) Washington Capitals 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 announcer mentions Alexander Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos in the same sentence, take a drink.

-If the fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning have won a Stanley Cup while the Washington Capitals remain Cupless makes you laugh, take a drink.

-If that same fact makes you cry on the inside, finish your drink.

-If somebody in the room mentions Dwayne Roloson’s name, “The Rock Rule” goes into effect. The first person to successfully pull of an “IT DOESN’T MATTER” doesn’t have to drink while all other players must finish their drinks.

-If Sidney Crosby’s name is mentioned for no apparent reason (i.e. in any context other than discussing Tampa Bay’s first round series), take a drink.

-If the Lightning make some sort of weak pun on their team name as part of a home crowd motivator, take a drink.

-If Mike Green makes an excellent defensive play, pour a drink into your gaping, wide-open mouth.

-If you’re listening to the game at such a high volume level that Washington’s home goal siren causes your neighbors to call the cops on you, finish your drinks on the go.

What the Future Holds…

-After two years of Bruce Boudreau not following John Tortorella’s lead, Capitals alternate captain Mike Knuble will finally take matters into his own hands by skating up to Ovechkin during a break in the action, ripping the ‘C’ off his jersey and placing it on his own.

-“Seen Stamkos?” is no longer used mockingly to refer to the Tampa Bay star’s scoring drought, after he breaks out with a multiple goals in the first three games of the series, and reverts to its original meaning of asking Tampa Bay citizens whether they’ve seen him play. The answer remains a resounding “No.”

-Versus and NBC take every opportunity to show the Flyers-Bruins series instead of this one, leading most fans to not really have more than a vague idea of the series score, just like both of the teams’ first round series.

Prediction: Capitals in 6; Toasted in 4

 

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(2) Philadelphia Flyers vs. (3) Boston Bruins

Rules:

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

-Returning favorite: If the Philly crowd boos (or cheers for Boucher in its own particular… idiom), take a drink.

-If the Flyers blow a lead of any sort (game, series, whatever), take a drink.

-If you’re watching on NESN and the announcers homer up the Bruins, take a drink.

-If the Stanley Cup is mentioned, drink two seconds if you’re rooting for the Flyers; drink three seconds if you’re rooting for the Bruins. One second for each decade since either team has won it.

-To counteract the media hype for this series, after the clinching game, finish an additional drink for every game short of 7 that this series ends.

 

What the Future Holds…

-Every journeyman goalie ever will watch this series and daydream about what might have been.

-Fed up with Tim Thomas’ continued resurgence, Tuukka Rask will convince team brass to trade Thomas to Philadelphia in exchange for Keith Van Horn.

-After the series ends, Chris Pronger will tearfully reveal his puck-collecting addiction on the most-watched episode of Hoarders to date.

 

Prediction: Bruins in 5; Friggin’ hammahed in 2

 

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(1) Vancouver Canucks vs. (5) Nashville Predators

Rules:

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

-If “Alex Burrows” and “hero” are said in the same sentence, take a drink.

-If it even appears like Alain Vigneault is considering replacing Roberto Luongo in net with Cory Schneider, take a drink.

-If a Preds player complains about the lack of focus placed on them this series, take a drink.

-If a Canucks player isn’t exactly sure where Nashville is, finish your drink.

-If a game in Nashville gets canceled due to inclement weather, develop a greater understanding of what living here’s been like for the past year and change — and finish two drinks.

-If, by contrast, Vancouver seems like the nicest place in all of North America to live, take a drink. (Note: Having been there, it does.)

-If you live in an area where Versus isn’t part of the television package (for instance, the Vanderbilt campus), drink until the Grizzlies game looks like the Preds game.

 

What the Future Holds…

-The losing goalie in this series will not win the Vezina Trophy. Also, the winning goalie in this series will not win the Vezina Trophy.

-After struggling to hold Hart Trophy frontrunner Corey Perry in check last series, Nashville captain Shea Weber will have an equally difficult time stopping Daniel Sedin, to the point where after the series ends, he will swear that there are “two of him out there.”

-After reading that last joke — another one in the tired series of twin jokes — you will probably just skim the next section and scroll down the pick.

 

Prediction: Canucks in 5; Iced in 5

 

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(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (3) Detroit Red Wings

Rules:

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

-If the Sharks miss Evgeni Nabokov, take a drink.

-If the Red Wings miss every playoff goalie they’ve had in the past decade not named Jimmy Howard, take a drink.

-If San Jose fans take a page out of the Detroit playbook and throw a shark on the ice for good luck… that’s freakin’ awesome.

-If Detroit is a man down, drink for every second Darren Helm holds the puck.

-If a member of your viewing party is named Joe, he must be referred to as “Little Joe” for the rest of the series, as “Big” and “Jumbo” are already taken.

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

-If Detroit’s home goal song gives you the urge to break out your old Jock Jams mix, take a drink.

 

What the Future Holds…

-With yet another impressive playoff performance, Johan Franzen overtakes Ray Finkle as the most famous athlete to be nicknamed “The Mule.”

-Joe Thornton will rest on his laurels as playoff hero and not even bother to show up for the rest of the series for fear of diminishing that reputation.

-After making this series pick, I will proceed to be sick with myself.

 

Prediction: Red Wings in 6; Regretting it by tomorrow

Sports Shorts: MJ-Favre, Shootout Trophy, Kings Colors, Goalie Chirps, and the Commonwealth Games Snub.

October 27, 2010 9 comments

 

 

Before (good) & after (not as good)

To me, it seems that the most recent incarnation of Brett Favre (that is, the Minnesota Vikings version) seems a lot like the most recent playing incarnation of Michael Jordan (Washington Wizards edition); both former superstars in their prime (Jordan best basketball player ever, Favre arguably one of the better quarterbacks in recent history), now playing in/beyond the twilight of their career, playing for an obscure team not likely of much success, putting up decent enough numbers to say that they’re contributing, but not in a “championship contender” kind of way.  Oh, and they both danced the retired/unretired/retired/unretired-legacy endangering sonata, with Mike finally bowing out, and Brett (supposedly) finally winding down after this year as well.  I know it’s gotta be hard to leave the game for a lot of different/mostly selfish reasons; it’s all they’ve ever done, all their friends are doing it, what else would they do, they’re really good at it, winning championships is fun, self-worth and identification, etc.  But I think the mark of a really great player in any sport is being good enough at it, and earned enough respect through the years to be granted the ability to leave their game on their terms.  Too many players who’ve had good careers abuse this right, lose the privilege, and are eventually told there’s no longer room for them (Mike Modano), or are told just to leave altogether (Chris Chelios).   Not that Modano nor Chelios possess the legacy in hockey that Jordan or Favre do in basketball or football, but you get the point.       

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How is there still not a side points bracket for shootout goals/saves in the NHL?  With such a pivotal interlude in the game that literally wins or loses games, you’d think the people responsible for the results could get some sort of recognition.  Their stats don’t need to count towards Rocket Richard or Vezina Trophy balloting, but why shouldn’t there be a trophy for most shootout goals in a season?  Or shootout saves for that matter?  The best rookie (Calder), defenceman (Norris)/ a forward ”being good at defensive aspects” (Selke), and most gentlemanly player (Lady Byng) all get one and have their acheivements recognized; you’re telling me the guy responsible for winning the most games in the season shouldn’t get something?

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Before (underrated) & After (looking sharp)

I have to admit, I like the retro LA Kings jerseys; they might even be my favourite throw-back uniform so far.  I think the purple and gold look better than they get credit for, and I also think they got way too much heat for looking bad back when they were the starting jerseys.  Also, nice work on the brown pads, glove and blocker.

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A few goalie chirps… how many 2nd chances on how many different teams is Jose Theodore going to get to be good again?  How long before the lustre/protection of a Vezina/Hart Trophy win in 2002 wears off? 10 years max?

Can you imagine if Cory Schnieder bumped $64 mil Roberto Luongo out of the Canucks’ starting goalie spot?  Lu should be careful with his “the team decided to give Schneids the night off” comments, they might just come back to haunt him, pemanently. 

I’m secretly cheering for Carey Price (not the Habs, just Price) to have an awesome year and shut everyone in Montreal up.  He’s got it rough playing in front of that kind of heat (Habs fans).  Obviously the fans wanted Halak to stay, and no one blames them.  Price getting traded probably would have been the best thing for him, but alas here he is.

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Speaking of heat, with all the hubbub about Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh over the summer, the Miami Heat pretty well have to win the NBA title this year if they’re going to show their faces in the league after this season, right?  Ok, good talk. 

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Do the Commonwealth Games seem a little snooty to anyone else?  54 countries are invited to participate, while at the Olympics, 200 are invited.  Do the results not seem a little skewed when you only compete against ¼ of the world’s sporting community?  Sure it’s nice to win stuff and be better than other people at sports, but I wouldn’t have too long of a parade when I get home for winning one of those medals.  Tough to brag much about winning when athletes from countries like China, Russia, Germany, and the USA aren’t invited or anywhere near the premises.  Congratulations, you beat competitors from a bunch of other average nations at this event….        


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