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Posts Tagged ‘Sidney Crosby’

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, Sports, and Non-Sense: These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things….

March 31, 2011 4 comments

Ok, first some shameless self-promotion…. I’ve been published! Like, in a real newspaper! “The View” in Lake Country will be printing my stuff every two weeks, both in ink and online. Here’s a link to the first one. If you live in the Winfield/Lake Country area, be sure to pick up a copy and have a gander. Check out their website too, and follow them on Twitter.

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Ok, some hockey…..

Wish as you might, you're no Gretzky's.

As much as I hate the Vancouver Canucks, I do have to be objective from time to time, and give them their due. They’ve had an unreal season. The Sedin’s are running things. Can you imagine how many points Daniel would have had last season, had he not gotten hurt? Nearly comparable to what Sid Crosby might have ended up with minus his concussion this season. That ‘C’ might even have ended up on his sweater, rather than Henrik’s. Well, enjoy your President’s Trophy win. And remember, that award is for REGULAR SEASON accomplishments. If you’d forgotten that the playoffs are a whole other world, I’m sure a first round meeting with the Blackhawks will jog their memories pretty quick.  For the past 2 seasons, the President’s Trophy winner has lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs (Bruins, Captials), and it has been a curse to many other winners too.  Vancouver residents, have you purchased your 2011 riot protection gear yet?

Also, Alex Burrows leads the NHL in all-time most “what, no call?” looks at referees.

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Speaking of Crosby…this is out of line, but it’d be funny if his returning to the NHL now because Mario Lemieux told him if he didn’t play again, he’d have to move out of his house and get a real job. Luckily for Sid, he’s been out of Mario’s for a while now. Supposedly.

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"Say you're sorry, Mark!"

I don’t get why a respected veteran like Mark Recchi would say something stupid like a guy with a fractured vertebrae was embellishing. He said it was to take some heat off of Zdeno Chara after the Pacioretty incident, but I mean come on man, that’s pretty low. Those who argue his “veteran savvy” in diffusing a volatile situation can’t possibly compare what Recchi said to Gretzky showing up at Marty McSorley’s trial and drawing the media to the front of the building while Marty made a slick escape out the back. This is more like Chara did something regrettable, so Recchi went all topper, and said something stupider than Zdeno actually performed.  Just seems unnecessary, unclassy, and disrespectful, especially coming from a 2-time Stanley Cup champ, multi-time all-star, and future hall-of-famer.  Whatever. The Bruins slaughtered the Habs in the rematch, and basically just pwn them all around now.

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TSN’s Oilers documentary, “Oil Change” seems like it was named with wishful thinking. They’re still awful, just like last year. What is it exactly, that changed? I’d still like to see more of this and HBO 24/7’ish NHL programming next season; and as I’ve mentioned before, it’d be unreal to shoot a show like this in the Cup finals.

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Sports Shorts….

With the baseball season underway, go ahead and try to justify why MLB teams need to play 162 games a season. No really, go ahead, I dare you. Can’t do it? Shocking.

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I loved this little quip from President Obama on the NFL labor dispute, especially the little smirk at the end: http://youtu.be/-x9NDSxGV90  Figure it out NFL.  Or your fans may be forced to endure a “New NFL“, too.

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Is it just me, or does Andy Roddick seem like he’s trying WAAAY too hard to be the John McEnroe of this generation of tennis, verbally? I guess pro sports are entertainment after all; I’m sure sports not included in the “big 4” need to try a little harder to compete for viewership and advertising/merchandise sales.

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Annnnnd, some non-sense……

I’ve purchased 3 Tim Hortons’ Roll-Up The Rim To Win Cups, and had one winner (coffee), leaving me with a .333 winning percentage. Could be better. But then again, it could be worse, and I could be addicted to coffee.

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If you can’t pay your debt to the mafia, and they break your legs, or whatever, does that clear your debt, or do you still owe? Do they keep breaking more things until your cough up the cheddar, or does the bodily harm cover it?

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If we all collectively start ignoring Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, & Justin Bieber, will they all go away and disappear from conversation?

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Piers Morgan is the worst interviewer on TV. And of all-time. Someone make him go away. Who thought he’d actually work out as a follow-up to Larry King?

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Scream 4? Come on….seriously? They actually thought it was a good idea to make another one of those?  The Arquette split must’ve been more expensive than either David or Courtney realized it would be.

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Instead of going on detox diets, why don’t people just not-tox in the first place? Wouldn’t that save a lot of time, pain, and money?

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Is it just me, or do most minimum wage jobs require a lot more actual, physical work than most high paying jobs?

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Whomever ended up with 555-5555 as their phone number must regret accepting those digits.

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The band Rush, to me, is as rap music is to my dad: Bothersome noise. Turn that crap off!

 

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.

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!

Best. Olympics. EVER: Final Thoughts on Vancouver 2010.

March 1, 2010 2 comments

 

I’m pretty sure I’m going to need some Olympic detox.  Withdrawals are surely on their way.  I was hyper-tweeting on twitter, and my blogs reached record outputs (and hits!).  A few of my readers were concerned I’d never return from Olympic themed blogs.  So, with the intention of moving back to various topics, here is my last Olympic blog… for now.

Sidney. Freaking. Crosby.  I could watch that “Golden Goal” (as announcer Chris Cuthbert called it) on loop for, probably ever.  I heard one comparison already of that goal to the likes of the Paul Henderson goal in the ’72 Summit Series, and the Gretzky-to-Lemieux Canada Cup goal, and I have to say I agree with the alignment.  It really was one of those goals that you’re going to always remember where you were and who you were with when it happened.  It didn’t matter if you were a hockey fan, or even ever played hockey once in your life – if you are Canadian, you were excited.

And wasn’t that the spectacle of Vancouver 2010?  All of us Canadians were excited, everywhere; seemingly all the time.  Not just in Vancouver; not even just in Canada.  Every living room, every pub, bar, airport, restaurant, Tim Hortons’, basement suite, townhouse, apartment, mobile home, rancher, bus, plane, car, city street, or any other dwelling place across the globe that displaced Canadians were currently occupying went absolutely bananas when they saw on their TV or computer, or heard on  their radio or phone that Crosby’s shot went in.  And it wasn’t just during that game; the jubilation and camaraderie really lasted throughout the entirety of the 17 days that were the 2010 Winter Olympics.  There was video evidence from various cities from the East Coast all the way across the country to the West Coast of Canada; from Kandahar, Afghanistan to LAX; of Canadians loving every moment.  I got to experience a few events, and even sported car flags on my vehicle (2 lost due to accidental window roll-downs, and one to manufacturers defect).  And who could forget the red Olympic mittens?  I had my pair.

We cheered and applauded, and/or got a little teary every time a Canadian earned a medal.  Was there a better back-story than Alexandre Bilodeau drawing inspiration from his disabled brother and winning Canada’s first gold medal at home?   We loved seeing giddy Marianne St-Gelais and Charles Hamelin win their medals and embrace.  Who could keep their composure after Joannie Rochette won her bronze just days after the death of her mother?  Canadian males everywhere grunted as Jon Montgomery screamed in victory, and guzzled a pitcher of beer.  We couldn’t stop from singing “O Canada” in the curling rink, and causing non-traditional delays.  The stories go on and on.  And as I referenced already, when Crosby went five-hole on Miller, silenced the fear of loss, and Canada triumphed over the US, and took the overall gold medal lead and set the all-time Winter Olympic record, well, is it of any surprise that IOC President Jacques Rogge was “boo’ed” when he announced the games were officially closed?

Our hearts broke every time one of our athletes told us they felt like they let us down.  Skeleton’ist Mellisa Hollingsworth, and cross-country skiier Devon Kershaw both broke down in tears as they fell short of the medal podium, and Jeremy Wotherspoon capped is career off still without an Olympic gold medal.  Through them wearing their hearts, pride, and passion on the sleeves of their Canadian uniforms, we not only forgave them (we were never mad at them), but we embraced them.

We rallied together anytime negative and irrelevant criticism was thrown our way, and retaliated in a civil way, if necessary.  We defended ourselves in, probably, a most unexpected manner.  When foreign newspapers and other media outlets tried to point out all our shortcomings as hosts, we accented our strengths, did our best to clean up our messes, and kept on waving the Maple Leaf and breaking into spontaneous street-hockey games anywhere and everywhere, with anyone who wanted to join in.  From the time the torch reached our shores from Greece and paraded to every corner of our country, to the time the flame was extinguished and started its journey to the next host, we were a team out there.  Even our Prime Minister placed bets on u

IOC President, Jacques Rogge, assessed Vancouver 2010 as “excellent and most friendly”.  Perhaps in part from being Canadian and watching Canadian broadcasts, my spectrum of the games were quite partisan.  But in all honesty, compared to any other Olympics I’ve seen from any previous year, Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Games were the best. Games. Ever.  Many have said Canada forged itself a new identity, and put some swagger in our step.  Some say it was there all along.  Whatever it is that we’ve become as far as a united nation, I hope we never forget it.

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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