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Why Canadians Should Be Cheering For The LA Kings To Win The Stanley Cup

June 4, 2012 1 comment

[originally post for www.betonhockey.com on May 30/2012 ]

[click here for the 2014 LA/NYR SCF version of this post]

There’s a big fuss being made over the fact that, for only the second time ever, an American captain will be hoisting the Stanley Cup for his team first at the conclusion of this year’s playoffs. While it is an interesting statistic, it seems that the same people that are so concerned with captaincy nationality are uninterested in discussing the birthplaces of each of Dustin Brown and Zach Parise’s teammates that they are leading into battle; and less interested in talking about where the coaches that these captains are taking orders from, originate.

We should examine the origins of the remainder of each team’s roster to see exactly where our nationalistic allegiances should be strewn. Let’s do that now.

LOS ANGELES KINGS

The active roster of the Los Angeles Kings features 25 players – 15 of them are Canadian, 7 are American, 2 are Russian, and 1 is Slovenian. Add 1 Canadian if you count head coach Darryl Sutter. The Kings have more Canadians in their lineup than the Ottawa Senators, and as many as the Vancouver Canucks – the only two teams based in Canadian cities that made this year’s playoffs.

Representing Canada (60%): Jeff Carter, Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser, Simon Gagne, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Dustin Penner, Mike Richards, Brad Richardson, Jarret Stoll, Kevin Westgarth, Justin Williams, Drew Doughty, Willie Mitchell, Jonathan Bernier (Darryl Sutter).

Representing the USA (28%): Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, Scott Parse, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Rob Scuderi, Jonathan Quick.

Representing Europe (12%): Slava Voynov, Andrei Loktionov, Anze Kopitar.

Assessment: Predominantly CANADIAN.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

New_Jersey_Devils_BetOnHockey.gifThe active roster of the New Jersey Devils also includes 25 players – 7 of them are Canadian, 7 are American, 4 are Swedish, 3 are Czech, 2 are Russian, 1 is Ukranian, and 1 is Lithuanian. Add 1 Canadian if you count head coach Peter DeBoer.

Representing Canada (28%): Steve Bernier, Eric Boulton, David Clarkson, Adam Henrique, Travis Zajac, Bryce Salvador, Martin Brodeur (Peter DeBoer)

Representing the USA (28%): Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta, Cam Janssen, Zach Parise, Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Peter Harrold.

Representing Europe (44%): Patrick Elias, Jacob Josefson, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Petr Sykora, Dainius Zubrus, Adam Larsson, Henrik Tallinder, Anton Volchenkov, Marek Zidlicky, Johan Hedberg.

Assessment: Predominantly EUROPEAN.

CONCLUSION

If you’re basing your team allegiances upon the nationality content of each team, here’s how you should focus your cheering:

If you are Canadian, and want to cheer for Canadian players, you should be cheering for the LA Kings in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals.

If you are American cheering for Americans, it’s your choice.

If you’re European cheering for Europeans, you should side with New Jersey.

[click here for the 2014 LA/NYR SCF version of this post]

Mission (Actually) Accomplished.

May 1, 2011 1 comment

I don’t often give praise to the US, but I gotta hand it to them right now.  Well done, America.

The Sting of Silver: a 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship Wrap-Up.

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Ahhh…. the first blog of 2011. Let me start off by thanking all you readers out there; viewership and interaction continues to climb every month, so thanks for tuning in! It’s been fun trying to keep your brains entertained and your interests’ piqued; I hope you’ve been enjoying new things like the video blogs, and with any luck you’ll keep coming back for more and bring your friends with you.

Anyways, enough mushy stuff. Some big hockey related events to chime in on, so lets get ‘er goin…

**************

Obviously the World Juniors ended in disappointment for Canada. It kinda bugs me a little that even at the U20 level, Canadian hockey players have nothing-less-than-the-best expectations placed on them. Now with 2 consecutive silver medal finishes, you know that Hockey Canada is going to re-evaluate the entire Canadian development program, and cue up some ridiculous overhaul project that is far from necessary, to see what it’s going to take to get back on top of the world.

It’s too bad that losing at this game sends our country into such a panic about the state of “our” game. The more that we do this, the more I inch to agreeing with the notion that we do have a bit of a status/superiority complex about this game of ours; if we’re not the best in the world at hockey, then Canadians from all walks of life seem shaken to our foundations, and our stumble is all any of us can talk about until we eventually redeem ourselves with another victory down the road (see: 2010 Olympics). The NHL has spent the better part of this decade trying to sell our game to the US television audience, as well as the global one; and the pace at which the world has caught up to us has been well documented since at least a decade prior to the 21st century. We really shouldn’t be astounded that other countries are good at hockey (or at least, that we’re not always going to be the best), and that other countries winning once in a while is probably a good thing for the game of hockey as a whole.

Perhaps if we had more sports that we as a country laid deep claims and dominance to, we wouldn’t be sent into such a tailspin everytime losses like this happen (much like the way the US and Germany generally dominate most of the events at Olympics, win a majority of them, and don’t bat an eyelash at slip-ups because there’s enough victory to go around). But then again, you’ll think I’m a bad Canadian if I suggest that notion, so disregard the last two paragraphs.

I mean, 2nd in the world just really ain’t that bad from any other perspective than the one of the nation that holds claim to inventing the game, and coined catch phrases like “The drive for 5”, and other catchy rhymes related to winning championships a whole bunch of times, often in sequences. But as Major Junior hockey gets more and more exposure every year, and specifically the players who compete in this tournament, you begin to see that a good percentage of these players are indeed NHL bound (Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares, Shea Weber, Marc-Andre Fleury, etc etc…), and maybe the increased pressure of having a planet-sized microscope on them isn’t such a bad thing from a preparation standpoint, as it’s likely pretty close to what they’ll continue to experience in the next phase of their hockey careers.

chin up kid, you beat a freaking Gretzky record.

This year specifically, I think of Brayden Schenn. As always, Nike made a commercial campaign that stirred me like no other company can, and pretty well made me want to buy all the training gear that was being used in the commercial because of the emotional connection made to the players and the game. They had Luke Schenn speaking about how he and his brother, Brayden, have been neck and neck in accomplishments all their lives, with the exclusion of Brayden winning a gold medal at the WJC’s. And now, all we have left to assume is that Brayden has failed; which is insane, considering the fact that during this tournament, he tied a personal record set by Mario Lemieux for most goals in a game by a Canadian player (4), and surpassed Wayne Gretzky’s most points by a Canadian player record (18). I’d say anytime you can draw even or pass guys of that magnitude, failure is far from a correct descriptive term for you. Though as a big brother myself, it’s always good to have a leg-up when you can get one, especially with siblings that competitive  🙂

On a comedic-interlude side note, I loved the Gord Miller-Pierre McGuire back-and-forth that saw Gord Miller getting what sounded to be genuinely frustrated with McGuire’s stubbornly ludicrous commentary; in particular after an icing call that neither couldn’t let go of their differing opinions of for a number of whistles worth of banter. People who know me know that I think Pierre needs to have his microphone “malfunction” more often than it does; most of me wished that Gord had finally snapped once and for all, and gave Pierre a good throttling right there in the booth. The audio would have been priceless.

Canada in the (Americans') houuuuuse!!!

For Canadians to be proud of:  We have the best fans in the world.  Have you ever seen a road team’s fans fill an opposing team’s home arena like the Canadians did?  Particularily astounding was the overbearing amount of Canadian fans present for the US-Canada game.  The team I played for in college regularly had more fans in opposing rinks than the home team did; and to have that 7th man support at anytime, especially on the road though, is a priceless,special kind of x-factor momentum swinger that truly can make the difference by the end of the game.  Of course, I never played in front of a supportive road crowd of the magnitude that Canada had, but I’d like to think I had a parallel experience on a much smaller-scale .  The States should be embarassed; that’s their house, they should have supported their team better.  Also, we beat the US, which is always good, and it was nice to avenge last year’s loss to them. 

In the end though, you just can’t give up 5 goals in a period, especially in the third period, and double especially if you go into that third with a 3-0 lead. I mean, that’s just inexcusable. It’s tough to say it was unexpected, considering how many come from behind victories they put up through the tourney. Hats off to them for doing it though. If Canadians can take any solace, maybe it’s that the Russians are stuck in Buffalo until they sober up.

Glass-Housed Stone-Slingers: Return Fire for Foreign Olympic Criticism.

February 22, 2010 9 comments

So many Olympic thoughts running through my brain.  After watching it on TV EVERYday  so far, and even going to Vancouver to see a few events, I gotta say I’m really enjoying the Olympics overall.  I don’t think I’d be

from the CURLING preliminary match I went to.

 wrong to say that most Canadians are as well.  Have you ever seen spontaneous  jubilation in streets, or random outbursts of “O Canada” at curling matches before?  Unreal.  Truly something special; whether you’re viewing from afar, or are there to experience it in person.

Most people internationally would likely say the same thing as well.  Unfortunately, there are a few members of the American and British press who want to rain on everyone’s parade by labelling Vancouver 2010 as the “worst games ever”. 

Sure, the weather hasn’t been ideal; but events have continued, and medals have been awarded.  Sorry we forgot to import the weather machine that does our meteorological bidding.  Our courses are too hard?  The competitors are the best in the world at their sports, right?  Should we make

best Canadian celly so far.

them easier for everyone?  Sorry for training on our own tracks a lot; didn’t know that was such a bad thing.  The world doesn’t like our “Own The Podium” program, where we give more money and training opportunities than we historically have to our Olympic athletes in hopes of them winning a lot of medals?  Oh, sorry, should we just go back to being a mediocre sporting nation for everyone else to roll over like they used to?  What we gave our competitors is still nowhere near that of other nations, and hey, it’s not even working out THAT well for us so far, so chill.  We’re doing alright though, and no one here is going to be less proud of our athletes for any reason.   

A malfunction in the Opening Ceremonies?  Um… whoops.  We swear they were working in practice.  Some people thought the flaming icicles looked like male genitalia, or drug paraphernalia?  Well, think what you want, but be careful what indigenous people you vocalize those opinions around.  No one can get close to the flame?  Hey, they’re working on it.  I got a few good pics; I’m not complaining.  The US beating Canada in men’s hockey?  Wait, that’s Canada’s complaint.  Blame it on the goalies when things go squirrely, right?   

And the death of Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili; well that was simply a tragedy, nothing else.  That track has been ridden countless times safely, and it’s a very unfortunate and sobering example of just how dangerous that sport is.

So England and America, oh yee dwelling in glass houses and flats; how did your prior Olympic Games hostings turn out? 

London’s Olympic Games in 1908 saw England piss off the Finnish, Swedish, and USA by not displaying their flags at the Opening Ceremonies.  Finland decided not to march, and Sweden left all together.  The Americans were then asked to “dip” their flag to the Royals, which they outright refused.  Solid international relations, England.    

The USA’s Games hosting tenures haven’t been “squeaky clean” either.

Atlanta’s 1996’s Summer Games were considered over-commercialized, had a highly criticized Olympic Village and Opening Ceremonies by spectators and athletes alike, and… what else, what else…. OH YEAH, there was a BOMBING that killed 2 people and injured 111 others.   

Salt Lake City’s Winter Games of 2002 were marred by a bribery scandal (all-expense-paid ski trips, scholarships, Super Bowl trips, plastic surgery, deals on real estate, jobs for family members, and cash for IOC delegates from the Utah bid committee)  to bring the Olympics to Utah which saw several IOC members expelled, and others resign.  Allegations of foul play in figure skating judging saw scores and results reviewed and medals re-awarded.  Suspect refereeing in speed skating DQ’ed a Korean, and angered that entire country to the point that the Olympic website crashed from the overload of threatening emails sent to them over the result.  Russians threatened to go home after they felt they were unfairly accused of doping in cross-country skiing.   

Los Angeles’ Games of 1984 were boycotted by 16 countries.  In LA’s 1932 Games, President Hoover became the first head of state in Olympic history not to even show up at the event.  The 1904 Games in St. Louis became a sideshow of The World’s Fair, and lasted four and a half months. 

Now, all that to say to the critics look, we know things have been going wrong.  We’re working on it.  No one said Vancouver 2010 was going to be perfect.  And let’s be honest, everyone throwing stones at us right now has got plenty of skeletons in their own closets from when they tried to host the Olympic Games previously.  Can we at least agree that it’s a rather dubious task?   And London, you get them again in 2012, so you better be expecting an earful the second after the first thing goes wrong.  I’ll take a few unseasonably warm days in Whistler over any of those other issues any day.  There’s just so much good to be taken from these Games, maybe we can all just quit pointing fingers at our follies and just enjoy our athletes rising above the childish media behavior?      

I think US Men’s Hockey Team GM, Brian Burke, said it best with this earlier quote in response to the criticisms of Vancouver 2010:

I think that’s bullshit.  I’ve been to four Winter Olympics. This is the best one I’ve been to in terms of organization. You’re going to have glitches in an event this size. With this many people, logistical things with multiple venues, you’re going to have glitches. I don’t know why people are whining about it.  I think it’s been extraordinarily well run — again, this is my fourth one so it’s not like I’m a novice. I think they’ve done a marvellous job here. I wish people would quit bitching about it.”

Man, for a million reasons, I wish Brian Burke was Canadian.

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