Friday, December 7, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Sunday night, Vancouver lost 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild, and I can't say as I'm terribly disappointed in our guys; it was a great game between two very talented and capable teams. What does disappoint me is the level to which they allowed themselves to be drawn into penalties throughout the game. I'm too damn poor to be able to watch my Canucks play ($160 just to watch online, jeesum crow, being an aficionado of any sport is becoming the purview of the rich, but that's another topic for another post and another day), so I listen to the games on Team1040 online, and hence, don't really "see" the action, but from what I could hear it sounded like we fell into some fairly petty penalty draws.
Also, watching the highlight footage after the fact, I could have sworn I saw the Wild commit several penalties for which they were never called on...hmmm. Maybe I'm just a biased, die-hard fan, but that's what it looked like to me.
I'd give 3:1 odds for the Canucks in a rematch with different officiating. What really gave the Wild a perceived advantage was the seven bloody power plays they had against us, and I certainly think there was slightly biased officiating Sunday night, possibly originating from the fight between Cowan and Foy just three seconds into play.
The defeat certainly would have been a great deal more sound were it not for Luongo, who stopped 28 shots on goal (with our boys only managing 20 shots on goal, even with Luongo pulled for the final minutes of the game).
When all is said and done, however, this was not a resounding defeat for the Canucks, rather, it was a learning experience.
If this were my team I coach playing Sunday nights game, we would definitely give more polish to our defensive game, but really begin to work towards an even more successful penalty-kill strategy. Above all that, though, it seems to me from a coach's point of view (however inexperienced that POV may be) that there needs to be some psychological conditioning happening now, along with the superb physical conditioning the team already receives. Hockey is an emotional game, probably more so than any other out there, and when we let our emotions rule us too much during play we begin to act outside of our team strategy; we focus on "getting" the other guy, or getting ourselves so fired up or tense that we mishandle routine situations during game play.
Anyways, there's my very amateur take on Sunday's game.
Our boys play Chicago on their ice Wednesday night with some time to rest up before.
I'm confident that if Vancouver sticks to their defensive guns and avoids pulling stupid penalties, Wednesday's game will be a repeat of these two teams' last encounter.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Roberto Luongo again validated my belief that he is, indeed, one of the best damn goalies (if not the best) in the NHL.
I mentioned in a previous post that it's entirely possible for a goalie to carry an entire hockey team; well, we definitely see that from Luongo. Not that the team plays badly, mind you, but Roberto picks up more than his share of slack when the team is having a bad night; when the team has a good night, playing to their full potential, shut outs like these past three occur.
If our beloved Canucks continue to play on this level, not only will they guarantee themselves a playoff position but will be serious contenders for Lord Stanley's Cup.
If they keep playing the way they have been, they'll definitely deserve to be there in the finals, and I have every confidence that Markus Naslund and Roberto Luongo can lead them there.
Head Coach of the Canucks Alain Vigneault said of Luongo, "We all know what he means to our team. In the third, our guys I think understood what was at stake and they buckled down. We're playing well defensively but when we're not - the first period against Anaheim (also 15 saves) and second period tonight - the goalie is real good." source
And here's a great big F**k You to all those fans who booed Luongo during the earlier games this season. Get a life, fracking bandwagon junkies.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
No, dear constant readers, I am still alive and kicking and working hard towards my goals.
Several things have happened since I last posted, most of which are for the better.
Aside from being back in school this year, I've also decided to take up playing ice hockey again and get my fat ass back in shape; I miss the slim, fit and strong me I was four years ago. I've been hitting the gym at work on a regular basis and eating better foods. I've noticed only a little change so far, but taking it off is much harder than putting it on.
As I mentioned, I've decided to jump back into playing ice hockey. There's an adult rec league here in the valley that offers different levels of experience ranging from novice to expert (I'll probably have to start my fat ass back down on the novice level, because I've lost a great deal of the skill I developed as a young man).
Back in October I went over to my parent's place an dug out my old hockey gear. I used to have two sets, one of which was rather old, but my father sold one of the sets while I was in Canada. Thankfully he sold my old-an'-busted gear instead of the new stuff I bought my senior year.
I pulled all the pads and accessories out to make sure they still fit; shoulder pads, elbow pads, helmet, and knee pads all fit. The trousers were the only things that didn't fit anymore, and chances were that I'd never fit into them again, no matter how much weight I lost. Hey, everything else fit, and that's better than a stick in your eye, eh?
I went to try on the skates...and, well, there were no skates. I searched through all the little places my folks store things to no avail; I did find my dad's old skates that he's only used once or twice in the last decade, and my little sister's hockey skates my dad bought her a few years ago, but my nice new Bauers were nowhere to be found.
So, I supposed, I would have to put off playing in the rec league a while until I could save up for another pair. Oh well. One more goal to work towards I suppose.
Well, as it happens now and again, life had a pleasant surprise in store for me; I received a nice bonus check from my company that came along with the promotion I'd recently received, and my wife donated $100 to my gear fund (that was, of course, my Christmas present for the year, he he). I was in business...so I thought.
I looked up my old haunt for hockey gear, Skate n' Score, that used to be run by one of my old coaches from high school, and found that it's no longer there; it is, in fact, no longer anywhere. Hmmm, that was odd, it was an extremely successful business if I remembered correctly.
So, then began me research into a new place to buy gear locally. I didn't want a used pair of skates, because used skates are already broken in on another foot, and that can get uncomfortable (especially with my mutant Fred Flintstone feet). On top of that, skate technology has come so far over the last decade that losing my old skates, as expensive as they were at the time, was probably a blessing in disguise. Most skate boots made now are constructed out of a special material that, when heated in a special oven, can be custom formed to your own foot. This drastically reduces break-in time. For leather skate boots, the break-in period was between 6-8 hours of ice time, depending on how much different your foot was from the generic skate boot shape. Now, break-in periods are as short as three hours of ice time. For someone who's feet and ankles are already in shape, that's simply a long public skating session at the rink.
Long story short, I found a couple of places not too far away from home; The Player's Bench, which is a large North American chain store, and another mom n' pop operation just down the street from it called Breakaway Hockey.
I checked both places out. I wasn't terribly satisfied with the service I was receiving at Player's Bench, though their prices were acceptable, so I went over to the mom n' pop place, which was literally just a hole-in-the-wall establishment hidden behind a few well known businesses.
The fellow who operates this store was very service minded, and worked hard to find me a skate that would suit my needs. It also turned out that he knew two of my coaches from high school; Al Weidner, who still lives two doors down from my parents and who I still see from time to time, and Gary who used to operate Skate n' Score.
Turns out, I learned from this gentleman, that Gary passed away last year of a heart attack.
This old fellow at the store gave me a rather generous discount on my skates, and allowed me to use my old trousers and my dad's old skates as trade-in credit, even though he doesn't usually deal in used gear. He also gave me a good discount on a new pair of CCM pro-grade trousers.
So, I finally had a complete set of gear, now to look at rec league...uh oh, clashes with my school schedule...rats. Just one more incentive to bust through school I suppose. Oh well, there's always drop-in games at the ice sheet, eh?
Well....as it happens again, life had one more little nice surprise in store for me.
My boss at Parks and Rec Adaptive contacted me and, as he knew of my love of hockey, asked me if I wanted to be an assistant coach for the sledge hockey team. And not only would I help coach, but I would be suiting up and strapping myself into a sledge to play and get experience too. I was going to be getting paid to play hockey...dream come true, eh? Hey, who cares if I'm only getting paid a paltry hourly wage to play, I was going to be getting paid to play. There's a word for that, and I think it's "Awesome."
I've also decided that I'm going to start saving for a set of goaltender gear, too. I played goalie in high school for a few games when our goalie busted his arm, and though it was the most difficult position I'd ever played, it was one of the funnest as well. When I get into rec league hockey, I'll probably go in as a goalie, because they're in demand more and have more opportunities to play. Besides, one can only be a fan of Roberto Luongo for so long without wanting to be a goaltender one's self (by the way, here's a big shout out to Luongo for shutting out the Anaheim Dorks on Tuesday!!! Awesome, dude!)!
So, anyways, dear constant reader, that's just a little of what has been going on in this little life of mine. I promise I'll be a little more consistent in the future.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Well, it's been an awfully long time since I've posted here.
Quite a bit has been happening since my last posting.
My little sister finally had her baby, a wonderful 7lb 9oz little girl.
I went back to school to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Computer science.
I bought a new bass, and have been thrashin' on that for a while.
The band I was with decided to disband without telling me.
My buddy who's been the drummer in most of my bands since middle school found a guitarist that he jives with well; now if he can only find some time to get away from work long enough to jam...
I haven't been to Lodge in months, and I feel shitty about that, but what with school happening at the same time of day, it's tough to do both.
My daughter Elena turned two on May 6th, but we've been full-swing into the "terrible twos" for almost the entire year now.
I've resolved to get my fat ass back into shape (at least a shape other than round....lol).
Bought a new set of hockey skates, and dug out my old ice hockey gear from my parents' basement with the resolve to get into a league (ok, that happened a little late to get into a league this season but there's always summer league).
I tried to put a hex on the Anaheim Ducks for beating my Canucks last season in the playoffs, but it didn't seem to work very well.
I don't care what anybody says, I still say "Slap Shot" is one of the funniest damn movies ever made ( "puttin' on the foil!").
I got promoted to Account Manager a couple of months ago, which means I don't have to be into work at 5AM anymore, I get my own office, and a (slightly) heavier paycheck. I also work twice as hard...
I'm gonna stand fast behind my Canucks no matter how bad they do this season, however, I don't think they'll do very bad at all this season, despite a long list of injuries and a few other challenges. Roberto Luongo seems to have found his niche with Vancouver, and to be honest, there are times when he's single-handedly carried the team through rough spots, but I guess that's what one does when one is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL.
The wife and I have decided for sure that we're emigrating to Vancouver within the next five years. We're sick and tired of the bullshit and the melodrama, we're sick of lobbyists and corporate special interests that drive our cost of living up but return little to nothing. Life in Canada was better, easier, more affordable, and healthier, so I'm going back.
I know that's not all that 's been going on, but it's pretty close.
I'm also going to try to get back into doing the "My Favorite Canadians" series as well.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
I've decided to highlight some of my favorite Canadians in a weekly or bi-weekly series called "My Favorite Canadians."
This week we'll have a look at Canadian hard rock band Rush!
Rush is a Canadian rock band comprising bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. Rush was formed in the summer of 1968, in the neighbourhood of Willowdale in Toronto, Ontario, by Lifeson, Lee, and John Rutsey. Peart replaced Rutsey on drums in July 1974, two weeks before the group's first U.S. tour, to complete the present lineup. Since the release of the band's self-titled debut album in 1974 Rush has become known for the instrumental virtuosity of its members, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, and individualist libertarian philosophy, as well as addressing humanitarian and environmental concerns.
Musically, Rush has changed its style dramatically over the years, beginning in the vein of blues-inspired heavy metal on their eponymous debut to styles encompassing hard rock, progressive rock, a period dominated by synthesizers and, more recently, modern rock. Rush has influenced various modern artists such as Metallica, The Smashing Pumpkins and Primus, as well as many notable progressive metal bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X.
Rush has been awarded several Juno Awards and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Over the course of their career, the individual members of Rush have been recognized as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments with each member winning several awards in magazine readers' polls. As a whole, Rush boasts 23 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records, making them one of the best-selling rock bands in history. These statistics place Rush fifth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band. Rush ranks 76th in U.S. album sales according to the RIAA with sales of 25 million units. Although total worldwide album sales are not calculated by any single entity, as of 2004 several industry sources estimated Rush's total worldwide album sales at over 35 million units.
The band is currently promoting their latest album, Snakes & Arrows. An intercontinental concert tour began June 13, 2007.,