Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: All these things that I've done

Lately there's been a lot of pessimism among Habs fans, myself included. I'm usually as optimistic as I possibly can be about sports, so this is kind of strange and new to me. But 2011 wasn't the easiest year I've seen in my brief time so far as a sports fan. It started out well enough - I worked on my 2010 year-in-review post in sunny Florida. Unfortunately, vacations (like all things) come to an end, players get injured, games are lost, and sometimes the worst happens.

I'm trying not to think of 2011 as the year where [insert bad thing that happened]. So many other great things happened this year that I'll be happy to remember:

I went to my first-ever football game...
And my first-ever basketball game...
Where I got to be on the Jumbotron - which is every sports fan's dream, right?

Despite my lack of athletic prowess, this was the year that I tried to play a sport. (I was bad at it, but that's okay because I'm proud of myself for trying, and golf isn't really that great of a sport anyway.)

At one point this year, I owned T-shirts for teams in all 4 major North American sports teams. (And I probably still do, but one of them has gone missing.)
Maybe I should up that number to 5, now that soccer is increasing in popularity and the Impact are joining the MLS and have snazzy new uniforms.

This was the year I met Ken Dryden, Yvon Lambert, and Chris Nilan.
And Michel Lacroix.
And Hal Gill, sort of.
This was the year that Jonathan Toews looked at me.

This was the year that I went to my first playoff game - and while I sniffled and coughed through the whole thing, I booed the Bruins as much as my sore throat would allow.
This was also the year that I screamed so much at a hockey game that it gave me a sore throat.
This was the year I got to see Bell Centre celebrity Logan win "fan of the game."

This was the year that I got to be a bet commissioner on live radio. (But not a slap bet commissioner - the stakes were too high. I would have been responsible for Moe Khan getting slapped by a CFL player, and there's no way I'm mean enough to do that.)

This was the year that I started a Twitter hashtag that started trending, and became so popular that even famous people got in on the fun and newspapers wrote about it.

This was the year that I saw the Stanley Cup. And yeah, maybe I kissed it. But that was in April, when it belonged to the Blackhawks, so it's okay.
This was the year that I found out what it's like to be a Habs fan in Toronto. But that was in April, before the Leafs started getting their act together.

This was the year that the good guys won the Super Bowl and the NBA Championship.
This was the year that the Florida Panthers stopped being where NHL players go when they've been bad.
This was the year that Saku Koivu returned to Montreal as a hero.


Even though Mick Jagger had already told me, this was the year I learned that you can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.
Happy 2012, everyone.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 Things I Liked This Year

This is a really lazy year-in-review (a better one is forthcoming), what with all the "real" blogs and journalists making very specific Best Of lists and actually ranking things. Still, all that matters is that there were things worth liking this year, regardless of what some pessimists would have you believe. In no particular order:


MTL Stand Up by Annakin Slayd - We couldn't ask for a better song about being Canadiens fans.

P.K. Subban's hat trick - We knew he had it in him. No matter what anyone says or how many shutouts followed, that game against Minnesota was brilliant.

Bruins athletic trainer Don Del Negro helping the Habs staff while Max Pacioretty lay on the ice and everyone at home wrung their hands - so much classier than any of us would have expected.


HBO 24/7 - both seasons of it, since there's some New Year's overlap. Everything about the show is beautiful.

Cameo by Brent Musburger. Sports!
Happy Endings - I probably rave about this show a little too much, but think about it... None of the actors or the creator had really anchored a show before, and the biggest star in the cast when it premiered was Elisha Cuthbert. (No way did I ever expect to love, or even watch, a show with Elisha Cuthbert on it.) But the show grew quickly into a quirky, hip, hysterical comedy that eclipses its lead-in Modern Family.

Nicki Minaj - This really was a 2011 thing, because I paid NO attention to her at the end of 2010. Then as soon as 2011 started, as if by magic, Nicki was everywhere I turned: her songs were on the radio, she was great on SNL, I heard her songs during sports games... Heck, she's got her own line of nail polish. Everything about Nicki is genuinely crazy, and I wouldn't want it to be any other way.

Vancouver citizens cleaning up their city after the riots.

Hal Gill - what's not to love? He adds some much-needed size to the team, has blocked approximately four thousand shots this year, made us laugh on Twitter, and was a fantastic Movember team captain.

Arcade Fire - winning a much-deserved Album of the Year Grammy (haters be damned) and performing for free at Place des Festivals. Can they have a free show at Place des Festivals every year?

Scandals of Classic Hollywood - a semi-regular feature on The Hairpin, which I could read over and over and over again. I'm linking to the Elizabeth Taylor story, but they're all great. So gossipy and so educational!

The NHL Mean Girls hashtag on Twitter - hysterical. It combined two things that I thoroughly enjoy, and there was an entire part of Twitter's hockey population that didn't get it. Poor them.

The year was full of surprises, most of which I'll probably elaborate on in my next post. What did YOU like this year?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Plus/Minus: The most wonderful whine of the year

Hockey was kind of frustrating, and there was a holiday to celebrate, so this Plus/Minus is a little erratic. Then again, what isn't erratic about Habs Nation these days?

NICE

+ Jerome Simpson's flip (and perfect landing) is the coolest thing I've seen since... last week, I guess, when Al Montoya jumped over Petteri Nokelainen.
+ San Francisco 49er Braylon Edwards gave $10, 000 scholarships to 79 college students. That's about equal to the salary that he made this season. Amazing.
+ Basketball is back!
+ Scratching P.K. Subban, even though the team lost to Winnipeg, was a good call. The poor guy needed his rest, and will probably benefit from the perspective he got by watching the game instead of being on the ice for half of it.

+ I've been thinking for a while about how sports fans tend to let their love for a team supercede other things, and if being one of those people makes you a good fan. So Dave Stubbs tweeting "Life is what matters, Habs and hockey are just a game" really hit home with me. And the girl who attended this week's Green Bay Packers game holding a "My Cheating Ex-Boyfriend Is Watching From Couch Instead" sign just made me laugh.
+ Christmas is about so much more than children and toys, but if you'll allow me a brief "kids and toys" moment: The little girl in this video is so adorable, and so right. I may have liked pink princess toys when I was a kid, but I still know exactly how she feels.



NAUGHTY (and not in a cheeky way)
On Wednesdays we wear pink
- Le Journal de Montréal continues to be pulpy, prejudiced, and just downright stupid when it comes to talking about hockey these days. Oh, crap, did I just write that in English? Désolée, J de M.
- Why on earth would one of the NHL's most lucrative franchises need to start selling ad space on its practice jerseys?
- ESPN's In Memoriam montage didn't include any of the hockey players that passed away this year? The only consolation is that hockey fans mourned them, and will continue to remember them.
- I know that fans are upset with the Canadiens, but there should be a limit to just how angry we (as fans) get with our own players and team. I wish there was a way for everyone to be angry without being ridiculous.

- First of two 24/7-related Minuses: Peter Laviolette was really frickin' upset with a game official when the Flyers were in Montreal last week. That happens all the time - but accusing him of being biased toward the Canadiens, and stupidly calling it "typical Montreal"? Can someone explain that to me? Laviolette knows that every referee makes bad calls, and that every team thinks that the refs are biased against them? And that, as far as I know, the referees work for the league, not the city they're working in that night?
- Second 24/7-related Minus: Why doesn't Jaromir Jagr want to eat lunch with Ilya Bryzgalov? Are we in high school again?

- Every player in the NBA looks like he forgot to shave his lockout beard. Why are all these lockout beards the same weird shape? Am I behind on the latest facial hair trends? Don't answer that.

Here's hoping that this year's World Juniors are as exciting as ever, and that Habs fans are even more rested than the players after Christmas break.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, everyone


Graphic from Pucks and Pixels
I hope you all get whatever makes you happy. Tell your families that you love them, and tell your hockey players that you won't give up on them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Everything slightly outdated is new again

News recently broke that MTV is reviving Punk'd, and that Ashton Kutcher will be back to produce.
No, I'm completely serious. No, I have no idea why.

Anyway, it's true that in Hollywood, everything old is new again. And in the case of the Muppets, it's a good thing. (Sidenote: I am so happy to have the Muppets back, and that "Which Muppet are you?" quiz I took a few years ago on Facebook was accurate.) 

But now, it seems that everything slightly outdated is also new again: what with the X-Men prequel that I have yet to see, the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movie coming out this summer, and the now-cancelled Charlie's Angels series that was probably atrocious, and whatever they're going to do to Buffy, and this Punk'd reboot, which had better get Justin Bieber good.

So what else was popular less than 15 years ago but more than 2 years ago, and thus probably needs to make a comeback?

Boy bands: The world needs more boy bands. How are we supposed to find tomorrow's movie stars if they're not cheesy boy band singers first?

Ocean's Eleven: Not the Rat Pack classic with the awesome voices and questionable representation of women. The remake of it is what needs a remake. I mean, seriously, the cast is great but Bradley Cooper isn't even in it.

All of those crappy Kate Hudson movies: Are just begging to be remade as crappy Katherine Heigl movies.
But McConaughey is irreplaceable
Britney Spears: is played out, right? Oh, wait, that's why the world has Ke$ha and Lady Gaga. (<3 u, Ke$ha!)

Xena, Warrior Princess: is going to get re-made into a movie, possibly starring Zoe Saldana. If this actually happens, all (three) of my readers owe me an iced coffee beverage.

The Matrix: Maybe with sequels that make sense this time.

Firefly: Six seasons and a movie, most likely starring Liam Hemsworth as Mal.
Good luck, Liam Hemsworth
CSI: Are those still on?

Armageddon: Now that the US doesn't really have a Space Program anymore, I guess this one will never see the light of day.

Ashton Kutcher's desperate attempt to be P. Diddy's best friend: The only thing that changes is that he now goes by "Diddy."
Have fun, Ashton.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Plus/Minus: Happy days

I wanted to sleep in past 10 on a Saturday morning, but then my phone exploded with Habs news. It looks like Pierre Gauthier and I are on different work schedules, which is okay because at least this time he didn't trade for a former Bruin.

PLUS
+ Congratulations on your first NHL goal, Louis Leblanc! Please do not rest on this laurel. We need goals.
+ Hal Gill scored a goal! Confession: I cheered louder for his empty-net safety goal than I did for anything else during that game.
+ I may not like the Flyers or the Rangers, but I'd watch a full 22-episode season of 24/7 if they made one. The production value is astounding. I'm convinced the editors don't sleep. The show is compelling, and somehow both honest and cinematic at the same time. I love a good hockey game and a good documentary, and often people who watch one won't see the value in the other. But the consistent greatness of 24/7 changes that.
+ Jimmy Fallon's episode of SNL was the best of the season so far. Even the unfunny sketches were funny!

MINUS
just because.
- What happened to Erik Cole during yesterday's game against the Devils? He spent more time in the penalty box than anywhere else.
- The Los Angeles Kings hired Darryl Sutter as their coach. The Sutters are part of the reason why my interest in the Calgary Flames waned. The other reason was the Kings. Now I don't know what to do with myself.
- What on Earth did T-Pain do to one of Lily Allen's prettiest, most honest songs?

SPECIAL COACH-RELATED PLUS AND MINUS
+ I'm not one to celebrate a man losing his job, but the Jacques Martin system has run its course. The team wasn't winning any more, and Jacques didn't seem to care. At all. So he was replaced by someone who's got some experience working with the team's younger players, and who has just a little bit of crazy in his eyes, and I think that this is going to be for the best. Even though I should probably stop calling him Richie Cunningham.
- Oh, and within two hours of Cunneyworth getting hired, the language issue was brought up. I understand that translating takes time, and that it makes things inconvenient when you're a journalist trying to break a story, but it's not the end of the world. So please, certain media outlets, save your passive-aggressive negativity for another time.


There is no way that the upcoming week can be as busy as the last few weeks were. Right? The coach got fired, so what could possibly be left? Playing the Bruins, Blackhawks, and Jets? More gum-flapping about Randy Cunneyworth not speaking French? Christmas? The fact that I haven't wrapped any gifts and will probably spend a whole lot of time at work this week?
Everything's cool as long as this team keeps winning.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Plus/Minus: It's a mad mad mad mad mad world

Just when you think things can't get any crazier, they do. I'm pretty sure that there's some kind of universal law about that, no? If there isn't, can we name it after me? 

PLUS
+ No matter, what, the Habs' yearly children's hospital visits always get a Plus. The players have so many roles to play, and sure, sometimes they don't have their best game, and sometimes they spit a few clichés at beat reporters and call it a night, but playing the part of a sick little kid's hero? That's not the kind of thing you can do easily, and you can't just coast through it or fake it. These guys step up every year, and the kids love them for it.
+ Congratulations to Frédéric St. Denis on his first NHL goal!
+ Angry Josh Gorges.
+ It hurts to congratulate a goalie you play against, but both Curtis Sanford and Roberto Luongo were great in their shootout wins over Montreal this week.
+ That being said, no one can deny just how important Carey Price is to this team. I don't even want to think about where the Canadiens would be without him. He's every bit as talented and composed as he needs to be - any more would just be gravy.
+ Last Monday, in a game against Phoenix, Jonathan Toews did everything that you could possibly want a star forward to do.
+ As a TV fan, I believe that a good Christmas episode should have you in stitches and/or tears, preferably both at the same time. My TV comedies were great at that last week: especially How I Met Your Mother and Parks and Recreation with the tears.
+ Taran Killam's recreation of Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend" video: pure hilarity, and proof that the people on SNL are funnier than you think they are.

MINUS
A week ago I'd have thought this was Photoshopped
- I’m kind of glad that Madonna being announced as the Super Bowl halftime performer wasn’t the biggest sports story of the week. Way too much whining about this as if it were a problem. It’s not a problem. There are two kinds of people in this world: people who like Madonna and people who lie.
- Sure, Spacek was an inconsistent, goofy, injury-prone big lug, but he was OUR inconsistent, goofy, injury-prone big lug. I wanted to keep him.
- Pierre Gauthier and Jacques Martin tried awfully hard to spin the Kaberle trade to appease Habs fans. I would have preferred honesty over blank praise. I know it's never going to happen, but I still kind of wish it would.
- Is it terrible of me to think that maybe Sidney Crosby wouldn't be out of a roster spot again if he hadn't started playing again when he did? People thought that his recovery was some kind of a miracle, and the greatest thing in sports or something. And I hate to Grinch all over it but maybe he was rushed back too soon, by doctors who may not have known that it was too soon, and maybe this just proves that we don't know enough about brain injuries.

- I have no idea what would motivate Pat Hickey to write such terrible things about Theo Fleury. But to think that he actually thought, and wrote, and then actually submitted these things for print is just awful. I can't even put it into words.

- If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen yesterday that I got mad at someone who made a rude comment towards me. I'd like to elaborate a little on that. I maybe got a little too angry, and tried to stoop to his level. In the words of Bob Gainey: "When you're being bullied, if you don't stand up for yourself... who's going to?" I'm sorry if the way that I expressed myself seemed immature, but I was upset, and I will never not be upset when someone tells me I can't or shouldn't do something just because I'm female.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chin up, Habs fans

So the Habs just lost two games in a row. In shootouts. To goalies who, logic would argue, are not better than our goalie.

It sucks. But if you think that the games against Columbus and Vancouver are the worst things you've ever seen... You obviously haven't watched the trailer for the new Three Stooges movie.

I'd link to it... but, just trust me on this one.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Plus/Minus: no self-portraits here

Judging by what's been popular on the Internet this week... My male readers (if I have any) are probably upset that I'm fully clothed as I write this, and that I wear my jerseys as the hockey gods intended, not hacked beyond recognition into a tiny censor bar of a dress. Um, sorry? Can I make a couple puns to make up for it?

PLUS

+ Erik Cole flew Louis Leblanc's parents to Anaheim so that they could attend their son's first NHL game. If that isn't a Plus, I don't know what is.
+ Josh Gorges didn't shave his mustache as soon as the clock struck midnight and the month of December started. He must have known that Movember is my favourite time of year.
+ Carey Price saved his team's ass against the LA Kings AND hammed it up in a hysterical All Star Game campaign video.
+ Now-former Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice left a note for Kirk Muller, wishing him the best of luck and complimenting the team. It takes a lot of class to do something like that.
+ Saku Koivu still has nothing but great things to say about his days as a Hab. I feel the same way.
+ Ryan Jones hat trick, or something. I guess it's because of the hair.

MINUS
It can't be because of the picture, why, no!
- Are we done talking about Paulina Gretzky? Apparently, if your dad is the greatest hockey player of all time, you can be a newsmaker just by tweeting a few cleave shots. (Seriously, a newsmaker.) It's almost like men are surprised that she's hot, because they didn't know that professional athletes always marry pretty girls, and thus their children have a good chance of being attractive. Also, is this really what happens every time some yellow-haired girl posts pictures of herself online because she's desperate for attention? ...On second thought, don't answer that.

- Los Angeles Kings: I love you, but get your asses off of my goalie.
- A three-game suspension for Max Pacioretty's hit on Kris Letang is a little harsh. I doubt every guy who hits another player in the same way is going to be suspended for three games.
- Everyone who gets mad at Andrei Markov for not being ready to come back yet, or who calls him a waste of money. Where's your loyalty?

We are now faced with our first mustache-less week. I'm not sure exactly how this is going to go. But so far, it looks like our Carey is just as awesome without his 'stache as he was with it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Plus/Minus will miss mustaches

The first boring game against the Bruins in a long time. Something or other in Carolina (I was busy buying peanut butter cups and accidentally making a terrible Caesar salad, which I didn't know was possible.) A DAYTIME game in Philly, what even is that about. And I'm not even sure what happened against Pittsburgh.
At least there was a lot of hockey this week, right?

PLUS
+ More than ever, Phoenix Coyotes property Andy Miele is a HIHW sweetheart. (It was awfully dusty at the exact moment I read that tweet, I swear.)
+ TSN Radio 990's Simon Tsalikis wrote a hysterically mean tweet lambasting the excitement surrounding Crosby's return. Most people didn't laugh at it, but Simon isn't the guy who wants to make people angry. He just wants to make people laugh, and I laughed, so mission accomplished.
+ A Plus to Travis Moen for his 50th career goal.
+ Josh Gorges leads the league in blocked shots.
+ Why am I so excited about the NBA lockout being over?
+ Saku Koivu scored a goal on his birthday.
+ Rob Riggle's guest stint on this week's Happy Endings was every kind of weird and funny. It looks like both he and Casey Wilson actually were better off being fired from SNL: they've found other ways to showcase their comedic strengths.


MINUS
You're right, Carey.
- The officiating in last night's game against Pittsburgh was just terrible. Bad calls all around, for both teams; so bad that even I noticed, which I rarely do.
- A few Penguins fans overexaggerated Max Pacioretty's hit on Kris Letang. I'm not going to defend the hit, but no person in their right mind could actually think that Pacioretty's hit was more malicious or did more damage than the one that put him in the hospital last season. Max Pacioretty is not a terrible person. Quit your whining.
- I feel like every sentence that starts with the name "Scott Gomez" ends with either "is injured" or "sucks." Can that change, please?

The Habs are California-bound. Is it too late to sneak onto that charter? I've been to the last two Habs-Kings games and I'd like to make it a three-peat, plus I need a vacation to take my mind off the end of Movember.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fantasy sports are still a mystery

Do you remember last season's Office episode where Erin finally meets Holly Flax, Michael's soulmate, and just does not understand why Michael loves her?

"I don't get it!"
That's how I feel about a lot of things. And, a few months after I was convinced to try it, I'm pretty sure it's how I feel about fantasy sports. (I haven't checked the scores of today's big NFL games or how my fantasy football team, When In Romo, is doing.)

Sure, I get to come up with lists and lists of pun-tastic team names until I finally pick one. And I get to pretend to hate people for a minute if they draft the goalie or the tight end I want, which I guess is fun?
And I get to decide on a draft strategy. For instance, almost every football player I chose had an awesome name (Jacquizz Rodgers is awesome on its own, and Kendall Hunter makes me think of Buffy). And I get to pretend I'm in charge of players... even though it would be much cooler to literally be in charge of Jonathan Toews. But I feel like the fun ends once the team's name and logo are chosen.

All I've really done so far in fantasy football is learn a few more players' names, and find out who's a good fantasy player. I haven't adopted any new players or teams as a result of fantasy football or hockey.  I'm worried that eventually I'll turn into that person who doesn't get upset when their favourite team gets scored on and says something like, "It's okay because I have Van Riemsdyk in my pool." Or that person who doesn't care how gorgeous that Jordan Eberle goal was if it wasn't assisted by Taylor Hall. People let their fantasy teams compromise their love of the game sometimes, and I just can't let myself do that. I don't get mad at my players when they get injured; instead I just think it sucks for them, because I picked them up expecting them to have a great season, and an injury is going to keep them from doing a job they love.

I'm also not really sure why it's fun. I decided to try fantasy football and hockey because so many people told me that it was fun. (Their exact words.) And I turned down a few offers to join even more leagues, so clearly lots of people enjoy this. Although no one but my brother has taken more than a minute to explain to me how it works... so, how fun is it, really?
So far, all I enjoy is winning. It's fun to win, especially during those weeks where I don't really "win" at anything else, but victories come as a result of pure luck. You can try and trade for the right players or set the right lineups, but ultimately everything comes down to chance. You put the same amount of effort into a win as you do a loss. No one likes losing at anything, but it's not like I really had any part in the loss.

I can only assume that most people are like me: They want to win at something, and that's why they keep joining fantasy leagues. But if there's anything I'm missing, please explain it to me, because I don't get it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Separated at birth?

My sister and I first noticed this a couple of years ago, and I don't think I've ever mentioned it on this blog before, but I need to share this. For two reasons, mostly.
1- The new Muppet movie comes out tomorrow.
2- There was an a Twitter-wide discussion today about who the best Muppet is, and poor Gonzo got a whole lot of hate.

So... THIS has never been truer:

They could be brothers!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Is IR a lie?

Today is a special day in hockey, because Sidney Crosby is the only player to ever return from an injury in the history of the NHL.
Or so everyone would have me believe, but come on, I'm not THAT clueless about hockey, and you're not all that kid I saw at the Hockey Hall of Fame blazing past the Gordie Howe jersey and through the replica Canadiens' dressing room, in search of a Crosby poster. (No, I'm completely serious. That kid exists. He actually said, "I don't care, I only like Crosby."

Anyway, what's up with all those other guys who have missed games lately? I did some sleuthing to find out what they were really up to:

Hal Gill: He's fine, he just needed a few days off to catch up on Terra Nova and jam to the new Florence + The Machine album.

Scott Gomez: Spent some time swimming through his money like Scrooge McDuck.

Ryan White: Filming a bit part in The Avengers, unfortunately has not convinced Scarlett Johansson to go out with him yet.

Andrei Markov: Disney World!
Marky's new practice helmet.

Mason Raymond: Designed a line of fancy back braces, for guys who just think they look cool.

David Perron: Did some travelling and found himself. Yeah, it took him a while. You can't trek through a desert in a day. He'll be back to the game as soon as he finishes doing all his laundry and checking his voicemail.

Ryan Miller: Will return to the game once his album drops.


But, unfortunately, we won't be hearing about all this because it's not as important or something. (By the way, everyone, guess who else is putting out a new album soon? Bruce Springsteen, the only boss we listen to.) I'm very happy that Crosby's healthy enough to be back and do more than make commercials, but I want to hear about other injured players too, you know? What's Ryan Miller's album going to be called?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Plus/Minus: Do the wave

I'm not quite sure what to say about a week in which Carey Price posts two shutouts but the Habs also lose to the Islanders. Life is full of surprises, I guess.

They see me trollin'...
PLUS
+ Erik Cole's trolling is hysterical.
+ Two shutouts, Carey. Unbelievable. I love my goalie so damn much.
+ Travis Moen. Goal. Again.
+ For the even rarer goals: A Plus to Paul Bissonnette for scoring his fifth career goal! And his mom was there! Probably the only time I won't be grossed out by a headline like "BizNasty scores with mom at game."
+ Drew Doughty's mustache.

+ Ironic that Glee's best episode of the season came after its worst. "Hot For Teacher" is easily one of my favourite musical numbers this season. And I don't usually do this, but I immediately downloaded the  Adele mashup.
+ I usually like my funny shows to be funny, but damn it if How I Met Your Mother isn't so damn good at the dramatic stuff.
+ The first two episodes of Once Upon A Time hadn't quite convinced me to love the show. But the third and fourth episodes most definitely have.

MINUS
He's a natural!
- For some reason, I'm not able to put Mason Raymond as a write-in vote for the All Star Game. Can someone please fix this? Voting for MayRay is an annual tradition for me.
- Jonathan Toews and Carey Price didn't make the Sexiest Man Alive shortlist? WHY I NEVER. ...Oh, wait, this isn't that kind of blog. Still, I am offended.
- I'm kind of upset that the Hamilton Bulldogs didn't win at the Bell Centre on Friday, but I'm more upset that their next game in Montreal isn't against the Marlies. It's on my hockey wishlist!
- I talked about what a mess this whole Penn State situation was last week. And now we find out that former coach (and octogenarian) Joe Paterno has been diagnosed with cancer, and without even thinking about it, popular opinion dictates that he deserves it. I don't care who the patient is, a cancer diagnosis is NEVER good news. Finding joy in someone else's misfortune because he had it coming shouldn't be popular opinion. I'm not taking anyone's side here. I'm just stating what I think is right, and you're all welcome to disagree with me if you'd like to.

- Eddy Palchak retired before I started watching hockey, and now he won't be around to tell stories about all the amazing things that the Canadiens have done. His passing is an unfortunate reminder that eventually, the Habs' golden history will be so far behind us that all we'll be left with are memories. Let's keep those memories alive, and do everything to support our team and have incredible stories of our own. Rest in peace, Eddy.


Oh, and this week Sidney Crosby is back or something, I guess.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Plus/Minus: Without y'all, I can't buy my Phantom

So maybe this team is scrappier than I thought they were. It's kind of inspiring: people count them out, and we all keep wondering what's wrong and if things will get better or worse, and then the Habs win. I need to learn to stop counting them out.

PLUS
+ The above tweet from Paul Bissonnette, who's a good guy once you get past all the girls in yoga pants and whatnot. (But if you'd rather just go for laughs, read Ron Artest's tweets about how much he misses playing basketball.)
+ Teemu Selanne dressed up as Batman for Halloween! How awesome is that? (I heard rumblings that one of our Habs also dressed up as Batman, but unlike the Coyotes, the Habs' Halloween pictures remain a secret...)
+ For those days when work never ends, and you think you should go to bed early instead of watching the end of the game, but you change your mind and Josh Gorges scores the overtime game-winning goal.
+ Travis Moen, you are scoring goals this season. And the team appeciates that.
+ Max Pacioretty needs to go to the All-Star Game. (See Minus for more on the ASG.)
+ Ryan Miller called Milan Lucic a piece of... well, you know. And while I'm not sure that that's sportsmanlike or whatever, it's hella entertaining and I look forward to quoting that sound bite and seeing it on SportsCentre Top 10s for some time.

MINUS
I thought I could trust him
- Does Carey know that PK was triple-low-fiving another goalie?
- I'm sorry, but I still don't know what a Scrivens is. Someone please explain, and make fun of me if you must.
- Hey, Flyers and Bolts: you know that playing hockey involves MOVING AROUND, right?
- I thought players had to play a minimum number of games to be eligible for the All-Star ballot. But Sidney Crosby is on it. So, can we just write anyone in? A locked-out basketball player? An actor who played a hockey player in a movie? Sidney Crosby's dad? Batman? LMFAO? Or how about my cat? They've all played just as many games this season as Crosby has. I encourage you to vote for my cat.

- There is literally nothing I can say about this Penn State mess that hasn't been said already, and especially nothing that can make this situation better. I don't know why anyone didn't realize that covering up child molestation is not only unbelievably wrong, but even worse for the school's future than taking immediate action. I don't know what could have motivated so many people to want to cover this up. I don't know why Joe Paterno didn't realize that this scandal could end his career, and didn't try to show some sort of remorse or accountability by retiring before getting fired. But I do know one thing: it's made us as fans think about what we may not know is happening behind the scenes, and that maybe our loyalty to a sport isn't the most important thing there is in life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Plus/Minus is not hiding out in the locker room

I guess I needed a few days off from hockey to stop squeeing with excitement at all of the winning. And to catch up on everything on my DVR.

Yes, that is where Scott Gomez goes when he goes to work
PLUS
+ I had a great time at the FestiFan today. I got to visit some areas of the Bell Centre that are usually off-limits to lowly fan-blogger-folk like me, and see the NHL tablecloth that goes under the Stanley Cup! (You may not know how much I want a tablecloth like that.) And Michel Lacroix told me I was prettier than the people who usually keep him company in the penalty box. Doesn't every girl want to hear that she's prettier than Zdeno Chara?

+ Andrei Kostitsyn might have to take up baking, because his haters need a plate of humble pie.
+ Okay, okay. I reluctantly give a Plus to Erik Cole because maybe he has a purpose.
+ Steven Stamkos scored a hat trick! Matt Duchene scored a hat trick! (So did a Bruin but whatever.)
+ Parks and Recreation has found the right balance of hilarity and heart. If the entire "End of the World" episode isn't proof of that, then you need to watch it - and the Halloween episode - again.

MINUS

- Rangers fans chanting "USA! USA!" at Madison Square Garden. Um, what? Why? Our captain is from the same place as your captain, and your goals (except for that BS empty-netter) were scored by Canadians.
- Terrible, terrible penalty calls in the game against the Rangers.
- I had to wait a month to watch Fox's Tuesday comedy lineup again... and I was kind of disappointed.

Can someone please help me find enough tea to calm down Czechtacular for the week, what with the Oilers and the Phoenix? She may go insane.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Plus/Minus: More treats than tricks?

So I saw a little kid dressed up as Wolverine for Halloween, and for the first time in two weeks I didn't think to myself that if superheroes were real, the Habs could really use one, maybe on the third line or something.
Because holy crap, the losing streak is over. Maybe our appetites can go back to normal.

PLUS
Feels so good to see a triple low five again!
+ 3 They won! Three games!
1/2 of a + The new sets that RDS built for l'Antichambre and for panelists during away games are great. It looks like RDS actually spent money on them, and we know RDS has money. (But I took away half of this Plus because that money probably came from putting ads on the glass.)
+ Raphael Diaz jumping in front of the net and blocking a shot? Brilliant.
+ To whoever decided to end the disastrous run of Carey's pink pads. I don't think I can take credit for this, but if you think the Canadiens listened to me, I won't stop you. Carey himself told Dave Stubbs that the choice to put the pink away "came from higher up." No one seems to know exactly who he means... but you can leave your theories in the comments!

MINUS
- The Bruins fan in Boston on Thursday who repurposed this sign:
and changed the Canucks logo to a Habs one, obviously. Do these people not know that there's an H inside that C, and that sCHared isn't a word?
- They fired Perry Pearn? I know you can't start a fire without a spark, but no one in this city actually believes that Pearn was the problem.
- So, Raffi Torres dressed up as Jay-Z for Halloween and there was a picture of it on the Internet and things hit the fan. It was ugly. Some people didn't think it mattered, or immediately came to his defense, some journalists got on their high horse as if they were the only person who knows blackface is wrong, and some people jumped to the immediate conclusion that Torres is an atrocious human being. And somehow, no one came to the conclusion that he's a person who did an offensive (and probably misguided, considering he should have thought about pictures of him maybe being on the Internet) thing. One Halloween costume might not actually mean that he's a racist, just like how a person who says one smart thing is not, by default, an intelligent person. Can we please look at this as an isolated incident in his personal life, learn from it, and move on?

On another note, today being October 31st means that tomorrow is November 1st, officially marking the start of Movember, when men will grow mustaches and raise money for prostate cancer research. And yes, just like last year, there will be hockey players taking part. (You may remember last year's NHL Movember post, which was so much fun to write. You may also remember Carey Price posting hourly shutouts every day last Movember, even when he was off the ice, because his mustache was that magic.) My All Habs teammate Bailey and I are collaborating on this Tumblr page about hockey mustaches. Check back throughout the month, and if you can, you should donate to the cause.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Habs v Bruins: Retraction

(Note: oh my word the Canadiens actually won a game. The amount of meals I've eaten since their last win is... actually, not that extraordinary, since I lost my appetite and was reduced to the non-mealtime stress eating of chocolate and leftover mashed potatoes. Not at the same time, of course. That being said, I am again proud of my team for doing what they do best.)

This summer, I wrote a blog post chronicling my reactions to free agent signings using pictures from Arrested Development.

I chose the wrong picture to express Benoit Pouliot signing in Boston. I should have gone with this:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Plus/Minus reaches for the Pinot

A week has passed since the last Plus/Minus, and the team has lost enough times to change my mind about this "all Plus" business. (See my previous post for foods that can help you deal with all this.)

PLUS
Can we send this in to Cute Overload?
+ I shouldn't condone violence, but Carey Price is the only Hab willing to stand up for Carey Price, so he might as well have given Nazem Kadri that little smack upside the head. (Yeah, I said it. I'm sure Leafs fans are going to start pelting rocks at me for it. Whatever.)
+ Congratulations to Hal Gill on his 1000th career NHL game, and can I again say that his family is so adorable. Also mad props to whoever in the organization decided to have his teammates give flowers to his wife and mother - so cute!
+ Congratulations to Mike Cammalleri on his 500th game, and to former Hab Ryan O'Byrne on his 200th game.
+ Josh Gorges scored a goal!! ...wait, what? They gave it to Travis Moen? Okay, fine, I guess Moen is still a goal-scoring machine.

MINUS
Yeah, so that Bruin is now a Hab
- Hamilton Bulldog Joe Stejskal got hit pretty badly this week.
- Brock Trotter came back from Europe... only to get traded away. Can someone explain to me what is happening?
- Ads on the glass, RDS? Are you freaking serious? I've always hated those, and hoped I wouldn't have to see them on a regular basis, but RDS didn't listen to me. What's next? Is Mario Tremblay going to change his name to Ford F-150?
- Two consecutive losses to the Leafs? It makes my heart hurt.
- People calling for Jacques Martin's head: Firing a coach isn't going to solve all the team's problems. I don't like him either, but pointing fingers isn't going to help us get through this.
- And a Minus to indulge the superstitious side of me: Someone take Carey Price's pink pads (even though the breast cancer awareness angle is incredibly thoughtful) and burn them. Sacrifice them like Carey did to Josh Gorges' stick a couple of years ago. PLEASE.

It's all right. Tomorrow is another day. They might win, they might lose... But the beauty of tomorrow is that we don't know, and that each new game is a chance at a new start. That's a Plus, right?

The way to a fan's heart

So maybe your favourite hockey team hasn't won a game in two weeks, even though they should theoretically have been able to whup at least one of those teams' asses. And maybe your team's coach is being an idiot, and maybe one of the players has made it public that they don't get along and you can't even pick sides in this feud because you're just so sick of both of them. And maybe like half the team is injured, and maybe the guys who are still on the ice seem nearly incapable of defending their own goalie. And maybe they traded away one of the only Bulldogs you still care about. And maybe one of your favourite players scored a goal, then had it taken away from him. And maybe they play four games in the next week and you don't even know how to feel about that.
And maybe your favourite soccer player is retiring.
And maybe your NFL team failboated until you decided you couldn't watch them lose another game and then they won.

Maybe your usual optimism isn't quite working out for you in light of all this.

Maybe you just need to stop thinking about sports and eat your feelings. About halfway through last night's game, I just happened to read a blog post about great foods for emotional eating. I should probably have read my friend Robyn's guide to being a gracious loser instead, but... food.
So, I'm making my own suggestions to eat these Habs worries away:

Ice cream and wine. I just saw a place on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives that made nearly everything into a flavour of gelato. You could go there and have Merlot sorbet and Parmesan ice cream. That's classy emotional eating. I'm sure Audrey Hepburn would approve. (Sidebar: Do you think Audrey Hepburn ever even tasted ice cream?)

Mashed potatoes. I literally ate all of the mashed potatoes and stuffing and mashed sweet potatoes that were left over from Thanksgiving. (Probably also some turkey.) Why mashed potatoes? You could put gravy on them. You can load them up with butter. Wait... why am I even trying to sell mashed potatoes? They sell themselves!

Shipwreck Dinner. It's a recipe I came across once, and it's the ultimate comfort food. (Even for a lactose intolerant loser like me.) Mac and cheese, beef, tomatoes, and more cheese? What's not to love?

Cool Whip and Oreos. Why not? Just the thought of last night's game makes me wish I had Cool Whip and Oreos.

Peanut butter cups. One of the foods that I think can make any problem seem smaller. For the minute or so that it takes to eat a peanut butter cup, it seems like chocolate and peanut butter are the only important things in life. Remember that Reese's commercial where they reminded you that there are 3 Reese cups in a package and 3 periods in a hockey game? They've lost 5 games. So, fifteen Reese cups it is.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have fifteen Reese cups to eat before the next game.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Not really a game preview: Habs v Penguins

So as you probably already know, Arron Asham of the Pittsburgh Penguins did this:



And as you may or may not know, I'll be contributing to the Habs 360 podcast about twice a month this season. This week, instead of just having my own segment(!), I stepped in as a guest co-host. In what was supposed to be an interview with a Penguins blogger discussing the team as a whole and not just this event, I may have gone a little too far. I'll let you decide:


Listen to internet radio with Chris G on Blog Talk Radio


The interview is about halfway through the podcast. I'm still terrified of the sound of my own voice, so I haven't listened to it again in its entirety.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Plus/Minus gets cut in half

So, the Habs are back home. And I'm so happy to have them back home that I've decided to not give out any Minuses this week. I know, I know, it's the blogging equivalent of a burger without fries, but we could all use a little less negativity. I might have reason to dole out some Minuses, but I won't. So, Plus/Minus this week is only Plus.

(Consider yourself lucky, Mike Cammalleri. I saw that suit you wore to the home opener. That would have been a Minus. You looked like Gatsby.)

PLUS
+ People cheering for Andrei Kostitsyn during the home opener!
+ Two Habs goals in less than a minute? Yeah, I'll take it. Even if the Habs did lose to Colorado.
+ Travis Moen is a goal-scoring machine. (And that right there is not words I ever thought I'd put together.)
+ The gentleman who wore a Gordie Howe jersey to the Bell Centre on Saturday. Howe was neither a Hab nor an Avalanche(?)*, but, there's no such thing as the wrong hockey game for a Gordie Howe jersey.
+ There was a slightly old-school vibe to the Bell Centre on Saturday night. Lots of organ music and the occasional old song? I know the Bell Centre is too new to have that kind of history, but I kind of wish I could have seen the days when hockey games were attended by people that could truly be referred to as ladies and gentlemen.

+ I hate to say it, but Jeremy Roenick's controversial comments about Sidney Crosby and the obsession with his progress (or lack thereof) were spot-on. Crosby will play when he's ready to play. Until then, there are literally hundreds of other players in the NHL who also exist, whose accomplishments, shortcomings, injuries and misfortunes could be discussed or written about.
+ Congratulations, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, on scoring a goal for each of your names.



TV + I love how every character relationship on Parks and Recreation works so differently, and so well. The Donna-Tom "Treat Yo Self" storyline worked so well that I now want to treat myself. (Czechtacular and I don't have the money to become cashmere-velvet candy canes, but we're gonna dip into the Hab It Her Way Manicure Fund and get our nails done. Treat yo self.) And I always like seeing Leslie and Ron interact. The characters just work so well together.
+ Probably the best episode of Happy Endings this season aired on Wednesday. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to sing along to "Torn" again.


I've been to two Canadiens games so far and it's only the week after Thanksgiving. That is a huge Plus.
Now, about that 100th win, Carey...

* What is the singular of "Avalanche"? Can I just call one of them an Av, or a snowflake, or what?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Plus/Minus wants more turkey

It's Thanksgiving. I've got a belly full of turkey and an excuse to write. That's what I'm thankful for. (I know, I know, nobody asked me what I'm thankful for.)


BETTER THAN EXTRA GRAVY
+ Jacques Martin wore a decent suit to the season premiere! What happened to all of his suits that were the same colour as broth? (Don't answer that.)
+ What a beautiful tribute to Rick Rypien from the Winnipeg Jets. I like that he was cheered one last time during the video montage, since the home opener was too much of a joyous occasion to expect fans to stay quiet for a moment of silence. That being said, yes, Winnipeg fans were just as enthusiastic as we expected them to be.
+ Travis Moen scored a goal? Travis Moen scored a goal!
+ Copy-pasted from the Calgary Flames' Facebook page: [Jarome Iginla] now passes Lanny McDonald in points with 1007, moves to 75th in the NHL's all-time point leaders list, and is now 15 goals away from 500.


+ 2 Congratulations to Anthony Calvillo on breaking the professional football record for passing yards. (More than Brett Favre!) And a standing ovation to the Alouettes for serving Thanksgiving dinner at a soup kitchen.

TV
+ Two of Fox's comedies won me over this week with dance numbers, and neither of them was Glee: First was New Girl, with a slowed-down chicken dance set to Phil Collins, and who doesn't love Phil Collins? (Don't answer that.) Second was Raising Hope, with a cute "slow dance to a fast song" moment between Jimmy and Sabrina.
+ Okay and Glee was pretty good this week too. I loved the focus on Mike Chang - it was the exact plot of every dance movie, ever, and yet didn't feel like a typical dance movie at all.
+ The local media was all abuzz when Pan Am premiered and Quebec girl Karine Vanasse was on TV.  This week's Pan Am proved that she was cast for a reason: she showed her character's emotional scars from World War II. Great performance.

WORSE THAN STORE-BOUGHT STUFFING
- So was there like a conspiracy to break Chris Campoli?
- The season just started, and the Canadiens have already lost Mike Cammalleri to injury for two weeks. Damn you, hockey skates, for being sharp! Get well soon, Cammy!

- When even Jack Todd thinks that Don Cherry is wrong, he's really, really wrong. By calling former players like Chris Nilan hypocrites for feeling sympathy for the enforcers we lost this summer, he's basically calling himself an idiot. First of all, Chris Nilan was a great player and fought a lot of good fights. But some of those fights weren't on the ice. He's been through a lot, and hockey fans are lucky that he's still around to spice up talk radio and sign autographs for us. He does not deserve to be called names. Second, the NHL has changed. Don Cherry is worried that if the game evolves too much, he'll be out of a job. And isn't that more important than the hot-button issue of player safety? It's not? Oh, I guess Mr. Cherry just can't hear us over his suits!

- The New York Jets lost to the New England Patriots. That was not cool.


Oh, and another thing I'm thankful for? The home opener isn't until Thursday, so I'm thankful for being all-clear to watch Fox Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rookie tries fantasy hockey.

So this is what it's like to build a team.
Except Gauthier is a vegetarian and I love chicken wings, so not really.
I recently joined a hockey pool for the first time, and learned that "fantasy hockey" isn't those dreams I have where Josh Gorges makes me waffles and we watch Arrested Development together. (Did I just blog that out loud?)

My draft was yesterday, and it was every bit as stressful as my fantasy football draft a few weeks ago. I'm guessing that all the grumbling and the yelling and the loud noises and rise in blood pressure are normal when drafting a fantasy team?

In any case, here's the lineup for Every Day I'm Byfuglien:

FORWARDS
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh. He scores lots of goals and gets lots of penalties. I get points for both of those things. Plus, I was confused about whether to take him, Stamkos, Ovechkin, or Henrik Sedin. So I took the guy who tweeted a picture of his cat.

Jonathan Toews, Chicago. Because he's Jonathan Toews.

Tomas Plekanec, Montreal. I don't think I get points for faceoffs, so that's a Plus for Pleks. I have a good feeling about him this season.

Dustin Brown, Los Angeles. He's good all-around, and he's a King. I went for Brown since Doughty and Kopitar were snatched out from under me.

Andrei Kostitsyn, Montreal. Yeah, I took a gamble on Andrei. Most people don't believe in him, but he can do great things during contract seasons. And if he doesn't do a lot of scoring, he'll probably get in trouble, and I'll get points for PIMs.

He was really excited when I picked him
Shane Doan, Phoenix. So, Jarome Iginla was taken. And then two picks before I was going to take Evander Kane (the baby Jarome Iginla), he got drafted. So I took Shane Doan, who, like Iginla, is a great player and a great captain. Also, whenever I'm in doubt, I just think of what players Czechtacular likes. (I'm still her protégée, no matter what she says.)

Joe Pavelski, San Jose. He's good during the regular season, right?

Brian Gionta, Montreal. My captain. Why not?

Devin Setoguchi, Minnesota. Remember how on Friends, Chandler always went back to Janice? I think Setoguchi is my Janice. So many things have happened that should have made me stop liking him: The Sharks have lost in the playoffs when they were supposed to win the Cup. I've seen him wear Ed Hardy. He got married and didn't tell me. He joined Twitter, was boring, then quit because it was "too distracting," only to come back after he'd been traded to Minnesota. Through it all, I still like him. This isn't healthy. Don't let me down again, Devin.

DEFENSE
Brent Burns, on the fantasy hockey campaign trail
Brent Burns, San Jose. The trade to San Jose is supposed to be really good for him, right?

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit. He's Nick freaking Lidstrom. He's good at everything.

Jack Johnson, Los Angeles. Okay, so I got another King. He's a badass.

Cam Fowler, Anaheim. I took him because everyone says to take Cam Fowler in fantasy hockey.

UTILITY GUYS
Theo Peckham, Edmonton. He gets penalty minutes. And that mustache.

Brooks Laich, Washington. He didn't become a Hab this summer, so this is the closest I'll get to having him on my team. Should I re-name my team As You Laich It?

BENCH (OR WHATEVER "BN" STANDS FOR)
Mason Raymond, Vancouver. (aka, The Opposite of Name-Dropping) Okay, so he's broken. But when he's fixed, even if he doesn't come back 100%, he'll still be damn fast.

James Wisniewski, Columbus. He's good at hockey. I remember that much from last year. (The rest is all a blur, stained by tears over player injuries and Saku Koivu's return to the Bell Centre.)

Michael Ryder, Dallas. At first this was Teddy Purcell in Tampa Bay, but Ryder apparently had an incredible preseason and will be getting lots of ice time. Or so I'm told by someone who actually pays attention to the Dallas Stars.

GOALIES
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles. By the time I got to this pick (second round, 16th overall, I think?) all of last year's top 5 goalies had been taken. Except maybe Tim Thomas, but I guess I forgot about him and I'm better off with no Bruins as long as fantasy hockey isn't cursed like football is, in which case I'd have drafted Brad Marchand twice just to ensure some kind of dumbass injury. But I digress. Quick would have been my backup goalie, so I took him first, thinking of that insane shutout he posted against the Red Wings last year.

Corey Crawford, Chicago. Considering how he played last season, I'm lucky to have him on my team. I feel like we should be referring to Crawford as "the next ________" but I don't know who to compare him to.

Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg. The ThrashJets are going to be better than they were last year, simply because they'll have fan support, and Pavelec was already really good. Also, he's Czech.

So, there you have it. A team with a punny name, filled with players who are good at hockey (right?) and who I like (except for Cam Fowler, because who's dis guy?).

Now comes the next step: figuring out how this fantasy sports thing works.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two years old!

I'm posting this a little late (as usual) but a couple of weeks ago, Hab It Her Way celebrated its second anniversary. Somehow, this little blog is two years old. How time has flown by.

To be honest, I'm a little freaked out that this little side project is half as old as the just-retired Four Habs Fans. (Good night, sweet princes. And LG77, whose arrival made Four Habs Fans even better than it was. I think I'll miss you most of all.)

Two years later and Czechtacular and I still have a soft spot for captain Saku Koivu. We're still flailing over Czechs and exclaiming at every brilliant save by a certain cowboy goalie.

But some things have changed. People have started reading the blog and asking our opinions on things. (Or, at least, pretending to.) I seem to know stuff about stuff. We've found ourselves a whole network of brilliant hockey girls who think like us and laugh with us. All the film nerds I know call me a big sports girl. (Because I'm big on sports, apparently.) They're all welcome changes - that is, until those same film nerds say "She loves hockey" in the same tone that I would say "She loves tofu," but always ask me if ever I have a spare ticket to a Habs game can they come?

Five years ago I would have never imagined being the blogger I am today: addicted to Twitter, watching loads of hockey, writing about it, owning two Habs jerseys, dating the epitome of a sports guy... But I enjoy all of this so much more, precisely because it was so unexpected. I'm happy that two of those years have been spent writing.

Thanks for reading! I hope the Canadiens have a great season so I'll have lots to write about.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Plus/Minus: And there goes the preseason

The Habs' preseason ended on a high note, and now they can happily go off to their out-of-town team bonding sleepaway camp thing. Or, as I call it, "last chance to wear sweatpants in public."

BETTER THAN KNOWING THAT REAL HOCKEY IS AROUND THE CORNER

Welcome back, boys
+ What a great way for the Habs to end their preseason: with a solid win. Scott Gomez is playing like the player he needs to be. Seeing Josh Gorges and Max Pacioretty back on the ice, right before, nearly brought me to tears. Seeing Josh Gorges wear an A on his jersey nearly made me do a spit take, in the best of ways.
+ Last week, I forgot to comment on RDS' addition of Marc Denis between the benches. He replaces Joel Bouchard, who kind of had tunnel vision and needed to conduct most of his interviews in a language that he didn't speak as well as he thought he did. Marc Denis seems at ease in his new role, less nervous on camera than he usually is on RDS, and has very good English interview skills.
+ Josh Gorges is a superhero. I'm sure of it. 
+ I love you, Brian Gionta.
+ Robyn, aka LadyHabs, is even more jazzed about this than I am, but it has to be said: There seems to be a really good sense of team spirit right now. Players are sticking up for each other in the face of evils such as Ryan Malone.

TV + Casey Wilson is absolute perfection on Happy Endings.
+ New Girl picked up the first full-season renewal this fall, and it's a match made in heaven: 24 episodes of a show that's fun to watch and needs a little more time to reach its full potential. It might be too early in the season to say so, but so far I think Fox's Tuesday night lineup is my favourite night of TV. Why does hockey have to be on at the same time?

WORSE THAN KNOWING THE "IT'S ONLY PRESEASON" ARGUMENT WON'T WORK ON ANGRY PEOPLE ANYMORE

- That picture up there? That's a page from the special Canadiens section of an issue of the Metro newspaper this week in Montreal. (It's a free newspaper, handed out at metro stations all over the city.) It's basically a guide on where to go to see Habs players off the ice, compiled by a blogger who would know all about that since he's got papparazzi and restaurant connections all over the city. It's disrespectful. Yes, I know, I make the "last chance to wear sweatpants in public" joke every year, but that's based on my belief that you never know when you'll be at a restaurant or a pharmacy or wherever and run into a Habs player out of sheer luck. For someone who already does enough snooping and creeping online to use a mainstream media outlet (and a free one, at that) to further try and invade whatever privacy our boys have left is beyond presumptuous.

- Oh, Wayne Simmonds. You can't be the victim of intolerance one week and go throwing slurs at people the next. As I said in Thursday's post, we all need to change the way we interact. 

TV - So... The X Factor really is on, like, every day but Tuesday, isn't it? (love you, Fox Tuesday!)
- Can we talk about how New Lily on Modern Family can suddenly speak in full sentences? Did the show skip ahead further in time than I thought, or has Cameron been, like, giving her those Rise of the Planet of the Apes injections or something? I know that the ability to give Lily dialogue mines her comic potential a little deeper than previously possible, but it just doesn't make sense that she's suddenly verbose.
- Why is Pan Am about, like, ten different things, and why does it make me not want to live in the sixties anymore? 


Lately I've been having trouble sleeping through the night if I'm too excited for something. It's Sunday and hockey starts on Thursday. This is going to be a long week.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Flawed logic

Okay, so 2011 Florida Panthers draft pick Rocco Grimaldi has been getting attention because he's Christian. He said some things on Twitter that were maybe a little too extreme. Personally I like hearing people express themselves but will roll my eyes any time someone goes on an overly long Twitter rant, simply because the medium was built for 140-character bursts.

Sure, Grimaldi's views on what he sees as the oversexualization of society are a little too "out there" to go ignored on such a public forum. I don't expect everyone to agree with his views completely (and I'm not saying that I do), but I completely respect his will to express them. As a practicing Catholic, I know that sometimes it's hard to live your faith life at the same time as your regular life. (Or, as one of my friends said so misguidedly, I'm "Catholic but still cool," which is basically like telling an overweight girl that she's pretty even though she's fat.) Maybe Grimaldi needs to learn to express himself in a different way, so that the majority of his audience won't feel like he's being too critical of them. After all, he wants to evangelize and inspire, and he can do that just as well by being positive and promoting God's love rather than making others feel like they're doing something wrong.

That's basically what this is about, isn't it? Grimaldi talked about what he thinks others are doing wrong (or so it appears), and a lot of people didn't like it. Which is perfectly okay, but many responses to this basically implied that he's the one who's wrong. The only one who's wrong. That's not going to solve anything.

Recent events involving Wayne Simmonds have taught us that the NHL and its fans haven't completely grasped the concept of tolerance. We've been saying for ages that there's no such thing as being "too small" or "too black" or "too gay" for hockey, and I can't wait until the day that all of those statements are true. How about we add "too religious" to that list? It shouldn't be considered taboo either.

There are strides to be made before we see the NHL we want to see. It'll take time, and a lot of baby steps, but by starting to engage in the right kind of discourse, we'll get there.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Plus/Minus: Ready to start

Pre-season and TV premiere week seems like the perfect time to start up Plus/Minus again... as evidenced by the fact that I wrote too much.

PLUS

+ Jane Lynch was a fantastic Emmys host: dry, funny, talented, comfortable with improv, and never took herself too seriously. And you just know that Christopher Guest is sitting somewhere all like, “Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.”

+ How I Met Your Mother picked up where it left off – and I mean that in good way.

+ Boardwalk Empire is every bit as vast and as watchable as it's ever been. I'd be disappointed that Steve Buscemi didn't win the Emmy, but I can't bring myself to say it because I love Coach Taylor too damn much and I told everyone to watch Friday Night Lights back in its first season (albeit after Kathie from Give Me My Remote did.)

+ I'm still watching pilots since there was so much on TV this week, but I can already see myself watching 2 Broke Girls and New Girl every week. The pilots weren't perfect (I can't think of a better word than "pilot-y", sorry) but both shows have appealing characters with lots of story potential. Can we talk about how Kat Dennings completely owned the opening scene of 2 Broke Girls?

+ The season hasn’t even started yet, and Alexei Yemelin is already turning heads.

+ Good first show of the season from Brendan Gallagher and Nathan Beaulieu. Looks like the Habs have depth after all! Sorry, haters.

+ Love, love, LOVE that Brendan Shanahan took the initiative to break down video of an illegal headshot and explain why the league suspended offender Brad Boyes for it. The NHL needed more transparency when it comes to discipline. I'm not a fan of the video's faux-slick production value, but that's not important.

MINUS

- I love every single member of the EmmyTones - OK, except maybe Wilmer Valderrama, because I more or less forgot that he even existed. But what could have been a cheesy, fun, tongue-in-cheek faux-gimmick fell flat and was just a cheesy, real gimmick. Something about the costumes, or the background they stood in front of, just didn't work. Not to mention that there was a glint of embarrassment in poor Cobie Smulders' eyes - she knew that something about this bit wasn't working, but could only stand back, sing her songs, and watch as former badass LL Cool J made a mockery of himself.

- If I could take the hilarious Maya Rudolph character from Up All Night, and give Will Arnett some funny like he’s had in basically everything else he’s been in, and inject some of the quirk from Christina Applegate’s last series, Samantha Who?, I’d be able to make a watchable TV show. But right now all Up All Night has going for it is Maya Rudolph.

- Can people just stop watching Two and a Half Men already?

- Jeff Woywitka may have scored a goal in his first outing as a member of the Canadiens organization, but other than that, his start was underwhelming. He was a mess, lacked focus, and seemed to be near the puck every time the Stars scored. Here's hoping Clement Jodoin can do something about that. 

- Well, that was the absolute stupidest way for Wayne Simmonds to start his season. I wish there was a way to revoke somebody's fan card after they do something unforgivable. (I also wish that there was a similar system in place for movie theatres. I know these wishes will probably never come true.)

- Keep in mind that I'm Plus-ing and Minus-ing with the understanding that this is pre-season and that Carey Price already told us to chill out and relax. So anyone who takes this all too seriously gets a Minus. Pre-season exists to make the regular season better.

So, now that both seasons have started up again, I may have to take up drinking coffee. Any chance Starbucks wants to give me an endorsement deal so I can drink their delicious soy pumpkin lattes for free?