Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why does it have to be like this?

If I know anything about Habs fans, it's that they're probably dreading this game against the Thrashers. And wondering if the Canadiens are going to get shut out or just lose. It's been a rough week, I know. But this is the team we love. We can't stop being optimistic; what's the fun in hockey if you're mad at your own team?

You might think three consecutive shutouts are the worst thing ever. No one likes missing out on six points at the end of the season, no one likes seeing a 0 on the final scoreboard, but when we look at this season on paper, all we'll see are three letter L's. Just... little L's.

We still love them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This week was so very Plus/Minus

I posted the last Plus/Minus before one of the most exciting games of the season. And then things just went downhill. What else is there to say? A lot, I guess.

+ PK Subban's hat trick was fantastic! I already discussed this at length, didn't I?
+ Every time I hear about Andrei Markov skating again it brings a smile to my face.
+ Good day to be a former Hab: now-Thrasher Ben Maxwell scored his first NHL goal, and now-Canuck Christopher Higgins had two goals in one game!
+ Speaking of former Habs, Chris Nilan had some radio airtime on Thursday to discuss the Habs-Bruins game and was fantastic. You may have heard by now that he offered to sign a one-game contract to take care of the Bruins so that the current Habs could concentrate on not getting hit and winning game. He's a hoot. Nilan may have retired but he's still 100% hockey.
+ The LA Kings and spcaLA joined forces to raise money for pets in need of adoption. The Kings' wives and girlfriends even designed pet bowls and put them up for auction! As someone whose adopted cat has been around longer than her love of hockey, I think this is a great initiative.
+ Speaking of the Kings, what exactly did Jonathan Quick do here? The more I watch this save, the less I understand how it happened. West Coast Forum Ghosts?

+ Montreal brings home the Cup! The Clarkson Cup, that is. Our city is home to the country's best female hockey team. And, in a wonderful turn of events, goalie Kim St-Pierre posted a shutout.
+ Blake Geoffrion with a hat trick! When he played his first NHL game, someone said that Howie Morenz and the Rocket were probably going to settle down with a nice beer and watch the game from heaven. You can only imagine what heaven must have been like on Sunday, when the League's fourth-generation power forward scored a hat trick.

Worst possible nonviolent outcome
- New to Plus/Minus (but not for lack of trying) is l'Antichambre host Stephane Langdeau, who said there was one good thing about the Habs' play against the Bruins on Thursday: Scott Gomez got bashed in the head by Brad Marchand. Is he crazy? Usually RDS is way too partisan, but I'll take that over wishing injury on yet another Canadien.
- OK, OK, I know. I want the Habs to win every game for Max, but if ever there was really a "win one for the Gipper" game, it was in Boston on Thursday and the Habs just didn't have it.
- Actually, getting shut out three times in a row is the real minus here.
- If I paid so much attention to the Kings in Plus, I might as well give a Minus to the fact that Anze Kopitar has a broken ankle. We'll see him next season, I guess.

I have an awfully good feeling about the upcoming week. And by that, I mean that I think a Montreal Canadien will score a goal.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I Don't Want Revenge

So. Everyone's calling tonight's Habs-Bruins game the big "revenge" game because everyone hates each other (even more than usual) now that Chara broke Max. But that game was also some kind of "revenge" game since it was the big rematch after The Game Where Everyone Scored And/Or Fought Each Other. They're one bride away and one installment closer to the Kill Bill trilogy.

I don't want any more crazy violence. Mostly because I have no idea what could possibly count as "retribution" for what happened to Pacioretty. (Go ahead, Bruins fans, chirp me. I know I'm asking for it and I know it'll make you feel better, and I'm still working on my "Relax, Chill Out" plan so you can say whatever you want but I won't respond.)

Sure, I'm upset with basically the entire Bruins team. (Except for Tyler Seguin, who wouldn't be in this mess if he were a Toronto Maple Leaf, and also he's just so little that I can't hate him yet, right?) I'll try not to focus on my anger and think of something else:

No, not the brutal hit that left me shaken when I should have been watching just another hockey game. Not at all. If anything, I'm trying to forget a few details about that hit. I already mentioned that I had a lot of respect for the Bruins staff member who was on the ice, helping out (that's him on the right side).

Now, thanks to a recent article by Dave Stubbs, I know that he's Don DelNegro, athletic trainer for the Bruins, and that he came to the assistance of the Canadiens' medical staff without being asked.

It's nice to be able to put a name to the face and the kind gesture. Thank you, Don DelNegro. I'll try to remember his kindness during this game, when everyone else's tension will probably get me all frustrated. And I'll hope that he doesn't have to rush onto the ice again tonight. I just want to watch some hockey, that's it.

Go Habs Go.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dreams Do Come True... In Minnesota!

It looks like I already have tons of material for next week's Plus Minus. Maybe I posted this week's too early. I'm riding high after this win against the Minnesota Wild.
This was the game where everything happened. Lots of souvenir pucks are going to be kept by players.

Travis Moen goal? Check.
Tom Pyatt goal? Check.
Shutout? Penalty shot? Check.
Hat trick? Check.
Gordie Howe hat trick? Check.
Chicken wings? Check.
More goals by the Habs than any other game this season? Check.
It's no secret that I love Ryan White. I have for two years now, and it's entirely because of the way he plays this game. Now, without a doubt, every Montreal Canadiens fan on the planet loves the guy. He showed energy even before he scored. Which he did. His first NHL goal. That, already, was overwhelming. Then he fought. The first period ended with the probability of a Gordie Howe hat trick. In case you didn't know, I had never seen one happen. (But I really, really wanted to!) I thought White would be likely to get one at some point in his career, but I didn't expect it to happen tonight.

Ryan White makes dreams come true.
photo credit: Michael Cammalleri
And that in itself may be enough to make fans dance and cheer and shout, but did I mention that White's assist came from a goal by PK Subban, which was one of three? PK Subban got a hat trick. I REPEAT: PK SUBBAN GOT A HAT TRICK. Even though it was an away game, hats flew onto the ice. (Including Carey Price's.) Everyone should be in awe of this guy. It's his first season in the NHL and he already plays like THIS. Incredible. Did I mention it's the first hat trick scored by a Hab since Mike Cammalleri's in the Centennial game, and the first EVER by a Canadiens rookie defenceman? That's a hell of an accomplishment.
Habs win. Game ends 8-1. Three stars are PK, White, and Auld. No, I would never have expected it.
Yes, I would love it if every game could be like this. Do I have to go back to my regularly scheduled life now? Because I really don't want to.

Plus/Minus skipped the St. Patrick's Day Parade

...I already did some day-drinking on Trade Deadline Day. It wasn't as fun as I'd hoped. So, no parade for me. This week was eventful enough as it is.
This is my first Plus/Minus post since my promise to cut down on my own anger and negativity. Let's see how I manage.

So young!! (yoinked from thirdstringgoalie.blogspot.com)
+ That last round of the shootout against Tampa Bay was punctuated by a wicked save by Carey Price, who caught the puck so easily you'd think someone had tossed it to him from two feet away.
+ MaxPac's biggest concern, at least for now, appears to be his vertebra. He hasn't shown major concussion symptoms (nausea, vomiting, etc) so it appears he might only have one major ailment to deal with. Which is awesome. (And while it may seem like great news that he'd be back during the playoffs, I'm hoping he decides to sit it out.)
+ Congrats to Roman Hamrlik for 1300 NHL games! And to another Czechtacular favourite, Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Adrian Aucoin, for playing in his 1000th game today.
+ The first period of Friday's game against the Rangers was brutal. Still, the team could've easily stopped trying and didn't. They kept pushing along and even though they didn't win, by the end of the game the loss didn't hurt so much.
+ Superpopular Habs prospect Danny Kristo wasted no time in his return to hockey after that nasty frostbite scare. He scored a goal in his first shift in his first game back, and picked up another two points the following game.

+ Congratulations to Jennifer Heil, closing out her skiing career with a silver medal in the last competition of the season. I'll miss watching her at the Olympics but I hope to see her again in another capacity. Maybe she'll join the man in her life and start coaching, or maybe CBC or CTV will be smart enough to hire her when they need someone in the broadcast booth.
+ This, part of the newest crop of NHL playoff commercials. So simple. I can't believe the playoffs start in three weeks.

There's no context for this picture. I just like Halpern's disappointy angry face.
- Our friend Steve found an article in the Metro newspaper where some wiseguys decided it would be funny to draw comparisons between Muammar Gaddafi and the Canadiens' strategy for the rest of the season. Poor taste.
- Curtis Sanford underwent a successful surgery. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs will still be without him for the rest of the season.
- What do you mean, there are more injured Habs?
- I don't understand how anyone can simply assume a professional athlete would "fake" a concussion. Does anyone know if someone's written a very basic medical guide to the most common NHL injuries? It's the kind of thing I think we'd all benefit from reading.
- I'm giving myself a Minus, for forgetting to write Ryan White an awesome Happy Birthday post. Now we know for next year: Ryan White's birthday is March 17. (White born on St. Patrick's Day, Pyatt born on Valentine's... is there an NHL team with more holiday babies than the Habs?)
- MORE cut funding for women's hockey, this time at St. Mary's University in Halifax. Some of the country's elite female hockey players are upset about this. Last year I blogged about the importance of funding for young girls' hockey teams, and now it turns out that our universities are doing the same thing. Unfortunately, I don't know much about what went into making this decision, and I know that university budgets can be tricky, but cutting women's hockey, their third-most-popular sports program, doesn't seem like the best solution.

And, finally, everyone's had their say about the upcoming GQ article that lists "the worst fans in America." It's just a push to sell more magazines, and it's causing bad blood between sports fans. Don't give GQ the publicity it's so desperately asking for.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Relax. Chill out.

The stuff most people call “real life”? For two minutes, a hockey player gets to skate it all away. You can’t drop gloves on life, kid - but in The Game? They’ll cheer you if you do. Because they all know what a struggle… what a fight life can be. And when they see you take a swing - with your stick or a good right hook - they feel like you’re taking a swing for
them. And lots of people will tell you that ain’t right. But brother?
There ain’t nothin’ righter.
- from a scene released from the script of Kevin Smith's upcoming hockey movie, Hit Somebody

 Being a hockey fan is a strange little thing. It gives you something in life to cheer for, something to watch on Tuesday nights, and something to drive you a little crazy. Unfortunately, unlike the athletes who skate a little harder or hit a few more guys when they've got some stress to let out, fans have to find other outlets for their frustrations. And it can get a little complicated when those frustrations come from the very same game we watch to distract ourselves from all this.

Everybody's angry. And we live in a society where anger gets attention, and the voice of reason is often ignored because it's not sensational enough to make the news. So everybody continues to be angry at each other, if another team's player fishes a penalty, or if a small fraction of a fanbase makes everyone look bad, or if people have the slightest difference of opinion. People are angry Max Pacioretty got hit and Zdeno Chara was sent on his merry way to play the rest of the season. People are angry at those people. And these days that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I know that I'm no exception, having given quite a bit of thought recently to just how many NHL fanbases are just as bad as Habs fans. When Brad Marchand was suspended for two games after hitting RJ Umberger, my first thought was that maybe, finally, we'd see a change in the way violence was handled in this game. After that, things went downhill: Maybe the Bruins are indirectly getting the punishment they deserve. Maybe Marchand will think twice before lighting another match in the rookie respect debate. Maybe now Umberger will think twice before doing something as nasty as that hit he delivered on Drew Doughty last week.
Or I get a little tired of my role as a Habs apologist and I start pointing fingers. I'm no better than any other hater.
Yup. I generally try to pride myself on my level-headedness and optimism, but on some occasions I'm no better than anyone else: the fans who boo everything, the fans who verbally attack each other, the people who make Twitter less fun, the athletes who say things to get attention and the people who give it to them.

So that's it. I'm hoping that it stops here.

I'm not supposed to get this stressed out about a sport. No one is. So from here to the end of the season (which isn't very much time at all, I know), I'm going to do my best to not engage in any of this stuff. I might get upset about things, but I'll keep myself in check. I won't respond to the Jack Todd and Don Cherry types who say ridiculous things to get attention, whether in the media or online. (It's much easier when you don't even watch or read those people.) I will keep my player-hating in check. This doesn't mean I've turned the other cheek and forgotten what Zdeno Chara has done or how I feel about the Bruins, Leafs, Rangers, and Flyers. It just means I'll keep most of my anger to myself, and will refrain from hoping that one of my guys kicks his ass, because that won't solve anything.

I may not do a complete 180, but I'll try. I'll do my part to stop responding to extremes, and maybe some other people will do the same. Maybe this will trickle up and the people we watch and read will tone down the sensationalism. Maybe. But even if they don't, at least I know I'll feel better.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sort of a game preview: Habs v Lightning

Didn't we just see the Tampa Bay Lightning, like, last week?

Not that I'm complaining or anything, because they're one of the few teams in the East that I like, and they're in town after the Capitals, another team I like. (But those games are bookended by the Penguins and Rangers, who, uh, I don't change the channel when their coaches are on TV. That is my compliment to you, Pittsburgh and Manhattan.)

As you may know (or not, since I haven't written one of these in a while) I'm not very good at writing game previews, so I'll just highlight a few things to keep in mind:

As we learned during the last Habs-Bolts game on Hockey Night In Canada, Subban and Stamkos were teammates as kids, and they were so cute it almost makes me like kids.
It also might make people stop and think before they talk about Steven Stamkos as a machine who needs to score an Ovechtrick every week, and about PK Subban as if he's some kind of horrible human being.

During the last game we also found out about the Lightning's lucky dog, Chance. I'm going to repeat my suggestion that the Canadiens organization should hire one of my cats.
I submit this picture in lieu of a job interview.
Cardboard box not necessary. Juliet just likes sitting in it.
Warning: there is a slight chance one of these cats, like any cat, may attempt to stow away inside a hockey bag. Sound off in the comments if you'd like to guess which players are most likely to have a kitty hide inside their bag.

And the third thing we'll be paying attention to in this game should come as no surprise:
Not quite a photobomb there by Vinny
I've turned into a pretty good protégée, I'd say. I may not be able to break down every decision Guy Boucher makes, but I can see how well he runs his team.

If both Nigel Dawes and Aaron Palushaj are in the lineup tonight, I'll take a guess and say Palushaj scores first. He's scored both times the Bulldogs were at the Bell Centre, and they were great goals. No "Can he find the net?" questions here.

Go Habs Go!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pictures from the anti-headshot demonstration

Not a huge crowd, no noise complaints, no violence. Just people hoping to show some strength in numbers. I only spent about half an hour at the Bell Centre as the protest was starting. Hopefully the media attention and the petition signatures help to show that fans care. If nothing comes out of this, at least we tried, right?

(Sorry that this isn't a fancy album or anything. You can click on each picture for a better view.)

Lots of parents and kids there.

Yes. I was a sneaky snake and surreptitiously took a picture
of TSN's John Lu. What?

Organizers used their megaphone every few minutes to encourage people
to sign a petition, to be sent to Gary Bettman's office.
They also handed out signs in both languages. Organized, good initiative.

This is the French text of the petition that was signed.

You've probably already seen pictures of this kid.
He didn't mind being photographed and he attended
the rally wearing Caps gear.

A picket sign held up by a hockey stick.

This guy was really enthusiastic.
He was wearing a "Die Chara Die" T-shirt.
I remember seeing those at Off The Hook a few years ago,
thought it was a little barbaric.
But... unfortunately it seems to fit current discourse.
(That needs to change, by the way.)

Better shot, courtesy of @Latter61 on Twitter

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy 314 Day!

Only a few hours left in it, but today was an unofficial holiday: March 14th, aka 3/14, is 314 Day, where Czechtacular and I celebrate two of our favourite Habs. (314 is the best "Brangelina"-type mashup name I can think of for Carey Price and Tomas Plekanec.)

Some people might argue that their bromance has been intercepted by teammates and triple low-fives, but let's all take this 314 Day to remember how great it is to see our Habs hug each other after they win.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Plus/Minus: How do I even...

This has been a stressful week. Like, break your "no crying in hockey" rule kind of stressful. I think I'll write two sets of Plus/Minus, to be able to better concentrate on hockey outside of what happened during that Bruins game. So, I'll start with the Max injury and then take it from there. My apologies in advance, as it was kind of an eventful week for Habs fans and I have a lot to say.

+ Everyone who has had the stones to admit that enough is enough and hockey players have to stop being sent to the hospital, including but not limited to the bosses at Air Canada, Geoff Molson, and especially Joe Thornton and Henrik Sedin, whose opinions will be discussed at large and may even have consequences.
+ I was hoping that a widely respected NHL legend would have his say about concussions and player safety. Mario Lemieux made a statement a while back, but didn't really make a difference. Enter Ken Dryden. He wrote a well-researched article for the Globe and Mail and will hopefully turn some heads. You can't argue with his facts.
+ Dave Stubbs for vehemently arguing that Mike Murphy got it wrong, and that it was the hit itself that was dangerous, yet for reeling in his passion just enough to still sound educated and rational.
+ Max Pacioretty probably shouldn't be using a computer, but his Twitter account kind of warms my heart. He's been so polite and thankful for the outpouring of love that fans have sent him. Of course we would. And, the comments that he made regarding Chara's non-suspension, made public by Bob McKenzie, took a lot of courage. I'm grateful that my team drafted such a talented player who's capable of expressing his opinions in an eloquent, level-headed way.
+ As soon as the hit happened and in the hours that followed, there was a decent number of Maple Leafs fans who reached out to Habs fans and basically said they were on our side. Because sometimes a long-standing rivalry isn't as important as the teams in it.
+ If you aren't moved by this personal, fabulously written letter to Max Pacioretty, you might be a robot. Not the good kind.

- Everyone who thinks that Habs fans are overreacting. How can you not think that a 22-year-old man being sent to the hospital is a big deal? How can you make fun of the fans who felt sick when he lay there on the ice, unconscious? The sheer amount of disrespect I've seen from some people is discouraging. They're giving hockey fans a bad name. I want nothing to do with them, and yet I have no choice, just because we watch the same sport. I could go on and on about this.
- "The kid - what's his name? He's got a headache today." Don Cherry spoke about this issue on HNIC and did not know Max Pacioretty's name. I know he has a lot of names to remember, but if you're going to talk about one of the week's biggest stories, at least ask someone to Google the guy's name. It seems like Don Cherry gets stupider every week, and he's paid by a Crown corporation. Our tax dollars are paying the salary of a man who has no sympathy for the very sport that gave him a career, and who can't be bothered to learn the most basic thing he'd need to know about a segment.

- No suspension. No remorse. No sympathy from the league. I almost had a fit (at work) when I heard the news.
- It seems trivial, but one thing that really disappointed me about the hit that no one has really talked about was that it completely ruined the momentum of what was a good hockey game. Lars Eller was having a spectacular game, Ryan White showed just how much energy and passion he brings to the ice... and then Chara ruined it by taking out another young Hab who had played some fantastic games and finally found his role on this team.

Okay, now that that's over:

+ 2 Oh, Los Angeles Kings. It's weeks like this that you need a West Coast team to take you away from the hockey news you can't hear anymore (most of the time). They won three games this week and inched up to 4th place in the Western Conference, yay! Also Anze Kopitar scored a hat trick, handing the Kings one of those wins.
+ As I mentioned, Lars Eller and Ryan White, among others, had a great game on Tuesday.
+ No one missed Matt D'Agostini when he was traded last year. As much as I hate watching the Habs lose, his safety goal for the Blues on Thursday night was proof that some people should not have wished him good riddance (which isn't to say that I don't like the Habs the way they are). That being said, the St. Louis fanbase has been taking good care of him, and I'm happy to see it.
+ So first, Carey Price does his Boss pose in Pittsburgh. Then, Marc-André Fleury tries to imitate the Boss pose in Montreal. Then, Fleury gets replaced by Brent Johnson. It was just a teensy bit funny is all. Do we have a real goalie rivalry on our hands?
+ Paul Mara's beard.

RJ, you're making it very difficult not to hate you.
- I'm trying not to think about Drew Doughty getting hit by RJ Umberger and how similar it was to Max's hit, and how knowing the hit had happened didn't make it any easier to watch. Thank goodness he was able to return to play.
- I'm just gonna come right out and say it: rude Penguins fans. I'm not saying they're all rude, because I'm certain that that's not the case, but some of them have said some pretty ridiculous things about the Habs. You'd think they wouldn't want to be like Flyer fans.

The Habs are back at the Bell Centre. It'll be a fresh start. Anyone interested in attending the peaceful demonstration outside the Bell is most welcome to, and to anyone attending the game: when you see MaxPac in the opening video, give him a cheer on my behalf.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In case the world needs another blog post about Pacioretty...

I probably should have written this a few hours ago, but better late than never. It still needs to be said.

Like everyone else with a soul, I had trouble watching Max Pacioretty lie motionless on the ice after Zdeno Chara pushed him headfirst into glass. I could barely even speak for a few minutes and my voice was strained for the rest of the night. I feared that the worst had happened. What else can you do when one player is being attended to, then moved onto a stretcher by a handful of medical professionals?

(By the way, the Bruins' staff member probably isn't contractually obligated to help players on other teams, but the fact that he was out on the ice, doing what he could to help, shows an incredible amount of class and I can only hope that at least one gutless, malicious hockey fan took note of it.)
The last thing I wanted to do was get my things together and head to a radio station, face this reality and discuss it with any modicum of professionalism. We Habs fans have unfortunately had to witness a few pretty nasty injuries in the last few seasons, and they never get easier to watch. I had no idea how I'd be able to put a complete thought together and I had no idea what yesterday's installment of Game Points would have in store.

In a way, I'm quite glad that we had so many callers (we didn't keep count, but 40 would be a decent low-ball estimate) so that I wouldn't have to keep discussing the hit. It was almost unreal, to have wall-to-wall callers not only expressing their own opinions but decrying those of others, and to know as soon as Tony Marinaro had any news. He stayed for the first 45 minutes or so of Game Points, even though he wasn't obligated to, just to help field calls, move the show along, and get as much news as he could.

It was a lot to handle for this girl with less than two dozen radio appearances to her name: replaying game calls from this season's Habs-Bruins games, listening to a flurry of callers, and trying to keep up with a hectic conversation on Twitter. I'm not ashamed to say I unfollowed a couple of accounts who made stupid or biased comments about the hit, and I came close to calling out a couple of people who thought it'd be funny to make jokes about Habs fans rioting.

So here are just a few angry thoughts, now that I have the time and a medium to express them:

- People have said "If the hit had happened anywhere else, it wouldn't be a big deal." Those people are morons. Blaming the stanchion for being there and causing the injury is the worst excuse ever. Worse than telling players to keep their head up if they don't want to get hit. Worse than blaming food for making you fat. Chara has played enough games in enough arenas - including the Bell Centre - to know the basic layout of an NHL rink. If he didn't mean to hurt Pacioretty, he shouldn't have hit him. Plain and simple.

- Anyone who doesn't feel bad for a man in his early 20's who had to be attended to by multiple medical professionals, or the parents who had to witness the hit and spend the night in hospital with their concussed son, is a terrible person. His mother was shocked, and his dad was in tears. Anyone who has seen their own father crying knows that it's not the kind of thing that happens every day - those tears come from an emotional place that scares even the bravest of dads.

- How can anyone say the hit wasn't dirty? Do clean hits usually knock players unconscious? Was this the kind of hit that happens in every game, and I just happened to be looking elsewhere every game for the last four years?

- The blind hypocrisy of some Bruins fans disgusts me. Luckily, they're not all like this, but how can they defend a player on their team who delivers such a hit with such a result, after they've seen the aftermath of serious head injuries? Do they think Marc Savard is going to wake up next week feeling fine, lace up his skates, and score a hat trick?

- Do the Boston captain's charitable initiatives or whatever change whatever his intent was? While it's great that Chara does so much, it's not like he's the only one. He should take it a step further and change his behaviour on the ice if he really wants to make a difference. That's not how a captain behaves: try to imagine Gionta, Koivu, Iginla, or Alfredsson doing something so awful. I can't see it happening.

- Some people say this was motivated by revenge, that Patches "had it coming" after he hit Chara with his stick earlier this season. If that's the case, how on earth does Chara get punished the next time the Canadiens play him?

And probably my biggest question: the hit was intentional. It's Chara's fault that Max Pacioretty will miss the rest of the regular season. How does this man not even miss one game?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Plus/Minus: Gettin' busy

This week I got to spread my wings a little and talk hockey in a couple of new places. I was asked to take part in the Sunday Shinny panel on The Franchise. I handled early-morning radio at least as well as late-night radio, I'd say. It was also nice to not be surprised by the realization that I have to choose, of all things, a baseball team. (Decision still pending.)

I also filled out the Female Fan Frenzy questionnaire for Queen Crash, as over 100 female hockey fans from teams around the NHL have done before me.

Oh, and the Montreal Canadiens did stuff this week too.

+ Harold Gill. Two goals. One week. I think I'll start a For Your Consideration campaign to get him the Art Ross Trophy.
+ David Desharnais playing like he's as tall as Gill. I love it!
+ It may have hurt to see Ben Maxwell in a Thrashers jersey, but the arrival of Brent Sopel just happened to coincide with four consecutive wins. I'm cool with winning.
+ Legendary Habs forward Elmer Lach is apparently recovering well from surgery to repair his broken hip. I hope he's up and around as soon as possible!
+ The Bulldogs won this afternoon. Gabriel Dumont set Brendon Nash up for a game-winning overtime goal. Who could ask for anything more?
+ Jarome Iginla: 10 consecutive 30-goal seasons. See? This is why he's my favourite!

- Did Mason Raymond just get injured? Please say no.
- It's probably not as bad as the high ankle sprain suffered by a certain Oiler who had previously been in the race for rookie of the year. (As usual, yes, I am also in that race.)
- All other injuries go in this Minus. Please stop getting hurt, NHL.
- Attendance is bad in cities like Atlanta. Unless the number of people who attend Thrashers games magically doubles within the next week, we'll keep hearing about it. But until someone says something new and original about unpopular teams and how they should be moved to [insert city here], just stop talking about it. There's a month left in the regular season and plenty of hockey to talk about. Why not discuss the Atlanta Thrashers or the Phoenix Coyotes as they are right now? If fans in cities like Quebec and Winnipeg really love hockey, they'll watch hockey. They won't just tune in to a three-minute segment about how whatever team should be moved to whatever city.

This week looks like it'll be a big one around the league! TV is in reruns, right? Right? I hope so.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Those of you who heard yesterday's Game Points were treated to a few hilarious minutes of Tony Marinaro. You also know that I'm now in the market for a baseball team. Sigh.

I love live sporting events, and there are lots of sports I like watching on TV, but baseball just isn't the same on TV. How are you supposed to buy peanuts and crackerjacks (and hot dogs and pretzels) if you're at home, watching a long shot of some stadium in another city while whatever stoppage of play is going on?

Now, it took a few weeks for me to choose my football team on my own (if you missed it, Part 1 and Part 2) and after I came out as (mostly) a Jets fan, I got a few weird looks and raised eyebrows, as if I started dating a guy and everyone knew he was crazy but me. So, I'm taking suggestions because I know nothing about baseball and I could use a little help.

I tried using this flowchart:
but it wasn't much help. So I need you guys to help me out.

Should I go with a nautical-themed team like the Pirates or the Mariners, or even the SF Giants since they have boats next to their stadium?

Should I root for the Cubs because of their underdog appeal?

The Dodgers have a lot of history, and as a Habs fan, I respect that.

I pretended to cheer for the Phillies during last year's baseball playoffs (aka the World Series). Should I just keep that up?

Before that, I pretended to cheer for the Cleveland Indians. By the way, when I say "pretended to cheer," what I mean is "saw there was a baseball game on TV, figured out who was playing, said 'Go Cleveland!' and watched about thirty seconds before changing the channel." The Phillies lasted a little longer, just so that I could try to pretend that I knew what people were talking about during the last baseball playoffs.

I'm in over my head here, so suggestions are welcome. Please direct me away from any teams with atrocious logos. If there's someone in baseball as flashy as Linus Omark or as entertaining as Terrell Owens, I'd like to know. Let's get ready for some baseball.

There had better be peanuts. And crackerjacks.