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.


+ 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.


- 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?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Let's Get Started

Tickets for Canadiens home games went on sale today, thus continuing Montreal's tradition of keeping fans indoors on what might be the last warm Saturday of the year.

I don't know why I do it: sitting in a "virtual waiting room" and paying ridiculous service charges and ever-increasing ticket prices, then waiting months until I actually go to the game I spent money on. And, of course, I don't care because just getting out of the virtual waiting room feels like winning the lottery. But it's been months since I've seen any hockey, live or on TV, so I don't care.

As a hockey fan, I'm excited to get over The Year That Hurt and end this emotionally painful offseason. I'm so excited to see my Habs that I won't even complain about how this season's promotional campaign is kind of creepy and has already been done by the NBA.
I love all my Habs, but I wouldn't want to chop them in half and sew them together. Not even to make Super-Habs.
Although... I could sell a script to the producers of Saw...
I can't be the only one who remembers these ads:

Outside of hockey, I've had a great summer and don't want the weather to start cooling down. I want hockey as a reward for braving the winds and the snow. Knowing that I won't have to watch people shuffle around in flip-flops like morons isn't satisfaction enough. (Seriously, though, what is about flip-flops that makes people forget how to walk like functional human beings?)

But this is it. It's time to stop thinking about playoff heartbreak and start wondering what new things I'll learn this season and what awesome sports things I'll get to see for the first time. It's time to put away the bad-luck Gorges T-shirt until next summer. It's time to think about face paint and pub fries. It's time to be irrational and clog up the DVR for the next seven months.

This is going to be awesome.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

NHL TV Characters for the 2011-12 Season

(Bleacher Report kinda-sorta-maybe beat me to this already. And obviously their version will get more hits than mine due to the fact that most of their other stories are about hot ladies or something. Maybe I should try posting sexy man pictures in an attempt to be all cheeky and turn the tables on them.)

The hockey season is starting. The TV season is starting.
It's a great time to compare a few hockey players to TV characters. I wish I would have done this every year, because "Jonathan Toews is totally Doogie Howser!" doesn't seem as fresh as it would have a couple of seasons ago.

Mike Richards is Will from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

If I were really and truly dedicated to my craft, I would have re-written all the words to the full version of this song, flown to Philly and LA, and filmed a video. But I decided to spend my summer making money instead of blowing it on a music video about Mike Richards because I probably still hate Mike Richards.
But if you think about it, the premise is the same. Guy gets booted out of Philly because "a couple of guys were up to no good" and gets a second chance in California, which could not be a more different environment for him. The only difference here: those couple of guys, up to no good? Yeah, Richards was one of them.
To be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing the tables turned with a sitcom based on Wayne Simmonds' trade from sunny Cali to angry Philly, with a supporting cast of teammates who aren't Drew Doughty. Be honest - you'd totally watch that show too.

Brad Richards is Liz Lemon from 30 Rock
He lives in Manhattan. He's arguably the linchpin of what would otherwise be a mediocre organization. (Keep in mind that TGS With Tracy Jordan's greatest accomplishment is an Emmy... Magazine cover story and that the Rangers have missed the playoffs in 4 out of the last 10 seasons.) He's surrounded by some pretty interesting characters. I'd say Sean Avery's craziness is equal parts Jack, Jenna, and Tracy. Erik Christensen is The Head and Brandon Prust is The Hair. I could go on. With one exception...

Sidney Crosby is Rachel Dratch's Characters From 30 Rock
We used to see him every week, but now, not so much.

Roberto Luongo is Jerry from Parks and Recreation
In the words of his co-worker Ron Swanson: "A schlemiel is the guy who spills soup at a fancy party. A schlamazel is the guy he spills it on. Jerry is both the schlemiel and the schlamazel of our office." Everyone makes jokes at Jerry's expense. Poor Bobby Lu just can't go a week without somebody ragging on him.

P.K. Subban and Hal Gill are basically any hourlong cable dramedy about buddies
They're hilarious on their own, yes, but somehow, for all their differences, they complete each other. Like Franklin and Bash. Or the Lawson brothers from Royal Pains. Or Gus and Shawn from Psych. They're both funny, they work well together, and they have the perfect love-hate relationship. They're the ultimate buddy pairing - why watch them on their own when you can watch them together?

Jacques Martin is Nucky Thompson from Boardwalk Empire
You look at him and think, "That guy in the weird-coloured suit is the most powerful man in town?" You have trouble believing it, but if you only knew...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Things I learned last season, Part Two

You can read Part One here.

There are few things I love more about football than a last-minute pick six. Seeing one happen live, right in front of me, at the Outback Bowl? Even more incredible.

And yes, it makes total sense that my big brother, who I hadn't gone to a sporting event with since we were kids, would take me to my first-ever football game. (And it was so much fun that I could go to a football game in Florida every month and not get tired of it.)

I shouldn't try to mess with anyone else's team. My attempts to trash-talk the Steelers to my friend got the Jets eliminated from football playoffs. And it turns out my friend was right about the Dallas Mavericks beating the Oklahoma City Thunder. I'll probably try to keep my mouth shut from now on. (Exception: if someone's team has a giant douchebag on the roster, or if they're messing with my Habs for no reason.)

Basketball is just great. It's every bit as fast as hockey, but the players try just as hard to put on a show as they do to win games, and that's OK. Last October, I watched a few hours of NBA Network and wrote down all these names and notes in an attempt to do learn something. Now I know what those names mean. Some of them, at least.

If you have an opportunity to high-five a crowd of people, take it.

Shea Weber can grow a damn good beard.

Teemu Selanne is going to retire from the NHL when he's about 75 years old.

Never underestimate a prospect who you think will turn out to be a dud.

I am terrible at calling plays. Like, absolutely awful. It's probably because I wilt in high-pressure situations or whenever I'm not allowed to be pithy.

Seeing your team get knocked out of the playoffs sucks. Seeing your greatest rival win the Stanley Cup sucks even harder. But at the end of the day, there are worse things, and more important things. And even when you think you'll miss hockey the most, summer comes along and makes you forget all about it.

Sometimes people will tell you that they know more about sports than you. (If I were bolder, or thought that I was more knowledgeable, I'd take it as a challenge.) They just forget that there's no way to know everything.


I just want the hockey season and/or TV season to start already.