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.

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!

- 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.)

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.

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.)

+ 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.)

+ 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.

+ 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.

- 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:

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.

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.

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?

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.

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."


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?


- 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.