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?


+ 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.

+ 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!

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?

+ 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? 

+ 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.

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?


+ 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.

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.