Saturday, February 25, 2012

Trade Deadline Emergency Kit

Last year, NHL Trade Deadline Day was all about sitting in my pajamas, watching TSN, and maybe drinking rum at hours when only pirates should be drinking rum. But that was before I became full-time, spending my Monday to Fridays at the office.
What's a girl to do to keep track of all the trades and drama (and boring lulls between the trades and drama) when she's at her desk, poring over spreadsheets and email alerts? She puts together a Trade Deadline Emergency Kit.
Cell phone. Like I did on Canada Day, I'll get a text message every time one of TSN's insiders tweets something, so I can see the news as it breaks. And yes, I'll have my charger with me in case it's a busy day and all the news drains my phone battery.

Stress ball. Luckily, I have one at my desk for those "Looks like [player you like] to [team you hate] deal is close to being done" tweets. I want to try and avoid yelling and whatnot at my place of work, if at all possible.

Post-it notes, next to my cell phone on my desk, to remind me of the day's most important projects in case I get too distracted.

Chocolate. To relieve the stress of bad trades, pass the time during the boring hours, and keep me awake in case I've got a case of the Mondays.

That's all I've got for now, but I think it'll be enough to get me through the day.

Exclusive interview with St. John's IceCaps goalie Eddie Pasquale

Last night I had the pleasure of attending an AHL game at the Bell Centre: a tilt between the Hamilton Bulldogs and St. John's IceCaps that ended in a shootout. So much fun. I was fortunate enough to sit right behind the glass, between the IceCaps' penalty box and the corridor that led to their locker rooms. That corridor was where Eddie Pasquale spent the game, in hopes that the Bulldogs would score a ton of goals so that he could relieve David Aebischer. (I hoped that the Bulldogs would score a ton of goals, too, but a thrilling shootout win is just as good.)

Never one to pass up an opportunity, I tried to get the attention of some of the players, most notably Pasquale since he was just hanging around and chewing gum for the duration of the game. It seems like he likes it that way, as this official interview transcript* proves:

ME: So, you were recently named the AHL's Player of the Week. Congratulations!
ME: How do you like playing in St. John's? How do the fans feel about having hockey back on the Rock?
ME: You played for the Chicago Wolves last season. What was that like?
ME: You've got some former Habs on your team. How do they feel about being back in Montreal?
ME: Did they put any money on the board?
PASQUALE: [death stare]
ME: What's your favourite curse word?
PASQUALE: [chews gum intently]
ME: Seriously? Those questions always work when James Lipton asks them. Damn it, Pasquale, you're at the damn BELL CENTRE! It's the greatest arena on Earth! Show some emotion! SAY SOMETHING!!

You couldn't get a word out of this guy yesterday if you tried. He's like the AHL's very own Seinfeld "Desperado" guy.

*not an official interview transcript

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Farewell to Long Arms. (And a hello to a name I've heard before.)

My heart broke a little when I heard we traded Hal Gill.
He was a giant tall man on a team often mocked for being too short. He was a nice guy in a city where people can be awfully hard on their hockey players. He blocked shots when no one else could. He took PK under his wing when we needed him to. He did justice to the bleu-blanc-rouge: He gave his all on the ice, and he was a great ambassador for his team off the ice. And he never fails to make me laugh.

I expected Gill to be traded at some point, but I didn't want it to happen because I like him too damn much. I wish him all the best in Nashville and I look forward to seeing him push them further in the playoffs.

As for what's coming to Montreal: It looks like a pretty fair trade, but only time will tell. I've learned by now not to judge a trade, purchase, waiver, or other acquisition until we've all had enough time to see some results.
That being said, there's something to be said for acquiring more youth. It'll do the team some good.
Apparently I've overestimated Blake Geoffrion's potential, but I'll wait and see what he brings to the team. Most people see his bloodline and assume that the Cup is ours. I won't go that far, but I will say this: my grandfather watched his grandfather play for the Habs. My Nonno came to Canada in 1949, probably not knowing what ice hockey even was, and learned to love the Canadiens soon after he got here. I watched hockey with him and the whole family when I was little, and stopped after he passed away. Then, like him, I became a real Habs fan a little later than most Montrealers. Now, I'll get to see Blake wear the CH. Regardless of what kind of player he becomes, it feels like things have come full circle.

Thank you, Hal. Welcome, new Habs.

Monday, February 13, 2012

This week in telenovelas: "Volver"

I guess tonight was just another episode of my hockey telenovela.

En esto capítulo: Vuelve El Guapo!
¿Remember when El Guapo was capitán? 
Regresa también El Spatcho. Y their team won the game. ¿How do you say "revenge" en español?
Nosotros somos heartbroken. Carolina tiene El Guapo y El Spatcho, y nosotros have Kaberle. No es fair.

To be honest, this game would have been more fun to watch if it had actually been a telenovela. There would have been more expressive facial expressions before each commercial break, and after each goal.

Felicitaciones, Coach Kirk.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Plus/Minus busts a 5-day blogless slump

Writing the last Plus/Minus on a Tuesday appears to have thrown me off my game a little. In any case, let's give this a go:

+ Scott Gomez scored a goal! Congratulations, Scotty! Shut up, everyone else!
+ Congratulations to Max Pacioretty on his first NHL hat trick. Anyone going to a home game this week: Please bring a hat to throw onto the ice in his honour.
+ Lars Eller's goal against the Leafs... okay, all five of the goals against the Leafs.
+ A pre-emptive Plus to the Ryan White callup.
+ Ryan McDonagh's goal against the Capitals today makes me hate the Rangers a little less. It's backwards logic, I know, but I guess the Rangers are worth watching? Who knew?
+ Another Galentine's Day on Parks & Recreation! I kind of love the idea of it. I hope Leslie Knope doesn't mind if I steal it.
+ It makes me beyond happy that a year of incredible, well-deserved success for Adele has come to a head on Grammy night, where the entire music industry and everyone watching at home can show her just how much they appreciate her for being both genuine and genuinely talented. If you've never been moved to tears by her voice, you MIGHT be doing it wrong.

- Condolences to NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire for the loss of his big brother. It's heartbreaking.
- I almost feel like being that obnoxious hockey fan who says that the Canadiens could have shut out the Islanders on Thursday... but didn't. Oh well.
- ¡Cosas malas! Now that "The Spanish Teacher" has aired, I think we've all seen the worst episode of Glee. Not even a great overall performance by Naya Rivera could save it.

On another note, I'm not a fan of all this Cupids-and-hearts stuff that Valentine's Day is about, but I do love my readers, so I want you to take care of your own hearts. Visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation's website to assess your risk for heart disease and what you can do to improve your health.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Plus/Minus accurately describes the Habs this week

They're up and they're down, they're boring sometimes and thrilling at other times. If there's one thing I know for sure about this year's Montreal Canadiens, it's that they'll always do something unexpected.

+ Madonna's halftime show had everything: gladiators, a She-Ra headdress, Nicki Minaj, millions of backup dancers, LMFAO, gospel choirs, marching bands, Cee-Lo Green, and her classic Like A Prayer dance moves. Oh, and a shoutout to Ron Artest ("World Peace"). What more could I have asked for? A Patriots loss? I got that too!
+ Kelly Clarkson's fantastic American national anthem proves that all you have to do to be great, is be great. No vocal runs, no fancy earrings. Just talent.
+ A Plus to Lewis Alderman, the kid who helped Michel Lacroix with player introductions at the Bell Centre this weekend. Usually kids just sound like kids, but he was great!
+ On Sunday morning, I said that the Canadiens need to support Carey Price with some goals. And they obliged.
+ Ryan White scored two goals in the first ten minutes of today's Hamilton Bulldogs game. This would have just been a Plus celebrating his return to the ice, but two goals in ten minutes proves just how happy I am to have him back.
+ Some people wouldn't call this a slam dunk. I'm too busy staring in awe to care about what it's called:

- Paul Gaustad is not only insensitive, but he's kind of an idiot too.
- I don't know who this Minus is directed to, exactly, but after the Gaustad incident, Aaron Ward said on the TSN panel that the only things you can't insult another player about on the ice are kids and pets. "Wives, girlfriends, sisters are all fair game." Seriously? Dogs are untouchable but women aren't? Is this a sports league or a cult?
- I'm sorry, Habs, I like you, I really do, but if you feel the same way about me, you can't blow a two-goal lead against the frigging New Jersey Devils.
- Saturday's game against the Capitals was a dismal effort by both teams. Better off forgotten.
- I'm still not a baseball fan, but I'd like to express my anger towards everyone who's tried to turn me into one, because they never told me about this crazy A-Rod centaur rumour.

This week is going to be a busy one, with midseason TV schedules swelling and another edition of Hockey Day In Canada. I'll have to try and keep up.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Montreal wins, Boston loses

Good job, Habs!
Congratulations, New York Giants! (from me, who's supposed to be a Jets fan.)

Plus/Minus should return tomorrow.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A guide to the 2012 Super Bowl, in pictures

My Super Bowl plans have yet to be finalized, but here's what I do know about tomorrow's big game:

Do not wear any light colours. (You know, chicken wings and such.)

Every time you cheer for Tom Brady, you're cheering for a grown man who wears Uggs.

Baseball fans love the fact that the Montreal Expos drafted a promising catcher named Tom Brady, who as it turns out was pretty good at football, too. The truth is that all Brady did was leave baseball for a prettier sport. Typical Brady.

This is a dog I know. His name is Eli. He probably wants Eli Manning to win, since they have the same name. Or maybe he doesn't know what football is, and just wants people to play with him. In any case, look at how cute he is.

By supporting Eli Manning, you're supporting all the younger brothers of athletes who've suffered concussions. I bet that Ben Crosby (fictional younger brother of Sidney that I just made up) would cheer for the Giants.

Madonna is going to rock the halftime show, even if her new song is the worst thing I've heard all week - and that includes the final score of Habs games. MIA is supposed to be joining her (and LMFAO!), and I'm hoping that Nicki Minaj does too, since "Give Me All Your Luvin'" features Nicki, in a desperate attempt to be a less-awful song.

The best thing about the Patriots winning the Super Bowl would be a chance at seeing Tom Brady host SNL again, but the Token Sports Personality Host job for this season was already given to the insanely unfunny Charles Barkley, so there is no comedic reason to vote for the Patriots.

If the New York Giants win the Super Bowl, Victor Cruz and some of his teammates will celebrate by dancing. If the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, the Boston Bruins will be happy.

I have never teared up reading anything on Twitter until I read this tweet from New York Giant, Mark Herzlich. You go win the Super Bowl, Mark Herzlich!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Top 5: Reasons why I should be GM of the Canadiens

Since people have been talking about firing Gauthier for a while...

I would sign Carey Price to a long-term contract right now. Or a short-term contract. Whatever he wants, really, as long as he comes back. I'd buy him a horse if he wanted one.

I would be honest. I wouldn't try to cover up my decisions or spin the truth to stroke a new player's ego. I would just tell things like they are. If a player is brought in to help fill up a roster that's been depleted by injuries, I would say so. I would disclose terms of the agreement, because "club policy" means nothing when player salaries are readily available on TSN or Capgeek. A little honesty would be a refreshing change from the spin doctors and clichés.

I would be honest even when the fans don't want to hear it. Uproar over an English coach or a ridiculous trade? Fans booing their own players? I'd pull a Bob Gainey and tell my fans when they're being idiots.

I would see the big picture. None of this last-minute trade deadline desperation. How well has last year's Dustin Penner deal worked out for the Kings? Not as well as it's worked out for the Denny's a few blocks from the Staples Center. I'd keep my eye on the big picture, and not give away all my team's assets for a bag of magic beans.

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I know that managing a sports team can be cutthroat. You've got to keep your own team afloat and avoid getting screwed over by other GM's or greedy agents. I'll mess with them if I have to. Guilt? Crying on cue? Swearing at them over the phone, in multiple languages? All in a day's work if it gets me what I want.

Obviously, I'm kidding. I've already said that I would never want to be a GM, but I'm sure there's a reason why so many people think they want to be one.