Friday, April 27, 2012

Plus/Minus can't even cover the entire first round

Summary of the first round of the 2012 playoffs: There was no shortage of high-scoring games, penalties, suspensions, or overtime. Sidney Crosby lost. The Bruins lost. The Kings played a lot better than expected. I ate a lot of cake. It was a pretty good round.

+ Jonathan Toews took no time at all to return to scoring form after missing 22 (twenty-two!) games with a concussion. I was just happy to have him back. To see him score a goal is like icing on the cake. (The very serious, lovable cake.)
+ Congratulations to Jean Béliveau, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Cassie Campbell-Pascall and Gord Renwick for being named to the Order of Hockey Canada, even though I'm still not completely clear on what that is.
+ Max Pacioretty's Masterton Trophy nomination is like the cherry on top of this year: He recovered from his injury, worked hard, came back better than ever, and brought Habs fans to their feet. Add to that his off-ice work, and you've got the kind of player that any sports franchise would be lucky to have.
+ Sean Couturier hat trick!
+ Jack Jablonski was discharged from hospital and by all accounts seems to be doing great.
+ The #NHLHungerGames hashtag on Twitter has been so much fun. I know, I know. I seem to like any hashtag that combines hockey and pop culture. As if that's surprising.
+ Major props to the Canadiens website for continuing to provide new videos and content for fans to read.
+ Sure, the 30 Rock live show was just another publicity stunt, but it was also an excellent excuse to have all of the show's friends in the same episode and be a super-meta love fest! (I mean that in the best way possible. I absolutely loved all of the cameo appearances in this episode.)

- I love cheering for a hockey team that has produced so many legendary players, but I hate saying goodbye to them when the time comes. Rest in peace, Butch Bouchard.
- The Mike Cammalleri jersey saga: makes me happy that The Hockey Sweater exists, so people have something else to associate with the words "Habs jersey debacle."
- Shea Weber's attack on Henrik Zetterberg's head was absolutely ridiculous. There is no excuse for it. I don't even care about how amazing Weber's beard is when he does things like this. Oh, and a fine? The NHL fined him? That's his punishment? What, they couldn't suspend him because he technically didn't do it during a game?
- 25 I lost count of how many ruthless, unwatchable ways players hurt each other during this round of the playoffs. (Twenty-five for the number of games Raffi Torres was suspended, thanks to the "female viewers" apparently. You're welcome. rest of the NHL.)
- Hey, Don Cherry, I don't know who "Corey" Price is, but CAREY Price is a good Canadian boy who plays for a Canadian team, ya know? And he cares about the soldiers and he's an All-Star and you probably saw his dad play hockey.
- Okay, world, I get it. Some of you hate the Canucks, and the rest of you just hate their fans, but somehow I can't really blame Canucks fans for thinking everyone hates them when everyone really does hate them. I mean, seriously, can some of you maybe give it a rest?
- The saddest sports story I've heard in the last few weeks has got to be that of Italian soccer player Piermario Morosini, who died at the age of 25 of cardiac arrest after collapsing on the field. He had already lost both his parents and his brother, and is survived only by his handicapped sister.

Congratulations to the teams who've made it to the second round of the playoffs. Please make good TV and don't put each other in the hospital.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top 5: Reasons Why You Should Let Tim Tebow Do What He Wants

go Gators!
So, apparently there's a website out there for people who like to cheat on their spouses. And this website has one million dollars for whoever can prove they slept with NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who's religious and has chosen to maybe not engage in the same extracurricular activities as some of his contemporaries, if you know what I mean. He's a virgin by choice, but I guess when you're running a website that helps people break their marriage vows, "virgin" is a bad word.

As you may already know, I'm both a churchgoer and kind of a Jets fan, so allow me to run some defense for my new QB.

Top 5 Reasons Why It's Ridiculously Wrong (and just plain ridiculous) To Put A Price On Tim Tebow's Virginity

1. It's disrespectful. Some people don't understand Tebow's point of view or his religious beliefs. Whatever. They're his. If ever he offers one of his teammates $1 million to never have sex again, then we'll call it even. But for now, I'm just calling it rude. People should be allowed to sleep with whoever they want (exception: cheating) - and if for Tim Tebow, that's nobody right now, then we should all respect that.

2. It's an invasion of privacy. Not only should people be allowed to choose who they sleep with, but they can choose to be discreet about it if they want to. What this website is doing screams Middle Ages, and yet displays the kind of tackiness that we've only come to expect from the TMZ era.

3. It's immature. Seriously. What is this, an American Pie movie?

4. One million dollars could be better spent. The fact that a site for cheaters has $1 million to throw around on something this stupid makes me hate everything. That being said, imagine what $1 million can do. It can send underprivileged kids to school. It would be a huge help in disaster relief. It could help pay legal fees for people who want divorces from the douchebag spouses who cheated on them. It could pay for repairs, if an angry wife or girlfriend goes all Carrie Underwood on her man's car. But no. It's just the reward for taking Tim Tebow's virginity, because apparently his idea of fun is different from someone else's, and they're not cool with that.

5. "Sleep with this man and we'll give you a million dollars." You're giving someone money in exchange for sex. I'm pretty sure that the word for that is "prostitution."

Thank you to Aerys Sports for the scoop.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's always whiny in Philadelphia

It's no secret that, despite his tremendous talent at hockey-playing, Sidney Crosby is not my favourite person in the NHL.
(Everyone at Hockey Night In Canada just wept upon reading that sentence.)

Why? There are many reasons, actually, but right now it's because he is a child. No, really, he is. I'm barely two months older than Crosby, on the cusp of turning 25, and have probably accomplished a lot less than he has, but I feel like I'm so much more grown-up than he is.
If anything about Sunday's Penguins-Flyers game will stick in my memory more than the two dozen fights or sixty-five goals scored, it'll be Crosby's post-game comment: "I don't like any guy on their team."

That kind of comment can be attributed to many things. Anger? Petulance? Playoff bravado? Honesty? Or desire for more attention than he already has? Maybe it's just good old-fashioned complaining. Wherever that comment came from doesn't really change the fact that it made me angry.

Here's the thing: I should agree with Crosby, because I don't really like any of the Flyers either. Except for the ones who used to be Kings. And Ilya Bryzgalov. And Sean Couturier. And Jakub Voracek. (Blame Czechtacular for those last three.) Actually, the Flyers I like are part of the reason why the team has looked so good in the playoffs: they're not just a bunch of bruisers anymore. They're playing faster, smarter, more dimensional hockey than they were when I first started watching the sport. And yet, the Penguins feel as though they're being bullied worse than ever and feel the need to retaliate tenfold. So, which team comes off looking more goonish? The Penguins. Yes, really. I was more concerned for the Flyers' safety during yesterday's game than I was for the team playing the Flyers. If I had worried about the Penguins, I would still feel awkward about it because they basically brought this upon themselves, and their captain not only took part in it, but tried to continue the drama after the game ended. Yes, the same captain who is forever heralded as a "nice guy." And who was sidelined for a year because he was the victim of on-ice violence.

I suppose I should commend him for not shying away from a fight as is he sometimes tends to do, but that would mean that I was condoning violence. But a team's captain shouldn't just go after a player on a rival team no matter how intense the rivalry is, or how much symbolism he's creating in fighting Claude Giroux, who is (gasp!) scoring goals and selling jerseys.

Oh, and Penguins? You also shouldn't do this:

Or this:

Or this:
I mean, seriously, hair-pulling? Not even the Flyers would stoop that low. (Maybe the Bruins would.) I haven't seen someone pull someone else's hair out of anger since elementary school. This is further proof that the Penguins' captain needs to grow up and remind his team to stop acting like the Real Housewives of Pennsylvania and start playing some real hockey, because they sure as hell know how.

Bring on Game 4. It might be childish (erm, Crosby-esque?) of me to choose sides, but I'm hoping Philly takes it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Meet Tim Thomas' New BFF!

The Capitals/Bruins series heads into Verizon Center tied at 1-1. Tim Thomas has probably been dreading another visit to Washington. He expressed his dislike for the Obama administration by refusing to visit the White House with his teammates. Now every time he goes to his nation's capital, Tim Thomas is That Guy Who Hates Democrats.

It seems like no one is on his side, so he can probably use a friend right about now. You know what that means...
Tim Thomas is an awful lot like Adam Baldwin, who you've surely seen playing some badass in a movie or TV show. Baldwin is never not cool in his roles. All he does is kick ass and be large (see Full Metal Jacket, Firefly*, or Chuck.) I love him to bits. I would watch pretty much anything if he was in it. Thomas, likewise, is really good at being a goalie and stuff.
But then politics come into play and you start wondering if this real-life person is the same guy you see on TV. Thomas expressing all his views over Facebook and then saying he won't comment any further, then commenting further. Baldwin tweeting more about politics than anything he's ever worked on, referring to Obama as "PrezBO" and coming off like a crazy conspiracy theorist who should maybe dial it back a little? Both of them make me happy that I live in Canada and tend to ignore most major news media.

Thomas and Baldwin would make great friends because they can just argue and argue without realizing that they agree with each other. They would just keep coming up with things to be worried about and people who should be President, and they'd always have each other as an audience. Heck, they can get their own show on FOX News and non-Republicans might actually watch it!

With any luck, they might cool it a little with the social network insanity, and we the people can go back to enjoying their work without having politics get in the way.

* I haven't touched my Firefly DVDs in ages, mostly because there just aren't enough episodes, and I would be heartbroken once I reached the end of the series. Plus, I'd probably start talking like the characters, and then no one would understand a gorram thing I say.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Who Is The Most Clutch Player In The NHL?

Since "clutch" was everyone's favourite buzzword this season:

Evgeni Malkin is clutch!
Henrik Lundqvist is so clutch.
Jonathan Toews is definitely clutch.
People think Luongo isn't clutch, but Cory Schneider is clutch.
Scott Hartnell is totally clutch, you guys!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Preparing for a Habs-less playoff season

I've never seen a Habs-free postseason, but I think I've made my peace with this season and now I'm ready for the playoffs to start.
Proof that I miss the Habs: I can't bring myself to uphold my tradition of making my own playoff bracket.
Proof that I'll be okay: I've already busted out my "unlucky" Josh Gorges shirt, after leaving it in the depths of an untouched dresser drawer since September. I'm so happy to be wearing it again, it's ridiculous.

I don't really know how to deal with the playoffs when the Habs aren't in them, but here's what I've figured out so far:

As usual, I'll attach myself to players on a few different teams (my "playoff boyfriends," for lack of a better term.) This year's playoff boyfriends include Erik Karlsson and returning favourite Jonathan Ericsson. If there's a Karl Jonathansson in the playoffs, I'll probably put him on the list, too.

I'll paint my nails just to avoid biting them down to stubs during most of these playoff series. (Especially YOU, Vancouver-Los Angeles.)

I'll wait for crazy John Tortorella antics with bated breath, and mentally compare them with Dan Bylsma's postgame pressers.

I'm going to use every possible opportunity to say "SMASHVILLE!" out loud because it's just so much damn fun to say. And I'll hope for as much Hal Gill screen time as possible.

I might get whiplash from changing alliances so often, because I'm so excited for most of these matchups.

I'll probably spend a whole lot of weekends napping and a whole lot of weekday mornings eating Nutella and drinking caffeine, because of course the Western Conference has the most exciting matchups and I'll be skipping a couple hours of sleep each night.

I'll give Washington fans as much support as they need in booing the Bruins. And more.

I'll keep an eye on the best playoff beards, and hope that the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Beard-A-Thon raises a lot of money. Which remains to be seen, because Shea Weber isn't participating, and we all know that Shea Weber's beard is where the money is at.

Happy playoffs!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meet Sean Avery's New BFF

The New York Rangers go into the playoffs as the top team in the Eastern Conference. They also go into the playoffs without Sean Avery, who may or may not have retired out of spite. (Spite: the best reason to do anything!) Also, he and his supermodel girlfriend aren't seeing each other anymore. Also, it's his birthday and he has no girlfriend and no hockey to help him get a new girl, so basically all he has is fancy shoes or pocket squares or whatever.

Sounds like Sean Avery could use a hug.

I won't be the one to give him that hug, because Sean Avery is kind of gross, but lucky for him, I'm starting a new feature here at Hab It Her Way:
I've found a best friend for Avery, since he probably could use one. He may not be a real person, but that's just a minor detail.
Sean, meet Schmidt from FOX's New Girl. He's just like you: he loves the ladies, he's well-dressed, and he's so ridiculously metrosexual that you wonder if he spends any time not staring at himself in the mirror, primping or tweezing something. (Just listen to the way he says "hair chutney." Or, just pay attention to the fact that he uses "hair chutney.") You two would have the time of your lives: practicing your best pickup techniques, shopping at Kiehl's, sipping vodka martinis or whatever makes you look like the classiest man at the bar... You'd have the ultimate wingman. You could spend more time with Schmidt's roommates: two vaguely loser-y guys that make you feel better about yourself, and one cute girl that you already have your eye on, even though you think she's a little crazy. Just don't tell Schmidt you think she's crazy - anyone who feels anything other than fuzzy, platonic love towards Jess Day is immediately treated like a monster. You should probably know that.

Happy shopping! I'll be watching the playoffs.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Plus/Minus: Out of the rabbit hole

Easter is one of the most joyful days on the Christian calendar. The day after a team's last game is one of the saddest days for a sports fan. I'm not quite sure how to feel, since this insane season ended on a high note. I feel like Alice out of Wonderland: I have no idea where I was or what was happening around me. All I know for sure is that now it's over.


+ Tomas Plekanec's beautiful-gorgeous 3-on-5 breakaway goal.
+ Finally, Blake Geoffrion got to shake some rust off and actually play a few games.
+ The Cole-Pacioretty-Desharnais line. I don't think I've given them enough Pluses this season.
+ If you're going to wait all season to score a goal, you might as well score it from the other side of the ice with mere minutes left in the season. Nice work, Brad Staubitz!
+ Carey Price's cowboy hat.
+ I love seeing the players close out their season finale by "saluting" the fans with their hockey sticks, but I never would have expected them to toss around so many pucks and give the jerseys off their backs to fans.
+ Jay Baruchel.
+ Last year, I wrote an end-of-season post thanking the Habs players for their season. This year, I saw that another fan wrote one on Tumblr, and it's excellent.

+ Patrick Kane's game-winning shootout goal against the Red Wings was the perfect way to end an exciting game between two teams that I wish I could watch all the time, but instead I'm stuck with, like, Buffalo and stuff.
+ 60 goals for Steven Stamkos. 50 goals for Evgeni Malkin. Holy crap, this league.
+ An unfortunate omission from last week's Plus: Pucks and Pixels Hockey Design, spearheaded by a Chicago Blackhawks fan, has done some excellent work inspired by the You Can Play Project.
+ "Bein' Quirky With Zooey Deschanel" might be my new favourite recurring sketch on SNL.
+ Speaking of Zooey Deschanel on TV, Winston's angry rant on New Girl ended with what might be the best bit of dialogue I've heard all season: "Now go away, because I'm having cereal." ("Because I"m having cereal" is the new "Because it's the Cup.")

- Mario Tremblay seems to think that Randy Cunneyworth's lack of québécois heritage is what cost the Habs their season. Really?! REALLY?! There are so many things wrong with that statement, that Tremblay probably wouldn't be able to count them all.
- I loved the end-of-season "Thank You" video that the Canadiens put together, but it hurts a little to see our most talented and dedicated players try to make up for fans and thank them when they know that there are so many idiot "fans" out there who shouldn't be allowed near the Bell Centre next season.

- Federal government cuts to the NFB are not only costing dozens of people their jobs, but they're closing their downtown facilities to the public. I've been to screenings there. I went to a 50-person Q-and-A session with Denys Arcand there. The government can't just take it away.

I'm still thinking about how to adjust to this new, playoff-less reality. I think the traditional Plus/Minus playoff format (one at the end of each round, instead of weekly) is going to come back.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Plus/Minus faces the music

The hockey season is winding down. We’re about a month away from May sweeps. If there is no Habs hockey on my television, and less television on my television, what am I supposed to do with myself? (Watch my all-but-ignored DVD’s and finally catch up on literally an entire season of guilty pleasures on the DVR, I guess?)

+ This "Sh*t Habs Fans Say" video is brought to you by our friend Robyn, and it's great and we're so proud of her.
+ Congratulations, Josh Gorges, on winning the Jacques Beauchamp trophy. But you're more than an unsung hero! I'll keep singing you until you're sung.
+ to Geoff Molson, for doing his best to make himself available to the media after firing his general manager. So much has happened this season that left both journalists and fans confused, and it’s about time we have someone who at least tries to share as much information as he can.
+ I’m sorry, but Tomas Plekanec’s celebration after his goal against the Caps was hilarious. Louis Leblanc tried to go along for the ride and Pleks was just not having it. I know I should be disappointed because poor sportsmanship and all, but I laughed instead.
+ Any week where Stevie Nicks makes an appearance on two different shows is a good week for TV. (Even if one of those shows is damn American Idol.)

- People who want Patrick Roy as coach = People who still buy Chris Brown albums.
- Carey Price suffering a concussion is exactly the kind of misfortune that was missing from this season. Thanks, terrible season! You're so full of surprises.
- It took Ryan White coming down with the flu for Blake Geoffrion to hit the ice again. What's the use in benching a young player for like a million consecutive games, when some ice time would do him good in either the NHL or the AHL?
- Who told Christina Aguilera it would be a good idea for a pop star to arrange a cover of “Satisfaction” for a country duo and a rapper? She acts like she reinvented the wheel. All she did was take the audience wildly off course and end up nowhere. (I am, however, very proud of her for putting some clothes on for this week’s episode of The Voice.)
I have no idea how to feel yet about the Gabriel Dumont callup other than excited. So I guess that's a Plus?