Thursday, December 26, 2013

Extremely Obvious Advice

So, the World Juniors have started and it's the most wonderful time of the year because we all get to break out our Canada jerseys (or other jerseys, that's cool too.) And we'll get to do it all over again in a few weeks when the Olympics start.

This morning, Canada played Germany. One person I follow on Twitter decided to outright mention Nazism. Yes, because German hockey players in 2013 immediately call to mind the Third Reich. His tweet has since been deleted ("because, you know"*), so I'll do him the courtesy of not mentioning him by name or posting screenshots, but I'm going to sub-blog him anyway.

There's no denying that what happened before and during World War II was horrifying, hateful and beyond inhumane. It's a very dark period in German history that no normal human being is proud of. In case that wasn't obvious before, let me make it obvious now. I went to Germany five years ago. I have friends there. What happened decades ago doesn't represent what the country, or any of my friends are like now. They're so ashamed of that part of their history that they're afraid to express pride in their own country, save for a bit of patriotism during the Olympics or the World Cup, for fear of looking too much like Germans under a certain dictator in the 1930s and 40s. They're not responsible for what happened then, but because of it, they're apparently not supposed to love their country like I love Canada. And they're great people - modern Germany is friendly, interesting, and more than a little bit similar to North America.

So here's an idea: let's all maybe not assume that countries as a whole haven't evolved, or immediately call to mind the worst parts of their history when discussing sports. (This goes for all countries.) Let's stick to laughing at their bad pop songs or embarrassing goals, instead of jumping to conclusions about what their grandparents or great-grandparents were like. Okay? Okay.

*I'm assuming that "because, you know" is shorthand for "I said something racist and should not have clicked the Send button"

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Plus/Minus is ready for Christmas break

The Habs, man. Like, what even? Seriously? I can't with them. They render me incapable of expressing myself in anything other than Internet platitudes. So let's just try and Plus/Minus the last couple of weeks while we get ready for the holidays:

+ The Charlie Coyle moment that everyone loved, and reminded me why I love hockey:
+ Excellent work, Alex Galchenyuk.
+ 2 Max Pacioretty, not only for scoring, but also for bringing back his sword goal celly. Oddly appropriate for our very own Black Knight.
+ Beyoncé releasing a surprise album warrants a Plus all its own. Always Beyoncé.

- I'm not sure if Gorges and Gally look more like lumberjacks or truck drivers or both. Share your suggestions in the comments.
- But, like, Daniel Briere, do you play hockey?
- I hate to see Josh Harding on IR, and I wish him the best. He's a hell of a player and I hope he gets to play a whole lot more.
- Thing that actually happened: Tyler Bozak referring to "We Can't Stop" - the Miley Cyrus song about the saddest drug addict party ever - as "upbeat" and fun to listen to after a win. This is why people hate Toronto.
- I remember a variety show I was in in fifth grade, one girl thought it would be funny to play a "sign language interpreter" and just flail all over the place. It wasn't funny then, and it isn't funny now.

Get some rest, Habs, and have some eggnog or something while you all make fun of Toronto and their Miley Cyrus song.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Observations from someone who left a Habs game early

I was vastly disappointed by the result of last night's hockey match between the Canadiens of Montreal and the Kings of Los Angeles. First of all, I expected something much more regal and understated, and more in line with the Kings' team name. I have dined with several kings, you see, and I found them to be much calmer in demeanour and smaller in stature than the boorish athletes I saw on the ice wearing synthetic fabrics.

I did not pay very much to sit a few rows behind the glass at the Bell Centre, which is a terrible name for a public place since it bears the name of but a lowly inventor, rather than a great horseman or perhaps a duke. I thought that I would partake in the watching of this sport, despite its popularity with the working classes. I can understand why citizens of lower classes enjoy such events, as the tickets cost a pittance! Beverages were sold at a very low cost as well, though that is to be expected as they were served in plastic cups. I did not care for the easy availability of alcoholic beverages, nor for the noise level that was unnaturally high for a crowd of so many thousands. I was very fortunate to have been warned of this by my footman, and prepared myself by asking my manservant to fetch my mink earplugs before I left my manse.

I noticed that every time the Kings of Los Angeles inserted the rubber disk into the cordoned-off area behind the keeper, the people inhabiting the seats in my row grew discouraged. It was not until the Canadiens' leader - I believe they call him a coach, though I saw no horses - chose to relieve the keeper of his duties, that I understood. This young man had not done his job properly, and as such was soon met with unemployment. The same very nearly happened when I watched one of my good friends fire his stable boy after a particularly loud sneeze. I was shocked at such a public display. Why, my crystal monocle nearly fell out of my eye! Such a fortunate stroke of luck that it did not, as it would likely have landed on the floor, or worse, on someone's denim pantaloons. Can you imagine? What a horrible thought.

It was also quite disappointing that the moving players on the Canadiens' squad were unable to allow their disks to reach the cordoned-off area behind the keeper. I expected them to be able to do this, as the Kings of Los Angeles were capable of this feat more than once. Ultimately, I began to lose patience and thought my time would be better spent elsewhere, as this hockey squad was unable to acknowledge the honour of my presence. They probably assumed that their amphitheatre was filled with people whose income is smaller than theirs, and not noblemen such as I. In order to avoid further disrespect on the part of this hockey squad, I thought it best to return to my manse and enjoy the rest of the evening sipping my finest brandy in the presence of my string quartet. I shan't be returning to the Bell Centre, as the quality of the entertainment was even lesser than the puny cost of admission.

I have learned my lesson.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Plus/Minus: All we do is win

I know I haven't written one of these in a couple of weeks. So why not start up again after the Habs have a near-flawless week? ...Am I jinxing them somehow?

+ THAT HIT by Lars Eller. Seeing it in person was something else. I don't even have the right reaction gif to express it.
+ David Desharnais' mustache. It is now a proven fact that mustaches make NHL players better at hockey.
+ Ever since I left on vacation, Max Pacioretty has been some kind of wonderful. (See also: Minus.)
+ Brandon Prust and Travis Moen are suddenly scoring goals, and I am very, very okay with that.
+ Apparently some Scandal fans are upset that the show is basically turning into Alias. I don't see how this is a bad thing.

+ I got to my seat at the Bell Centre on Thursday just in time to observe the moment of silence for Nelson Mandela. Apart from one moron who decided to shout incomprehensibly (and get shushed), the arena was quiet. It was really moving to see the organization - and the fans - pay such respect to a man who changed the world. A moment of silence can be hard to come by in one of the league's loudest arenas, and even at that, it seems like a small tribute to a great man. But I'm so happy that the team chose to take a minute and recognize everything he did in his lifetime.

- Penguins. Bruins. You all are crazy. Stop kicking and punching everyone in the head.
- Now that Max Pacioretty is scoring goals and taking names, lots of people are saying that the people who wanted him traded have been silenced. Who are these people that wanted him traded? And exactly what illicit substances have they been ingesting?
- The Mindy Project is one of the most watchable comedies on network TV. The fact that it's going on hiatus for three months is a crime. The only upside to this is that it'll be replaced by Brooklyn Nine-Nine, one of the other watchable comedies on network TV. Still, I have no idea how this bodes for Mindy in the long term, and I'm concerned that Fox is sinking a show that seems to be in line with what they want to be as a network.

I hope I'm not jinxing them.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

End of the MOnth

Movember has come to a close, and we've got another year of fundraising, talking, and mustache-growing behind us. I'm a little sad to see it go, so I'm using hockey pictures as a coping mechanism. (Most of these pictures were yoinked from the official Canadiens site, because they have the best mustache photographers around.)

Thank you, Daniel Briere, for expressing just how I feel now that Movember is over.

Thank you, Brendan Gallagher, for growing a mustache that makes you look like a cartoon French guy. I'll have your striped shirt, beret, accordion, and baguette ready for next Movember. (For full effect, watch the gifs below on a loop while listening to, I don't know, Flight of the Conchords' "Foux du Fafa" or the French chef's song from The Little Mermaid.)

Thank you, Alexei Emelin, for looking a little bit like Zorro, and reminding us all to be heroes this month.

Thank you, David Desharnais, for looking like a tough guy with that mustache. Hockey fights cancer, indeed.

Thank you, Francis Bouillon, for growing a mustache again, because it still kind of makes you look like you could be in a mariachi band. You also made me feel better about escaping to Mexico for a week this Movember, mostly because I learned the Spanish word for mustache. 

Thank you, Max Pacioretty, for representing what most guys who grew mustaches strived to look like: the perfect middle ground between "stepped out of a vintage photograph" and "still looks good."

Thank you, George Parros, for being in good enough shape to return to the game by Movember. And for only needing about three days to grow a full mustache. And, most of all, for setting such a great example for all Mo Bros and Mo Team Captains.

And, most importantly of all: Thank you to everyone who supported me again this year. Every retweet, every donation, every minute spent and every encouraging word put a smile on my face. You were such a huge help to me, even though I wasn't around for the entire month. I didn't even tell everyone what my fundraising goal was ($400) but you helped me surpass it. At times I felt like my enthusiasm probably started grating on you, but you were there for me nonetheless, and this is a great cause, so it means a lot. I tried to change things up this year and be creative and I was met with so much positivity. It made me feel really good about what I was doing.