Round 1 Review: The 2012 Playoffs

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….. I’m a Canucks fan and a Penguins fan so it was just the worst of times, actually. Sigh. Anyway, here’s the best and worst highlights of Round 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Best Series
This has to go to the Flyers and the Penguins. Everyone knew that it would be epic but I don’t think anyone expected the Pens to lose 3 straight. Marc Andre Fleury was unbelievably very un-Fleury. To me, it looks like he might have been nursing some sort of injury – possibly groin, as his 5-hole was open like a drive-thru window. That was never revealed in the post press conference though so I’m probably wrong.

Flyers infuriated Sid the Kid

Then just when you thought it was over, Pens were on like Donkey Kong scoring 10 goals in game 4. Jordan Beast-Mode Staal even got a playoff hat trick. Sadly though they barely showed up in Game 6, which is standard Pens form for a day game, which this was. I’m just sad that they finally played how you would expect them to play at the most inopportune time. The highlight and lowlight of this series had to be Crosby losing his mind and behaving like a six year old. After trying to fight everyone in Game 3 and causing both Letang and Adams to get kicked out of the game for jumping in and defending him, he then sticked Voracek’s glove across the ice and in the post-game presser declared “I don’t like anyone on their team.”  I’m sure Max Talbot spent that night locked in his room eating ice cream and listening to bad 80s love songs after that. The bromance they’ve been fostering since Juniors is clearly over and he had to find out on national television!

Worst Series
Hmm…. It would have to be Vancouver-Los Angeles. There just wasn’t any fight from the best in the league, and even if I wasn’t a fan of the Canucks, I would find that depressing. Because I am a huge fan of the Canucks, I find it heartbreaking. It wasn’t that the Canucks were out skilled – they have more skill in one line (Sedin-Sedin-Burrows) than the Kings have in 4 lines – the problem is Henrik, Luongo and Schneider were the only ones trying in the first 3 games. Daniel thankfully came back from concussion and tried hard in Games 4 and 5 but 2 guys and a good goalie can’t dig you out of a 3-game hole. The writing is on the wall that big changes should and probably will be made in Vancouver after this Round 1 loss. The first change will probably be in goaltending but I wouldn’t be surprised if other “Stars” besides Luongo aren’t there come October. More on that in another post.

Biggest Hero
I’m giving this to Joel Ward for one simple goal that knocked out the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. A great deal of hockey fans were thrilled to see the Dirty Bear bite it. Let’s face it their play is rough and borderline dangerous and gets progressively worse the deeper they go in playoffs. It was nice to see them out early. Also, for the Washington Capitals, it was great to see them make it through Round 1 despite their “stars” not trying at all (as per usual in playoffs).

Biggest Goat
Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler and Alex Edler. The three musketeers when it comes tofalling down, missing checks, missing nets and passing directly to the opposition. Maybe I should call them the 3 Stooges but at least the Stooges make you cry. These three made Canucks fans cry.

Creeptastic. Barf.

Worst Playoff Beard
Tim Thomas. Because it’s not a beard it’s a creepy “I drive a windowless van and loiter near playgrounds” moustache.

Best Playoff Beard
This is all Maxim Lapierre. It was full, well groomed and sexy as all hell. No really, check it out in the pic up above. And this is also the last time I can say “Max Lapierre” until next season so I had to give it to him  - so I could say the pretty boy’s pretty name one more time.

 

For my picks on who’ll win round 2, which I’m already late on announcing and wrong in predicting (since this is going up way late and Kings have already swept the Blues) head to  Canucks Hockey Blog

Bullying in the NHL

Today is Pink Shirt Day. It’s to raise awareness of bullying. Bullying is a serious thing that’s causing kids to kill themselves. Campaigns like Pink Shirt Day and the multiple youtube videos speaking out against bullying are hopefully letting kids know what they’re doing to each other with taunts and jeers is wrong and it will stop. But as adults we need to do more than wear a shirt in support. We need to call out bullies – adult ones.Yes that’s right bullying isn’t just a kid thing. Adults do it too. NHL ones.

Brad Marchand is a violent bully

Here’s an example of NHL bullying; Brad Marchand punching Daniel Sedin 5 times in the face after the whistle.

It’s essentially the grown-up, NHL version of stuffing a kid in a locker or giving them a wedgie.  Now before you Boston fans or Canucks haters (I’m looking at you, husband of mine) start trying to tell me “hockey is a tough sport and this is part of the game.”  It isn’t. A fight after a face-off, shoving someone down in front of the net to stop a rebound attempt, a hard check that knocks someone on their butt in the middle of the game – THAT is hockey. What Marchand did was violence for the sake of violence. He wasn’t stopping a scoring opportunity or taking on a player for a legitimate hockey fight. He was simply trying to humiliate Daniel. Picture this – a 12 year old in gym class gets punched repeatedly in the face until the teacher (ref) finally stops him. Is that bully going to get sent to the principal and disciplined? Of course. Is the kid getting punched going to feel bad about himself, yes. If you were the kid getting punched parent wouldn’t you be furious? Yes. Well you should be furious now.

Dave Bolland is a bully

Dave Bolland is another NHL bully. So is radio Host Dave Kaplan.
Both these men thought it was appropriate to call Henrik and Daniel “sisters”.  This is an attempt to belittle them or take away their manhood. Bolland went on to insult and belittle the entire city of Vancouver saying “There’s a lot of weirdoes there. You don’t want to be out there too long.” An entire city huh? I liken that to calling all the kids in the science club are “Weirdoes” or “losers.”  Not cool at 15. Not cool now, Bolland.

If Bolland was in high school and went over the PA system and said “Those Sedin twins are total girls.” Do you think the principal would call Bolland’s parents and/or dole out a punishment for his actions? Yeah. He would. So why is it okay to be a bully as an adult? Do you think that the Sedins deserve to be called names and insulted by Bolland because he doesn’t like their non-aggressive style of hockey? Do you think because they’re adults it doesn’t hurt them? They have kids. Do you think they want their kids hearing their dads called sisters? Bolland was interviewed at an intermission during the next Canucks-Hawks game and waxed poetic about what a great city Vancouver was and how skilled the Sedins were. No one was buying it. He should have just apologized. Just said “I made a mistake when I insulted this city and these players. It was immature and stupid.” But that was more than Bolland could manage. Like most bullies, he’s probably lashing out due to his own insecurity and lack of self-worth. The Sedins probably realize that but I’m sure it still sucks.

Alexandre Ovechkin's arm candy is a bully

And that takes us to Alyonka Larinov. To be clear, I am unsure of what this woman’s career is, exactly. Is she a sports announcer? An on-air personality? A professional host? Presenter? Or is she a like Kim Kardashian building a career off a famous last name? I’m not judging. She has no Wikipedia page so I’m confused. She first came to public attention as Alex Ovechkin’s award show date. And her dad was an NHL player. Somehow from those two facts she’s started being associated with NHL media, most recently as a  twitter reporter at the All-Star game.

Before the All-Star game Larinov went on Off The Record. Landsberg asked her who she would pick last and her response was “The Sedin Sisters.” Wow. Suddenly Alyonka is that pretty, but not very bright girl in high school who wants so badly for the boys to like her that she’ll say anything. Think one of the click in Mean Girls – probably Amanda Siegfried’s character.

Calling the Sedins’ “sisters” in order to get laughs is bullying. If Alyonka was in high school and did that in the middle of a crowded cafeteria (which probably had slightly less people than the nationally broadcast OTR) she’d be called a bully. Well guess what? She still is.

And why I liken her to a dimwitted Mean Girls character is because #1) she seems to be completely unaware that using her own gender as an insult is degrading herself. And #2) she then attacked a user on twitter for calling her out and tried to convince everyone that she called them sisters because “I think it a compliment. Women are beautiful & gentle & have grace. That is the Sedin’s style of hockey. If u think it’s negative”

Why is that argument not believable? Because  the use of “sisters” for the Sedins has already been established as not referring to their grace. Alyonka’s defense would be like her saying that yes, everyone calls the overweight girl in high school a “pig” because she’s obese but Alyonka calls her that because the girl lives on a farm with lots of pigs. Yeah….. sorry Aloynka, you are a bully. And you’re the worst kind. You’re doing it to become popular.

Me in my anti-bullying T

So on this day, Pink Shirt Day, I wear a pink shirt not just for the kids, like my niece and nephew, who I hope never have to go through bullying but also for Daniel and Henrik Sedin who sadly prove that being the quiet, smart, skilled person is still – even in adulthood – is like wearing a target on your back.

NHL Valentines

Since our favorite hockey players are too  busy with games and fighting to either stay in a playoff spot or make a playoff spot, I thought I would send the Valentines for them this year. 

TRANSLATION: Dear Randy Cunneyworth, We’d ask you to be our valentine but you don’t speak French. And since French is the language of love, you can go suck it. Signed The Fans of the Canadiens.

 

Dear Brad Marchand

Dear Brad Marchand,

I read your blog on ESPN. I am not your biggest fan, Brad. Not by a long shot. This, shockingly, has a little to do with the fact that I am a Canucks fan. It has everything do with the fact that I am a hockey fan. I disliked you long before one of my favorite teams ever met you in the Stanley Cup Finals. Why? Because you sir, are what is wrong with hockey. You’re the worst thing in the league right now because you’re a player with ability who relies instead on inappropriate violence and buffoonery. You seem to have no respect for the sport you play, the league you play for, or yourself. This has been clear for a long time but your blog post spells it out.

You think it speaks to Alain Vigneault’s “class or lack thereof” to talk openly about how dirty he thinks you are? Well what do you think it says about YOU when you publicly call the National Hockey League’s head disciplinarian someone who doesn’t know the rules of hockey? You wrote: “They can call it a clipping, but they obviously don’t know the rules of hockey.” The comments don’t make you look classless (the hit itself did that) but the comments do make you look like a disrespectful little snot-faced child. You’re an adult Brad, act like one. Show some respect if only by shutting your mouth and taking your lumps.

You claim you thought you kept your emotions in check this game against Vancouver and that “I played a pretty disciplined game for the most part”. For the most part? Yeah, right up until you STOPPED. You clipped a man and gave him a concussion. It doesn’t matter if that happened in the first 5 minutes or the last 5 minutes – it happened. And lets not even get into punching Salo in the back of the head prior to that. You shouldn’t be publicly patting yourself on the back for “almost” playing a whole game without concussing someone. Seriously, even YOU have to understand how absolutely stupid you sound.

You said “I don’t really care what my reputation is” which is sad because a smart hockey player would care. Your reputation factored into this suspension as it will with any future disciplinary action. That’s what “repeat offender” essentially means – your past is taken into account. Your reputation is affecting your play – because it’s limiting it. If you care about your “job” then you should care about what stops you from doing it.

Your reputation sucks, Brad. Fans, players and media refer to you as a rat – YOU refer to you as a rat. You get calling yourself a rat is ridiculous right? I still have no idea what you expected to get from that. I mean did you think people would respect you for being so self-aware? FYI Brad just because you admit to being a horrible person doesn’t mean people will forgive you or respect you. The fact that you’re self-aware and embrace your horrible qualities rather than work to change them just makes you an even more despicable human being.

People (especially bruins fans, rightfully so) love to claim Matt Cooke is the dirtiest player in the league – but he isn’t this year. Matt Cooke seems to have learned his lesson but that’s probably because he has better “parents”. Mario Lemieux made it clear he wasn’t going to put up with the dirty, violent stuff anymore. Unfortunately your “parents” are a huge part of the problem The Bruins organization keeps defending you and coddling you. They promote violence under the guise of “old style hockey”. When their players concuss or break the backs of other players they defend their actions or blow them off with excuses like “he was defending himself”. You can’t learn if no one is teaching you, I guess.

Fact is Brad if you don’t start caring about how you look and start questioning why you resort to violence instead of relying on your goal scoring ability, all anyone will remember you for is the fact that you’re a dirty, undisciplined, violent player that fans and players alike had no respect for.

What kind of idiot wants that?

Sincerely,

Victoria

Here We Go Again

I don’t even want to write this article. Why? Because unfortunately, I do actually try to have at least a little perspective when writing for WinDaTurd. And because this article is about the upcoming Bruins-Canucks game finding perspective (even a shred) means putting a copious amount of mental energy into fighting my well-developed lifelong instinct to just rage blind hate for the Boston Bruins. But…. I guess I’ll give it a go. I can always nap later to regain my strength.

The ever-incredible sports journalist Guts McTavish (best puppet in the business) asked a question late last night on twitter. He said What Do You Honestly See Happening in the Game Saturday? I gave him a quirky answer, but it wasn’t the whole truth (Sorry Guts) because the truth is I have no clue. Here are the three possible outcomes that are fighting for dominance in my head.

1- The Canucks will be neutered. The Bruins will skate all over us. I love my team very much but I feel that they tend to get carry more baggage than a Bell Hop at the Beverly Wilshire. Emotional baggage that is. Key players in particular seem to not be able to shake demons off their back very easily. Bobby Lu’s relationship with the Madhouse could be sited here. The Canucks didn’t just lose every game in the Garden during the Finals, they lost them by huge margins. This is what makes me nervous. And just to avoid the Luongo-Hater accusations I’ll add here that Kesler tends to be reckless when he’s emotional (not angry but emotional, there’s a difference). And the Twins tend to turtle. Of course we finally broke free of the United Center curse, we can do it here too, which is why I’m not convinced we’ll have a repeat of the painful shutout loss that was June 15, 2011.

2 - Canucks will earn a solid, clear win because Boston will underestimate us. When the Bruins faced us in June we were playing at less than our best.  We were tired and injury riddled. Kesler could barely skate. Raymond’s back was broken. Malholtra was barely back from a career ending injury, etc. Also facing the same team for 7 games in a row – a team whose playing style…. Is “rougher” than is typical, would wear down even a team playing at 100%. (Excuse me while I catch my breath. It took everything in me to call the bruins style something as simple and polite as “rough”)

This Canuck team – the one going into Boston Saturday – is healthy and strong and playing great, solid hockey. And there are some new additions – like Dale Wiese who might be able to earn back some fans he alienated on twitter if he plays with the fearless aggression and force we know he’s capable of this Saturday. Also, when asked about the upcoming rematch, Ballard said “It’s one game in the middle of the season. We’re not going to feel better about last season by beating Boston once in January.”

If the Canucks believe this – TRULY believe this – then we have the definite advantage. It means we’re not going in there actively seeking revenge and we aren’t trying to prove anything. It means we’ll play our hockey and not be goaded into their hockey. And to be honest, the Bruins are the ones who should feel they have to prove something as far as I’m concerned. Because if they lose I intend to believe that their Game 7 win was a fluke and pull out lines like “If we’d been healthy they never would have won, which this game proves.” (sorry…. My blind rage escaped its cage for a minute there)

3 - Last but not least the all-out, old-school, full-on massacre. I’m not talking in points, I’m talking in blood. The hate between theses teams is full and complete and not nearly enough time has passed to even have a thick scab on the wound. The media is surely going to do nothing but fan the flames (again). Boston fans are ignorant, conceited, a-holes. And there are a fair share of loudly delusional idiotic Canucks fans. Although it’s great that the Canucks say they’re looking at this as just another game, neither fanbase is by any means. This game easily has the potential to make last year’s Islanders-Penguins debacle look like a playground scuffle. I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t want that. What Canucks fan doesn’t want to see Brad Marchand take another 6 swings at a Sedin and Kevin Beiksa step in and punch that Sears Tower Marchand calls a nose off his ugly face? And oh God I would be wrongly delighted with a goalie fight! 

Now which of these possibilities do I want to see become reality? As much as I love a great goalie fight, I want Option 2. I want to get this ugly, dirty bear off our backs now. Beat the Bruins and move on (mentally and physically). Because we could very well be facing them again and if we should learn how to beat them in their barn now so we know how to do it later.

And now excuse while I go back to despising the most violent, dirty team in the entire NHL with a blind rage. Ahhhhh that feels better.