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.

 

Behind Enemy Lines – For Life.

Courtesy of Fotografix Studios

I often tell people I am in a “mixed marriage” because in my eyes I am. Of course when they see my husband – blonde hair, blue eyes, Caucasian – and they look at me (brown hair, green eyed, Caucasian) they think I’m a mental moron. But as far as I am concerned when one person loves one hockey franchise and the other person loves the other – THAT is a form of a mixed marriage.

Simply put, my husband is a life-long Montreal Canadiens supporter. I am a die-hard Vancouver Canucks supporter. As if this wasn’t enough of a hurdle, my husband is also a hardcore, full-on Canucks HATER. He despises them. Need proof? This die-hard, life-long Canadiens supporter actually started cheering for the Boston Bruins during the Stanley Cup Final. Something he fully admits he would have never considered if they were playing anyone other than the Canucks. He hates my team THAT much. Continue reading

2010-2011 Playoff Predictions

Okay, this is it. I’ve consulted my tarot cards, my magic eight ball, my lucky Chihuahua foot and sacrificed a goat (don’t worry San Fermin friends, it’s not the goat from Pamplona).

And here it is. My predictions for the 2010-2011 NHL Season.

EASTERN DIVISION FINAL CONFERENCE STANDINGS
New Jersey Devils
Washington Capitals
Pittsburgh Penguins
Buffalo Sabres
Florida Panthers
Boston Bruins
New York Rangers
Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Flyers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Tampa Bay Lightning
Atlanta Thrashers
New York Islanders
Carolina Hurricanes

RATIONALE:
I know, I love to watch them fail too, but the Toronto Maple Leafs are actually going to see the benefits of Brian Burke’s hard, smart work this year. A full season with JS Giguere will help as will the addition of Phaneuf and Versteeg. The Rangers will make the cut this year, as long as Gaborik isn’t sidelined by injuries. The Pens will continue rely on the Russian Frankenstein, Evgeni Malkin and the Canada’s Golden Child (and my not-so secret crush) Sidney Crosby. The Devils will be the only surprise here. They’ll not only do well (they always do well) but this year they’ll take top honours with the help of Kovalchuk, Jason Arnott, Patrick Elias and Olympic Silver medallist Zach Parise. In not surprising news, Pierre Gauthier’s gamble on Price won’t payoff. Despite the best efforts of Gionta, Gomez and the gang, the Canadiens won’t come close to the playoffs this year.

WESTERN DIVISION FINAL CONFERENCE STANDINGS
Detroit Red Wings
Vancouver Canucks
Chicago Blackhawks
San Jose Sharks
Los Angeles Kings
St. Louis Blues
Phoenix Coyotes
Calgary Flames

Anaheim Ducks
Minnesota Wild
Colorado Avalanche
Nashville Predators
Columbus Blue Jackets
Edmonton Oilers
Dallas Stars

RATIONALE:
Shocked? I know a lot of people think the Bad News Bears story of the Phoenix Coyotes last year was a One Hit Wonder thing but I disagree. Maybe the limbo state of their club gives them a chance to focus more on hockey and less on hockey politics. Whatever the reason they work harder than most and it will pay off again. Vancouver’s acquisition of Malholtra will be a key in their success and I see Torres also making a big positive impact. The Flames are angry about last season and that’ll be enough to push them into playoff ranks. The Kings young, fresh line up will only be made stronger by vetran Willie Mitchell, if he stays healthy, and they have 2 solid goaltenders in Joanathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier.

ROUND ONE EAST:
Devils over Leafs – this will be easy.
Capitals over Rangers – not as easy but still not hard
Penguins over Bruins – quick and easy.
Panthers over Sabres – the upset.

ROUND ONE WEST:
Wings over Flames – but Calgary puts up a fight.
Canucks over Coyotes – I see this being easy.
Hawks over Blues – Halak won’t be able to do it all himself this year.
Kings over Sharks – the biggest surprise and longest fight of the round.

SEMI FINALS EAST:
Devils over Panthers – not a hard series.
Penguins over Capitals – It’s a simple case of good over evil. Superman over Lex Luthor. Hot over Ugly. Crosby over Ovehckin.

SEMI FINALS WEST:
Wings over Kings – It won’t be easy though.
Canucks over Hawks – FINALLY! With the C off Luongo’s back – and Dustin Byfuglien out of his playoff crease he’s bound to finally live up to his hype – and paycheck.

EAST CON FINALS:
Devils over Penguins – I heart you Sid, but this isn’t going to be your year (again).

WEST CON FINALS:
Canucks over Wings – 7 nailbiting games but Vancouver will prevail.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS:
Canucks over Devils.

Canuck’s goalie bailed out Team Canada when the Devil’s goalie melted down. Brodeur is on his last legs. With the “C” off Luongo’s back, he’s bound to finally fully live up to his hype – and paycheck. And after 40 years of failure…. Vancouver will finally do it.

Please keep in mind that I’m a Canucks-Habs fan so for me to predict anyone else would be ridiculous. The Habs made moves so stupid even I can’t pretend they’ll succeed this year, but Vancouver – even with the GM from Hell, Mike Gillis – are making smarter moves. They’ve kept a core of solid performers together and added Torres, Malholtra and Schneider is ready to be a solid back-up goalie. If we don’t have it this year, it’ll be another 40 years.

Verbal Slapshots of 2009-2010 Season

A small collection of some memorable quotes from players, coaches and hockey gurus. All quotes happened between August 2009 and August 2010. And yes, it’s Canadiens-Canucks-centric because that’s who I love, so deal. I mean, enjoy!

1) “I want to be in Toronto for a long, long time. I’d like this to be my last job in hockey. I just hope it’s not after the next month or two.” Brian Burke after the Leafs began the season 0-6-1.

2) “I can’t complain because I was trying to sucker-punch (Alex) Burrows. It’s karma.” Canadiens forward (at the time) Gregory Stewart after being asked if he was upset about being sucker-punched by Vancouver Canucks defenceman Shane O’Brien.

3) “I pretty much have one comment and maybe I’ll regret it. But they can go fuck themselves. That’s what I really think.” Canucks Mikael Samuelsson after being left off the Swedish Olympic team for the 2010 games.

4) “I met a couple of homeless guys on the street who know who I am. If a homeless guy
knows his hockey, then you know you’re in Montreal.”
Canadiens, Hall Gill.

5) “I am day-to-day with hurt feelings.” Chris Pronger after he was asked how he felt after a game loss during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

6) “I hate them (Canadians). It’s a big rivalry. I wouldn’t say I hate them; you have respect for the other team. Canadians expect to win the gold, and anything less is not good enough. It’s going to be fun to try and knock them off.” - Vancouver Canuck Ryan Kesler when he was playing for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics. (I love it because a) it spawned this. and b) In the end Princess Ryan wasn’t happy with anything less than Gold either. So HA! )

7) “Not as much as people think. I think he’s got a natural kind of grease to it.” Bieksa on how much product Canucks goalie Robert Luongo puts in his hair to get it to look shiny.

8) “They gave me the belt at the parade so I was looking forward to having that thing all summer. We went out that night and I gave it to someone to wear and I haven’t seen the thing since.” Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane on the Heavyweight belt that the team passed around after each game during the playoffs. (Proof that the Hawks are retarded and Patrick is their King. ;-) )

9) “Halak was, in every way, the “feel good” story of the season for the Canadiens. Nothing is engraved in stone, but he was everybody’s biggest hope for the team to do even better and go farther in its 18th rebuilding year.” Famed Sportscaster Red Fisher on the Montreal Canadiens’ trading Jaraslov Halak.

10) “I thought we had a good chance to win the Stanley Cup this year. And I would have bet my house that they wouldn’t have beaten us three games in a row and we would have only scored three goals in almost 140 shots.” Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau after losing in Game 7 of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs to the Montreal Canadiens.

Round 1 Recap

At the end of every round I’ll do a Bests & Worsts type of thing. Ready…. set…. go…

Best Series
This could also be called Biggest Upset and Most Tencious Team or Biggest Tank. There is not one sane hockey fan that would give Best Series to anyone other than The Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals.
I don’t know 1 single person, expert or otherwise that said Montreal would win a game. not a single game. CBC announcer Mike Milbury said that if Washington could sweep in 3, they would. I said they would be out in 4. But as soon as they won the first game – I changed my tune.
My fiance, who has been a Habs fan since birth – literally birth - gave up when they fell behind 3 to 1. But I didn’t. I knew after that first win they could take this to game 7. But nobody – not even me and all my French Canadian blind faith – thought they would WIN in 7. And what a spectacular last game. It was an edge-of-your-seat, nailbiter right till the end!

Best Kept Secret
Steve Bernier – where the hell have you been all season?! Bernier stepped up his game in the playoffs and became a point earner, which the Canucks definitely need going in against Chicago now. Especially if Alex Burrows doesn’t find his legs… err shots… now that he’s off the Sedins’ line.

Best Comeback
A year ago, while playing for the Vancouver Canucks, Taylor Pyatt earned the nickname Taylor Pylon. Well, at least the male fans called him that. The female ones just stared into his pretty blue eyes and didn’t care what his name was. Taylor was a slow, sluggish and couldn’t make a play or get a point. But when he left Vancouver, he left the Pylon behind. In Phoenix Pyatt was a faster, smarter player who could score. When you look at his performance this time last year versus this year – Pyatt is the comeback kid.

Best Goalie
All hail Saint-Halak! Let’s face it every goalie had some stellar and devastating games (well, except Brodeur who had one decent moment and the rest was epic fail). But Halak kept the Canadiens alive – the 19th placed team – against Ovechkin, Semin and the rest of the 1st place team in the league. In the last 3 games of the Washington-Montreal series, Halak stopped 131 of 134 shots! And Semin, a scoring machine, did not get one goal on Jaroslav Halak even though he took over 30 good shots.

Worst Reffing Calls
There are 3 here that deserve mention;
3) the disallowed goal in the Vancouver-Los Angeles series where Daniel Sedin was accused of kicking it in. There was 0 kicking motion.
2) The penalty against a Coyote after Holmstrom grabbed the Phoenix player and pulled him down on top of him. Also, NOT calling Zetterberg “accidentally” knocking the net off to keep Phoenix from scoring.
1) Not kicking Marion Hossa out of the game after his boarding/hit from behind on a Nashville Predator. RIDICULOUS. He was totally channeling Ovechkin who had not only got kicked from a regular season game but also a 2 game suspension. Hossa should have been booted – and because he wasn’t he went on to score and dash Nashville’s hopes unfairly.

Best Reffing Calls
Disallowing the Ovechkin goal in game 7 against the Canadiens.
Disallowing the Canadiens goal in game 7 against the Capitals.
Both of these were clearly goalie interference but it takes a good eye to catch it and balls to call it in a game 7 game.

Worst Playoff Beards
It pains me to say this because everything else about him (his looks, his attitude, his game) is perfect but… Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby. Also Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane. It’s Crosby’s third playoff run and after 6 games he still has less hair on his face than a hippie’s armpit. Kane’s hair growth is even more pathetic resembling that of a 12 year old boy. The difference is that everything about Patrick Kane – his weight, his face, his emotional state (if you ask cab drivers, anyway) – resembles a 12 year-old boy so at least he’s consistent. Crosby. on the other hand, has manly looks, body, attitude but not facial hair.
Best Playoff Beards
Another tie – this time between Vancouver Canucks Kevin Bieksa and Montreal Canadiens’ Brian Gionta. Bieksa’s is the perfect amount of growth for a Round 1 beard. On top of that it’s well groomed and evenly distributed. Not to mention it only draws more attention to his pretty blue eyes and full lips (are any dudes still reading this…? Whatever. I don’t care).
Brian Gionta is used to facial hair, having a form of it through most of the regular season. But he, just like Kevin, has managed to keep the playoff beard nicely groomed and it gives him a rough but sexy look. Good job Gionta!
Scariest Playoff Beard
The only thing I like about the Detroit Red Wings is Todd Bertuzzi. I don’t want the Wings to make it past the Sharks but if they do make it to the Stanley Cup final Todd Bertuzzi may have to watch from the bench. It would be hard to play with a playoff beard tangled in your skate blades. Seriously – Todd grew a Grizzly Adams-worthy beard about 15 hours after they snagged a playoff spot. It’s crazy. Someone needs to get Bertuzzi a grooming kit stat!