Thursday, April 30, 2009

game 1 round 2 recap: vancouver 5 - blackhawks 3


Oh man, I do not feel good after that.
That game can best be summed up thusly: felt like sitting down at the poker table, hitting a couple full houses right off the bat and raking in a nice chip lead, feeling a little good about myself, ordering a couple of stiff drinks, knocking them back in two sips, and starting to get a little too comfortable, chasing runners, throwing chips away because I can, then losing a couple of big pots that way, and next time I put down my drink I realize I let my stack crumble away to next to nothing, then in panic, going all in on a KQ suited and hitting a straight-flush.
And then running the fuck away from the table with my money and swearing off alcohol.

That game was nowhere near pretty and I don't know where to start. The reaction from the Canucks after Salo scored the eventual winner said it all. He started pumping up the crowd because he had no idea what else to do. Mitchell skates into the group-hug and looks at everyone like 'hey, we just scored, right? holy cow,' he turns around, sees Raymond and goes crazy.... It was one of those unorganized 'oh, thank Christ' moments. And oh thank Christ they got that one.

I know nobody reads these things or cares, but I feel I must keep them up, because we're 5-0 so far and although I'm a completely rational human being, I'm not going to jinx the Canucks by stopping. I think I must have looked like a whack job to the person I was watching the game with, because after Chi-town popped their first one, I refused to watch the game on the CBC's Atlantic feed, and changed to the BC feed, only to return to the Atlantic feed for commercials because I couldn't bear to miss the "Academy Canada and yoooooouuuuuuu" jingle (sung in the South Park/Basketball/Orgazmo guy voice).

I'm not really able to coherently offer any insight into that game at the moment because I'm kind of wrecked emotionally right now. Briefly: Byfulgien (Bufflin' somehow?) was a monster, as was Kesler. The Sedins played wonderfully for the first two, but like everyone on the Canucks, died in the third. Kane is this series' McDonald. I'm already going to have nightmares of that little mop-topped rugrat.

Admitting I'm afraid of this man feels like one of the most pathetic things I've ever done. He looks like he'd clam up and his retainer would fall out of his mouth or something if a pretty girl walked by him.

I do feel Vancouver will come out a lot better next game and realize they can't brazenly take a period off against this team. I still think Chicago is a year or two away from being one of the dominant teams in the league, but they're just good enough now to win this... This should be a goodie.

Note: I have a serious beef with this Vancouver crowd. They're a sad sack excuse for a home crowd. Are GM staff blowing weed smoke in through the ventillation system, because they don't a repeat of the 1994 riot? The crowd is shook all the time... The crowd is fragile... They're quiet... The crowd isn't supposed to be. They are supposed to be relentless in their backing, and psych out the opponent, get into their heads, make them think the task in front of them is insurmountable. The crowd is supposed to subliminally sway referees into making calls. The crowd is supposed to push their team, to give them an advantage, to give them a boost.

This crowd in Vancouver does the opposite. They are on pins and needles the entire time, and they don't pick up the team. They're too nervous. And it rubs off on the players, it's easy to see.

Come on, Vancouver fans. Let's start getting crazy...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

swine flu question

Now that swine flu has been anointed as the next plague sent to decimate us, I have a question.

This strain of flu has been described as highly contagious, but mildly lethal.

So if I contracted it tomorrow and I died, does that make me a pussy?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

wale ovechkin

Hold your breath. Or don't?

So the man behind the Mixtape About Nothing is set to release a brand spanking new mixtape on the morrow, which I have been eagerly anticipating for months... even moreso when it was reported that 9th Wonder would be producing the entire shit.

The mixtape is dubbed...

Back to the Feature

I don't expect it to be another concept job and that doesn't bother me. However, there are rumours here and there the mixtape isn't completed yet because there hasn't been much in advertisement on Wale's website.

Oh well.

We'll see tomorrow.

Note: Nice to see Ovechkin and the Caps beat the Rangers tonight in Game 7, but man that was some ugly, ugly hockey. Ovech has been a little guilty of trying to do too much by himself, carrying the puck through the neutral zone, looking straight ahead and putting perimetre shots on the goalie. Neither team really looked comfortable or like a team the entire series, as all goals seemed to come on screened shots, rebounds or wierd bounces and not much playmaking.

On the other hand, while I didn't watch much of the Devils-Canes series (because I care less than No-Heart and Shrieky about those two teams) the third period of Game 7 tonight was something else. Both teams were buzzing, were throwing the puck from tape to tape with creative and genuine scoring chances and playing inspired hockey. It looked like a league above the other game, where pucks were jumping off of sticks, everyone was turning it over and shots were coming from just inside the blueline.

Monday, April 27, 2009

first annual track challenge?

Herbage in one month?

This isn't my idea... I wish it was.

About a month ago, at the Polar Pond hockey spectacular in Hay River, a friend proposed probably the most suitable and appropriate competition for our circle of super competitive, yet waning and aging athletes: a sort of customized decathalon in the open mens' division at the NWT Track and Field Championships in June.

Now, there are probably a good half dozen of us who have expressed interest in running sprints, long distances, and soaring through high, long and triple jumps. We are all lifetime Northerners who used to run track back in junior high school at the competition, and I think this might just be the full-circle event for us.

I know I would personally take pride in being one of those wierd adults that always seemed out of place, running in long distance events at the championships where hundreds of school kids congregate. I remember there was always one old guy with white hair who would put himself through an Olympian's stretching and warm-up routine before running the 3,000m by himself. Or there would be the try-hard teacher that would make the trip down with the students and try to relive the glory days in the 100m. Inevitably, one of the hot shot students would move up a division to challenge him and completely humiliate him.

So it goes.

But with our competition, there are no glory days to relive -- at least for me. We are now older and far more sinful and have seriously spoken about having to put money down on ourselves and instituting handicaps so some of us who are, shall we say, past the peak physically, will not be at a disadvantage. Keegs said he was going to light up a dart before the long distance run, you know, to show all the kids you can be rebelious and an athlete at the same time.

I have to give it up to B-Froese for coming up with the idea, as us mid-to-late-twentysomethings pack on the love handles and man boobs and beer guts, the hair starts to thin out and physical exercise becomes more of a chore than recreation. This could become an annual thing... a sort of yearly, spring humiliaton purging or something.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

line of the day

Just got back from a Chili cook-off at the Hay River legion, where I sat at the bar with a couple of self-proclaimed cougars, looking to prey on a young man...

I bought a bag of BBQ Lays.

"Chip?" I asked the lady beside me.

"No, I'm Cree," she laughed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

shout out

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to no-wipe poos.

You know what I'm talking about: the deuces you drop where you go and wipe and wipe and wipe and then you look down at the clump in your hand and the TP looks as fresh as the day it was rolled and whiter than a fresh dump of snow.

Yeah, those ones.

To me, they are one of the great mysteries of the universe. Like, not one streak... NOTHING!

I wonder, is that how it's always supposed to be? Is it your body telling you that you are doing everything properly? You are eating and sleeping and exercising so well that taking a poop doesn't even cause a mess anymore?

I've had a long day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

game 4 recap: vancouver 3 - blues 2 OT

Clean Sweep!!!


Big Game Burrows, baby! Not the prettiest of goals, but g'damn... Nice to see Burrows bury it.
Wow, a sweep. Never saw that one coming. The world really must be crumbling and in shambles, because I'm convinced the end of the world is coming after the Vancouver Canucks breeze through a playoff round. I think I'll be going to North Mart first thing tomorrow to stock up on canned goods, candles and batteries...
A little worried now, I guess, with the amount of time off they'll get, but at the same time, Mitchell was looking a little worse for wear in the third, Salo and Sundin (who cares?) will get a chance to heal up and Luongo, Hank Sedin and Ryan Johnson will get to rest up.
Luongo was the MVP of the series, no doubt. He's in that zone where it feels like nothing but garbage goals are going to get past him. It's wierd to watch and not even feel too worried when the team is getting peppered because Lou is back there.
But everyone played well I thought, with the exception maybe of Sundin and Demitra. Everyone played their role. The hardworking guys like Johnson, Bieksa and Mitchell all did their jobs. The Sedins scored when they had to, and Ohlund, Edler, Kesler and Burrows -- the core of the team and some of their best penalty killers -- and the third line (Raymond, Bernier and Wellwood) really all had strong series. The penalty killing was absolutely ridiculous, while the powerplay should not be overlooked because they provided a lot of backbreaking moments to the Blues.

I don't think the Canucks outplayed the Blues in all four games -- especially not games three or four -- but they seemed to capitalize on every one of their good chances. They weathered the crowd in St. Louis and put in goals when it mattered most.

I do think the Canucks were a lot luckier than the Blues, though. McDonald hit about a bazillion posts, Edler kept one out somehow early in game four, a lot of Vancouver's goals were bang-bang plays off the boards or wierd deflections, and I just felt we got a lot of bounces.

However, with the way the Canucks played and with Luongo patrolling the blue ice the way he is right now, they are going to beat most other teams in the league.

Mason Raymond sure is a beauty. The kid's wheels got us two big faceoffs in the Blues zone and he was the hardest worker on the ice all night, grinding in the corners, taking and dishing out hits. I have to admit, I never thought he had this in him. I always kind of thought he was a little soft. Apparently not.

Those Sedins were fun to watch on the PK in OT. They just casually dangle in, drop it and deke around. It's goofy.

I bet you Pavol Demitra loves to drink. I mean, he really loves to drink. To me, he comes off as this guy that gets really riled up (watch him after he misses a tap-in, he freaks out... or when Kesler or another linemate scores, he goes wild) and I bet once he has one drink, he just can't stop himself.

Demitra's fighting the puck a bit. He had a gimme out there with the Sedins with about 11 minutes left and put it right into Mason's pads. And in OT, he got a rebound and instead of firing it right on net, he went around behind and circled in front and ended up losing it. He's just got to pop one and I think it will come.
One thing... I'm kind of getting a little tired of Luongo's flopping. He's been outstanding, but it's a bit much when someone doesn't even touch him and he's down. These are the kinds of things that bite you in the ass down the road, when refs will start thinking he's diving when he's really getting hit.

Monday, April 20, 2009

clay davis

One day, I believe I may actually be able to quantify how amazing the Wire is and how it has turned me into even a bigger cynic than I already am... I think anyone who cares about politics or who is involved in any aspect of the media should immediately bunker down and consume each and every episode for its breakdowns (even if dramaticized) of the inner workings of police departments (I'll never look at drug bust photo-ops the same way again) city hall, drug organizations, legislatures, schools and the role (and perceived role) of the media in all of it.

(Please don't send me any spoiler alerts. I'm in Hay River without Season 5. I'm fiending like Bubbles dead buddy, David)

But for now, I'll just leave you with Clay Davis and the greatest use of one of the English language's most utilized (yeah, I said it!) words.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

game 3 recap: vancouver 3 - blues 2

Knock, knock... The Sedins at the door of the second round.
It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it.
Good to see the Nucks grind out a game they really didn't have any business winning. Popped a couple greasy goals and then a bang-bang beaut from Hank to Bernier to cap it.
I can't ever remember the Canucks being up 3-0 in a series... And that's because it's never happened as long as I've been freed from the nutsack.
The effort was there, it seemed, but St. Louis came out hard and the Canucks had trouble matching their physicality and tenacity until they finally slowed it down in the second with the mad cycling. I swear, the entire team has started to take after the Sedins, wheeling it around in the corners, setting up until they can get a point shot or take the puck to the net. Wellwood, Raymond and Bernier look to be doing nearly as well, except it seems like the Sedins have magnets on their skates and sticks because they go into the corner and the puck just winds up on them.
D looked shaky off the start, especially Edler and Ohlund (who is just getting crunched like 5 times a game -- hope he can hold up) but they rounded out and were huge killing off all the penalties.
Is is just me, (probably. I don't think anyone's reading these things) but are the penalties getting
a little ridiculous? St. Louis had two five-on-threes longer than 1:25 minutes tonight, and Vancouver had a long one too (that's what she said). This is playoff hockey and there shouldn't be so many of these game changing powerplays.
On the other hand, I can't complain because, even though the Canucks spent far more time in the box, they capitalized big time on their chances, while Luongo, Johnson and the rest of the penalty killers stymied the Blues on so many of their man advantages.

Man, that Andy McDonald is flying though. There's always one guy on the other team where, whenver he touches the puck, you hold your breath, your butthole clenches up and you can't relax until your goalie's smothered the puck or he's off the ice. He's the guy this series.
All in all, it wasn't the Canucks best game, but it was very encouraging to see them win a game where they didn't play their greatest. You have to do that in the playoffs, and in the past three or four months, this really feels like a team that, no matter what happens over the 60 minutes, they know how to get it done and win.
And just to finish off a comment I made last post, the Blues fans showed how it's done tonight. Other than the smattering of boos the Canadian anthem got, they were classy throughout and were a crowd that definitely got in the heads of the Canucks. "Let's go, Bl-OOOOO-s!" and "Beat Vancouver" are far better than "Mason sucks" or "Blues suck."

Friday, April 17, 2009

game 2 recap: vancouver 3 - blues 0

Hey Backes!

Man, after countless years of patronage, it feels so great to cheer for a Canucks team that goes out there every night and kills themselves for the win. It's fun to finally have a hard-working squad to get behind. It looks like they want every puck.

The third line tonight was perfect. Bernier is playing like a man possessed. Case in point, when he chases down Polak in the late third and puts him into the bench. Where was that all year?Wellwood looks like the smartest player whenever he's on the ice. Unlike earlier this year, when he was trying to be a little cutsy with the puck all the time, he's now picking his spots to go to the net, or bide some time waiting for a teammate, and he rarely makes a bad decision. And Raymond is the perfect compliment. If Bernier isn't in the zone first banging and crashing, it's Raymond, who is starting to throw his weight around and make the Blues D a little leery with his speed.

Sedins again played keep away all night. They're so strong and just take pucks away. Kesler and Burrows were pests and buzzed around Mason all night. Might start calling Burrows 'Buzz Lightyear' because he falls with style. I don't want to say anything about Sundin, because he scored, but if he hadn't put one in, I don't know, man. He makes me angry.

And Luongo, once again, what can you say... Best goalie in the world right now.

Got a kick out of the little old school trip by Bieksa at the end. Total throwback play. 

And I loved watching the corpse of Andy Murray get all worked up at the end of the game. The guy always looks to me like he's just woken up and walked away from the cadaver table. He must have hit the defibrillators hard tonight.

One thing I want to say, the Vancouver fans in GM Place need to come up with some more creative -- or classy -- cheers. "Ref, you suck." "Mason sucks." "Blues suck." It's just, I don't know, dumb. That's what an expansion team's fans will yell. When I was in Anaheim for Game 5 of the 2007 playoffs, I was infuriated by the endless "Ref, you suck" chants by the Duck fans and thought they were some of the least classy I've heard.

Canucks fans, you're better than that.

Disclaimer: it's a Friday night and I'm on my computer, I know. But I'm in Hay River, not drinking for a month, my team's in the playoffs and I had a hellacious week at work.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

game 1 recap: vancouver 2 - blues 1

First star: Roberto Luongo (get used to it)

Because I'm like that, I'm going to start posting quick little notes after each of the Vancouver Canucks' playoff games...

Before I start on the Nuckskis, I just have to say, with the NBA playoffs a foregone conclusion (it will be Cavs/Lakers in the finals) this is the ideal NHL playoffs for the American fan looking to get back into hockey. All of the Original Six teams from the States are in (Chicago, Detroit, New York, Boston) with a resurgence in both Chicago and Boston where fandom has floundered in recent years. Boston is playing hated enemy Montreal, which boots them from the dance with more regularity than an ornery teacher kicking out an amnesic alcoholic student from prom (that went on too long. I'm sorry). Also, hockey hotbed Philadelphia has an exciting young team and is matched up against rival Pittsburgh, with two of the best players in the world. Don't underestimate Philly's hatred for Crosby either. Washington is rallying behind their one winning team (Nationals and Wizards aren't going anywhere, while the Redskins are toiling in mediocrity) and its superstar, while St. Louis is back in after a six year absence, with a team on a mission. Also, Columbus gets its first taste of the post-season. And on the West Coast, there's the North/South California rivalry between San Jose and Anaheim to stir up some attention.

This is your chance, Bunny Rabbit NHL. Do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime... yo.

I'm looking at you, Todd. Don't fuck it up and Bertuzzi somebody.

Okay, back to Van-city. Nice W. Good way to start it, although we relied a bit too much on the pillars of the team (Luongo, penalty kill, Sedins for O)

This is over 24 hours late due to the retardedness of deadline day and pre-deadline day this week (I'm still not done all my work yet tonight...)

Looks like Bobby Lou is rounding back into late-2007 form, where it felt like you had to plinko a puck through skates or get some really weird bounce or absolute goalmouth gimme to get a puck past him. I felt it just over a week ago, when Luongo stopped 46 against the Flames and had that machine-like movement in the crease where he was never out of position, never overplaying the pass, and smothered everything. The only goal that went in slipped in just past his outstretched pad after making a doozy save. Same last night, where a rebound slid out to Boyes, who one-timed it into the twine. Luongo still almost got a stick on it. Right now, it feels like he can win us every game -- and with the persistence the Blues played with last night, he might have to.

Kesler was an absolute beast. I remember Tuma giving me the gears after I bought a replica Kesler jersey back in 2007. "Why don't you get a Rick Rypien jersey?" Well, I saw glimpses of what he is today: one of the best two-way players in the game, with gamebreaking speed, and a top-notch penalty killer. He gets his stick on everything. He plays physically. He's got a deceptive snap shot. The five-on-three the other night was a thing of beauty. He never quit. Definitely the team's most valuable player not named Luongo.

Bernier was all over the place too. I admit to have lost patience with him earlier this year, when he seemed to take shifts off and come trade deadline time, I was hoping his name was being shopped in a deal to bring us back J-Bow.... But last night, he played the game he is suited for: banging and crashing and working in front of the net. He beat guys in races and outmuscled their dmen for the puck a number of times.

The Sedins did what they needed to and I thought when they had the puck, they completely changed the tempo of the game.

And I'm about two or three games away from calling for the Auditor General to look into Mats Sundin's game. We're getting cheated here. The guy's slower than my train of thought right now. He's old and lethargic and does this one armed slash thing that just infuriates me. Just move your damn feet, baldy.

highlight of my day

In trying to track down a dog-musher for a story I'm writing, I spoke with a musher's mother -- an elder in Inuvik -- who had raised a love of dogs in her kids.

She told me a quick little tale about the care she made sure she passed on to her son when he was 6 or 7, which I must share here because I've got nowhere else to.

"When they feed these dogs I made sure if you are going to feed them frozen fish, you cut it up in and give them a piece of whale blubber with it. I said, you like to eat your bread without butter?"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

lofty company

My first trip to the Centennial Library in Hay River provided me a with a nice guffaw. On a rack, sat a book about a tool that I don't think really should have been in the company of its shelf-mates greats. Among the Beatles, Pavarottis, Buddy Hollys and Kurt Cobains, I found a book about... Clay Aitken???

One of these things just doesn't belong...


Actually, maybe it's not the only book that doesn't belong... and I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as this is definitely not the only spot where this is happening.

Although really, Clay Aitken on that shelf would be like a book about Herb Mathisen's bank account on the same shelf as literature on Warren Buffet, Jay-Z and... ah fuck, Clay Aitken.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

northern finishing move


Or is Behchoko chokehold better?

Monday, April 6, 2009

i liked it better before

Sign on highway out of Hay River:
It said something else when we drove out of town three weeks ago. I laughed.

This photo is untouched. The fuzzy parts? That's probably someone from the town repairing the hilarious hijinks perpetrated by someone with too much of something on their hands... I'm talking about time, you sinners.
I liked what it said better before.

hay river: day one

I've been a resident of Hay River for exactly 24 hours now.

It's not like I'm seeing new things, because I've probably been here at least a dozen times in my life, but it was cool to walk around by my lonesome for lunch today and talk to people, which I never did much travelling here in the past for hockey tourneys or school track trips, spent in a laugh-filled (and later, lager-filled) bubble with an entourage of cohorts.

Today, I had a delicious sub at a certain downtown eatery (which I am convinced will sustain me during this stint, with its array of flavoured coffee creams and homemade donuts) and was entertained by a man behind the coutner who candidly told me -- an acquintance he'd known for all of 10 seconds -- about the time he almost lost a nut when he was eight. I didn't even find it wierd. I almost found it endearing. And, who knows, if things had gone differently for him, perhaps he might not have had the balls to tell me the story.

Also, the sound of a train wailing away at one point this afternoon was a sound I haven't heard in a while. It always conjures up some sort of Steinbeck-esque, existential rambling nostalgia -- I don't know why, because I've never lived it, only read about it -- but it was refreshing to have that feeling again.

Other than that, haven't seen or done much of anything, as I'm trying to get settled in the office that doubles as my residence.

Might not see anything tonight either, with the NCAA championships and the Blue Jays opening day battling for boob tube attention.

Friday, April 3, 2009

end of a beautiful thing

I called for a pizza at 6:20 p.m.

It is now 7:54 p.m.

The pizza is not here.

I feel like this is the final straw with my torrid love affair with Canadian Pizza. I could go on a long rant about the history of our relationship, but I'm too hungry and flustered to accurately and unbiasedly tell that story.

Instead, I will just say that while it can definitely be the most rewarding, delicious slice in town, I have been left waiting at the door far too often.

And at times, when you did arrive, I have had the misfortune of discovering a cold pie delivered to me.

It's not me, it's you, Canadian Pizza.

I have to move on.

8:08 p.m.
Pizza just arrived... and it's sooooooooo tasty

May have to revisit above post.

I'm pathetic.