Katie Maximick

Apr 142012
 
Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks

Cory Schneider: taking on the media one mic at a time.

What? Cory Schneider defended himself and his team from ANOTHER media-related attack on the Canucks?

How dare he or any other player grow tired of all the negative hatred spewing forth against the Canucks from the majority of North America!

What a jerk to go and say something that’s kind of (totally) true!

Alright, enough being facetious, Katie. Less intelligent people might start taking this sarcasm as reality.

Schneider had every right to speak his mind, and I don’t agree with him feeling the need to apologize and retract what he said, although it was predictably classy of him to do so (for those of you who don’t know and are blinded by your Canucks-hatred, Schneider is actually a really nice guy and his gut-reaction bashing of Edmonton is something the likes of us have never seen from our red-headed back up).

That being said, it somewhat indicates that even Schneider is getting fed up with the constant negativity being fired towards his team.

Lately he spoke out against Canucks fans who were being too hard on Luongo, and now he’s defending his team from a bad PR decision out of the LA Kings’ marketing department.

The Background:

After winning Game 1 against the Canucks, the LA Kings account tweeted: “To everyone in Canada outside of B.C., you’re welcome.”

Yeah real original there, random American guy who suddenly knows everything about Canada. I tip my invisible Mountie hat to you, sir.

Later, when asked about their thoughts on this rather dumb tweet and the overall perception of this nation-wide “hatred” of Vancouver, most Canucks shrugged and said it didn’t really bother them, water off their backs so to speak.

Aside from a Sedin, I think Schneider is one of the last players who Canucks fan would have expected to create a bit of a media maelstrom with his thoughts on it:

“You look around the league and people don’t like us and Pittsburgh and we’re two of the better teams,” Schneider said. “You saw Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager in Edmonton. Nobody cares about Edmonton so nobody hates them. It’s that simple.”

Yeah, that part didn’t sit well with Edmonton fans, or with everyone else in the world who jumps on any reason to attack the Canucks.

Then on Friday, Schneider was well aware of the social media storm that occurred after his statement, and he apologized with this:

“It probably wasn’t the best choice of words and I apologize for it. I didn’t mean to create a distraction and hopefully it won’t affect us in any other way going forward.”

He added a bunch of other apologetic sentences tweeted belligerently soon after by Edmonton media, which just made me a little disappointed in Schneider.

Yeah, I understand why he’d want to apologize; he most likely didn’t mean to insult anyone – that’s not Schneider’s way.

But at the same time, I think Canucks Nation was proud of Schneider for defending his team and saying what everyone else is thinking: The better team you are, the more enemies you’re going to make. It really is as simple as he said it is.

There’s the “Embrace the Hate” motto some Canucks fans are trying to live by, but I admit, the undeserved and over-emphasized hatred against the Canucks gets really, really tiring. Not to mention it’s only Game 2 of Round 1 and it’s already gotten to a ridiculous extreme that took at least three rounds to develop last season.

Of course Schneider and the rest of the Canucks are also going to get sick of it. Who wouldn’t? They can say to the media that it doesn’t bother them all they want, and I’m sure a few of them like Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa just feed off it, but there are others who probably don’t like being the target of so much random, overhyped loathing.

I know I wouldn’t.

For someone as polite as Schneider to finally react to something says a lot in my opinion, and he had every right to speak his mind.

After all, everyone else in the NHL and related media seems to have free range to say awful things about Vancouver without repercussions, so why can’t a Canuck say something back?

I for one am glad the Canucks aren’t a bunch of floor mats who’ll just take all this crap from supposed professionals.

Like this guy, Damien Cox from Rogers Sportsnet:

“And now Luongo joins the early playoff fakery. Same ol’ Canucks. Divers and fakers. Why rest of country hates ’em.”

If this so-called journalist is allowed to publicly attack a sports team like that, then that team has every right to react to this kind of ignorance.

It’s a free country isn’t it? Freedom of speech? Anyone? Bueller?

In the meantime, it looks like the Canucks and their fans better grow even thicker skin than they needed last year because the stupidity going around the NHL (and affiliated sport networks) at the moment isn’t going to slow down any time soon.

Apr 042012
 
Dumb and Dumber

We're cup-bound Harry!!

The fact that I have to come out of semi-retirement to Rant about this subject AGAIN, means that yes, Canucks Nation, you’ve done it again – you’ve embarrassed the smarter half of our fan base and, not too unlike the riot, have forced the rest of us to try to repair damages done and gain back some of our dignity.

It’s already hard to be a Canucks fan, and holy hell, you guys aren’t making it any easier for the rest of us.

Shame on every single one of you who jeered/cheered when Luongo was pulled last night for Schneider. If there was a badge earned for being a Canucks fan, this is the point where it’d be torn off your jacket.

Yes, you’re allowed to be a critic – that’s a part of being a fan. But it’s one thing to be a critic, and another to be an idiot.

Being an embarrassment and doing classless things isn’t exactly welcomed with open arms by those with more intelligence than you.

You humiliated us and our city across the NHL last night.

Sound familiar? *cough June cough*

You know it’s bad when Cory Schneider himself is telling these “fans” to lay off Luongo, and that it’s “getting old.”

As my friend Justine of Canucks Corner pointed out, this city has TWO world-class goaltenders, one older, one just starting out, and we’re damn lucky to have both of them. Some hockey markets don’t even have one at the moment.

Ohhhh, but I forgot…It’s Vancouver. Nothing and no one is ever good enough for you, which is why this is known as a “goalie graveyard,” and which is why, in my opinion, you don’t deserve the likes of Roberto Luongo.

It’s a spoiled fan base that has the grapefruits to boo/jeer a goaltender the likes of Luongo, a goalie who got his team within AN HOUR of winning the Stanley Cup, who’s a Vezina finalist and who won Canada the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics when Brodeur couldn’t.  And yes, HE is the reason Canada got to the Final – remember the last 10 minutes of the game against Slovakia when Luongo stood on his head with a hungry Pavol Demitra barraging him? (RIP Pavol). Yeah, Sidney Crosby wasn’t the one making incredible back-to-back saves until the clock wound down – that was all Luongo.

But again, it’s much more convenient for some to simply forget the facts and just start yelling things that don’t make sense, like Brick Tamland: LOUD NOISES!

Seriously, I never thought I’d see the day when Canucks fans have surpassed Habs fans in terms of being embarrassing, but it seems, especially after the riot, that this is the season for that. Canucks fans used to mock Montreal for their fickleness and mistreatment of Carey Price, now it’s like looking in a mirror. In fact, I think Canucks fans are worse.

We should get some sort of medal that says, “Most Undeserving Fans in the NHL.”

Last night, some were trying to tell me that if the Canucks won a Cup this year with Luongo in net, that the fans would lay off him, but at this point I’m not buying that. With how bi-polar a huge chunk of the fan base is, all it would take (after this supposed Cup win) for fans to turn on him again would be a mediocre month of October before the “Trade Luongo” hysteria started all over again.

Really, it’s not farfetched.

All I know is it has to stop.

You guys doing this, you have to seriously cut it out, and if you can’t, at least try to hold in your boos and have some class while on national television. If you don’t see or understand why this type of behaviour has made headlines across the country in a very negative way, then you need to stand in front of a mirror and take a lonnnnggggg look at yourselves. (Editor’s note: In case you missed it, Bob McKenzie on TSN last night also called out Canucks fans for cheering the pull. I believe his exact words were, “the melodrama capital of Canada”. – J.J.)

To the rest of the fan base who know it takes an entire team to win the Cup, hang in there. I know ignoring these “fans” is like trying to ignore Lloyd Christmas doing the most annoying sound in the world all day, but you just need to put your earplugs in and bear it.

The Canucks are an amazing team, one of the best in the NHL, and it wouldn’t be that way without all of what Roberto Luongo has put into it.

Remember that.

Final thought: Why are these “fans” so prevalent nowadays? Are less-intelligent fans breeding at an alarming rate and their offspring are overrunning the city?

If this is the case, the rest of us need to sit down and talk to UBC about inventing some sort of sterilization process to put an end to this, because this is getting ridiculous.

I think Bob Barker would agree: please, have dumb fans spayed or neutered.

Jan 102012
 

Hey Boston? What’s the name of the longest river in the world?

(If you’re not that smart, the joke is usually “da Nile”).

Seriously, has your city lost its mind? Because it sure as hell has lost a lot of its credibility across the NHL after the Marchand-Salo affair.

For Boston players, coaches, GMs, media and fans to almost unanimously agree that there was nothing wrong with Marchand’s hit on Salo makes the city look completely ridiculous, immature and unprofessional.

I understand this maybe from the fans and even the players at times, because they’re passionate about the game, but to come from the mouths and writing of the media (who are supposed to try to be objective on such matters) is absolutely disgusting.

What happened to professionalism and integrity in journalism?

The denial and outcry regarding the dirtiness of Marchand’s hit and subsequent discipline from the NHL is nothing short of absurd, to the point where the Bruins, its media and many of its fans are, for the moment, the laughingstock of the NHL.

Even PJ Stock, who used to play for the Bruins, was showing his black and gold colours on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. He was the only panellist stating it was a clean hit, while the others were doing what they could to stop him from speaking any longer.

It’s become rather comical.

You’d think following his suspension that Marchand would keep things to himself and stay out of the spotlight for a bit, but no, he had to go and write his ESPN blog on the subject and say this:

OK, the play with Sami Salo. It technically wasn’t a clip. Clipping is when you hit someone at the knees and I did not hit him at the knees. Anyone that has seen the video will see that I hit him in the upper thigh under the buttocks. They can call it a clipping, but they obviously don’t know the rules of hockey. I felt like I was trying to protect myself and get low and he went over me.

So what are you saying, Brad? That Shanahan and every other hockey expert are wrong, and you’re right?  Isn’t that completely disrespecting Shanahan’s credibility and capability to do his job? If I were him, I’d slap an extra fine on you, just for that.

After all, if Tortorella can be fined for publicly denouncing the NHL’s officiating, you should sure as hell be fined for denouncing the NHL’s ability to make disciplinary decisions, with, “They obviously don’t know the rules of hockey.”

That’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard from a player. Not to mention, cocky as hell.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli also stand by their belief that Marchand was simply “protecting himself” from that big brute Salo, who suddenly has grown three or four inches and likes to eat small children for breakfast.

Not only that, but suddenly Boston’s feeling bad about itself being “targeted” and made an example of. Julien told the media, “I guess we’re stupid,” and “Somehow the Bruins happen to be the team that people prefer picking on and think we’re the bruisers and the example of the league.”

First of all, you ARE the bruisers of the league, and second, it’s about time you got called on it.

Also, wasn’t it only last year that you guys were shredding the Canucks for having this “we’re the most hated team/woe is me” mentality, and telling them to stop whining and suck it up?

Now the tables turn on Boston and you’re the victims… Right…

The hypocrisy going on is mind-blowing.

And the Boston media? Probably the absolute worst in terms of bias and plain-old ridiculous garbage they’ve been producing during the Marchand incident, even better than some of their gems from the Finals last spring. I was linking to ugly articles faster than I could type for the past two days!

Fans and sportswriters from around North America were tweeting their amused disbelief at the Boston media’s lack of professionalism following Saturday’s game. Really, it did get to the point that it was quite laughable.

The complete and utter denial of Marchand’s “predatory” behaviour (Thank you, Mr. Shanahan) is so unbelievable that I don’t know how that city isn’t embarrassed by it.

I guess poor little Marchand should be handled with kid gloves and moved around in bubble wrap at this rate, or something. He must be protected!

Seriously, Boston?

Give it a rest! Marchand clipped Salo to the T. If you don’t see it in the video replay, you should probably remove your gold-and-black tinted glasses and try again. Marchand’s a repeat offender, and there was no way in HELL that he was protecting himself. Why is this so hard to admit and move on?

Boston’s acting like the spoiled child whose parents finally decided to start disciplining it, and are having a bit of a tantrum because it’s not getting its way for once. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Thankfully, there have been glimmers of reason among the Bruins’ media and fan base, like bright stars in a dark sky, but unfortunately these few are being drowned out by the obnoxious, hopeless dribble escaping their less-intelligent brethren. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see there’s some hope for Boston out there. A couple good examples:

Boston Globe columnist Fluto Shinzawa tweeted:

No prob w/Thornton pig pile. If reversed, #Bruins would be like wolves on steak. Like BUF should have done w/Lucic.

(I’d like to point out that last year the Canucks were “pussies” for not sticking up for each other; and now that they defend Burrows, they’re a bunch of goons. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, right?)

Bruins fan Dan (@danwelch73):

Sorry, don’t understand the ill-logic of fellow #Bruins fans (some, not all) saying Marchand’s hit on Salo wasn’t dirty. Susp is deserving.

I tried to find more examples from Boston fans/media, but sadly couldn’t. But, I did find this:

Pittsburgh resident @emptynetters:

The next time Bruins fans want to rip any team for having someone like Matt Cooke, make you question why Peter Chiarelli has Brad Marchand.

Good point.

Dec 232011
 

Randy Cunneyworth at a Montreal press conference, Globe and Mail.

On January 7th, most of us will be a week into our already-failing New Year’s resolutions, but in Quebec on that day, separatists and French-language groups will be protesting against the “policy of Anglicization” at the first Habs home game of the new year.

The firing of Jacques Martin and hiring of English-speaking Randy Cunneyworth as interim head coach has many in Quebec upset. To them, the Montreal Canadiens are already becoming Anglicized with the growing presence of English music at the Bell Centre, bilingual arena announcements and the lack of Francophone players on the Habs roster. Naming Cunneyworth as head coach just made the problem much, much worse.

Imperatif Français and Mouvement Quebec Français have already called for a boycott of Molson products (the Molsons own the Habs) to protest the hiring of Cunneyworth, and both groups hope that others will refuse to buy Canadiens merchandise over the holidays.

Boycotting beer and protesting over an INTERIM coach? Really?

Originally this Rant was based on these groups overreacting to something temporary (Cunneyworth), and how ridiculous that is, but as I wrote, I realized that if you take away the labels and the history of the groups involved, this entire situation is boiled down to this:

A group of people are boycotting and protesting over the hiring of a person from a different ethnicity.

Period.

Of course it’s more complex than that, and don’t get me wrong, I completely understand how important the Montreal Canadiens are to Quebecois culture and always have been; you’d have to be deaf, dumb and ignorant not to see that.

But at the same time, this is blatant discrimination against someone because of their ethnic background.

And when has that ever been okay?

Because it’s Quebec, however, it seems somewhat normal or expected from separatist groups and language groups, so many Canadians tend to turn a blind eye or walk on eggshells around the subject.

People don’t want to label it as discrimination because we’re discussing something culturally sensitive to Canadians.

But let’s turn the tables for a moment: What if a French-speaking coach was being protested against in, let’s say, Edmonton because fans couldn’t understand his accent, and they wanted an English-speaking coach because Alberta is an English-speaking province?

Could you imagine the backlash and cries of discrimination out of Quebec?

How is it different if French people want a coach fired for being English?

I think my point is, discrimination is discrimination, regardless of the battle cry it hides behind.

What does Cunneyworth’s language have to do with his coaching skills or the success of the Canadiens in NHL rankings? Especially when his assignment is only temporary? Who knows, he could have the ability to take the Habs to the playoffs, but apparently that doesn’t matter to some Quebecois.

Hell, the poor guy wasn’t even given a chance to prove himself as a coach before people started freaking out, simply because he couldn’t speak French.

I think there’s a word for that.

Why are so many people making excuses for this behaviour simply because it’s culturally sensitive? Why is this blatant display of discrimination against Cunneyworth considered tolerable in this country because it’s coming from Quebec?

I’ll leave it at this:

It is completely unacceptable for any group to openly demand the removal of someone simply because he or she isn’t from a certain ethnicity, race or culture.

The end.

Nov 202011
 

Kevin Bieksa, PNG.

Two years ago, I would never have written this post on Kevin Bieksa.

At least, if I did, it would have had a completely different angle and would most likely be titled, “Kevin Bieksa and His Contract Years: I TOLD YOU SO!” or something along those lines.

For years I was a firm believer that Bieksa was a contract year player, and as the Canucks entered the 2010/2011 season, I said to many friends, “Watch. Bieksa will play great, they’ll re-sign him, then he’ll slip back into mediocrity again.”

Some might say that I was right when I said that. But now I don’t want to be right.

I want to be wrong. In fact, I was wrong.

I understand how strange that sounds coming from a woman, and a Canucks fan on top of that, but it’s true.

Bieksa has grown on me, not only as a player, but as a person. Call it what you will, but for whatever reason, I am now rooting for KB3 to rise above the fan base’s pigeonholing and prove people wrong. Sound familiar, Luongo?

Maybe Bieksa does perform better in contract years; stats do prove that, but it’s not that simple, and I was ignorant and an idiot to ever think it was.

There’s a 13-page discussion on Canucks.com’s fan forum discussing this exact topic. Here’s a fan’s comment that basically sums up Bieksa’s critics:

“It was funny how everyone jumped on the Bieksa bandwagon last year just like they did back in 06/07. He was horrid in between those years and yet everyone seems to have forgotten that.”

To me, it seems that what people have forgotten isn’t how “horrid” Bieksa was; they’ve forgotten what happened to Bieksa during those years.

It’s all about circumstances.

After Bieksa’s first full year with the Canucks in 2006/2007, he won the best defenseman and unsung hero awards from the team. He was then rewarded with a 3-year contract extension in July 2007.

But following this extension, Bieksa would miss nearly half that season and finish a minus-11. This wasn’t because Bieksa felt secure with his new contract and decided to play badly; it was because he suffered his first calf laceration by a skate only a month into the season.

I would hardly consider these circumstances to be a result of laziness or a sense of security in a new contract.

For the next two seasons, Bieksa would see numerous injuries and another calf laceration in December 2009 that sidelined him for another 27 games.

His next year with the Canucks in 2010/2011 was another contract year, and we all remember how successful that was for Bieksa, and thus for the team. He finished the season with a mind-blowing plus-32 rating, only second to the Bruins’ Zdeno Chara that season. Bieksa also played noticeably smarter hockey, leaving behind him his days of constant turnovers at the blue line or stupid penalties that would cost the team.

Bieksa’s composure changed, and with it, so did his defensive game.

It was, after all, Bieksa who scored that double-overtime goal against San Jose that sent the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. Although the Canucks lost to the Bruins, Bieksa ended his 25 playoff games with the most goals and ice time of Canucks defensemen, despite playing injured.

In the summer, Bieksa was rewarded again for his great performance with a 5-year contract extension at $23 million with a NTC.

Immediately there were rumblings from the fan base that Bieksa would slip back into his “comfort zone” after being extended, and would possibly have another mediocre season. Then the season started, and it would appear that those rumblings weren’t far off.

After 19 games, Bieksa has six points and is a minus-7, giving his critics a reason to smirk.

Two years ago, I would have been smirking with them, but things change and people grow up. These opinions of Bieksa that were once mine now frustrate me, and remind me how fickle and demanding some fans are.

Did people so soon forget what happened over the summer?

Perhaps a fan’s recent comment that rang true the most for me was this one:

“It’s too early to start breaking down and assessing things…just off to a slow start… More so, the hangover of playing in a 7 game SCF is evident…couple that with a rough summer emotionally, and I think some of the guys are still ‘tired’. They’ll get their jump again.”

Where to start.

Let’s start with the over-discussed Stanley Cup hangover, plus the short offseason combined with the tragic death of Bieksa’s friend and close companion Rick Rypien.

To be blunt, give him a damn break.

If you need to remind yourself how close those two were, or maybe you weren’t even aware of it to begin with, re-read Iain MacIntyre’s fabulous article on their relationship to remind you.

“I felt he was as much my responsibility as anybody’s,” Bieksa said. “Looking back now, I wished I’d talked to him a little more in the summer.”

That article brought many fans to tears.

So if you want to sit there and accuse Bieksa of playing poorly because he got a contract extension, you’re going to come off as a callous couch jockey. It’s easy to sit there and judge from your living room, pointing fingers and bringing up things like salary, isn’t it?

You know what’s not easy? Feeling the pressure to perform perfectly night after night under the microscope that is Vancouver, all while grieving the loss of the Cup, and the loss of a little brother.

In my opinion, which doesn’t mean much, he’s doing the best that he can, and considering it’s only November and how others are struggling on the team as well, that’s good enough for me.

It’s good enough because Bieksa is human. He has a big heart, he’s a great friend on and off the ice and he’s one hell of a hockey player.

I can wait.

So Bieksa, take all the time you need. I’m behind you.

Nov 152011
 

Well, it’s a new season and another Boston Bruin makes a cheap, dirty play.

This old scene is becoming as predictable as a Jennifer Aniston movie.

Only this time, this season, NHL fans (outside of Boston) figured there would be a different outcome to the same old story.

With the introduction of new NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, and his nit-picking start to the season when it came to dirty hits and headshots, NHL fans figured that the old Colin Campbell days were over.

Surely Milan Lucic would be penalized for his hit on Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. Lucic after all doesn’t have a clean reputation, and goalies have usually been protected from hits, whether or not they were outside the crease.

Lucic lowered his shoulder to make a hit and bowled over Ryan Miller on the open ice outside the crease, giving Miller a concussion, then saying (well, lying with), “I didn’t have time to stop.”

Really? You’ve been a professional hockey player for how long and you couldn’t avoid hitting Miller? No one’s that stupid, buddy. I think even I could have avoided that hit and I’m awful on skates.

Yet somehow, Shanahan ate it up as if someone like Milan Lucic would never think of hitting another player. Not our sweet little Lucic!

Huh.

In fact, rather than be stern with Lucic, Shanahan preferred to have a stronger reaction to the Sabres’ organization for suggesting that Shanahan declared open season on goaltenders.

Shanahan responded with:

“I think Buffalo’s comments are irresponsible to suggest that it’s open season… I will have this warning for players: ‘It’s not. If you run a goalie, you’re going to find yourself in the same situation that Lucic was today, you’re going to have to explain yourself and you don’t explain it sufficiently, and if I don’t buy it, you’re going to be suspended.’”

Sooooo I still don’t see how this ISN’T declaring open season on goalies, Brendan. Forgive me if I’m confused, but if you somehow bought Lucic’s idiotic lie about not being able to stop, then you’re a very gullible man and will then most likely believe other lies that come from players in the future.

To sum things up, based on that “hearing” with Lucic, players shouldn’t have a problem convincing Shanahan of their innocence, whether they’re innocent or not.

After all, Lucic is the sweetest most honest, cleanest player in the NHL. Why would Shanahan ever doubt his word?

Nov 112011
 

In Canada, patriotism and hockey go hand in hand. We hear it whenever the anthem is sung before a game, whether in a local hockey rink or in a major arena. We feel it when the Canadian flag is lifted to the rafters after a gold-medal victory. We see it in the faces of excited fans and proud players.

In fact, hockey is so deeply engrained in Canadian pride and morale that during both World Wars, the federal government urged various leagues to continue operation during wartime.

They considered hockey a crucial dynamic of the Canadian home front.

“We don’t have a major crisis as was going on in the First World War or the Second World War,” says legendary play-by-play announcer Jim Robson, comparing today’s hockey to the past. “Sports became a real release or outlet for people in those tough times.”

“It was the escape of the reality.”

So today, on Remembrance Day which happens to fall on 11-11-11 this year, I’m posting 11 facts about hockey and warfare that will remind you that an NHL lockout isn’t the worst thing that could happen to hockey…

Lest we forget.

1.      In 1914 Vancouver was the first Canadian city to be threatened by war with the Germans. Reports of German cruisers prowling in the waters off the coast alerted both Victoria and Vancouver into action. Guns were set up at the entrance to the Burrard Inlet and Vancouver’s harbour was under constant patrol.

Cyclone Taylor, the Vancouver Millionaires’ star player, enlisted to go overseas.

“If they wanted me and needed me, I was ready to go,” he said, but because of Taylor’s off-season position as an immigration officer, Taylor was granted an honourable discharge from active duty and continued to play for the Millionaires. Vancouver won the Stanley Cup during the war in 1915.

2.      Despite wanting to enlist in WWI, Frank and Lester Patrick, the brothers behind the Millionaires and Victoria Aristocrats, were requested to stay in Vancouver and Victoria by Ottawa, due to the fact that hockey was considered vital to the morale on the West Coast.

However, in 1917, the Canadian government needed the Victoria Arena for military operations, forcing Lester’s Victoria Aristocrats to move to Spokane, Washington. Hockey would return to Victoria for the 1918-1919 season with the  establishment of the Victoria Cougars.

Conn Smythe, during WWII

3.      Conn Smythe, the Maple Leafs owner and managing director, was taken prisoner  in WWI when his plane was shot down by German forces in 1917. He was imprisoned for 14 months. Despite his frightening experience, Smythe enlisted again in WWII at nearly 50 years of age and was badly injured in a Luftwaffe raid in 1944, and returned home two months later.

4.     In WWII, overseas service was not compulsory for Canadian males, mostly due to Quebec’s backlash to conscription. Instead, men could sign up for the “Home Defense Draft”, which was perfect for Canada’s hockey players.

After 30 days of compulsory training, hockey players could get back to playing hockey without fear of being called up again. But as the war raged on, the government increased the length of home-defense duties to six months, then indefinite. Feeling the pressure to avoid the label “duty dodger”, many hockey players enlisted voluntarily, but this upset team owners who didn’t want their investments dying on the battlefield. Other non-combat duties were found for hockey players, such as physical-education instructors or as players on temporary leagues established on various military bases, much like you see in Kandahar in recent years.

5      During WWII, Maple Leafs prospect Howie Meeker (who now resides on Vancouver Island) was badly maimed by a grenade blast. He was told he would never walk again, yet miraculously Meeker recovered and went on to beat Gordie Howe for Rookie of the Year in 1946-1947.

6.      By 1942-1943, around 80 hockey players were in the armed forces. In wartime the six-team NHL responded to the draft by filling their rosters with players who were too lame, “too young, too old or too married to be drafted.” 16 year olds hit the ice with men considered far too old for hockey, and injury-plagued players like Rocket Richard finally had the opportunity to prove their skills.

7.      Due to curfew restrictions in WWII, overtime was discontinued from the regular season and would not return for 41 years.

8.      A shortage of certain materials in wartime affected the game of hockey. Errant pucks could not be kept by fans. Pucks had to be returned to the ice due to a shortage of rubber. Also the scarcity of gasoline affected crowd turnout; many fans who lived far from the arena could not afford to travel to games.

9.      As far as researchers know, only two NHLers died in WWII: Dudley “Red” Garrett and Joe Turner, who died 3 weeks apart in 1944.

10.     A casualty to war, the New York Americans went under after the 1941-42 season, leaving the NHL with its “Original Six” franchises.

11.     Despite widely felt struggles in the NHL, WWII proved to be a prosperous business for some teams. Surprisingly, Maple Leaf Gardens donated absolutely nothing to war charities, despite the fact that earnings soared from $192,274 in 1939 to $315,763 in 1945.

Sadly it appears the NHL has always, first and foremost, been a business.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to think about those who have lost their lives in order to improve the world we live in today.

(Facts and figures from Hockey Central and GreatestHockeyLegends.com)
Nov 052011
 

And so here come the Canucks, the same group of whining cheap-shot artists who alternate between diving and slashing when they’re not sucker-punching or biting, all while refusing to drop their sticks.”

“[Schneider]’s the better goaltender right now and probably was a year ago, but the Canucks didn’t have the guts to play the right guy.”

“Of course, gutless is synonymous with Canucks.”

Ladies and gentleman, if you haven’t met before, you’ve just been introduced to Chicago-based columnist Barry Rozner from the Daily Herald. These quotes come from Thursday’s column which he wrote in anticipation of Sunday’s hockey game.

I’d say Rozner is back “with a vengeance” if it weren’t for the dribbling bellyaching he uses as a sorry approach to sports journalism… if you can call it sports journalism. He’s written multiple nasty articles on the Canucks, labelling them as “cowards” whose name would “dishonor the Cup.” In fact as a writer, he should know better than to overuse a term in one article, in his case, “gutless.”

Ah, Rozner, a man from humble beginnings who worked hard to get into the sports writing industry. If you read about his background, he seems like any other sportswriter – hardworking and ambitious, with shining, beady eyes that once dreamt of a bright career in journalism.

But then you read some of his columns and wonder, “How much did this guy get beat up as a kid?”

Outside of Chicago, Rozner is best known to Canucks fans, a group he quite obviously enjoys enraging whenever possible. Seriously, I think this guy’s a little evil. I’ve perused his other columns and haven’t witnessed anything close to the kind of tactless, over-exaggerating “writing” he seems to save for the Canucks.

In fact, most of his other columns are just damn boring. And maybe that’s the thing; maybe Rozner knows that pissing off Vancouver Canucks fans gets him attention he can’t garner from anything else he produces; attention that draws the highest amount of viewers to his articles. After all, the more hits his articles get, the happier his editors are. It’s all about the numbers.

And there are a hell of a lot of Canucks fans across North America, and even more people who love to hate the Canucks (as Rozner lovingly points out himself). Combine the two by writing a provocative article on the Canucks that no one can ignore, and you have a lot a lot of hits, don’t you?

Give him some credit; he knows what he’s doing.

Sure, maybe Rozner really does hate the Canucks – a word he actually uses over and over to describe them – but if you read any of his attacks on Vancouver (the city, its team, its fans), and manage to look past the bullying and macho vocabulary, you’ll find something quite simple underneath it all:

  • Troll (noun): One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. ‘you’re nothing but a fanboy’ is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevance to back them up, as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

Holy shit, whoever wrote that must know Barry Rozner!

We all know internet trolls. They hide behind their computer screens and smart phones, firing off one-sided personal attacks and ignorant commentary without fear of real-life repercussions. They’re everywhere, and they’re cowards.

Sound familiar, Rozner readers?

If you’re a fan, it’s easy to get angry when you read any of Rozner’s anti-Canucks articles. He’s actually quite triumphant at being nasty, and many of his points hit close to home (and aren’t necessarily wrong either). It’s how he delivers his points that make him sound more like a petulant child than a professional journalist, considering his attacks got nastier after the Canucks tossed his beloved Blackhawks from the playoffs.

But remember, if you get angry you’re just feeding the troll. Be smarter than him, and remember he just wants the views and the expected attention. He feeds off of it. It’s sad, really, how someone would forfeit their dignity as a journalist for some notice and a few more website hits.

I wonder if he and Rick Reilly are golf buddies?

Oh, and Barry, I’d like to see you call Kevin Bieksa a gutless, whining cheap shot to his face. Actually, I’m sure there are enough Canucks fans out there who’d gladly pay you to give it a try.

But you won’t, not for any amount of money. Hell, you won’t even speak with Vancouver media about your writing or respond to the Canucks fans you love to torment.

After all, why would you? You have your computer screen to hide behind.

I guess the term “gutless” isn’t only synonymous with the Canucks now, is it Barry?

Oct 222011
 

It wasn’t even a year ago that I was researching and writing about the power of social media and charity. Now, myself and friend Justine Galo are trying it out for ourselves to see how generous Vancouver can be.

So on Tuesday, October 25th at the Charles Bar in Gastown, we are hosting a charity Tweetup starting at 6:00 PM during the Canucks game. All proceeds raised will be going to Right to Play Canada, a fantastic organization designed to help unfortunate children play sports across Canada, and around the world.

We know many of you have attended Canucks Tweetups in the past, and loved them, so we figured we could run a similar event with even more prizes and for a great cause.

With a minimum $5 donation, you get an entry for one of the door prizes (which are a pair of Canucks tickets and a pair of BC Lions tickets), and if you bring a food donation for Richard’s charity, Five Hole For Food, you get a bonus entry for the draw.

During the first intermission of the Canucks game there will be a fun trivia round with tons of amazing prizes like gift cards, a Vancouver Canadians jersey, Erin Ireland’s famous To Die 4 banana bread, gift baskets, and more.

During the second intermission, there will be an auction with items up for bidding like: another pair of Canucks tickets (row 7 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks), a pair of Grey Cup tickets, an autographed BC Lions jersey, a signed and used Manny Malhotra hockey stick, and a stay at the Rosedale on Robson.

The door prizes will be drawn following the hockey game.

Also, if you follow me on Twitter you know how much I love to talk about Cheetah Power Surge – well I managed to get them to donate a CASE of the energy drinks, so I will be handing them out at random during the Tweetup, cheetah sounds included, of course.

Don’t forget to come early to save yourself a seat. Half of the bar is reserved for the event, but knowing how popular Tweetups get and how many people are interested, it could fill fast! Also, The Charles Bar has really great food and cheap drink specials during the week, but don’t have debit (they have an ATM though) so bring cash or credit.

Can’t make it or live out of town? You can still donate to the event here:

http://righttoplay.akaraisin.com/RacingForRightToPlay/VanCityRTPTweetup

There’s also a Facebook event page for those interested:

https://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=277417275609497

Hope to see everyone there, and don’t forget a food donation for an extra chance to win Canucks or BC Lions tickets!

Oct 182011
 

This must be some kind of record or something.

It’s only five games into the season and many Canucks fans are already all over Luongo like Homer on a donut. And to think he only played three of those games.

Can’t the guy catch a break in this city? Ever?

I mean, how dare he take the team to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. What a jerk! We should send him to a Siberian gulag for being such a selfish person, not to mention the worst goalie in the NHL! After all, what are Vezina nominations, Jennings Trophies and Olympic gold medals anyway? None of them are the Stanley Cup, so we might as well trade him for Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin and let Cory Schneider be starter. He’s a disgrace to this city’s hockey organization!

Does anyone else see how ridiculous that all sounds? Or is it just me?

Because if you’re on any form of social media or online forum, that pretty much sums up the attitude of at least the loudest Canucks fans so far this season.

Again, we’re five games in.

I’m gonna admit I had a few laughs scrolling through Twitter to find what Canucks fans are saying about Roberto Luongo this early on. There were a lot of people “proud to be anti-Luongo” and others already demanding a trade, despite the fact that Luongo has a NTC for quite a few more years (and if you don’t know what a NTC is you better look it up before asking for a trade).

Here are some gems from last week:

@LogyHallo Tell me why luongo is ranked so high in [NHL] 12, dude is awful.”

I know, right? How did he ever even MAKE the NHL? I just don’t get it!

And here’s a keeper. The lack of punctuation really makes it shine:

@Slurpeeboy2000 Well Canucks it’s time to get rid of luongo hes making you suck!!!

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s address some of the most common Luongo complaints happening right now, like the good ole’ goalie controversy.

On Oct. 10 @kgadbois wrote:

“Thank goodness the Canucks are starting C. Schneider today. He is 10x the goalie Luongo is. Also he doesn’t choke like Luongo.”

Ten times? Really? Now I love me some Gingerbricks, but he’s no Roberto Luongo. Not yet. His first few pre-season games were a bit shaky, but he’s had a strong start to the regular season with a .933 save %, which, yes, is better than Luongo’s so far. But can you really say he’s a better goalie than Luongo, or is this just the typical bandwagon talking? I think the proof here is in the figurative pudding, so to speak, pudding meaning salary, all-time stats, ice time and awards. Luongo’s earned his from years of experience and success. Cory’s just starting his career and honestly has yet to prove himself to start in a big market like Vancouver, Boston or Chicago. Nothing against the kid, but he’s not there yet. If he was, he’d be starting. Period.

Regardless I do believe Schneider will see around 25 starts this season, not only because he really is the best backup goalie we’ve seen in ages, but also because (as seen last season) Luongo plays much better when sharing the load. And let’s face it; the pressure put on Luongo by this city during any given season makes the globe on Atlas’ shoulders look light.

Then there’s the whole, “The Canucks will never win the Cup with Luongo” thing.

It’s not like Boston won Game 7 by a score of 6-4 or 4-3 and it was Luongo letting in one or two goals that lost it for the Canucks. They lost 4-0. Meaning no goals were scored. As I’ve said before, had Luongo made 45 saves in Game 7 of the SC Final, the Canucks still would have lost the Cup to the Bruins. Luongo can do a lot of miraculous things, but scoring on Tim Thomas isn’t one of them.

And random related joke of the week goes to:

@KitsBeachCanuck Hockey fans across Canada are turning their backs on Don Cherry faster than the City of Vancouver has on Roberto Luongo.

In other news, Canucks fans have noticed Luongo starting this season with a new “style,” one I’d like to call the belly flop.

@BrettHaller As much as I love the Canucks I couldn’t help but ask this… Do you think Luongo sleeps on his stomach?

@DJ4mula Remember when Luongo had issue with the backdoor? Now it’s playing on his belly. Canucks nation relax.

Now, I have absolutely no problem with people criticizing Luongo for this strange new crease move/faceplant. Why he’s decided to throw it into his game is beyond me. It’s as if he decided to pick a fight with gravity and is losing very badly. Like everyone else, I’m hoping it’s over soon, or else AV will have to tie him to the goal posts to keep him upright.

But I digress. My entire point of this rant is how early it is and how irrational people are being. Some Canucks fans seem to leap off the bandwagon earlier and earlier every year, kind of like department stores with their Christmas decorations.

Why the rush, guys? Just sit back and enjoy the new season for a while. There’s a long way to go, so before you throw Luongo under the bus, let the bus travel down the road a little bit first.

I’ll sign off with the wisest Tweet I’ve seen in a while:

@Jsteele31 Luongo is just having a slow start like most years. Canucks will come back and make it a good season! Believe!

Now that’s more like it.

(Vid found via HF Boards.)

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