Oct 272011
 

It’s that time again. Time to check in and see how each of your favourite CHB staff are doing in the office* hockey pool. 

Follow the link to the pool site, or read on below for each writer’s thoughts.

 * Note office in this case refers to Ed’s tree fort.

 1. 2 Sedins, 0 Cups (Tom) – 105.5 points

The season is only 10-games long right? Just this week I was thinking to myself “self, you’ve been too cranky about the pool prize. The winner of this pool should get $10,000 and a parade.” Then, lo-and-behold, I’m in first place. What a coincidence!

Since inevitably I’ll carry this lead the rest of the year, here’s a sneak preview of my victory speech:

  • Thanks to Teressa Bellissimo for inventing the chicken wing (allegedly). Also, for having a very fun name to say out loud.
  • Thanks to Kevin Bieksa for demonstrating once again how foolish it is to give big money to players who play their best season in the final year of their contract. It’s comforting to know you’re back to being the player I always thought you were.  
  • Thanks to Boardwalk Empire for giving Gretchen Mol a regular paycheck.
  • Thanks to the Occupy Vancouver crowd for assuring the municipal election is not simply a Gregor Robertson coronation.
  • Thanks to Canuck fans for driving the sensitive Roberto Luongo insane, giving my CHB colleagues enough content for 1349 extra columns and videos. Let me remind you all – he’s a Canuck for the next decade. You’re stuck with him. A mature approach would be to make the best of it. But no, keep blaming him for everything. It’s sure to end well.
  • Thanks to Jeff Carter for killing Matt’s pool team, the Blue Jackets, and Rick Nash’s willingness to stay in Columbus.
  • Thanks to Drive and Tron: Legacy for kick-ass soundtracks this year.
  • Thanks to Dan Russell for giving me something other than Team 1040 or 1410 to listen to on the drives home from hockey. Thanks to car manufacturers for giving me the option to turn the radio off when Blake Price is on.
  • Thanks to Grantland.com for giving me something to read at work.
  • Thanks to Chris for calling Parminder Nagra an A-list actor below. Pure hilarity.

 2. Mr. Haiku (Clay) – 97.5 points

It’s clear that’s it has already become a two-horse race in the CHB Hockey Pool, with “2 Sedins 0 Cups” and Mr. Haiku set to battle it out all season.  Where we might have thoroughbreds, the other poolsters might as well be riding a merry-go-round.

I’m still near the top of all of the offensive stat categories, but near the bottom in PIM and in absolute last in face-off wins.  I guess I could have picked some guys who actually take face-offs.

Offensively I’m being led by Daniel Sedin, Kopitar and Skinner with solid contributions from Hossa, Lecavalier and Franzen.  My goaltending has the good (Miller), the okay (Thomas) and the ugly (Roloson).  Technically, Thomas hasn’t been bad…but he’s been splitting games with Rask.  We’ll see how that goaltending situation plays out down the road.

Hmmm….sound familiar?

3. Church’s Chiggins (Ed) – 71 points

It’s been a bit of a see-saw time for my team lately.  I was right at the top of the pack to begin the week before dropping to the bottom on one awful day before climbing back up to a distant 3rd.

Evgeni Malkin’s injury has proven to be problematic.  I assumed that all the talk about him being healthy was trustworthy but apparently 100% doesn’t mean what I think it does in Russia.  Him being out isn’t a huge deal on its own but the fact that he’s my first round pick is.  Your first pick should be the cornerstone of your team, a player you never take out of the lineup and there are at least 8 stars in the NHL like that today.  Geno on the bench just tells me I could’ve picked better.

Luckily, Henrik Lundqvist picked a good time to wake up with solid stats in wins and losses, including a 4-0 shutout of the Canucks a week ago.  John Tavares as well, posting two monstrous 4-point games before going a little bit quiet in the last three.  Logan Couture, Matt Duchene (who was bumped down to 4th line duty this week), and JVR continue to disappoint with only 4 points each so far this season.

John Carlson was also not performing to his potential but just to show the luck I had last week, his replacement Chris Pronger got jabbed in the eye before his first game on my roster.

4. Kesler is my Homeboy (Caylie) – 69 points

A life-size cut out of Ryan Kesler’s ESPN photo was delivered to Caylie’s home last weekend. She hasn’t been heard from since.

5. The Hamhuis Ballards (JJ) – 66.5 points

When Charlie Sheen finally went off the deep end, Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre got Charlie’s character killed in this season’s opener and replaced him with Ashton Kutcher.

Based on this season’s ratings, this looks like a lateral move at best. While 28 million people watched Kelso’s first episode on the Emmy Award-winning show, only about 14 million people were tuning in by last week – which is about the same average viewership when Sheen was still cast in the lead role.

The only move I’ve made in the CHBWFHP to date is to drop Drew Stafford and replace him with Jason Pominville. Pominville’s off to a good start, but all told, both play the same position for the same team, and through an entire season, may put up similar numbers.  So why the lateral move? Playing on Buffalo’s top line, I’d like to think Pominville will keep his hot hand longer than Kutcher has. Or maybe I’ve just gone off the deep end.

6. Burrows Buddy (Liz) – 61.5 points

Liz couldn’t get her piece in this week. I hear she’s been spending all her time at Caylie’s house.

7. Goose is my Wingman (Chris) – 58 points

Just took a look at the hockey pool and noticed that I’m not last – that honour goes to Matt right now.  In the grand scheme of things, that’s okay with me as it means that if this were actually the Top Gun academy, I’d still be able to show I’ve got the “stuff” near the end of the season when we deal with those unidentified bogies.  Really wish Goose would still be my REO then – he’s only my wingman for obvious reasons.

More on Goose though.  While Top Gun has to be one of the greatest movies (if not the greatest movie) of all time, Anthony Edwards also starred in Revenge of the Nerds – another pretty stellar movie series in its own right.  And then there’s this little show called ER – yep Dr. Mark Greene was played by Gilbert Lowe, who was played by LTJG Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, who is actually Anthony Edwards.  In fact, ER is what I would consider the TV version of Top Gun.

Think about it.  Top Gun was a movie with a ton of A-list actors.  ER was a TV show with a ton of A-list actors.  We had George Clooney, William H. Macy, Shane West, Scott Grimes, John Stamos, Mekhi Phifer, Eriq La Salle, Ming-Na, Maurey Tierney, Parminder Nagrao – the list goes on and on and on.  A solid cast. Just like my picks in the CHB hockey pool.

8. Hossa’s Samosas (Matt) – 47 points

Well, things are getting hairy.

I’ve been hit by an injury bug early, with Jeff Carter going down and David Backes and Ryan Whitney on again, off again with ailments. Their absence isn’t the reason why I’m losing, though. Alex Ovechkin is just starting to heat up, but Zach Parise and Alex Goligoski have been unmitigated disasters.

More alarmingly, my goaltenders have become the bane of my existence. Carey Price and the Habs have been slow out of the gates and now there’s a worry that Ilya Bryzgalov may soon ride the pine. And even for a third goalie, I expected more out of Steve Mason.

The only solution is to ride it out and hope that things turn around soon. With a limited amount of moves, it’s too early to go to the waiver wire and even then it’s no sure thing that’ll help. I might need to look at making an early season deal for a way out.

Dec 212010
 

It’s a sad day for Vancouver sports as we hear of the passing of Paul Carson after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

I didn’t know him personally, but we spent Christmases together through Sports Page’s Yulin’ with the Page year-end sports highlight package. And of course, he was instrumental in founding TEAM 1040, Vancouver’s first all-sports radio station.

RIP Paul. Thank you for what you’ve done to Vancouver sports and sports media. Our thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

*****

A quick trip down memory lane:

Another one:

(More Yulin’ with the Page here.)

Jul 292010
 

After 33 memorable years, Tom Larscheid is done as the Canucks colour commentator.

He was the colour-man on Vancouver hockey broadcasts for all but four NHL seasons since 1977, and for more than a generation of hockey fans Larscheid’s insight and instincts provided a blunt barometer of the team’s performance – good or bad.

“When you have a job you’ve loved each and every day, you’re sorry to give it up,” Larscheid said late Wednesday. “But the simple reality is I’m 70 years old and it’s time to pass the baton. It will be strange not to be up there in my perch during hockey season, but I’ve had a pretty good run.

“I’m grateful to the listeners and honoured to have worked with three of the very best play-by-play men in the business in Jim Robson, Jim Hughson and John Shorthouse. And Rick Ball is going to be right up there, too. I always called it the way I saw it and I had a lot of fun doing it. My only regret is I never got to say: ‘The Vancouver Canucks are Stanley Cup champions.’”

Larscheid said 1040 has been terrific to him and he leaves with no hard feelings after the station told him recently it was going with Tomlinson, a 41-year-old from North Vancouver who was a kid when Larscheid and Robson were often better than the hockey team they broadcast.

I wrote about Tommy a few years ago when he first thought about retirement. I’m grateful that he gave us Canucks fans 3 more seasons on the air after that and I wish he could’ve stayed one more, especially going into what is expected to be a big season for the team. But at the same time, I’m happy that Tommy finally decided – albeit helped, apparently, by Team 1040 management – to hang them up.

Good and bad, he entertained Canucks fans with a passion only Canucks fans could relate to and appreciate. Yes, he was a homer at times, but he was our homer. During games, he said things on-air that we would say in our living rooms. While Robson and Shorthouse were the voice of the Canucks, in many ways Tommy was the voice of the Canucks fan.

Dave Tomlinson has been tapped as Tommy’s replacement. In his few stints as the Canucks colour commentator (in Tommy’s relief), DT proved to be a decent analyst; however, it was also obvious that he has a way to go to match Tommy’s on-air passion. Just like when Shorthouse replaced Robson, Tomlinson has some big shoes to fill after Tommy.

Good luck and best wishes to both.

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