Canucks and Beyond
My podcast mate John Bollwitt -- who produces and co-hosts The Crazy Canucks -- tagged me with a meme the other day. I'm to mention 5 things about me which people might not know. (For the record, I got nailed by something similar last summer.) Anyway, with the Canucks on a day off, I figured I should squeak this one out now. I've linked important images for a visual tour of my 5 things...
1. I used to live in Georgia and have retained an illogical affection for things like grits and boiled peanuts. 2. For a time in the late-80s early 90's I cheered *shudder* for the Edmonton Oilers. I even attended some of their freakin' games. Dear God. 3. When I lived in Calgary, the engine in my piece of crap car literally exploded, blowing the hood right off. I was driving through the University of Calgary campus at the time, and a couple of juiced up frat boys agreed to push my car 20+ blocks through the streets to get me home. Gotta love them frat boys and their hormones! (And their steroids/sudafed training regimes...) 4. I'm not a natural blonde (shocking!) but I am legal. 5. I own a Lubomir Vaic hockey card. It was a gift from another hockey blogger who knew I'd think it was the coolest thing ever. Framing that card is on my current to-do list.Useless information, but there you go -- I think I've done my duty. Now, to tag a couple other people with this idiocy: hockey bloggers Bill, David and Isabella. Plus some long-time readers, Doogie2K and Baroque. I don't know if Baroque even has a website, but that's NOT an excuse. (No need for you to tag anyone else, Baroque, but mail it in and I'll publish it...)
When Kevin Bieksa fed Matt Cooke on an OT breakaway Friday night, Cooke made no mistake with the puck and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Oilers 3-2. So did the crowd blow the roof off of General Motors Place? Well, hell yeah! In fact, they were so excited they blew the roof right off the football stadium next door, too.
Congratulations to Canada. Fun to watch, great to win.
This week is also the 20 year anniversary of another very memorable WJC game between these two teams. Canada and Russia met in 1987 at the World Junior’s in Czechoslovakia for an infamous battle—which was quite literally a battle.
A report on TSN the other day reminded me of the fight, with some great “20 Years Later” interviews with a few of the players, including Mike Keenan, Theo Fleury and Sergei Federov. The Wikipedia provides this re-telling of the incident, and is fairly accurate as far as I know it. There’s also a video of the events below.
One of the most infamous incidents in WJHC history occurred in 1987 in Piestany, Czechoslovakia where a massive bench clearing brawl between Canada and the Soviet Union led to both teams being disqualified from the tournament. While the Soviets were out of medal contention, Canada was playing for the gold medal, and were leading 4-2 at the time of the brawl. It began when Pavel Kostichkin took a two handed slash at Theoren Fleury beginning the melee. The Soviet Union’s Evgeny Davydov was the first player off the bench, leading to both benches clearing. The officials could not break up the fight so they left the ice and eventually tried turning out the arena lights. The brawl lasted for 20 minutes. Afterwards, Soviet hockey official Anatoly Kastriukov claimed a trainer for the Canadian team had fuelled hostilities by coming over to the Soviet bench and pummelling one of their assistant coaches. The Canadians maintained that the Soviets had started the brawl by leaving their bench first. Neither team was allowed to attend the players’ banquet at the end of the tournament.
With the Canucks playing well—at least for a few minutes—and the Red Wings getting ripped last night, I thought it would be fun to do a quick post-game ‘analysis’ of that always-entertaining team. (God, how I’ve missed a bit of trash-talk…)
And this time I don’t even have to make crap up or do bad photoshoppery… reality is more than enough fun.
Let’s start with The Dominator…
Many people have criticized it, Don Cherry among them, who said “the league is not a joke, and this is a joke.” To that, I respectfully disagree, especially seeing as Grapes happens to be a personal hero of mine.
Look- while Vote for Rory might be funny, it’s not JUST a joke. It’s a legitimate effort to insert some new blood into the NHL All Star game, and reward a player who has worked his ass off to stay in this league. If some people want to laugh, fine. But has baseball, basketball or football ever suggested anything this cool?
Read the whole post. It’s entertaining, plus he finishes it off with a pretty good zinger, if you ask me.
Some of this week’s world o’ hockey quotes—just odds and ends from the chatty guys of the NHL.
“You’ve got to have patience. If you’re a good player and you keep working hard, by the time you’re 18 or 19 someone’s going to notice you. It’s easy to sell your soul and give in, because the Western league will give you this and that. But if you really want to go play college ... if you have a dream, don’t doubt yourself.”
WJC Team Canada star Jonathan Towes has some advice for other players who worry that taking the college route to professional hockey might limit their career chances. Towes was drafted in 2006 by the Chicago Blackhawks.
About last night's game -- it was mostly an inept mess that worked out pretty well. And it's nice when that finally happens for this team. I've always said that the Vancouver Canucks should -- to some extent -- just get the hell out of Roberto Luongo's way and he'll show what he did in Florida. He's a goalie who's great at facing piles of shots, and last night's performance sort of proves that point. Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on the team's inadequacies much because last night provided a memorable image in today's Dallas News sports pages, and I think it's something we can all enjoy.
Just an idea -- and a much better idea than the previous streak of middling-ineptitude we've all endured. Watching Canucks' hockey has been fun again this last week. Currently on a season-high 4-game win streak, the Vancouver Canucks look to make it 5 straight against the Dallas Stars tonight.
5 Random Game Notes:(1) Roberto Luongo and Marty Turco have very similar numbers this season, Turco only slightly edging out the Canucks goalie in GAA and SV%. Turco has played 4 less games than Luongo, and faced only 826 shots as opposed to 1014 for the Canucks netminder. (2) Neither the Stars nor the Canucks have been scored against in overtime this season. (3) The Stars have scored 5 goals in a game, at 5 different times this season, but never more than that. (So if the Stars/Canucks are tied 5-5 at some point tonight, we're winning this sucker.) (4) The season series of 4 games between the teams is currently tied at one win apiece. Both were low-scoring, 2-1 affairs. (5) Dallas coach Dave Tippett's personal hobby is to build motorcycles from scratch.* *Okay, that last bit of info wasn't actually dug out of the official game notes. I read it last season and found it interesting enough to remember for some reason. You can never get enough random trivia, I figure. Note: there's a lot of number 'fives' in this post. odd.
In the tradition of blind, dumb luck which I consider my calling card in the hockey world, I've now got my own little piece of online real estate at Fox Sports. Thanks to Spector for offering my name up for the gig a while back -- and apologies in advance for the inevitable embarrassment I cause him. For the next little while, the content at Fox Sports will largely be the same material as here at Canucks & Beyond. Original columns will appear there later. Btw, a salute to Fox Sports for taking a chance on some members of the hockey blogosphere. I'm not sure what they were thinking by letting me in the door, but they've made some other fine choices with Mike Chen and the Forechecker. Cheers!
From Randy Sportak at the Calgary Sun:
The tag—‘Jovo Jr.’—came at Kevin Bieksa out of the blue.
Humbled him, too.
But the Vancouver Canucks second-year defenceman is deserving of the accolades starting to come his way. He’s become the team’s breakout player and is earning heady praise, including comparisons to the now-departed Ed Jovanovski.
“It’s a compliment for me, right?” said Bieksa, who faced the Calgary Flames last night at the ‘Dome. “Jovo has accomplished a lot in his career, the points he’s put up, gold medals, et cetera, but I don’t think you can compare me to him yet.”
Really? Jovo Jr? I hadn’t heard that one yet.
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]