Kukla's Korner

Canucks and Beyond

Jovo Junior?

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. 

 

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Inventing the Hockey Board Game

Sometimes even die hard fans will take a break from watching the TV or going to the rink, and play a nice old-fashioned game at home. Unfortunately there aren't many options out there that can compete with a great hockey game, so I've adapted eight classic board games to take on a hockey flair.

Clue

With only some changes to the character names, the game of Clue has the Phoenix Coyotes written all over it.
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Was it the Assistant Coach with the NJ trooper in the library? Was it the famous hockey wife and the unnamed player in the sitting room with a candlestick? And what on earth were Colonel Mustard and Mrs. Peacock doing gambling in the first place? Shame! (Not that I actually give a crap. I just have no idea whats going on in Operation Slap Stick, and thus no choice but to speculate wildly...) Note: Applying the game of Clue to the team itself doesn't work out as well. Hangman would have been the better choice the first half of this season.

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On the Hockey Blogs This Week

This week’s hockey talk and links to the fan writers of the game.

Apparently there’s a retirement party happening in the Central Division tonight, and it may even require a “to do” list if you’re a Wings’ fan. There was also another—rather less discussed—ceremony this past week for a player milestone that deserves its own share of attention. A class guy, is Rod Brind’Amour.

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Setting ‘The Pick’ in the NHL

From tonight's Boston Bruins - Toronto Maple Leafs game, a certain Slovak Bruin was caught in a bad way by the cameras...

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There is a rather famous Seinfeld episode which dealt with this very issue, and Seinfeld insisted it was simply an innocent nose-scratch.
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So is this "The Pick" for the NHL? Hmmm. A matter of great debate, but maybe we should go easy on the guy. To quote Jerry Seinfeld: "If we pick, do we not bleed?"
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I guess that would just depend.

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Happy New Year’s, You Canadian Idiots

Happy New Year's to all my favourite/favorite hockey idiots. I hope you enjoy some 'strange brews' tonight and some 'canadian bacon' for breakfast. Have fun, be safe, see you next year. Note: For the record, non-Canadian hockey fans are honorary Canadians for the purpose of this song. Ya bunch 'a HOSERS!

Weird Al Yankovic Canadian Idiot Lyrics

Alt title: Canadian Idiot (Parody of "American Idiot") Don't want to be a Canadian idiot Dont want to be some beer swillin' hockey nut and do I look like some frost bitten hosehead I never learned my alphabet from A to Zed They all live on donuts and moose meat and they leave the house without packin' heat never even bring their guns to the mall and you know what else is too funny their stupid monopoly money can't take 'em seriously at all Well maple syrup and snow's what they export they treat curling just like it's a real sport they think their silly accent is so cute can't understand a thing they're talking aboot Lyrics continued...

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Weekend Updates

Odds and Ends News: (1) Vancouver Canucks sign Jeff Cowan. The incestuous relationship with the LA Kings continues, but at least he can throw a punch or two. (2) Team Canada plays in the Spengler Cup Finals on Sunday, against the host team Davos. A great hockey atmosphere in that building every year. (3) Edmonton fan eats a Sami Salo shot. News at 11. (4) New podcast episode of The Crazy Canucks. Everyone is sober on that episode... I don't care what anyone says.

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Saying Goodbye to the 2006 Season in Edmonton

Tonight we'll see the last Vancouver Canucks game of 2006, so I felt it would be worth taking a more detailed look at where the team has been so far this year, and where they might be going. If anyone has anything to add, feel free. There's a lot of stuff here, but plenty I didn't cover as well.

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We keep hearing that the Northwest Division is the toughest in the NHL, but I don't believe that's exactly the best way of wording it anymore. Certainly, every other division in the league features higher points totals than this one. But of course, the NW is tough for another reason these days. While it it's no longer made up of some of the best five hockey teams in the league, it is the tightest group of teams. Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver -- these five clubs are nearly a dead match for each other, and they're in a horse race for the division crown. imageI suppose the whole situation is just parity at it's finest (if you like that sort of thing), and with only 2 points separating 1st from 5th today, it makes for some abrupt and significant movement in the standings on a day-to-day basis. This past week alone, Canucks' fans experienced such a wide range of movement on the Western Conference leaderboards, they'd be forgiven for considering everything from their team landing a home-ice spot in the playoffs, to instead landing on their asses at a golf course in April. Vancouver moved from 11th spot in the WC last Tuesday, to 3rd spot on Thursday, to 8th spot this morning. Tonight could see a change that takes them as high as 3rd again, or back down into the cellar. It's enough to make a fan a little nuts. Now facing Edmonton tonight, it's obviously a critical game for both teams. What are the Canucks' chances against the Oilers? Well, maybe it's a bad news/good news sort of thing:
Of the Edmonton Oilers' three winning streaks this season that lasted more than two games, two started with a win over the Vancouver Canucks. They could definitely use that type of result now. [...] The Oilers (18-16-2) have dropped six of their last eight games, including a 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. Edmonton held a two-goal second-period lead before allowing five unanswered en route to the defeat.
At least that last part is sorta cheery... wink But what isn't so cheery -- and yet another oddity found in the standings this year -- is the road-team record. It's a disaster for every team in the NW division (except Colorado, who've somehow managed to make it .500, but we all know they cheat). But for the rest of the division, it's ugly. And Vancouver is the road team tonight. Now, just a random comment about goal scoring. I've always liked wide open, risky hockey. Mainly I enjoy it because players actually score, and it doesn't require some idiot idea like making the nets bigger. Sure, the playoffs are won on responsible defense (or so I'm told repeatedly... *yawn*), but for the other 82 games a year it's a hell of a lot more fun to watch players be creative with the puck while focusing on the net in front of them as much as the net behind them. A game like Thursday night's against Calgary is something I could watch any day of the week -- even with five goals hitting the back of our net. It sure beats falling in asleep in the middle of a game, and I've done that a couple times this year. Along those lines, here's a sobering thought: the Canucks have only scored 89 goals almost halfway through the season. For comparison, they scored a total of 255 in 2005-06. It's a drastic drop made worse by the fact that our goals-against right now are 101, a negative difference of 12 goals.
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So be sure to say a New Year's prayer that some players find their scoring touch again. And soon. Finally, I'm ready to end this on a brighter note, because it's not all doom-and-gloom if you ask me. This team is actually in a pretty good position right now, all things considered. When you think about all the things the Canucks have lost or changed in the last couple of years, and how disappointing some of the games have been this season, it's kind of amazing that they're holding a reasonable spot in the standings. Personally, I thought it could have been much worse (as evidenced by my upcoming tattoo) so the fact that we're only slightly behind last year's point numbers in the standings should be cause for relief. Obviously last season didn't turn out so well in the end, though, so here's hoping that this final game of 2006 sends us into 2007 with cause for optimism. The Canucks have shown they can play to win -- now it's time to see if they can make a habit of it.

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When Good Girls Go Bad

Back on September 23, 2006, I took a dare and made this very, very poor decision:

"I haven’t been very optimistic about this team all summer and I’m getting more negative all the time. But a few people have called me on my bitching, so now I’ve made a new bet... Anyway, I hereby agree to get this tattoo IF Luongo can actually play over .500 hockey by mid-season. If he’s winning more than he’s losing by game #42 in January (Luongo, not the Canucks), I’ll do it.
And then things went horribly wrong -- Yo! Luongo actually won a few extra games despite the Canucks' anemic offense. He is currently 4 games over .500, and with only 3 games remaining till the mid-season mark at #41, I am now officially screwed. A tattoo is heading my way in the near future. I've taken some good-natured abuse for this idiot bet (and no doubt, there's more to come) but I'd still like it remembered that I was very close to winning it! (Oh lordy, I keep telling myself this but it doesn't seem to help...) Anyway, I'll keep you updated. Photographic proof will be provided once I have the tattoo done in a nice, G-Rated location.

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Hockey Speak: Quips & Quotes

This week’s quotes from the world of hockey.  Instead of the usual random selection of quotes from different players, I took a bit of a short-cut today—giving WAY too many column inches to Chris Chelios—but sometimes you gotta give Wings’ fans the love.

“I think you look tougher, more grizzled, without teeth.  My kids tell me the same thing. If they’re not behaving around the house, I’ll take the teeth out and keep `em in line.”

Minnesota Wild’s Wes Walz doesn’t wear a mouth guard, but finds it helps his parenting skills.

 

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Oh, Happy Days

imageYesterday was fun. I mean, the holidays, presents, food and family are all nice and everything, but they just don't quite measure up to kicking ass in two hockey games: Team Canada over Team USA, and the Vancouver Canucks playing their most entertaining hockey game of the year. Smoking. Here's a quick look at both games.

Team Canada

A 6-3 win over the U.S. was a nice way to walk away from that game. The Americans stayed in it most of the way, but Canada's ability to score in bunches helped ease the stress for Can-Fans.
The Canadian players aren't about to admit it, but they're successfully through the hardest part of the preliminary round at the world junior hockey championship. The defending champions defeated the U.S. 6-3 on Wednesday following a 2-0 victory over the host Swedes a day earlier.
And both were such FUN for a Can-Fan, almost as much fun as watching Jonathan Toews calmly step up and rifle a penalty shot past the beleaguered U.S. goalie late in the game. Said Pierre McGuire (yes, I'm actually going to quote -- and agree with -- Pierre McGuire):
But the thing I admire most about Toews is his poise under fire. The penalty shot goal elevated the spirit of Team Canada and sunk the spirit of Team USA. That was a pretty good shot to finish a special play by a pretty amazing young guy.
Good stuff. Next game is tomorrow against Germany at 9:30 a.m. PST on TSN television and broadband. Remember, if you can't watch the games live, they're being repeated on TSN and available on-demand online.

Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames: (Re-match #2,834 this 2006-07 season)

Getting sick of the Flames yet? Me, too. But only because I hate them. The hockey, however, has had some kick ass moments. Honestly, if all these never-ending divisional matchups looked like some of these Canucks-Flames games, I wouldn't bitch about the schedule at all. (Sadly, Minnesota continues to exist...) But this last game against Calgary was the cherry on top of the cake. It's not just because Vancouver won the game in OT (although that was seriously appreciated and celebrated), and it's not just because so many players looked hungry in that game (Morrison? Cooke? Linden? the list goes on...), and it's not even because the Canucks scored 6 (SIX!) goals in a game, a season high, I do believe. No, the reason that game will be remembered is because that looked like the old Canucks. Offensive, exciting to watch, madcap hockey. They took chances on the ice and went for broke. Some run-and-gun, risky-yet-dead-accurate passing, flying around like a team that believed in themselves, believed they could score. It was the first time since October that I watched Canucks hockey without automatically assuming their scoring would dry up at some point in the game. Damn, I miss watching fun hockey games. That was just awesome.

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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? smile

Email: am@kuklaskorner.com

Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]

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