Canucks and Beyond
While most rational people would consider a 30 day lead-up time to the trade deadline to be a bit excessive, hockey people are another breed. Some might say we’re just fastidious, knowledgeable folks, focused on the details and anticipating the future. But I have another theory: hockey fans are drama queens.
We like to celebrate/freak out/rant about trades that haven’t happened yet and probably never will. Probably 95% of hockey writing online is driven by that basic concept, is it not? That concept being “making crap up.” We like the drama.
So, who’s on the trading block? That’s easy. Everyone.
Last night’s Canucks/Predators game was a nasty debacle about which I can’t form coherent thoughts without losing rational judgment. (i.e. The Canucks seem to be sapping my will to live; so you can see how “rational judgement” isn’t a big part of the thought process right now.)
So instead I’m going to set that whole mess aside and concentrate on something that occurred to me during that game, on the topic of head-hits. It’s an issue that demands serious analysis (not exactly my bailiwick, admittedly) but I’ve decided to take a shot at it.
Canucks and Predators fans will remember that Mattias Ohlund took a hit to the head in the second period, an elbow from (I think) Joel Ward. I’m not going to judge that hit in particular, but want to consider the procedures in place to make that call during a game.
*photo credit: imagehaven.net ; dumb joke credit: me.
Random, post- All Star weekend thoughts on a variety of topics—some serious, most not.
- Watching Gary Bettman and Ron MacLean chatting at the ASG, I was struck by Bettman’s demeanor. He seemed to be almost vibrating throughout that interview and it led me to wonder if he has some mild neurological disorder developing that’s been unreported. (Note: I’m not in any way making a joke here. Hopefully I was just imagining things. But he seemed really jittery…). You can compare this year’s conversation with his time talking to MacLean at last year’s ASG. Bettman seemed—to me—to be much more ‘wired’ yesterday. Is there some mysterious illness at work, or was it just a sign of too much espresso? (Update: alternate theories from readers added below…)
An everyday debate about “What is wrong in Ottawa?” would just be a yawner most of of the time. That is, until Sportsnet‘s Bill Watters and Nick Kypreos decide to take a ride on the crazy train and make it personal.
Not sure what day this was originally broadcast but once the screaming starts, who really cares? Hate is such a timeless emotion.
Note: This video may only work for Canadian IPs - sorry. And my thanks to Toronto Sports Media for the pointer.
—Lindsey Craig at CBC writes about the absence of visible minorities in hockey, and the various reasons, both sociological and economic. She also touches on the fact that—for minorities and everyone else—hockey is increasingly a tough sell for parents to involve their children in with the costs being so high. It’s a good article on a topic seldom addressed in any depth.
—For something completely different, I see that Jason Jaffray’s media blitz at Canucks.com indicates he’s addicted to online hockey sites, specifically NHL.com and tracking everyone’s stats. He’s also a big Jack Johnson fan—the singer, not the hockey player. (Weird, as I’d've thought Sitting, Waiting, Wishing… would be a scary song for a NHLer.)
This isn’t your standard tug-the-heart-strings Happy Hockey Day story, but it is the one that’s given me the biggest laugh in all my years of hockey blogging. (Just be warned: it’s a bit perverse!)
Back in October of 2003 when I started my first blog, women hockey-fan-bloggers were a rarity. In fact it was quite some time before I knew of any others out there, and this often made for some unique experiences. And sometimes unpleasant, too.
Saturday Update: Interview with Jiggs McDonald available at FAN590.
Sunday Update: Email from Jiggs below, asking for your help.
Monday Update: Some heading home.
A Toronto journalist friend of mine sent me a startling note today alerting me to the news that Jiggs McDonald—a hockey broadcaster of many achievements including the HHOF (more details below)—is currently stranded in Bangkok along with 80 other Canadian citizens, due to the explosion of political unrest there in recent days.
His family is understandably very afraid, and his daughter Susan DeSimone wrote this in a letter (directed to another journalist) and passed on to me this morning:
We are trying to put pressure on the CDN govt. to get them out of there. Some countries are sending planes into a Thai military base to get their citizens out. So far, there hasn’t been much response from the CDN embassy there. The tour group has asked us to get the word out to journalists, etc. to put pressure on Canada to intervene.
Here is the full text of the release that Ms. DeSimone sent out this morning.
A Google search today produced a seemingly unrelated link in the world of hockey news when it pointed me to a review of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Outliers: The Story of Success. But looking a bit closer it seems Gladwell explores, in part, a topic that is indeed very relevant to the hockey world: players’ birthdays and the inherent statistical oddities as they affect drafting and other selection processes used to ‘create’ a successful NHL hockey player.
From Kevin Carey’s review:
The first chapter deals with the fairly well-known phenomenon of birthdays and Canadian hockey players. A hugely disproportionate number of elite hockey players have birthdays in January, February and March. That’s because the age cutoff for entry into junior hockey leagues is January 1. A five-year old hockey player born on that day (they start early in Canada) could be as much as 25 percent older than his youngest competitors, giving him a major advantage in size, strength, and coordination.
It’s an All Star Throwdown: The Canadien-Stars versus everyone else. And I’ll echo Mother Pucker’s thoughts this morning, who said:
I’m no rocket appliance when it comes to figuring out how someone may have hacked this voting system, but I will declare right now that something is up.
Indeed. First, let’s look at the Eastern Conference, where the current All Star fan voting indicates that those Canadiens fans have got this internet-voting-thingy down to a fine art form:
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]