Posts About ‘vancouver’

Digital Dads Week in Sports: The Stanley Cup Returns to Beantown

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Due to a heat of the moment bet with @bigguyd, this entire column is going to be about the Boston Bruins and their fantastic run for the cup. If you know me, you know that this is a bit painful, as I despise Boston sports teams (besides the Celtics, to which I’m indifferent) with a fevered passion. As the Bruins have won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years, joining other Boston sports teams in the circle of winners, I suppose it’s appropriate that they get their own dedicated column. I am a hockey fan after all. So how can I write a whole column about a team that I absolutely hate? Easy, get people to write it for me.

I’ll start with Don Martelli (@bigguyd.) Don and I have been friends for years, and he is a massive Boston fan, born and bred in the clam chowdah capital. We’ve had many arguments about Boston sports, mostly with me hating them and him defending them or throwing shit in my face. Don, his brother and father have a clock. This Bruins clock was a gift to his father 21 years ago, and never had a battery in it – until now.

There are moments in your life that you’ll never forget. Other than my wedding day and the birth of my kids, one day that’ll be etched in my mind forever is when I watched my dad put a battery in the Bruins clock.

The clock was a gift my brother and I gave to my dad 21 years ago as a Christmas gift. The clock, which features a Bobby Orr rookie card, has never had a battery in it — until last night.

As for the season itself, it was one filled of questions and doubts. After last year’s colossal collapse against the Flyers, this season was make or break for GM Peter Charelli and Head Coach Claude Julien. The boys played great hockey for most of the year. They had some bumps, but they surged at the right time. The team made a couple of trades that brought in some must needed veteran talent.

Out of all the Boston championships over the past 10 years, this is the most bitter sweet because of the clock.

The Martellis and their clock. (Image: Don Martelli)

The Bruins rolled into the playoffs on the back of their fast scoring line and superior goal tending in Tim Thomas. Thomas, who ended the playoffs with a .940 save percentage, took home – deservedly – the MVP award for the Stanley Cup finals. After handling the Canadians in seven games, the Bruins faced off in a tough series against the Flyers. As a Lightning fan I was hoping for the Flyers to pull it off, as I knew the Lightning would stand a better chance against their goal keeping. However, the Bruins came through and started their series against the Lightning. What followed was seven games of simply amazing Hockey on both sides. But the Bruins found a way to silence the Tampa Bay crowds and poke holes in the Tampa Bay defense and Roloson, running him out of the game several times.

 

David Krejci of the Bruins became the oldest player to lead in points in the playoffs. He finished with 23 points, 12 goals. Back to Thomas, the dude was a serious brick wall. While in the finals Vancouver was able to slip a few past him to go up in the series 2-0, when he was in Boston he was virtually unstoppable. The Canucks scoring line was unable to get anything past him when they needed it most. He came out of the paint to attack pucks and assisted his team in running off the cocky Roberto Luongo several times. While the series against the Canucks went to seven games, for me it was over after watching game 4. I should have known then that I’d be writing this column. The Bruins simply brought their A game, a sentiment shared by casual fan Kevin Riley.

Although the Bruins are not MY team, they are one of favorites. This is mainly due to Ray Borque, one of the most classy and distingused players in years (even though he is retired). Because of him, I keep taps on the Bruins. I think it’s great that they finally one a cup, since it had been since the 70′s since they last one. I think Vancouver had a decent shot at winning but it was the Bruins who brought their A game and it is my thought that and the end of the day, it was the Bruins who wanted it more. They played with more passion than Vancouver.

Vancouver seemed to bring their “dirty” game in the finals, rather than their A game. They were called multiple times for embellishment, and even had an incident when Alex Burrows appeared to bite into the glove hand of Bergeron. They played rough, they played nasty and were even able to knock down Zdeno Chara down once or twice. The Canucks played even rougher when they were down a goal, which they were in every one of their losses. In the finals, the team that scored the first goal won the game, so in four games the Canucks were playing from behind and playing dirty. Says new Bruins fan Aaron Gouveia;

I’m a bandwagon Bruins fan. Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics? I’m all in. But hockey was the only sport I didn’t play growing up, so I just never got into it. But this year, sparked by a hatred of the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, I watched every game religiously. Suddenly I was invested in lunch pail guys like Tim Thomas, whose story will no doubt be turned into a made-for-TV movie soon. Brad Marchand, the rookie pest who I’d fucking hate if he was on any other team, but who works hard and is relentless at all times. Shawn Thornton, the bruiser with a heart of gold who seems like a helluva guy to have a beer with (as long as you don’t make him angry).

Game 7 against Montreal, redemption against the Flyers, Game 7 against Tampa and then Game 7 for all the marbles against Vancouver. Ah Vancouver, the team I knew almost nothing about prior to the Stanley Cup Finals, who is now right up there in the loathsome category with those filthy Canadiens. Watching the highly skilled but castrated Sedin Queens disgrace themselves night after night, combined with Burrows’ bite and Rome’s cheap shot on Nathan Horton, you saw the Bruins galvanized. But more than that, it felt like the entire New England region was galvanized as well. There was this unspoken sense of “No way these sissified Canucks are taking us down.” And I truly believe that helped carry this team to a Stanley Cup victory.

Not only does this mean all four major Boston sports teams have won titles in the last seven years, it means I’m now a hockey fan. A Bruins fan. My wife won’t like another sport sucking up my time, but if there’s even a chance of another postseason like this one, I want to be there for the regular season as well.

That was the thing about this years postseason in the NHL. I am not a Bruins fan of course, but they were exciting as hell to watch, especially the amazing saves by Tim Thomas. If you weren’t a fan of hockey before watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, you certainly are now. Digital Dads founder C.C. Chapman feels just about the same on that point.

Hockey has always been a sport that I’ve been a fan of, but never rabid about it. But, when the hockey season ends I’m always bummed because those are the dark days of sports for me until the NFL season starts.

Having the Bruins in the playoff and having so many crazy games made for a kick ass playoffs. Having this series start off in the painful manner that it did and then to turn around into such a vast amount of awesome was fun. They’ve never won a cup while I was alive so this is a big deal. The parade on Saturday is going to be intense!

So in closing, congrats to the Boston Bruins on your Stanley Cup win. Cherish it, because the Tampa Bay Lightning are coming for it next year, and we can go back to #notitlesinboston.

Digital Dads Week in Sports: Canada Wants Their Cup Back

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

The '93 Canadiens Were the Last Canadian Team to Hold the Cup

It’s been 18 years since the Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings four games to one in the Stanley Cup playoffs to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada. Since then, the Canucks, Flames, Oilers and Senators have each once challenged for the cup, all losing. Now the Canucks are back in the Stanley Cup championship and are looking to regain the cup for Canada – all of Canada. I spoke to some folks in Edmonton, Winnipeg (who is getting a team back) and other snow drenched areas of America’s hat. They all are begrudgingly rooting for the Canucks to pull this off. I also spoke to some Boston fans, who are not.

 

@bigguyd, a Boston Bruins faithful had this to say: “Fuck Vancouver.” That’s nice, but I have to root for them. After all, #notitlesinboston.

Here’s the thing, as good as Tim Thomas is in net for the Bruins (and he is fantastic) I think Roberto Luongo is just as good if not better. Game one of the series was a great example of the goal tending you are going to see throughout the series, but you have to think about how many goals Thomas gave up against the Lightning and how many Luongo gave up against the Sharks. There is a disparity and Thomas’ aggressive style of play when he’s got a one on one or a two on one coming at him can play against him sometimes, as it did in Raffi Torres winning goal of game one. He came way too far out of the paint to challenge the Torres, and was flat out beat on a good shot. He blocked a lot of great shots during the game, and got a lot of help from angles and the crossbar.

At the other end, Luongo also was on his toes the whole game, blocking a lot of fantastic shots from the Bruins forwards, who just looked absolutely winded by the end of the game. There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a very tough, very high endurance series. Seven games are on tap, I don’t see anyone busting out early. I mean, as long as everyone can keep their hands and feet out of each others mouths. Really Burrows? Biting? C’mon man, you are better than that. Thankfully Bergeron still has all his digits. The biting incident aside, this series should go to Vancouver in the end, as in my estimation, they have the scoring edge.

Heat Set the Mavericks on Fire

That’s not a good thing. The Heat came out strong in game one of the NBA Finals, beating the Dallas Mavericks with relative ease. I’d quote you stats and what not, but I don’t really give a shit. As a Cleveland fan (though caring little about the NBA) I have to root for the Mavericks because of the whole LeBron thing. Frankly, I don’t give a shit. If you care about the NBA, I welcome you to write a guest paragraph for next weeks post, or wait until next season when I still won’t be talking about the NBA. It’s my column. I can do that.

NFL Labor Deal Possible

So it seems that within two to three weeks the NFL and the Players Association could reach a deal in time for the season. Or not. Really it depends on how much the players are willing to give up. It also depends on if the two sides can reach a settlement deal. This easily could go right back to the courts and deliberation before any type of deal is made. A deal needs to be made quickly for two major reasons, neither of which has to do with players paychecks.

1. Owners need to pay off stadium debt. These multi-million dollar stadiums were not double wides bought at a county auction. They have mortgages that need to be paid off. While there will be income to the teams from the television deals, they need the constant flow of green into the actual stadium books themselves, so they can pay it out. The owners are nervous that they won’t have that stadium revenue to pay the mortgage bills, and they may have to do some creative accounting. Not to mention the stadium jobs during the season, those aren’t volunteers. Those are hard working people looking for some extra money to help them through the year.

2. Most players don’t make bank. They make the league minimum which is enough to survive on, the problem is that you can take the gangsta out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the gangsta. Most players live outside their means, like most of America, and a lot of players have crime in their history. Anything from drugs, guns, abusing women and so on. These activities will only become more prevalent as these players have nothing to keep them busy, and their stack of uninvented, uninsured money is growing smaller and smaller. Expect to see more NFL players (at the lower echelon of the talent pool) getting arrested for some of the above crimes.

The point is that this deal needs to happen sooner than later. I’m not looking forward to not having an NFL season, and not just for the fantasy football implications. I mean, what the hell are we going to do on Sunday afternoons?

Jim Tressel Resigns

This bit originally posted at Technorati.com, because I was too lazy to just re-write it since I already wrote it. Got it?

Long time Ohio State Buckeye NCAA Football coach, Jim Tressel, has resigned from his coaching position at the school amid allegations of rule violations concerning players selling memorabilia. Tressel has coached the Ohio State Buckeye football team to a 106-22 record (66-14 in the Big Ten), a national championship in 2002, seven Big Ten championships and most importantly – a 9-1 record against Michigan.

However, after all that, after the imposed honor that Tressel seemed to embody, now he has resigned because he wasn’t following the rules and faced a five game suspension for the start of next season. He resigned disgraced, and for the Ohio State Buckeye faithful – such as myself – this is truly a sad day.

“After meeting with university officials, we agreed that it is in the best interest of Ohio State that I resign as head football coach,” Tressel said in a statement Monday morning. “The appreciation that Ellen and I have for the Buckeye Nation is immeasurable.”

The 11 year head coach will be replaced by Assistant coach Luke Fickell, who will serve as interim until a replacement is found, or if he gets the job himself. This is the first time an Ohio State football coach has left on his own terms since the 1940′s. School president E. Gordon Gee accepted the resignation, saying this in a letter to trustees,

“As you all know, I appointed a special committee to analyze and provide advice to me regarding issues attendant to our football program. In consultation with the senior leadership of the University and the senior leadership of the Board, I have been actively reviewing the matter and have accepted Coach Tressel’s resignation.

“My public statement will include our common understanding that throughout all we do, we are one university with one set of standards and one overarching mission. The University’s enduring public purposes and its tradition of excellence continue to guide our actions.”

Predictably, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Tressel was encouraged to resign, which was the right decision by all parties involved. The NCAA still had not conducted their investigation, so this will forgo the school and the football program being dragged through the mud.

Regardless of who is coaching the Buckeyes, as long as they continue to beat Michigan, us Ohio State faithful will carry on.

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Digital Dads Week in Sports: Stanley Cup Playoffs Get Crazy Good

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Will this be the scene for the Bolts in 2011?


I’m going to say it again, if you are not watching playoff hockey then you just plain don’t like sports. The Stanley Cup playoffs are into the conference finals now, and the games have been nothing short of exciting. In the East, the Lightning and the Bruins are tied 1-1, and both games have been heart pounding crazy. In game one, the Bolts came out on all cylinders and Roloson was on his best, as he only allowed two goals (the second a chip shot off a defender late in the third) as the Lightning cut through the Bruins defense to win 5-2. It was really awesome to see an empty arena in Boston near the middle of the third as the Lightning led 5-1. Earlier in the game they scored three goals in less than a minute and a half.

Going in to Game 2, we expected some of the same, but Roloson didn’t seem all himself. He was a bit sluggish and allowed six goals before he was pulled in favor of Mike Smith, who held off the Bruins the rest of the game. The Bruins defense was terrible, allowing the Bolts to get many opportunities, many more than the Bruins had on the other end. However, Thomas in net was much better than Roloson, at least one goal better, as the Bolts lost 6-5 after coming back from a three goal deficit. I expect that the Sunday practice they had (while the Bruins did not practice) may have tired out Roloson. I also expect them to start Smith in Game 3, unless Roloson is back to full strength. Either way, Game 2 was killer as both teams came in strong off center ice face-offs and the pressure on both goalies was non-stop.

For the Bruins, aside from Thomas, the star has been Seguin. This 19 year old kid is playing simply awesome hockey, and I think he may have come as a surprise to the Bolts. Most of the season he didn’t see more than five minutes a game on average, which is normal for a rookie. It was like that for Stamkos. But now in the playoffs he’s getting much more ice time and more chances to make big plays. He had two goals and three assists in Game 2 (if I’m remembering the stats right) and was all over the ice. He also managed to stay out of the box, unless a lot of his teammates and too many of the Bolts, who were stuck killing a five on three at one point. They held off that attack, but the Bruins scored on a five on four. Both teams have got to stay out of the fucking box.

Meanwhile in the West, the Sharks and Canucks are just getting underway with Game 2 as I’m writing this. Game one was a defensive battle, and it looked like the Sharks might pull it off, since they probably have the best goaltender in the playoffs in Antti Niemi. He’s the reason they’ve gotten to the finals. However, even he can’t help his poor defense keep the shooters at bay all the time, which they were not able to do. The Canucks scored two quick goals to come back to make the score and eventual final, 3-2. The Sharks defense is going to need to tighten up, especially when the Sedin twins line is in the zone. Those two are freaky good when next to each other on the ice. That whole twin mental symmetry thing I’m sure.

So, long story short, I’m taking the Bolts and the Canucks to face off in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s what I said at the beginning of the playoffs and I’m sticking to it. Plus, at this point how can I not pick the Bolts? I mean, I know they lost Game 2, but I think it was less about Roloson than about me shaving off my neck beard that I had going in moral support. I left the rest of the beard though, and promise not to shave or cut a hair until they win the cup.

Sir Charles Barkley Sez…

(image: Reuters)

Charles Barkley is known for a couple things. He’s known of course for being a hall of fame NBA legend. He’s known for being a top flight broadcaster, even though he’s a bit mush-mouthed at times. He’s also known for speaking his mind, no matter what. And this week, with the NBA playoffs in full swing, that’s exactly what he’s doing. First, he took some time out of his busy schedule to call out the Miami Heat for being a bit too self-righteous and whiny. Says Barkley, “[The Heat players] say [the people in the media] don’t like the Miami Heat. First of all, that’s not true at all,” Barkley said. “Those guys are actually a whiny bunch. They said a couple times this year, ‘Well the world is happy the Miami Heat [is losing].’ Please don’t flatter yourself. C’mon man.” He went on to explain that he wasn’t taking any personal digs at LeBron James and the rest of the superstar line-up in Miami. However, we know damn well that if Barkley is saying it, then it must be true. The fact is, the Miami Heat is like that really hot chick in high school who acted like an ugly girl just to get attention. Being hot wasn’t good enough, but she wanted you to first pity her, drawing you into her trap. The Heat were down on themselves all year, for no good reason other than a constant stream of attention. For that reason I’m glad they are in the playoffs, and for that reason I hope they lose to the Bulls.

Sir Charles wasn’t done there. After the news broke that Rick Welts, the CEO of the Phoenix Suns is gay (like anyone gives a shit in this day and age) Barkley said that everyone in the NBA has played with gay guys, they just don’t know it. Statistically, he’s right. “First of all, every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say, ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.” Barkley said in the Washington Post.

His last point is the point I’ve made over and over in arguments when it comes to gays in any sport, or even in the military. I think the importance is the ability to play the game, rather than the sexuality of a player. Frankly, it’s the same bullshit that kept blacks out of professional sports for so long, and shunned or treated like shit for so long after. The fact of the matter is, that if bigots – who are making millions of dollars a year – can’t handle gay players, then perhaps they are the one’s who should find a new line of work. For that kind of pay, and considering what they are doing for a living, they really have no right to complain about the private life of any player. Especially if that player is good at what they do, which, if they are at the professional level, they probably are. It’s a joke that we still have these ridiculous stigmas. On the other hand, why should it matter what your sexuality is, in the sense, why do you think anyone gives a shit? Note to Rick Welts, no one cares. Just run the fucking team.

The shoe cables a repent reward near the visible.