If I Were a Hockey Player…

A guy can dream, thanks Zanstorm.

If I Were a Hockey Player…

Team: Vancouver. Secondly I could stomach any of the California teams because it's the best state in the union.

Uniform Number: 31

Position: Goalie

Nickname: To my teammates - Lil bastard, the Miz, Stone Cold. To the other team - 'that fucker' or 'shitbrick'

Dream Linemates: OFFENSE - Thornton (now), Bertuzzi (circa 2002), Pavel Bure (circa mid 90's); DEFENSE: Chara (now) & Phaneuf (now).

Rounding out the PP: PRESENT: Sami Salo and Sergei Gonchar. PAST - Al Iafrate & Al MacInnis.

Job: I’d be noteworthy for being aggressive and cutting down the angles. I would likely employ an unorthodox goaltending style that works, thereby angering narrow minded pundits and frustrating goaltending coaches nationwide. I’d certainly always trash talk every shooter, diligently referencing his family members, wife and children (the latter only in the playoffs)

Signature Move: Making saves while smirking/laughing or flashing the glove for the save while sprawled on my belly.

Strengths: Cat-like reflexes, decent stick handling and uniquely flexible like a high end call girl

Weaknesses: Rebounds a plenty, easily frustrated and likely to take frequent spearing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Injury Problems: The back, the groin and dangerously lethal blood pressure levels.

Equipment: I’d wear all black if at all possible. And the mask would definitely need to be sinister; think Corey Hirsch with perhaps an upgrade to reference Jigsaw and the Saw movies.

Nemesis: Iginla. Or anyone on Iginla’s line.

Scandal Involvement: Cheating on my wife with someone else in her family. Letting my mouth run and effectively signing checks my team and I can’t cash. Also giving out luxury box tickets to strippers and homeless people I meet on the road (just for the shit and giggles of it).

Who I'd face in the Stanley Cup Finals: The NY Rangers. We go to a game 7 and then the Canucks win 18-0. I get the shutout behind a paltry 10 shots. Linden skates to the center to take the cup from new commissioner Mark Messier. In a moment of sublime righteousness, Linden leaves the cup on the table, pulls Messier's blazer over his head and uppercuts him in the face. Then he picks up the cup and celebrates; GM Place explodes in celebration as the PA blasts Rise by Pantera.

What I'd do with the Stanley Cup after our victory: Drink New Castle or Boddingtons from the cup with a crazy straw to wake up. Spin up to Whistler and board the glacier bowl with the cup in tow, I don’t care how stupid it looks. At night sit outside Iginla’s apartment with a bullhorn and more beer, repeatedly asking him if his Stanley Cup can come outside to play with mine.

Would the media love me or hate me? If you read this at all, you’d recognize they'd love me. I’d be an endless source of quotes and controversy.

Can I tag a woman? Sure I can…go Isabella!


Shove the NHL into your pigment

Far be it for me to rain shit on people and their personal preferences, but a recent comment to Alanah about the mere possibility of some mortal soul walking around with a Dan Cloutier tattoo etched on them for life had me thinking about other skin-altering hockey tributes people may have. Well, thank you Google (and specifically The Hockey News), because suddenly I’ve lost a bit more hope for the future of my species:

(Interesting selection of teams with this one)

(Bert? You badass...)

(I'm sure this guy or girl is psyched for next year's schedule...)

(Brian Gionta at 800 years young, still going strong)



And finally and regrettably....

(Insert wide-eyed disbelief here)



We got who for what? Is this exciting? Should I be excited? Someone please tell me, my brain ain't working this afternoon...


An all star boring ass week

...so what else to do then link to random musings from around the intraweb?

1. Learn likely way way too much about a team you likely hate very very much. Also marvel at McCabe's stellar sense of humor as well.

2. Laugh yourself silly over Buccigross' (who's popularity I will never understand) assertion that the Canucks should move Luc Bourdon for the one legged Foppa wonder.

3. Be jealous that Kevin Bieska has done yet another thing the rest of us dream of but will likely never get a shot at. (Dank je, Alanah)

4. Josh Plummer lists his top 10 Canuck moments of the year so far, which include both a good bootleg video of Luongo being named first star and another picture of Lui looking lonely, but oddly content, with his stick in the stands.

5. Not hockey related, but worth noting that the Portuguese are wonderful people who have fine taste and should be complimented for their willingness to act on said taste:

If anyone has any interest, Luongo will be featured in the following events in the SuperSkills competition (h/t Kukla):

Event 7 - In the Zone
Round Three: Lecavalier, Bouwmeester & Ovechkin Vs Luongo

Event 8 - Shootout
Round One: Heatley, Lecavalier, Blake & Ovechkin Vs Luongo

Event 9 - One-On-One Shootout
Round One: Crosby Vs Luongo

Good to see Luongo gets a few days off rest to deal with Heatley, Lecavalier, Ovechkin and Crosby barreling down on him!


Winning while losing (cue the glam band ballad)

It took the Canucks to lose a close one, 4-3 in the shootout to the East's best team, for me to realize just how much I respect this team. I can't help but draw comparisons to last year (every iteration of Crawford's squads over the years for that matter) and I know that those previous teams would have barely showed up after playing the last of a tough road trip before the All-Star break. You can see in your mind's eye Bertuzzi skating without purpose, Jovo taking a ill-timed lazy penalty and, naturally, Cloutier giving up a soft one your grandmother could have stopped.

Last night's team showed just how much Vigneault has changed this team. Ignore the first period, they sucked. The Buffalo TV reporters spoke to Fitzpatrick before the second and he said how Vancouver couldn't sit back in the second like they did in the first. And they did just that: they badly outshot the Sabres, notched a powerplay goal from a former Sabre and a shorthanded goal from what could be a former Canuck in the coming weeks. Their captain, ever the lighting rod for criticism, pounced on a huge rebound to put them in the lead in the third. And, of all people, Sabourin played his heart out, outplaying the All-Star bound Miller at the other end of the rink.

So what if they lost? They got 7 of 8 points on a tough road trip and they had EVERYONE contributing: both goalies, their top Swedish guns, Bulis showing he has a pulse, Pyatt adding key goals, Bieksa (even if no one can pronounce his name in Toronto) doing his damndest to make people forgot Jovo, and all of their role players (folks like Green, Fitzpatrick, Burrows & Krajicek) all stood out. The only guy still invisible is Chouinard and you can't truly blame him seeing how he spends more time viewing games from the same vantage point we all do.

So for a team that was projected to revoltingly suck, to be first in the division (or perhaps tied for first second after today's games) heading into the All Star break is pretty remarkable. Now, contrast that with last year's team and 'remarkable' suddenly feels like 'amazing'. It's only cosmically appropriate that their next home game is next Friday against Crawford and the Kings.

Seems to me, as the league takes a pause to have their Fitzpatrick-less marketing event, Canuck fans should be pretty happy. They've actually got a team on their hands and it's been many many moons since anyone could truly say that.

(ok, turn the music off now)


Thursdays With Dave

(DISCLAIMER: Obviously, none of this is real. Not to my knowledge anyway.)

On a quiet Thursday afternoon, an innocent phone call commences.

Waddell: Don here.
Nonis: 'zup Don, its D-slice.
Waddell: Sweet god Dave, it's been awhile. How's the weather up there? It's like 70 degrees here. So much tail in tank tops as they say.
Nonis: Yeah yeah, but still, you live in Atlanta. Isn't that where the trash from NYC ends up?
Waddell: Only if they pay the asking price Dave, only for the asking price.
Nonis: Nice. Anyway, I was thinking...I got a trade idea for ya.
Waddell: Hang tight, I'm making a margarita and I never get the salt right. (momentary pause, ice cubes clinking in a glass. A shattering sound follows.) SON OF A FUCK SHIT WHORE...sorry, I dropped the damn glass. Hold on. (pouring noises, more ice cubes, vigorous salt shaking, requisite sip) Ahhh. There we go. My afternoon can begin. Sorry, you were saying?
Nonis: Didn't peg ya for a rita fan. Anyway, here's my thought. I have this great center, a hell of a guy, but we just can't hang on to him I think. And the more I thought about it he’d be a real asset as an Atlanta Thrasher.
Waddell: Oh yeah? Good stuff, what's his name?
Nonis: Jan Bulis.
Waddell: Bulis? Is that some strange Canadian sauce you guys have?
Nonis: No no, he's a real life human being. Seriously. He used to be a Montreal Canadien so he knows a bit about pressure too.
Waddell: (long sipping sound) Ohhhh. Him. Yeah, I think I know him. Isn't he sort of whiney?
Nonis: No no, you confuse whiney with outspoken. He's quite the leader, in some ways, in our locker room. I think he may even win the upcoming Mark Messier Leadership award.
Waddell: If that's the case, why are you looking to part with him?
Nonis: Well, like I said, he's a great guy. But we're pretty stacked at center. We got that one Sedin who plays center. Then we have Morrison and Kesler, both gritty guys. Even Marc Chouinard can get in there if we need him too. So you see, he's just getting squeezed out a bit.
Waddell: Oh yeah, you're the guy who signed Chouinard! How's that working out?
Nonis: Let's stay focused here. Bulis would be a great center for you guys, especially considering you lost Savard and replaced him with Rucchin of all people.
Waddell: Hey, that's a cheap shot you dirty bastard.
Nonis: Sorry, but you brought up Chouinard.
Waddell: Right, my bad.
Nonis: At any rate, think of Bulis centering Kovalchuk and Hossa. That's speed and skill right there. Every opposing goalie would be petrified. And I know Auld won’t stop that.
Waddell: And what would you want in return? McCarthy?
Nonis: Listen you prick, I'm trying to help here...
Waddell: I'm sorry. This rita is kicking (sipping sound, jingling of ice in glass). Anyway, I'm not terribly sure we can use him. In fact, let's be honest Dave, is he really any good? Hell, Rucchin has one more point then him!
Nonis: Yeah, but numbers are strange like that. Look, I want you to win and you want me to win, right? In fact, if we meet in the cup finals, I'll make you a margarita Nonis style.
Waddell: ...speaking of which, I need another one. Hang tight D. (momentary pause, ice cubes clinking in a glass. Another shattering sound) HOLY SON OF A MOTHERFUC...ugh. One more sec. (pouring noises, more ice cubes, vigorous salt shaking, requisite sip) OK, all set. You know, the more I drink the funnier this is sounding.
Nonis: Wait wait…
Waddell: Do you mind if I get my assistant in on speaker phone so we can spitball this out loud?
Nonis: No no, not at all.
Waddell: Thanks. Hey Ilya?
Nonis: Wait...
Waddell: No no, seriously, this is going to be good.
Nonis: ...
Kovalchuk: Yes?
Waddell: What’s up chief? Hey, you want a rita?
Kovalchuk: No no, we have game in three hours.
Waddell: Yeah...against the Flyers though. (mutual laughter, slapping of hands in high five gesture). OK OK, so I have Dave Nonis on the phone here...
Kovalchuk: Who?
Waddell: He's the guy who runs the whale team.
Kovalchuk: Whalers? You mean Carolina?
Nonis: Christ…the VANCOUVER Canucks. We have a whale on the jersey. That’s what he meant.
Waddell: Yeah, sorry, what he said.
Kovalchuk: I've wanted to ask always, why whale on jersey?
Nonis: Well it's because...
Waddell: Ah, shit, Columbus has a bee on theirs! Don't look to the jerseys to make much sense, we're in the NHL remember? You sure you don't want a rita? (silence) OK, suit yourself (long sipping sound, ice jingles against glass). OK, so seriously, Nonis boy wants to send us Jan Bulis.
Nonis: Not send...we're talking trade here.
Waddell: Right. Trade. Sorry. He wants to trade us Jan Bulis.
Kovalchuk: What's a Jan Bulis?
Waddell: That's fucking hysterical, I asked the same thing!
Nonis: Guys, he's a good center. He had 20 goals last year with Montreal. He even had a four goal game.
Kovalchuk: Wow, really? Against who?
Nonis: The Flyers...
(muffled hysterical laughter from Waddell and Kovalchuk, glasses breaking, more hysterical crying laughter)
Nonis: Guys? Hello?
Waddell: Dude, get me a tissue, I've got tears here.
Kovalchuk: My mother could get five against Flyers. Here tissue.
Waddell: Thanks. Oh man. Oh man oh man. OK, I broke another glass and need another drink. Ilya, go tell Rucchin I need another rita.
Kovalchuk: Yes boss. (silence) Hey! Ruu! Wads needs a rita!
Nonis: Guys? OK seriously, long distance charges apply here. I'm looking to make some moves here. Are you interested or not?
Waddell: OK, sorry Dave. Tell you what, we'll need to check the tapes on his play and whatnot...you know...run the numbers against our cap and everything...make sure he fits into our long term plans....ensure he'll gel with our tight knit player community...
Kovalchuk: Yes... knit tight...
Waddell: ...so we'll get back to you in a few days.
Nonis: Don?
Waddell: (sigh) OK, look, it's not going to happen. You must realize like the rest of us do that this guy is just a massive pain in the ass, right?
Nonis: But...
Waddell: Christ (fist slamming on desk) where is Rucchin with my drink? Moron
Kovalchuk: I go check.
Nonis: ...Jan is not a pain in the ass. He's just very proud of his talent.
Waddell: Look Dave, I like ya. And I'd like nothing more then to see then you in the finals. If nothing else, you'll make me a cocktail! But you're not moving Bulis here. If I were you, I'd package him and that Chouinard guy together and get a pick in return. Have you called Garth up in Uniondale? Seriously, that's the guy you should be talking to.
Nonis: You're right, maybe I'll do that.
Waddell: No hard feelings D-slice? If I came to you wanting to move Exelby and asked for a Sedin in return, you'd do the same thing right?
Nonis: ...
Waddell: ...
Nonis: ...
Waddell: Dave?
Nonis: OK, Exelby for Bulis & Chouinard.
Waddell: Shit. I'll talk to you later Dave.
Nonis: Wait, wait...do you have Garth's email?
Waddell: I already emailed you that a few months ago when you called about Naslund.
Nonis: Oh. right. Sorry.
Rucchin: Hey Don, Ilya said you needed a margarita? From me?
Waddell: Yeah from you! What else did you think it meant?
Nonis: …I guess I'll talk to you later Don?
Rucchin: But I'm not sure I know how to make one.
Waddell: You don't know how to make one? Christ...honestly, what good are you? (muffled talk, phone receiver drops to the floor)
Nonis: Don?...Hello?...
(Muffled cursing, sniffles and soft crying from Rucchin, the line gets disconnected)


Golf Clap

Let’s reflect shall we? If you recall, this team was tagged to go no where (anywhere from 9th to 11th in the conference, often dead last in the division). And they still could, who knows. Around this time last season the Canucks were in first too and then proceeded to fall flatly through most of February and March. This could still happen obviously.

So I’m not blowing smoke up their ass; rather, I’m simply acknowledging the fact they are playing the way they are is an extreme pleasure and, honestly, a surprise considering their putrid play in November.

In fact, just for fun, think of how they are playing now in contrast with last year's Crawford circus. Go ahead, just try it. Steady now, you may lose consciousness. Amazing right?

And it’s not just the fans. It’s got to be great to be a Vancouver team member these days. In no specific order:

  1. Luongo is now apparently immune to those pesky frailties’ that normally would fall a normal human being.
  2. Vancouver’s no name, blue collar guys are suddenly picking up the slack.
  3. Due to point #2, the pressure is off Naslund and the Sedins to produce every single night. Which is a good thing. A relaxed Swede is a deadly one. (I think, I’ll get back to you on that).
  4. You can’t credit the Canuck scouting staff that often, but they did their job with Bieska and Edler.
  5. Matt Cooke is not only a pain in the ass to play against, but funny as hell. See his take on Morrison’s favorite chick flick. Brilliant.
  6. Trevor Linden is playing like he’s 19 again. This, if nothing else, is what the guy deserves after being public enemy #3 during the lockout behind Bettman and Goodenow.
  7. Bulis got his revenge against his former team in style. A key assist on the second goal and a 55 foot slap shot past Huet’s glove. Bulis hasn’t been much, but clearly when motivated he’s an asset.
  8. Not only is Vigneault’s system working, but it worked perfectly against his former team. Anyone catch that smirk on his face as he left the ice at the end of the game? Sometimes a smirk sure beats a middle finger.

To that end, I say the Canucks keep harnessing this element of revenge over the next few games before the All Star break:

Thursday Vs Ottawa

- Someone remind Luongo that the Sens wanted him, but didn’t match Keenan’s asking price; hence they didn’t see the true value in him and preferred, instead, the laughable gaffe that is Gerber.

- Someone remind Salo that the Sens didn’t think highly enough of him to sign him after the 2002 season. They may have even taunted him and suggested he take up a second career as a ballerina. The police are still investigating…

Friday Vs Buffalo

- Someone remind Pyatt that this team thought so highly of him that they took a fourth round pick for him, the equivalent of asking for something off the dollar menu at McDonalds for free.

- Someone remind the entire team that Sabres were kind enough to take a second round pick off our hands at the last trade deadline for Mikka Noronen who played about three seconds for Vancouver before following the cash to Russia for the season. As if the Sabres need more solid young guys? Buggery.


5 Things You Did Not Know About Yours Truly

Sweet Jesus, I've been tagged by Sir Guerrero. I've never been tagged before in my brief blogging life so hopefully I won't screw it up. Let's divulge, shall we?

1. I take American kickboxing classes every other night and some Thai kickboxing lessons on specific weekends. I find an odd comfort in an activity where I can barely move when it's done and often have to ice my knuckles afterwards. I also captain a dodgeball team in a charity league. One would think charity dodgeball is sweet and casual, but peg a grown man in the groin with a large ball and you'll see a side of humanity you really are better off without.

2. I used to work for the Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno out in LA. I got to meet several "celebrities" but I have to share the big trade secret that if you remove the lights and makeup they all look about as normal as the stuttering fool sleeping in the dumpster behind your nearest 7-11 (potentially worse in fact). That said, the coolest guy I met there, besides Leno who is extremely nice, was Jon Stewart. The worst was Dolly Pardon because I woke her up inadvertently and was scolded by her assistant. And I did get to meet Britney Spears prior to her destroying herself in every way, shape, matter and form possible. For what it’s worth, she was very nice too.

3. I am painfully judgmental when it comes to music. I stems from being a drummer my whole life and being in several rock, metal and punk bands (which, once you listen to that stuff enough, you can't help but become a bit headstrong). Certain bands like Bon Jovi, Nickelback, Coldplay, U2 and others infuriate me just when I hear their name much less their music. I've mellowed more in recent years and accepted I’m in the minority when it comes to musical taste. As such, I have resorted to naming my pets after my favorite musicians. The next dog will be a Rottweiler named Ozzy (the neighbors will love me).

4. I can play hockey as a goalie, but am generally awful. The last time I played I was decent enough until the playoffs where I accidentally stopped a point shot with the back of my catching hand, smashing my ring finger. I finished the period and still caught some shots even though my hand was throbbing and I could feel blood pooling up in the glove. The doctor who took an x-ray of my hand asked if he could share the picture of my shattered finger with his son who just started playing hockey to emphasize Dad's hope that he play safely.

5. I absolutely love traveling but hate flying. I have even taken pilot lessons and being at the controls doesn't negate the fear. It's an ordeal that requires either a lot of alcohol or enough mental preparation that I am shocked I can't move things with my mind afterwards. If you're ever on a flight and you see a little white guy with white knuckles from squeezing the arm rests and staring at the wing to help keep it attached to the rest of the craft, well that's me. Feel free to say hello (bring some whiskey along with you).

My good man Zanstorm, tag, you're up!


The Pipes Are Calling

I have to admit, it's very hard not to dump on Dan Cloutier whenever possible. I recognize it's in poor taste and generally not fair to a guy who put together some respectable seasons in Vancouver but suffered biblical meltdowns in the post season. So while it's not really fair to wish him ill-will or take heart in his piss poor play in LA this year, he did shit the bed when this team had a legit chance to make it to the conference finals so I can hold a grudge. All that drinking and cheering to watch them lose to the Wild who then got swept by a toy Disney team who then got beat in 7 by the Devils in my own backyard who topped the entire thing off by blasting Bon Jovi as they received the cup?! Awful, awful, awful.

At any rate, seems like Cloutier's season just went from really bad to, well, par for the course for Danny boy:

Kings goaltender Dan Cloutier may be out longer than expected after getting a second opinion on his hip injury this week.

Cloutier, sidelined since Dec. 23 by hip and knee injuries, had his hip reexamined by a specialist in Colorado to determine the extent of damage. He will meet with team officials this week to decide on the best course of action, which could range from extended rest to surgery.

Kings officials do not believe the hip injury is career threatening. Cloutier, who signed a two-year, $6.2-million contract extension in September, is also suffering from tendinitis in his knee, believed to be caused by compensating for his hip injury.

--LA Times

I do hope he gets better...it sucks when a guy's health stops him from doing the only thing he knows how to do. See Peter Forsberg for more information on that.

Then again, let's pretend Danny has to retire. I, for one, won't remember him really for his goaltending abilities since he was average to good depending on the time of the season and/or the opponent. However, what he was known for was just being a feisty guy...and a goalie that was often times more fun to watch get angry then be the cool, calm and collected guy most NHL goalies are.


We’re #1…in elevated blood pressure and children hearing us curse

What an appropriate picture of sir Bobby Lui there. On the one hand, it captures that moment where he realized he beat his old team in a tight game. His elation must have been huge and we should give him props for not, in the heat of the moment, skating over to the nearest live mic and telling Mike Keenan to go do humanity a favor and slit his own wrists with his teeth.

On the other hand, the fact that he’s on his ass with a random puck hanging out near the crease also reminds you how damn close Luongo himself was to blowing the seven game streak. Van Ryn and Campbell’s goals were laughable; the only thing the TV cameras didn’t do on after those goals was show Auld on the bench snickering like a school girl.

It’s fun to have a formidable winning streak and a few points in hand against the rest of the division, but this team has to get back to soundly beating teams in regulation. It’s great that Vancouver can get a tan while surfing this lucky wave they’re on, but something tells me any more sunshine blown up their ass will result in them going back to their November sucktitude of no goals and questionable goaltending.

We’ll see what happens against the Wild on Thursday. Go 'nucks go!


I hurt myself getting back on the bandwagon

You see that in Kesler’s eyes? That sense of confidence? That degree of swagger? The look that just screams “Welcome to the garage bitch”?

Suddenly, it’s fun again to watch this team.

Here’s hoping they can stomp the Oilers again to set up a very fun Luongo/Auld tilt on Sunday (c’mon Jacques, don’t use Belfour…without Bert playing, we need some drama).