Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Canucks Season Preview: The hardest way to make an easy living

Trevor Linden figure

Let’s face it this year has the potential to be a horrible hockey year for Vancouver. Pick up tickets to the WHL Giants because the Canucks have all the markings of a disaster about them as the year is about to begin. Making the playoffs will be unlikely in a competitive Western Conference where every team has strengthened while the Canucks have been throwing talent overboard as if hoping to right a sinking ship. The off-season has been a farce and there’s nothing to suggest that’s about to change.

How bad is it? You’ll find out after the jump.

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More talk of the MLS in Vancouver

Martin Nash gets ready to kick

With props to the CBC [cbc]:

Following the successful completion of the MLS All-Star Game in Toronto this past week, talk of expansion for North America’s highest level of professional soccer league has started a fresh.  As usual the talk tends to centre on the chance of Vancouver getting a team as part of a two franchise expansion along with Montreal.

One interested potential owner is George Gillett Jr., an American businessman who owns the Montreal Canadiens and half of Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League.  Another name to enter the picture is basketball star Steve Nash whose from Victoria and launched his branded line of fitness centres in Vancouver and whose brother Martin currently plays for the Whitecaps.

Much of the future of a potential franchise will be determined by the fate of Seattle’s new club, which will start play next season, and the future of the proposed waterfront stadium.

Whitecaps draw with Toronto FC at Swangard in soccerball game

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC

Pictured: Toronto FC goalkeeper Greg Sutton shouts at his defenders during a scramble in the box.

Despite being a long time season ticket holder for the Whitecaps I tend not to blog about the team on a point of principal, since the organization has failed to answer several requests for media passes.  This post is an exception to the rule.

Every year the Whitecaps try to organize a friendly match for fans that brings a top level team into Vancouver.  Last year saw the Major League Soccer (MLS) team LA Galaxy and David Beckham play the Caps at GM Place and yesterday they brought in the Toronto FC Canada’s only MLS team.  Without the star power of Beckham the match stayed at the Whitecaps’ usual home field Swangard Stadium in Burnaby.

The Toronto FC is one of the success stories of the MLS.  Where many teams fail to fill stadiums, even with Beckham now playing in the league, Toronto FC’s stadium have been jammed packed with fanatical fans since the first game.  Without major stars, the only starter that I recognized yesterday was former Newcastle United player Laurent Robert, they’ve built a devoted fan base and despite a lack of on-field success have been a model for MLS teams in America and a beacon of hope for a potential Vancouver franchise.  For more on the stellar success of the Toronto FC check out both my post on the club [mbv] and the excellent article in the London Guardian by Globe and Mail journalist John Doyle [lg].

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The lengths some people will go to to avoid paying library fines

Rappelling down the library in Vancouver

I was downtown outside of the Central Branch of the library when I, and pretty much everyone else on the sidewalk, spotted two women who began rappelling down the side of the library’s main building.  After a moment they stopped and began doing a few acrobatic stunts, mostly flips.

They seemed to be mainly practicing, but there was no signs up saying where they were from or what they were doing and lacking a really tall ladder I wasn’t able to get up there and ask them what was up.  I did take a few moments worth of video of their aerial dancing which is on my Flickr account [fkr].  (I also put it on YouTube [yt] but the quality is so shitty there.)

If anyone has the inside scoop as to who they are, and what they were doing let us know in the comments.

Update:Commenter Canadianveggie says that, “My guess is that it is Aeriosa Dance Company. They have pictures on their website of performance they’ve done at the library before.”

The Vancouver Five: reasons it’s a bad year to be a Canucks fan

Trevor Linden figure

Let’s face it, most teams after missing the playoffs would spend the off-season making the team stronger, and building on the strengths that they did have.  Replace the GM?  Sure.  Replace the GM with your star player’s agent?  Okay, sure, kind of icky and incestuous but okay.  Make your star’s agent the GM and then lose the star to free agency?  That’s fucking top notch dinkwallet behaviour.

So here it is, five reasons why 2008-2009 will be a year to forget for the Vancouver Canucks.

  1. No Trevor Linden: he may not have been the on-ice force that the Canucks needed these last few years but he was the sort of leader who could help shape the attitude of a team, and bring in the wins.  His retirement is an unquantifiable blow to the team.
  2. Mike Gillis:  Let’s face it even if bringing in Mats Sundin would have been a good move, making the move so public was only going to lead to heartache.  Not talking about players until they’re actually signed would be a good first move.  Talking about how awesome you are is generally a good way to look like a putz.  Look at the Canucks official news site and you’ll see that nearly half the stories are about who the team would like to have signed signed [vc].  It’s even more pathetic than my list of women I’d like to have slept with.  (Though with names like Anne Hathaway & Rachael Leigh Cook on the list, who’d call that pathetic?)
  3. Roberto Luongo only plays one position: Cloning isn’t legal and Luongo isn’t going to score us goals.  He’s our best goalie, possibly ever, but let’s face it we need an offense.  Of course suggestions that we trade him for a goal scorer are insane, I mean shit doesn’t anyone remember the history of the last five years?  Goalies can win games too, and you need one in the playoffs.
  4. Everyone else in the West is actually good: If you’re going to making lots of mistakes, it’s always good to be in a division where everyone else are making mistakes.  The West is too focused and too difficult for the Canucks to continue to be run like a Punch and Judy show. 
  5. We drafted twins: Seriously identical Swedish twins and after years of having them we still haven’t come up with any crazy twin-centric plays.  Any other team would be having them change jerseys, call each other by different names and secrelty switching one of them with the goalie to build some kind of Might Ducks style play.  Maybe we should have hired Emilio Estevez for our GM.

The Canucks fail to party like it’s 1999

article_10719_2

It’s the turn of the century.  We’re all worried about whether or not our computers are about to crash and making jokes about “Hanging Chads” when known idiot George W. Bush wins the US Presidential Election to become the actual President of the US of A.  Thankfully as we all know it’s not like he’s going to be called onto handle a crisis or make any real decisions, right?

They year 2000  was a great year for Mats Sundin, the sort of year that any team in the NHL would have been wise to sign him to a lucrative contract and build a team around him.  A franchise player he’d have really been a big score for the Canucks to sign in the year 2000.

So it’s sort of a hilarious turn of events that eight years later, at the age of 37, he turned down a big money offer from the Canucks [vs].   That doesn’t mean it couldn’t possibly happen, but then why exactly would we want it to?  Didn’t we learn from the Mark Messier thing that bringing in a big money player in the latter stages of his career and trying to shape the team around him, only leads to pain and sadness?

I suppose they figure with Mike Gillis at the helm and pain and sadness 100% guaranteed, we might as well get a big name signing in to sell some jerseys.  Face it, it was either that or redesign the uniform again.

How far have the Canucks slipped though?  This should be a great market to play in.  We’ve got weather, a strong dollar, a rather casual attitude towards celebrity that allows players to live more anonymously than in other Canadian markets and a fan-base that doesn’t expect anything except for pain and sadness.  It seems like the perfect destination.

Maybe if we offer him a carbon tax credit.

Update: Oh hey and now we lost Nausland [vc].  Wasn’t the the point of appointing his agent as our GM, to keep him?  Well at least there’s the Vancouver Giants.

Euro 2008 Final, where will you be?

Euro 2008 Final Arsenal Kits

We’re about one hour away from the final of the European Championships. It’s Spain against Germany. It’s the beautiful sport of football (soccer) and the question of the day is, where are you watching it?

If I wasn’t trapped inside working I’d probably be heading over either to the Dover Arms on Denman or the Library Square Pub to catch the action. Had Italy made the final the obvious place to go would have been Commercial Drive, which would have been overcome with celebration had the Azzuri [wp] won.

Also on Denman near Georgia there’s a new snitzle resturant, the name of which escapes me, which looked like a good German place to be watching the final. Any other suggestions for those who might be wandering around trying to get a cold beer and a view of the match?

The ballad of Trevor Linden


Canucks Jersey Retro Linden – Back

Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson

Trevor Linden never won the Stanley Cup, never won a scoring title and is behind Marcus Naslund as the team’s all time scoring leader and yet I think everyone in Vancouver will agree that he is the greatest player the Canucks ever had. Yesterday he made his retirement official, he is no longer a Canucks and as fitting he is not going to be playing for anyone else. Twenty years to the day of being drafted by the Canucks he is finished with the NHL, and leaves Canucks fans knowing that we won’t ever see another player like him again.

Linden was always overshadowed by other players, during the 1993-1994 Stanley Cup run he was such an important part of the team, but the attention was focused on Pavel Bure’s remarkable bursts of speed. When he returned to the Canucks, following the ill-fated attempt to rebuild the team around Mark Messier, it was Todd Bertuzzi and Marcus Naslund who were seen as the team leaders. Naslund remained captain of the Canucks, despite the fact that Linden was once again the team’s natural leader.

Or maybe he wasn’t. The failings of the Canucks in the past few years has time and time again been the failing of trusting too much in natural skill and not enough in pure work ethic. In the dying weeks and months of this past season it seemed that Linden and goalie Roberto Luongo were the only players dismayed by game after game of sub-standard performances. A team that should have reached the late stages of the playoffs did not even make them.

Vancouver’s going to miss Trevor Linden, though it’s not clear that the Canucks themselves are. The new General Manager just happens to be Naslund’s former agent Mike Gillis, a situation that seems to promise that the Canucks will be missing the playoffs more often. Linden, like Ryan Smyth, was a player that would give everything he had to win a game, a trait that many of the Cancuks seem to lack, and a trait that they lack even more today.

Nobody would ever say that Trevor Linden gave anything less than everything he had on the ice. He may never brought the Stanley Cup to Vancouver, but in ’94 he came close and gave all Canucks fans some of their most cherished memories. He’s leaving and we will love him, for now and forever. Of any Canuck he’s the one we should be naming streets after, and building statues.

He’s our Captain, no matter who held onto the ‘C’.

Euro 2008: a Vancouver TV guide


FORÇA PORTUGAL!!!

Originally uploaded by miguel valle de figueiredo

There’s nothing like a great football (soccer) tournament to really get me up at weird hours of the day to shout and jump about my living room. Thankfully for the most part they only happen every two years, with the World Cup and the European Championships both on a four year schedules. This summer it’s the Euro 2008 that’s going to get me going.

Since I also run a blog dedicated to being a football fan in Vancouver over at Vancouver Gunner [vg] I’m going to be trying to follow the Euros as much as I can this year. I won’t be blogging about it here unless it affects Vancouver life in general, but I’ll be over there trying to get into a daily blogging habit.

What I do have for you is a bit of a gift for anyone hoping to follow the tournament from the comfort of their television or your favorite ethnic restaurant or pub, and that’s the complete guide to the matches that will be televised in Vancouver, both for TSN and Rogers Sportsnet. Both broadcasters have their listings in Eastern Time so I sat down, did the math and stuck it all into Google Calendar and the result is in links below. Enjoy, and if you repost it anywhere else please link back to this.

Euro 2008 Television Schedule for Vancouver

  • iCal [gc]
  • XML [gc]
  • HTML [gc]

Hockey Night In Canada changes theme songs and we all flip out

Martin Brodeur save

If you’ve been online in Canada today you might be excused for thinking that everyone on the internet has just had some sort of brain aneurysm as every blog you’ve checked, every news story at the top of your Gmail account and every email in your mailbox seems to be stuck on the fact that next year the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation might not use the same theme for Hockey Night In Canada that it’s used since the 1960s’ [rc].

From Reuters:

“The tune, which has opened the Canadian Broadcasting Corp’s Saturday night National Hockey League broadcasts since the late 1960s, will not be renewed as the broadcaster has chosen to move in a new direction…”

The best blog post out there that I’ve seen on it is from Miss604 [m604].

Let’s face it though, this is one of those things that people are going to get upset about for a few months and then forget about totally once a new song is used. After a few years with we’ll forget about it altogether because we’ve always been at war with Eurasia. Speaking of which wouldn’t it be nice if people got this fiery about poverty, Canadian troops in Afghanistan or the national debt?

I like the song as much as the average hockey fan, but please if I’ve not heard from you since we graduated high school I’m not interested in joining your damn Facebook group to save it.

Update: Buzz Bishop has a blog post on the subject that points out that nothing is official yet, and maybe we as a nation should just take a pill [bb].

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