Russell & I trade semi-researched factoids for the second time in short order, getting into John Tortorella’s recent soul searching on Tampa radio. In an attempt to show something reminiscent of range, we stretch into Davis Cup tennis and trade two dozen words in French.
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• I’m fatigued
• Où sont les pamplemousses?
• John Tortorella is Yoda
• Willie’s ahead of Torts so far
• Davis Cup coming back to UBC
• Daniel Nestor ages not
• Eugenie Bouchard’s legs are all Photoshop
• NHL DOPS: Dmitry Kulikov gets four games
• Time for a Change by the Orchid Highway
Two weeks from now, the Canadian Davis Cup team will take to the courts in Vancouver against Japan, hoping to start a special campaign. With the Swiss duo of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka expected to ease up a bit after finally capturing Davis Cup glory in 2014, the Spanish team largely an unknown commodity, and the French team unpredictable, it appears that the 2015 Davis Cup is somewhat up for grabs. That leaves Canada — healthy, this time around, thank the syrup — with a good chance to duplicate their appearance in the semi-finals two years ago.
The Vancouver Giants won their third straight home game with a messy but satisfying 3-1 decision over the Edmonton Oil Kings. It wasn’t a high-flying, high-scoring, fight-filled affair like the previous two wins over Red Deer and Seattle, but hey, a win is a win is a win.
Carter Popoff popped off a pair of goals, including an empty netter, and now sits at a team-high 22 goals. Only Zane Jones’s moustache has more scores this season, but 18 of the nose tickler’s 26 goals came with other clubs before it and Zane Jones himself joined the Giants in a trade in early January, and the countless young ladies swooning over that ginger liprug just don’t count. Rookie left winger Vladimir Bobylev potted his third of the year in the second period, and that wound up being the game winning goal.
Let’s be clear. This Edmonton team is not the same one that won the Memorial Cup last year. When he’s not winning World Junior gold, Curtis Lazar is playing for Ottawa Senators. Griffin Reinhart also won one of them shiny medallions, and has split the rest of the year between the New York Islanders and their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers. (Aside: what the hell is a sound tiger? A jungle cat whose mental acuity isn’t in question?) Put plainly, the Oil Kings ain’t a patch on last year’s Eastern Conference-winning team.
Still, a defending champion, even one tenuously holding onto their own playoff spot, walks into every building with a certain swagger. There were scores of classic red, white and gold Oil Kings shirts at the Coliseum on Wednesday — even if the visiting team wore awful black third jerseys neon green trim on the ice. Edgars Kulda, whose older brother Artūrs played for Latvia in 2014 at both the Olympics and World Championships, received cheers from countrymen every time he approached the puck, but it was Lane Bauer who scored Edmonton’s only goal on the night. Cody Porter was solid in his 12th win of the year, stopping 31 of 32 shots, several of the point-blank rebound variety.
The Giants hit the road for a pair of weekend games south of the border, back-to-back puck drops against the Everett Silvertips and Tri-City Americans. For the moment, .despite being seven games under .500, Vancouver sits in a playoff position; the G-Men are one point up on Kamloops with a game in hand.
The next Giants home game is Wednesday, February 18 against the Moose Jaw Warriors — it’s a noon game on a weekday, which means the lower bowl will be packed with school children on field trips. The energy in the place is outstanding for this game every year, a promotion the Giants are calling Hooky Day.
Great event, mere steps from New West SkyTrain station. Had tons of fun with my daughter there last year. Give it a go!
* Isn’t all curling indoor? I’ve never seen outdoor curling, but I’d love to give it a go.
Tweet at River Market on the mighty Twitter using @RiverMrkt. Or, you know, go after them on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram instead, if you feel like slumming — they’ve adopted the very same RiverMrkt name on all four social media channels. (Why so predictable, River Market? Huh?)
Zane Jones’s moustache scored once and added an assist to drive the Vancouver Giants to a 5–4 win over the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night. The ginger duster was all over the place at the Pacific Coliseum, laying hits, creating open ice and sweeping into the dirty areas of the rink.
During an early second-period Giants power play, Jones’s lip foliage took a cross-ice pass in the left face-off circle. Rather than one-timing a snap shot on Rebels goaltender Taz Burman, the soup strainer extraordinaire took the puck to the backhand to cut around a sprawled d-man, made a power move to the lip of the crease. From there, Mr Tickler buzzed a shot into a razor-thin bit of open net, going top shelf where grandpa keeps the moustache wax. The entire sequence was made even more impressive by the fact that the tastefully trimmed mouth brow was dragging along a 210-pound Zane Jones under it the entire time. That lip luggage may have been named third star in the building Friday, but ask just about any of the six thousand-plus fans in attendance, and they’ll almost certainly name Old Bullet Proof number one.
The bro-merang’s big game meant a lot to the Giants, who won for just the second time in the last ten tries.
“I haven’t seen a nose bug like that since Lanny McDonald,” said Red Deer GM and head coach Brent Sutter in an exclusive interview I totally made up in my head during the drive home from the rink. “Seriously, I still have burns on my neck from all those battles on the boards against that mustachioed bastard. Back in the day I preferred getting speared by Ken Linseman to rubbing up against that bloody caterpillar.”
All kidding aside, this was a great game — it had everything junior hockey is meant to be. Loads of goals, momentum swings, a handful of fights and high energy action from the get-go to the final buzzer. On the strength of some lengthy periods of uptempo forechecking and hard work down low, the Giants were able to come back from 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 deficits. Not to take anything away from Alec Baer’s late tying goal or from Ty Ronning’s power play winner with under a minute to go, Jones and his vaunted lip sweater were the main reasons the G-men walked away with these two points.
According to this post at Footy Headlines the Seattle Sounders are taking a proactive approach with their 2015 kit. Rather than allowing opposing teams’ supporter groups to come up with Sounder-bashing wordplay, they’re on the offensive with self-mockery that’s positively aces.
Either that, or their design team doesn’t know jack about the most basic rules of English punctuation. I mean, sure, Seattle is purty, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with this. It’s harassment, pure and simple.
Seriously, you green SOBs, say it with me: “commas save lives”. Take a class, or something. You’re just making it too easy for the rest of us.
There’s this tennis player, see, and she’s playing at the Australian Open this week. She made the final four in the first three Grand Slam tournaments last year, truly a breakout season for the 20-year-old. She even made the final at Wimbledon, where she had previously become the first Canadian to win the junior singles title. Nowadays, she’s ranked number seven in the world, so she’s pretty good at this tennis thing.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could talk about how she overcame a rough first half of her third round match to dominate the #36-ranked French right-hander Caroline Garcia in the second set? We could discuss her steely on-court focus. Let’s break down her solid form on return. Or extoll the fact that she’s parlayed a strong all-around game into five consecutive Grand Slam fourth-round appearances.
Sadly, we can’t. Eugenie Bouchard also happens to be an attractive blonde with a gigawatt smile and a sense of humour. She’s on magazine covers and she tweets about fashion, so Ian Cohen just had to ask her to do a pirouette after her R2 win the other day. The justifiable shit storm to follow has both Channel 7 and Tennis Australia scrambling to deny association with Cohen — if neither the broadcaster nor the athletic body own this guy, why the hell was he doing on-court presentation in the first place? Tourism Australia is livid — they issued a press release stating “It’s completely inappropriate for a Bruce to ask a Shiela to twirl on a tennis court; the correct form is to shout ‘show us your teats’ at the beach.”
It could have been worse guys
Bouchard, for her part, is handling this whole thing better than most, suggesting she’s got that pretty little head of hers screwed on right. When the post-match questions on Friday turned to issues of ‘Twirl-gate’, she sighed, smiled and said, “I was waiting for this.” She followed up by voicing calmly what so many others have been screaming the past few days: “It’s funny…. I’m fine with being asked to twirl, if they ask the guys to… flex their muscles and stuff.”
Last year, after becoming the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam semi in singles play, Bouchard was asked who her dream date would be. Sam Smith, herself a former pro tennis player — and one might observe, a woman — said “I’m sorry but they asked me to say this” — should have refused to ask. Even the preamble was awkwardly sexist. “You’ve got a lot of fans here, most of them male, and they want to know.”
I’d love for someone to come at a male pro athlete post-game, as he’s sweaty and revelling in a win: “Russell Wilson, you’ve just won the Super Bowl — who would you like to snog?”
Is Genie a good-looking woman? You’re darn tootin’ she is. But I’ve shot tennis tournaments before — they’re all Greek gods, every single one of them. Does that make it okay for crotchety old dudes to plant creepy questions about ‘dream dates’, or make borderline crude suggestions that she dance for the nice people? Absolutely fucking not. Bouchard would be justified to go full primal scream on the next idiot who goes that way in a post-match interview.
The 17th Initiative is a way of teaching my daughter about the powers of volunteerism and giving. Each month in 2015, on or around the 17th, we will connect with a charity or community organization of some sort. We encourage you, the reader, to do the same. Time, materials, money — whatever you can contribute, to whatever cause you believe in — use #17thInitiative if you want to share your good deeds on social media.
After meeting some of the good folks at the Now That’s Ugly Society, my daughter and I donated a few bucks to the Children’s Wish Foundation this month. We were hoping to raise a little bit more than $50, but we’re not here to focus on negatives. Fifty is better than zero, right? Besides, you can’t put a dollar value on the awareness you raise by talking about a cause. Children’s Wish is awesome. (You can still bump this figure up, if you’re keen, by throwing a few bones here.)
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be involved in a couple of projects:
Assemble a “Comfort Bag” for the Lookout Society, an organization that provides housing and support services for members of BC’s homeless population. My daughter and I will gather some of the items from the Winter Donations Wish List posted on the Lookout website (and shared below), pop it in a dollar store tote bag and donate it to Russell Housing Centre in New West. We encourage y’all to do the same!
The 17th Initiative will continue throughout 2015, so please feel free to comment or contact us with suggestions for ways to engage in the community as we move forward. If you’re already involved in causes or events, please share! Again, use #17thInitiative on Twitter and Facebook (or even Instagram, I guess, but I’m not on there myself).
Bobbleheads are weirder than a kissing cousin convention, but their creepy kitsch is almost universally appealing. For years, figures bore little resemblance to the target athlete, but of late, the sculpts are getting better every season. No matter how lifelike they are, though, who doesn’t get a kick out of an oversized head waggling away on a teensy, tiny body? I mean, just look at Kelly Ripa’s numbers. (Seriously, how does she keep that blonde balloon afloat? There’s gotta be wirework involved, or a complex system of pulleys and gears…)
At the Vancouver Giants game on Friday night, 1,000 fans will walk away with a bobblehead of former team captain Jonathon Blum.
The Giants are just two points behind the slumping Tri-City Americans, who are coming off a 7-1 loss at the hands of the class of the WHL Kelowna Rockets. The Amerks have won just thrice in their last dozen games, while the Giants have garnered points in twelve of their last fifteen.
Matt Ustaski, pinball wizard
Matt Ustaski of the Wisconsin Badgers scored what is likely the strangest goal of his collegiate career on Friday, potting one from 190 feet. Sure, teams score empty netters all the time, but the Matt O’Connor was still on the ice for the Boston Terriers at the time. The BU keeper skated out to start a counter-attack as the Badgers made a defensive change, but his pass careened off of defenseman Brien Diffley and into his own net.
It was very nearly UW’s biggest win of the year — they’ve only won twice in fourteen games — as Ustaski’s goal gave the Badgers a 3-1 lead with less than three minutes to play against the #2 ranked Terriers. It wasn’t to be, however. BU would score twice with O’Connor on the bench, including the tying goal with 2.2 seconds left, and would eventually win via the dreaded shootout.