All posts by Jason Kurylo

Whitecaps photo gallery

Whitecaps WednesdayThe Vancouver Whitecaps surprised just about everyone in MLS on Saturday, as they dominated — dominated — the LA Galaxy from opening kickoff to the final whistle. The official stats keepers only gave Vancouver 52% of possession, but let’s be clear: the Caps played freakin’ keepaway against the defending champs, and won handily. The 2-0 scoreline flatters L.A. More telling is the shot total: Vancouver generated 18 shots on the Galaxy net, and only allowed six the other way. If you only count balls on net, the Whitecaps were even more impressive, outshooting L.A. nine to one.

So far this season, the Caps have won ugly, they’ve won lucky, and on Saturday, they won impressively. Vancouver is now on an MLS franchise-high four-game win streak, with depth everywhere on the pitch. It looks like it’s going to be a fun season, y’all.

Next up it’s a midweek game against the Columbus Crew, Wednesday at 7pm at BC Place, followed by a road match in San Jose on Saturday.

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Episode 59 – The PatQuast

Pat Quinn, may he rest in peace, leaves a massive, Irish imprint upon our community, having changed the course of franchises at the professional, junior and minor levels of hockey in Vancouver. Russell and Jason discuss the big man and give him one last tip of the Pucked in the Head hat. I dig out some audio of an interview I was fortunate enough to conduct with Pat Quinn about a year before his passing. We also discuss the Canucks playoff race, in a timely, timely manner. So timely. Like, mayor of Crazy Town timeliness. Dude. Timely.

• Introduction
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• Russell mails it in
• Linden, Bure, Odjick, this guy influenced a generation of Canucks
• Quinn’s hand in the Vancouver Giants
• Pat Quinn talks about Gordie Howe & Bobby Orr
• Pat Quinn memorial night at Rogers Arena
• Canucks down the stretch
• Time for a Change by the Orchid Highway
• We are professionals

A classy portrait picture of Pat Quinn, 1943–2014.
I was lucky enough to speak with Pat Quinn at Gordie Howe’s 85th birthday event, and he graciously stood for a few portrait photos as well. R.I.P. Pat Quinn — 1943–2014. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Millers having a rough go these days

Even when it comes to injuries, the Miller boys like to play a little game of oneupmanship.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller has been out with a knee sprain for over a month as the team makes a strong pitch for the playoffs on the back of the affable Eddie Lack.  Ligaments in that area are integral to many a professional sport, granted, but hockey goalies and slalom skiers are especially reliant upon strong, healthy knees. Recuperation needs to be tackled carefully; it’s slow and frustrating, and the potential for re-injury is high.

And while you never wish a serious hurt on a player, you’d take that knee injury 100 times out of 100 over what happened to his little brother the other day.

Drew Miller, a forward with the Red Wings, was involved in an almost literal face-off during a defensive zone puck battle against the Senators on Tuesday night. Ottawa forward Mark Stone was tied up with Detroit centre Luke Glendening; as his body twisted forward over Glendening, who was bent at the waist at the time, Stone’s trailing leg swung upward. His skate caught Miller under the visor, opening a gash from his lower cheek, across the eye to the underside of his eyebrow.

Miller immediately grabbed put his gloves to his face and raced off the ice under his own power, and required 60 stitches to his cheek and eyelid. While he was immediately concerned by the amount of blood and swelling around the eye — and good gravy, who wouldn’t be? — it appears at this early stage that the eye itself wasn’t damaged. People in the Miller family and around the hockey world are breathing a sigh of relief today. This injury could have been much, much worse.

And, good hockey playin’ lad that he is, the bastard is going to play against the Bruins tonight.

The slow motion video is downright scary to watch, especially if you have kids who play the game.

Earnshaw scores in debut — again

Robert Earnshaw was on the pitch at BC Place for less than four minutes before he found himself on the receiving end of a brilliant touch pass from El Capitán Pedro Morales. Keeper Adam Kwarasey charged out to challenge, and Earnshaw used his first touch as a Vancouver Whitecap to chip the ball over him  into the back of the net. He celebrated thusly:

Robert Earnshaw celebrates for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Robert Earnshaw celebrates scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC win over the Portland Timbers. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

It wasn’t the first time he’d scored in his first appearance with a team. Earnshaw scored in his first game with the Chicago Fire last year, and potted a pair of goals in his home debut with dirty, rotten, stinkin’ Toronto FC two seasons ago. (It should be noted that Saturday’s game-winner was Earnshaw’s first-ever at BC Place — he was held scoreless in his MLS debut two seasons ago when the Caps blanked Toronto 1-0, a game in which he started and played 85 minutes.)

At 5’8″ and just 160 pounds, he’s not likely to overpower defenders like Nat Borchers or that bloody ginger beard of his. But holy hamhocks, can this guy boot a ball into a soccer net. Earnshaw now has a dozen goals in 32 MLS appearances. That’d be a fair clip for a hockey player, but in soccer, them’s all-star numbers. Don’t just take my word for it; the MLS website, for all its warts and biases, usually gives us stats pretty straight up, and it tells us, “[Earnshaw has recorded] a hat-trick in every professional division in England, including the FA Cup and League Cup competitions as well as internationally for Wales.”

Sam Adekugbe of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Sam Adekugbe jacks up the crowd after Robert Earnshaw’s late go-ahead goal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

“I knew he’d get one chance,” said Coach Carl Robinson after the match, happy to steal three points in a game where his squad was badly outplayed by the opposition. “I know what Ernie can do, what kind of touch he has with the ball, so I just told him to take the chance when it came. I’m glad he did.”

Chances are the Welshman will do it again. Earnshaw now has 217 goals for clubs in England, Scotland, Israel, the US, and Canada, as well as the Welsh international side.

“It’s always exciting, especially in a debut,” Earnshaw said after the match, saying that even after 18 years of playing professionally, he’s still overwhelmed with emotion when he scores. “The feeling of when the ball hits the net, oh my God, it’s the best. The best.”

Here’s a video for your highlight-watchin’ pleasure:

Episode 58 – One-timers

We introduce One-Timers, a new podcast segment wherein Pucked in the Head talks about several timely topics in the news, then promptly takes a week to post the episode to iTunes.

• Intro
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• Jason can’t skate
• Milos Raonic unlocks the Beat Rafa Nadal badge
• Cceci n’est pas une pipe
• Jason plays Nostradamus
• March Madness exists
• Buenos noches, Steve Nash
• Wayne Gretzky transformed hockey, bless his record-breaking soul
• Steve Nash is awesome, but he couldn’t have saved the Grizzlies
• Steve Nash, Simon Whitfield, what’s in the water over there?
• We really ought to do some research
• Nike Academy — will corporations name teams in the future?
• Corporate logos already abound
• Time for a Change by the Orchid Highway
• Smell my shoe

 

Hey. YOU do our Photoshop next time.
Hey. YOU do our Photoshop next time.

100 years? [Insert Leafs joke here]

It’s been a full century since Vancouver won a Stanley Cup. On March 26, 1915, the Denman Arena saw the Vancouver Millionaires, led by Fred “Cyclone” Taylor,  complete a three-game sweep over the Ottawa Senators for the city’s only claim to hockey’s holy grail. One hundred years later, the Vancouver Canucks will wear their maroon tribute jerseys against the Colorado Avalanche.

Team picture of the 1914 Vancouver Millionaires
The Millionaires are famously the only Vancouver team to win the Stanley Cup, which they did in 1915. Note the one player in the back row wearing an earlier version of the jersey. Archive photo retrieved from an AskJeeves search.

The Canucks have made three trips to the finals since their NHL debut in 1970, but have come up short each time. The first was in 1982, a four-game sweep at the hands Al Arbour’s mighty New York Islanders. The second and third, in 1994 and 2011, both went to seventh and deciding games that went to the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins respectively. That leaves the 1915 champs the only ones to have the word ‘Vancouver’ inscribed into Lord Stanley’s chalice.

Hockey Hall of Famer Frank Patrick wearing the 1913 Vancouver Millionaires uniform.
Frank Patrick pioneered the blue line, the penalty shot and the idea of dressing a backup goaltender. He was also a huge early force in establishing women’s hockey on the West Coast. I don’t know about you folks, but I truly dig using bones to make the Vancouver V. (Also, dock skates!) Archive photo gleaned from a Bing search.

 

Roberto Luongo, Tom Sestito and Daniel Sedin in Vancouver Millionaires heritage uniforms.
Many suggest that Roberto Luongo would still be in Vancouver had John Tortorella started him for the 2014 Heritage Classic at BC Place. Even during the game, Lu was leaning his way out of town, and Daniel was all, “I canNOT believe we didn’t play him.” Seriously. Tom Sestito skated in the Heritage Classic, but Roberto Luongo did not. Way to go, Torts. Hilarious bench photo stolen from a Cuil search.

 

Roberto Luongo wearing his Vancouver Millionaires heritage mask.
Swipe right, Torts, swipe RIGHT!

 

Giants set for home finale

The Vancouver Giants end their 2014-15 season this weekend with a home-and-home against Kelowna, the top team in the Western Conference. While the Giants are out of the playoff picture thanks to a nine-game losing skid down the stretch, the Rockets have been on auto-pilot the past six weeks or so in preparation for a long playoff run.

Get ticket information for Friday night’s game here.

Cody Porter has had good games and bad, but you can't place all the blame for the Giants season on his rookie shoulders. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the head.
Cody Porter has had good games and bad, but you can’t place all the blame for the Giants season on his rookie shoulders. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the head.

It was a roller coaster year for the Giants, who came out of the gate flying before losing 18 of 24 games under Troy G Ward. Replacement coach Claude Noel seemed to buoy the team nicely — a new bench boss often has an invigorating effect — and with four weeks left in the year they’d managed to scrape themselves into a playoff spot.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from WHL action.

Continue reading Giants set for home finale

Episode 58 – What jerseys not to wear

When you think high fashion, you think Pucked in the Head. I mean, Chris Withers alone owns the most colourful questionable jersey collection jersey collection this side of the Mississippi amongst the three main contributors to this website.

In this cast of pod, those other two PITH-y pinheads drone on about colour schemes and logo design until they’ve painted themselves into a Peyote Coyote corner. (Note, no peyote was used during the preparation or recording of this particular episode. Maybe that was the problem?)

* Intro
* Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
* LA Kings paper curtains
* Canucks Hallowe’en Flying Vees
* Workmarks bite hockey bag as a rule
* Best of the best
* WTF, Ducks?
* Now that you mention it, WTF, California?
* Do you seriously want to go into other sports?
* Never have a cartoon mascot leap out of the jersey
* The Peyote Coyote: ugly jersey, funky shirt, or both?
* You can’t leave without dissing the Buffaslug
* Kill all the mustard yellow
* Adios, muchachos
* Time for a Change by the Orchid Highway

Each and every one gets a passing grade from the likes of Chris Withers, so Russell Arbuthnot and Jason Kurylo decided to chat some hockey fashion in Episode 58.
Each and every one gets a passing grade from the likes of Chris Withers, so Russell Arbuthnot and Jason Kurylo decided to chat some hockey fashion in Episode 58.

Episode 57 — The peanut butter mullet, a do as old as time

A podcast episode in which Rusell and Jason ride the peanut butter mullet wave of Jaromir Jagr’s career into a discussion of the Canucks, ex-Canucks and Canucks that never were.

• Introduction
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• False start / Rubber Ducky
• Jaromir Jagr’s 8th NHL team
• Holy hairstyles, this guy has scored a ton of points
• Whence the scoring after the twins & Vrbata?
• The Canucks 2nd power play unit is embarrassing
• Vrbata probably won’t make 30 goals
• No Cup since 1967 — Russell blames Phil Kessel
• Thanks to CIVL Radio
• Time for a Change by the Orchid Highway

The travelling Jagrs in their mulletted glory (pictured here before New Jersey or Florida were in the mix). Photo pinched from an Ask Jeeves search.
The travelling Jagrs in their mulletted glory (pictured here before New Jersey or Florida were in the mix). Photo pinched from an Ask Jeeves search.

 

A gimme for the Game of Thrones marketing people

Just prior to last week’s Stadium Series — which saw the LA Kings continue their remarkable second-half winning streak with a 2-1 decision over the mysteriously mediocre San Jose Sharks — one of the Levi’s Stadium webcams got a jealous visit from a territorial black bird. No, not Patrick Kane. C’mon, Game of Thrones people. This footage is a freakin’ freebie.

As for the game, it was all right I suppose. Both of these teams can play something resembling hockey when you give them the chance. The Kings, after eight wins in nine tries, now sit third in the Pacific Division, tied with the Calgary Flames with a game in hand. The Sharks are going the other way — they’ve got just seven points in their last ten games.

Whatever. Even on a balmy California night, I don’t see the appeal behind paying a premium to sit in a baseball stadium to watch puck. The front row is hundreds of feet from the boards, for crying out loud.

Photoshop mangling by Jason Kurylo, who sobbed, 'I could work in film and television post production, I just know I could.'
Photoshop mangling by Jason Kurylo, who sobbed, ‘I could work in film and television post production, I just know I could.’