Category Archives: Articles

‘Twirlgate’, seriously?

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.

Eugenie Bouchard rips a crosscourt forehand winner against third round opponent Caroline Garcia. Photo cribbed from an AskJeeves search.
Eugenie Bouchard rips a crosscourt forehand winner against third round opponent Caroline Garcia. Photo cribbed from an AskJeeves search.

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.”

Mariners Hot Stove Review

by John Stewart

Mariners fans entered Game 162 of the 2014 campaign with as much excitement as we’ve had in a long time. Felix on the mound, a beautiful fall day, and the Ms in striking distance of their first playoff appearance in… well, a while. [Editor’s note: Please forgive John’s lack of specificity on this one. He resides in a country where they still use quarts, miles, pounds and Republican Senator Thad Cochran.]

King Felix was edged out by Corey Kluber for the American League Cy Young Award, but his performance in 2014 was nothing short of electric. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson nicked from oregonlive.com.)
King Felix was edged out by Corey Kluber for the American League Cy Young Award, but his performance in 2014 was nothing short of electric. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson nicked from oregonlive.com.)

Sadly, despite beating the Angels of Anaheim/California/etc., 4-1, the Mariners were eliminated when the Oakland Athletics won their game that same day. And so another Mariners season ended without a trip to the postseason. The Mariners finished 87-75, one lousy win short of that that bloody Wild Card spot.

Pucked in the Head baseball connoisseur and Hair Club for Men after picture model John Stewart loves him some Safeco Field. And why not? It's purty.
Pucked in the Head baseball connoisseur and Hair Club for Men after picture model John Stewart loves him some Safeco Field. And why not? It’s purty.

Yet for the first time in… a while [ahem]… there was a real sense of optimism at Safeco Field. With a league-low ERA of 3.17, Mariners pitching was generally outstanding, both in the rotation and out of the bullpen. The offense, again, was the weakest link, with later-season moves for Austin Jackson and Kendrys Morales proving to be insufficient to move the needle quite far enough. Still, being relevant on the last day of the season was a welcome change from the previous several years.

With attendance up, and some excitement building about beisbol (to be put on hold by many during NFL season, as the Seahawks mount an amazing run toward a second Super Bowl appearance in as many years), it was on to the Hot Stove League, aka the off-season. What did Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik have up his sleeve?

Continue reading Mariners Hot Stove Review

The March to March – Part 2

Whitecaps Wednesday

I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for today. Can you believe it’s finally here? I know I can’t. And I bet you missed me. But don’t fret, I’ve missed you too.

And now with formalities aside, part two of Pucked In The Head’s  March to March series sees the Whitecaps enter the second month of the 2015 MLS season with a 2-1-1 record. April starts off with a tough contest for the boys in the blue and white, followed by two more games within a week.

What will be the result, you ask? Read on, find out and curse my divinations in the comment section.

The Vancouver Whitecaps have seen an impressive run of play from young Canadian forward Russell Teibert. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Russell Teibert looks skeptical of my predictions. He may have reason to be. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Continue reading The March to March – Part 2

The 17th Initiative — Month Two: The Lookout Society

Angus here wants your blood.
Angus asks you to donate a Comfort Bag to the Lookout Society.

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.)

Little Kira has been diagnosed with leukemia — consider making a blood donation in her honour as she fights the good fight!
Little Kira has been diagnosed with leukemia — consider making a blood donation in her honour as she fights the good fight!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be involved in a couple of projects:

  1. Donate blood in support of Princess Kira, a two-year-old recently diagnosed with leukemia. There’s a all-day blood drive on Superbowl Sunday at Blacklock Elementary in Langley, or you can book through Canadian Blood Services anytime and make your appointment “in Support of Kira” (Partners for Life #INSU806630, if you want to associate future donations with this drive as well).
  2. 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).

For those who wish to give items other than cash, the Lookout Society has a donation suggestion list.
For those who wish to give items other than cash, the Lookout Society has a donation suggestion list.
Month 2 - Lookout
The Lookout Society provides housing, assistance and support services to members of the roughly 3,700 homeless people in the Vancouver area.

 

 

You know you wanna bobble Jon Blum’s head

You be the judge.
You be the judge. Does Jon Blum’s bobblehead resemble the real deal?

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…)

The Kelly Ripa bobblehead dol... wait, that's just Kelly Ripa.
The Kelly Ripa bobblehead dol… wait, that’s just Kelly Ripa.

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.

Continue reading You know you wanna bobble Jon Blum’s head

Whitecaps Draft Recap: Replacing Andy O’Brien

In the 2015 MLS SUUUUUUUPERDraft, the Vancouver Whitecaps selected, I kid you not, a guy from Hicksville and a Banjo for him to play with. The Caps came into the draft looking to shore up their depth in a couple of key areas, and appear to have ticked all their boxes by selecting Tim Parker from Hicksville, NY via St John’s University, and Kay Banjo from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

Continue reading Whitecaps Draft Recap: Replacing Andy O’Brien

The March To March

Whitecaps Wednesday

Let me get a few things out of the way early.

First off, welcome to the first Whitecaps Wednesday of 2015, and the first in a weekly series leading up to first kick in which I will delicately prognosticate what results Caps fans can expect this upcoming season.

Kenny Miller lit a fire under his team, and electrified the BC Place faithful with a pair of goals in last Saturday's win over the New England Revolution. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
It’s not so long until the hallowed halls of BC Place fill up with Whitecaps FC supporters once again.  Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Why delicately, you ask? Well, for one, rosters have yet to be finalized. For two, injuries are inevitable throughout the course of a season and can certainly affect outcomes. For three, “delicately” is a qualifier Jason forced upon me as he was reticent about the whole thing from the get-go. He muttered something about his bookie getting upset. I, on the other hand, fully encourage you to take all of my predictions straight to the bank.

And one last thing before we get started: the historical results used in this article are strictly from within Whitecaps FC’s MLS era, that is, from 2011 until present.

So here we go – month one of the Whitecaps 2015 MLS season shakes down like this. Continue reading The March To March

Weird goals

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.

Continue reading Weird goals

Somebody Approved This: 2015 NHL All-Star Jersey

In an age of hyper marketing, intense competition and tightly controlled PR, it’s amazing that truly horrible ideas can still make it past the brainstorming stage. Whether it’s the nightmare of design by committee or just a conflagration of mediocre talents pulling the wool over the eyes of out of touch rich CEOs, we occasionally see awful designs rolled out in an underwhelming explosion of anticlimax. Today, we analyze the most recent NHL obscenity with the resurrection of Somebody Approved This.

Recently, the National Hockey League apparently decided to just give up on their All-Star Game. “Screw it,” I imagine Gary Bettman saying, laying arms crossed inside a coffin while Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly nourishes him with the blood of the eternally youthful Jaromir Jagr. “If the fans want to turn this thing into a farce by voting in an obscure Latvian member of the Buffalo Sabres with 42 career points then we shall give them their farce!” Enter the latest in somewhat sorta hockey jersey-looking apparel. The 2015 NHL All-Star jersey, brought to you by Zellers.

BMX hockey tribute jackets? Nope. These are the actual 2015 NHL All-Star Game jerseys. Not even Chris Withers likes them.
BMX hockey tribute jackets? Nope. These are the actual 2015 NHL All-Star Game jerseys. Not even Chris Withers likes them.

Continue reading Somebody Approved This: 2015 NHL All-Star Jersey

Whitecaps FC fans licking their lips for first kick

First kick is still months away, but the Whitecaps still managed to steal some ink away from the return of Roberto Luongo this week. The 2015 MLS schedule was released (along with the signing of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard to the LA Galaxy), giving local soccer fans a case of the tweets. Thankfully, they’re much more pleasant than the trots, which have plagued TFC fans since Jermain “Bloody Big Deal” Defoe was linked to no fewer than four Premier League teams over the Christmas break.

But I digress. This is about the Whitecaps, their newly minted contract with Uruguayan striker Octavio Rivero, and the 2015 MLS schedule. The PDF file is below for your perusal, and doesn’t yet include Canadian Championships or Champions League matches — that’s right, baby, the Caps are reppin’ CONCACAF this year! — but let us give you a few dates to circle on the ol’ calendar right here and now.

Continue reading Whitecaps FC fans licking their lips for first kick