Category Archives: Articles

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.’

The March to March – Part 5

Whitecaps Wednesday

Whitecaps Wednesday spent last week in Harrison Hot Springs, dodging village-wide gas leaks and a hearty collection of bed bugs (thanks Ramada Hotels). Luckily, the Caps just officially released what most have expected for a while now: a brand spankin’ new kit, so the previous one, now infested with little creepy crawlies, has found a new home in the firepit.

bed_bug_stuffed_f1559
Truth be told, Jason wanted me to include an actual photo of the bed bugs I discovered wile on vacation. I couldn’t expose my valued readers to that, so here is the least repulsive bed bug photo I could find from a google image search. You’re welcome.

When we last checked in on the Whitecaps, they were mired in a long stretch of games away from Vancouver and, despite dropping their last game of the month, managed to acquit themselves well overall. July sees them in familiar territory, that is away from theirs, as they finally wrap up their road trip before heading home.

Read on for results!
Continue reading The March to March – Part 5

Episode 56 – Torts, Milos, French girls & grapefruit

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.

• Intro
• 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

"Oh yeah? Well I know I was wrong! How do you like THEM apples?"
“Oh yeah? Well I know I was wrong! How do you like THEM apples?”

Davis Cup rematch at UBC: Canada vs Japan

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.

Milos Raonic has climbed to #6 in the ATP world rankings, the highest a Canadian man has ever achieved. Can he drive Canada to a David Cup win over Japan?
Milos Raonic has climbed to #6 in the ATP world rankings, the highest a Canadian man has ever achieved. Can he drive Canada to a David Cup win over Japan?

Continue reading Davis Cup rematch at UBC: Canada vs Japan

Giants Head South to Face Silvertips

by Richard Davalos (Hit him up on the mighty Twitter: @QuakesFan84)

Tonight sees the fifth matchup betweens the Giants and Silvertips this season. Everett has won three of the four games so far by a combined score of 14-4. To be fair, the aggregate scoreline is a little misleading as the Giants have picked up 3 of a possible 8 points in the games played — in a late December back-to-back, they took the home game 2-1, and battled to a 1-0 OT loss on the road. The first and most recent matchups, though? Complete domination by the U.S. Division leading Tips. You should have taken the over in those games, as Everett scored at will: 5-1 and 7-1 finals did not flatter the Giants, who were frankly outclassed on both sides of the puck.

Matt Pufahl isn't with the Silvertips anymore, but frankly this is one of my favourite shots from last season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Matt Pufahl isn’t with the Silvertips anymore, but frankly this is one of my favourite shots from last season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Lately the Giants and Silvertips have been pretty even against the field, with Vancouver going 4-5-0-1 and Everett 5-4-0-1 in their last ten.

Besides that Last Ten Games column in the stats sheet, there’s not much in common between Vancouver and Everett this year. The Silvertips and Giants are in different stages of rebuilding: Everett is near completion, while the Giants have a solid foundation of young players but have seen uneven play from their veterans.. Quite literally the only thing they share in common this season is a bottom-half penalty kill, with both teams nullifying only 76.2% of power plays faced, tied for 17th in the 22-team Western Hockey League.

Despite the dismal penalty kill, coach Kevin Constantine has made the Silvertips have been a tough nut to crack — not only are they the second best defensive team in the WHL, with just 149 goals allowed (only Kelowna has allowed fewer at 138), but they have also taken the second fewest penalties in the league, and that isn’t even close. Everett have taken only 544 minutes in penalties (Kootenay has 539 PIM), the third-most disciplined teams are Brandon and Moose Jaw, tied at 665 minutes.  If the Giants want to avoid another blowout, or gasp! to win, they will have to stay out of the box themselves and try to goad Everett into taking a few penalties at home.  They cannot repeat what happened in the last game, when they took 41 minutes in penalties to Everett’s 19 on the way to a six-goal defeat.

The Giants visit Braden Low and the Everett Silvertips in Friday night WHL action. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The Giants visit Braden Low and the Everett Silvertips in Friday night WHL action. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Quick Hits

Vancouver have been good at home, but are losers in 10 of their last 11 games played away from Pacific Coliseum. Everett, on the other hand, have been dynamite at Xfinity Arena: they’ve won eight of their last ten at home, with that lonely loss just a few days ago versus Tri-City. If the Giants are going to make that post-season, they really ought to figure things out on the road. Of their 17 games remaining, nine require loading up the bus.

Vancouver is six points behind Tri-City for the number one Wild Card spot, and one point ahead of Kamloops for the last playoff spot, although both teams have a game in hand on the dirty, rotten, stinkin’ Blazers.

The next home game for the Giants is next Wednesday against the Red Deer Rebels — at noon! — in the annual Hooky Day.

Giants beat Memorial Cup champion Oil Kings

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.

Edgars Kulda of the Edmonton Oil Kings looks for a tip in front of Vancouver Giants goaltender Cody Porter. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Edgars Kulda of the Edmonton Oil Kings looks for a tip in front of Vancouver Giants goaltender Cody Porter. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

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.

Edgars Kulda had his share of supporters in the crowd as his Edmonton Oil Kings lost 3-1 to the Vancouver Giants. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Edgars Kulda had his share of supporters in the crowd as his Edmonton Oil Kings lost 3-1 to the Vancouver Giants. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

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.

Brett Pollock of the Edmonton Oil Kings models perhaps the ugliest third jersey in the WHL this season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Brett Pollock of the Edmonton Oil Kings models perhaps the ugliest third jersey in the WHL this season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

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.

Sunday? That’s my Fun Day.

Faithful readers know that we at Pucked in the Head set the Guinness World Record for Longest Table Hockey Marathon a while back. We are thus pre-eminent in our trustiness when it comes to judging worthwhile table hockey-related events. It’s a burden, really.

The kids, they like their table hockey. Smart kids, I say. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The kids, they like their table hockey. Smart kids, I say. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

On the other hand, we get word of some pretty cool happenings, all ahead of time and stuff. THIS VERY WEEKEND the River Market in New Westminster brings table hockey, indoor curling* and a massive hopscotch… Track? Court? What the heck do you call the grid for hopscotch, anyhoo? Whatever you call it, the River Market has one, and they’re sharing it with individuals and families from 11-4 on Sunday, February 15.

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. 

Oh, THAT indoor curling. My daughter Milla shows exquisite form during last year's Family Fun Festival at the New West River Market.
Oh, THAT indoor curling. Portable ice substitute and plastic “rocks” with ball-bearings. My daughter shows exquisite form during last year’s Family Fun Festival at the New West River Market.

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?)

The River Market in New West offers awesome chicken sandwiches (Re-Up BBQ), Mexican conchas (Pamola Bakery), and dude: a circus school upstairs. This Family Fun stuff is freaking gravy.
The River Market in New West offers awesome chicken sandwiches (Re-Up BBQ), delicious Mexican conchas (Pamola Bakery), and dude: there’s a circus school upstairs. This Family Fun stuff is just freaking gravy.

The March to March – Part 4

Whitecaps Wednesday

The international offices of Pucked in the Head were unceremoniously attacked last week by an audiophilic zombie, leading to chaos and turmoil throughout the agency. The confrontation eventually led to the production of a podcast and a brief hiatus for our beloved Whitecaps Wednesday, but it is with great pride that I report everyone here remains just as screwed up as they were prior to the zombie’s arrival. No more, no less.

As for today, the fourth installment of the “March to March” series trumpets the return of Whitecaps Wednesday, in which we will examine the Whitecaps’ matchups throughout the month of June.

Whitecaps FC ambassador Carl Valentine walks the sidelines shaking hands of the Southsiders supporters group on 15 June 2013. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Whitecaps FC ambassador Carl Valentine often visits with supporters at BC Place. He’ll be a little more stationary throughout June this season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Vancouver heads out on the road, where they will remain for an extended period of time, in order to allow the 2015 Women’s World Cup the use of their hallowed, lawsuit-initiating turf. Read on to find out how I expect month four of the Caps MLS season to play out. Continue reading The March to March – Part 4

Vancouver rides the Stache to a Giant two points

Dude. This guy is in Lanny McDonald territory. WHL file photo.
Dude. This guy is in Lanny McDonald territory. WHL file photo.

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.

Zane Jones's moustache was all over the ice Friday night, scoring on this impressive power move in the second before setting up a late tying goal in the Giants 5-4 win over Red Deer. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Zane Jones’s moustache was all over the ice Friday night, scoring on this impressive power move in the second before setting up a late tying goal in the Giants 5-4 win over Red Deer. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Punctuation is hard

Earlier this week, Footy Headlines posted this leak of the 2015 Seattle Sounders jersey.
Earlier this week, Footy Headlines posted this leak of the 2015 Seattle Sounders jersey.

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.

Commas save lives.
Commas save lives.
The Seattle Sounders are apparently playing the self-mockery card this season.
The Seattle Sounders design department takes a Cormac McCarthy approach to punctuation to hilarious effect.