Category Archives: Hockey

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 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.’

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?”

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.

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.

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