Cascadia Comedown

Whitecaps Wednesday

If the Whitecaps have designs on banking a few points at home before heading out on a six-week road trip, it may be wise for them to reengineer their method of doing so. Mind you, for much of the season to date they have been incapable or unwilling to evolve their tactics when the occasion demands it, however now may be a better time than ever to get creative.

In a game that should have been interesting if not intense, the Sounders were far and away the better team in front of the fans at BC Place for the vast majority of the 90+ minutes. The loss comes on the heels of a disappointing draw against Edmonton in Canadian Championship play on Wednesday and did little to alleviate the mounting pressure to perform at home.

Maybe that upcoming lengthy road trip isn’t such a terrible thing after all.

Coach Carl Robinson of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Coach Carl Robinson can’t be pleased with his team’s performances at home this season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Continue reading Cascadia Comedown

Episode 65: Whitecaps atop the MLS table

Russell and Jason, awash in the euphoria of another Whitecaps home win, record under the dome at BC Place.

• Steve Ewen bumper
• Russell was conceived to A Flock of Seagulls
• The Whitecaps should beat the Union
• Robbo concedes his side should have won this game
• This is why Edmonton can’t have nice things
• Pedro had himself a tidy little game
• David Ousted: save of the week?
• Whitecaps are too deep to lose to Edmonton
• Darren Mattocks inspires our musical selection
• Pedro Morales — You’re Welcome!

Darren Mattocks scores on the Philadelphia Union. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Darren Mattocks scores an impressively athletic goal against the Philadelphia Union to cap off a 3-0 Whitecaps win at BC Place. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head

Episode 64: Hating every minute of it

Pucked in the Head records under the dome of BC Place after a Whitecaps win, and the boys discuss the after effects of Jason’s first-ever full marathon.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon medal is purty. But yeah, totally not worth it. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon medal is purty. But yeah, totally not worth it. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• Recording under the big roof
• 42.2km is a looooong way
• People along the route are quite lovely
• Be quiet or I will cut you
• Anyone want to sponsor a trip to Greece?
• Halfs are the way to go
• How do you spell recovery?
• Watch out, nipples!
• Who’s got two thumbs and ain’t an elite runner?
• BMO Vancouver Marathon route
• Some spectators make a day of it
• Portland, here I come
• Russell says, “Nope, nope, no, nope, nope, no.”
• I Ran (So Far Away) by A Flock of Seagulls

You've gotta be bananas to run a full marathon. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
You’ve gotta be bananas to run a full marathon. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon map. I saw this a full year before the event, and somehow didn't manage to invent an excuse to not run the damned thing.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon map. I saw this a full year before the event, and somehow didn’t manage to invent an excuse to not run the damned thing.


Episode 63: We’re Blue, We’re White

Russell and Jason queue up a little of the beautiful game — specifically a review of the impressive start to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2015 MLS campaign.

• Exploding intros
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• Pedro likes to doff the jersey, doesn’t he
• Laba gets too handsy for our taste
• More like the Yellowcaps, amirite?
• Kendall Waston: the Todd Bertuzzi of MLS
• Arbuthnot’s prognosticatin’ successes
• Ousted has been Oustanding
• Techera and Earnshaw — as good as their billing?
• Vastly improved depth
• Russell doodles with the best of them
• Next World by the Orchid Highway
• Again! Again!

Wednesday, Snowy Wednesday

Remember when it snowed on Wednesday?

Oh that’s right, you probably don’t, because it didn’t.

Unless you happened to be in Edmonton with the Whitecaps and their travelling horde of fans.

Vancouver was in the Alberta capital for the first leg of their Canadian Championship series against FC Edmonton, but then this happened:

Clarke Field is green sometimes. The rest of the time it looks like this. Photo from Whitecaps FC.
Clarke Field is green sometimes. The rest of the time it looks like this. Photo from Whitecaps FC.

On May 6th. Months after winter has supposedly ended. That.

Continue reading Wednesday, Snowy Wednesday

Round two: PITH predictions

We at Pucked in the Head don’t hang our heads in shame and tears just because the Vancouver Canucks had their behinds handed to them by the low-down, dirty, rotten, head-shottin’, potshottin’, ball-droppin’ Flames. Nay, we hold our heads high and own our team’s decades-long failure to bring a Cup to the west coast. At least we’re not the bloody Leafs, right?

And so, we put our heads together and prognosticate the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for your scoffing pleasure.

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals
Kudos to the Capitals for skirting past the New York Islanders, but even with Alex Ovechkin honouring defensive assignments they won’t have enough to get past the Vigneault-led Blueshirts. Lundqvist outsaves Braden Holtby in a series whose brevity belies hard-fought games. Rangers in five.

Chris: If there’s anything to indicate that Washington can take New York in a best-of-seven, I haven’t seen it. The Rangers steamrolled Pittsburgh and then took the weekend off while the Islanders gave the Caps all they could handle. (That’s right: Eleven shots on goal is about all the Capitals could handle.) Ovechkin may be the best player in this series, but New York is deeper, and Alain Vigneault shouldn’t even need a full pack of lozenges to out-coach Barry Trotz. Rangers in five.

Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Should be a barn-burner. The Lightning netted a whopping 41 more goals than the Habs during the regular season, but Montreal’s defence was much stronger. On recent form, my money goes to Tampa. They dispatched Detroit without a single goal from Steven Stamkos, and you can only hold that man off the score sheet for so long. Meanwhile, the Canadiens were lucky to get past Ottawa in a game six where a referee’s untimely whistle cost the Sens a tying goal in a contest they dominated. Lightning in seven.

Jason: Kudos to the Bolts for getting past the ageing wreck of a Red Wings team that barely made the post-season. I mean, the Wings have only been mired in a Mike Babcock will-he-or-won’t-he story all year long, and got to Game Seven on the strength of a handful of nobodies ruddering a ship full of greybeards. The Habs, on the other hand, have been the class of the East for a couple of seasons, boast perennial candidates for the Norris and Vezina trophies, and ride the winds of the most powerfully emotional fan support in North American sport. Individually, what’s not to love about seeing PK Subban flatten Steven Stamkos? These guys have been playing hockey against each other for twenty years already, and damned if it ain’t more fun every year. Canadiens in six.

Anaheim Ducks vs Calgary Flames
Do we really have to talk about this? Where the Canucks and Flames both exceeded expectations by just making the dance in the first place, the Ducks have been promising a deep run for years. Getzlaf, Kesler, Perry, Beauchemin, Fowler… This roster is deeper than any of the wrinkles walking into Botox clinics around the Honda Center. The Flames are hard-working, sure, but they’re just a bunch of Grade Eight boys hanging about in the corner, ogling the good looking seniors across the gymnasium floor. Ducks in two and a half.

Chris: Seeing the Flames in the second round is enough to make me want to vomit like I’d just eaten undercooked fowl. Undercooked, by the way, is exactly what I expect these particular fowl to be at the end of the Pacific Division Final. The Flames are a terrible possession team, and their luck won’t get them close enough to roast the Ducks. The Saddledome crowd helps Hiller steal one from his old team, but Ducks in five.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild
Devan Dubnyk has been outstanding, but I’m not convinced he can hold off the Hawks’ firepower. Both teams have high-end defencemen that can do a number on the opposition’s top line, but the Wild lack the offensive depth that Chicago has in spades. One ray of hope for Minnesota: Corey Crawford is in net, and Chicago conceded 21 goals to a similarly dubious offensive team in Nashville. The goaltending disparity will keep the series interesting, but Chicago outscores its problems. Hawks in six.

Jason: The Chicago Blackhawks have somehow flown under most people’s radars this season. Jeez Louise, people, this team is full of all-Stars, Olympians and beauties who fuckin’ work their nuts off, and has won two of the past five Stanley Cups. As for the Wild, Thomas Vanek has been promising to do something important in the playoffs for years, but hasn’t helped a team win anything since the 2003 Golden Gophers took the NCAA championship. Maybe it’s unfair to saddle the guy with his teams’ lack of success, but damnation, does this guy ever know how to pull a disappearing act in the post-season. Ryan Suter can’t do everything, man. Hawks in five.

Episode 62: A little Help! for the Sedins

A tough week for Vancouver sports fans, as the Canucks, Whitecaps and Stealth all lose on home turf. Is there light at the end of the rainy, oil-slicked tunnel?

• Introduction
• Sofa Surfer Girl by the Orchid Highway
• Vancouver Canucks: plosion guards extraordinaires
• Russell sucks at basketball brackets
• The Canucks outperformed expectations
• The Flames deserved the win
• Stats don’t apply to the Calgary Flames
• Call-in shows feature some… interesting people
• Breaking: Willie Desjardins is 114 years old
• Don’t bring a nativity scene onto the ice
• If you don’t like the twins, you’re a bad person
• People still talk trash about Luongo
• The Sediins & Bobby Lu will be in the Hall of Fame
• Russell: Break up the Sedins
• Vrbata-Bonino-Higgins: a great third line
• Refrain: The twins need help
• Help! by the Beatles

Baseball’s back

Baseball’s back — all right! It’s that time of year when all the other sports goings-on take a break, and we relish the crack of the bat, peanuts, and beer…mmm…beer. But I digress.

[Editor’s note: For those NOT wearing baseball-coloured glasses, of course, it’s playoff time in the NBA and NHL, ramp up time for the Women’s World Cup, and right in the middle of the bloody season for MLS. *evil eye to John* But I digress.]

When last we left our heroes, Spring Training was still in progress. Since then, the Mariners started the season with a great series at home against the Angels… and then delivered a very disappointing road trip featuring some surprising (and painful) implosions on the part of the starting pitching rotation. This was… not expected.

Fortunately the Ms arrived home and put King Felix on the mound to turn things around. The King was as good as gold, fanning 12 and stopping a four-game losing streak.

The Mariners' Nelson Cruz, celebrating his walkoff single against the Rangers April 19th.
The Mariners’ Nelson Cruz, celebrating his walkoff single against the Rangers April 19th.

Continue reading Baseball’s back

The Playoff Beard Diary: Day 9 – Blackjack does not happen very often

Pucked in the Head is proud to welcome Richard Davalos (@QuakesFan84) and his Playoff Beard Diary. For those growing facial hair, we salute you! Just… maybe not for much longer.

Who wants to go to Vegas? Twenty-one years ago the Vancouver Canucks were in this exact position, down three games to one to the Calgary Flames, but that’s right where the similarities end. Unlike 21 years ago the Canucks are the higher seed and get two of the next three at home. Unlike 21 years ago, the Canucks scored two or more goals in every game in the series heading into game 5. Unlike 21 years ago, there was no debate about who would start each game in net.

This year’s Canucks are down to their final chips. They’re staring at the dealer holding a king to their 6 and 5.  There’s no choice but to double down and go for broke for a shot at playing one more hand.

I can haz Sportsnet voiceover job now please?

Seriously though, what the hell is Willie Desjardins doing? He’s trying to goad the Flames into chasing the Canucks in the offensive zone when that has never been their style. They sit back and wait for you to shoot at them, then they take the puck, drive into the zone, hold it in deep and make it a hell of a task to get it out. The Canucks are doing the equivalent of chasing cards, hoping that if they just keep making the same bets over and over again, the deck (or shoe, if you like 3+ deck blackjack) will eventually turn and put them back in the positive.

Continue reading The Playoff Beard Diary: Day 9 – Blackjack does not happen very often

Episode 61: Round One Chatter

After unanimously anointing the Vancouver Canucks as round two participants in the last podcast — thereby sending the Calgary Flames into the wasteland of central Alberta golf courses — Russell and Jason break down the seven remaining series.

• Shoddy math
• Next World by the Orchid Highway
• Arbuthnit? Arbuthnet? Arbuth… Russell, anyway
• The Seven Deadly Sins
• Montreal Canadiens versus Ottawa Senators
• A little playoff trivia fo’ ya
• New York Islanders vs Washington Capitals
• Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings
• New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
• Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
• Jason & Russell make it interesting
• Anaheim Ducks vs Winnipeg Jets
• St Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild
• Bonus fantasy Anaheim vs Minny, StL vs Jets content
• Russell stopped listening a while ago
• William Tell Overture by Russell ArbuthNOT
• William Tell Overture by random symphony orchestra
• Thanks for listening

Don't like our choices? Fill out this bad boy your bad self!
Don’t like our choices? Fill out this bad boy your bad self!