Russell and Jason wax poetic on a range of hockey topics, from Mike Babcock’s monster contract to Brian Burke’s monster ego and Ilya Kovalchuk’s monster cajones.
• Pop Tart Girl by the Orchid Highway
• The Russians have left the ice
• McKayla is unimpressed with Ilya Kovalchuk
• Kudos to Alex Ovechkin
• Mike Babcock is a Leaf. What a shocker
• Kessel & Phaneuf, your days are numbered
• Brian Burke, one ego to rule them all
• Will there be apotheosis for Babs in T-dot?
• Who will be GM?
• The Wreck of the Maple Leafs Season — a parody by Peter Gross
The Whitecaps started their 2015 season off with a bang. And ended their first game with a resounding thud. It was a tale of two halves, at least I think that’s how soccer games work, and on this day, the fans at BC Place saw two entirely different Whitecaps’ teams depending on which 45 you watched.
The first half looked like what we have had been told to expect this season from the blue and white – a fast-paced group, intent on spreading the ball around and utilizing their speed to overwhelm their opponents. The Whitecaps’ attack produced a number of quality chances, yet were only able to capitalize on one of them.
Coach Carl Robinson liked what he saw, but post-game he conceded that perhaps that type of phrenetic pace isn’t one that can be maintained over a full 90 minutes. That, coupled with a tactical change at the break by Toronto head coach Greg Vanney, turned the game upside down and what appeared to be a potent Whitecaps attack suddenly looked more like a woodpecker taking a steel pole to task. Not much progress and one helluva headache.
Toronto took control in the second half, watching the Whitecaps attempt the soccer-equivalent of the dump and chase time and time again. The TFC defenders took a few large steps backwards and simply watched the balls come, abandoning any semblance of chasing. Yet the Caps seemed content to fire away and perhaps oblivious to the fact that it simply wasn’t working.
Let’s take a look at the highlights, the lowlights, and the limelight in the Caps’ 3-1 loss on Saturday.
Hockey fans in Abbotsford were treated to another Hall of Famer at centre ice as the hometown Heat beat the Toronto Marlies 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. Two days after legendary forward Darryl Sittler opened the curtain on a 3-0 Heat win, goaltender Johnny Bower was in attendance to shake hands with Abbotsford goaltender Barry Brust, who earlier this season broke Bower’s AHL record for consecutive shutout minutes. Brust went 268:17 without allowing a goal, eclipsing Bower’s mark of 249:51, set with the 1957 Cleveland Barons.
Brust was called upon to relieve the injured Danny Taylor in the second period, and stopped all but one shot to record the win for Abbotsford.
Mark Cundari was again impressive for the Heat. He earned three assists, two minor penalties and a fight in his second game since being traded to the Calgary Flames organization in the Jay Bouwmeester deal. Cundari has quickly become a fan favourite in Abbotsford, leading many to lament the fact that he was not in the lineup earlier in the season when the team floundered through a series of “must-win” games.
In addition to the Bower / Brust tête-a-tête, fans witnessed the Heat’s franchise-best 23rd home victory in the final game at the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre this season. Sadly, those 46 points gained at home did not add up to a playoff spot for the Heat, whose road record leaves much to be desired. The team sits in 12th spot in the Western Conference and were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs despite the back-to-back wins this weekend.
Danny Taylor posted his third shutout of the season, and Tyler Ruegsegger scored the winning goal eight minutes into the game as the Abbotsford Heat blanked the Toronto Marlies 3-0 on Friday night.
All but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Heat played a looser brand of hockey than they have in weeks. The Marlies, sitting five points clear atop the North Division, looked as if they were saving themselves for post-season play in 10 days’ time. The result saw Abbotsford score once in each period, including power play goals in the second and third. By the time Toronto mounted pressure, their main goal seemed to be spoiling Taylor’s shutout.
The Toronto Blue Jays are no longer the also-rans in the American League East. Or at least that’s what Canadian news outlets would have you believe. The New York Yankees have been called ‘too old to win’ for a decade now, but those geezers won the AL East going away. The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays both finished ahead of the Jays last season. But Toronto finished 16 games under .500 last year, so plenty of teams did that.
The Jays made a few off-season splashes that will – pundits say – reel those teams in. And let’s just not talk about the train wreck in Boston. (Actually, let’s, but how about saving that for another day?)
More, including a ridiculous picture of Matt Damon, after the jump.
In a year overshadowed by the greed and stupidity of hockey’s biggest players, let’s focus on the admirable work of less prominent, but far more important, hockey teams.
Like this one that generates thousands upon thousands of pounds of food for folks who need it most (not to mention at least that many smiles along the way!) Okay, okay, it sounds cheesy — mmmmmm, cheese — but in this case, it’s true. Five Hole for Food has quickly become one of Canada’s most inspirational charitable drives, and it encourages each and every one of us to get up off the couch and pick up a hockey stick to make the deal even sweeter.