Tag Archives: Vancouver

The March to March – Part 3

Whitecaps Wednesday

Welcome once again to Whitecaps Wednesday – and the 3rd installment of Pucked in the Head’s “March to March” series. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that the Whitecaps have managed to pull five victories from their first nine games.

Now mired in their busiest stretch of games (but not the most frenzied – we’ll see that in Part 4), we take a look into the third month of the season and forecast the results of their five May matches.

Buckle up quick, as their month kicks off with an away fixture in Portland, the first of two Cascadia matches in a three-week stretch.

Continue reading The March to March – Part 3

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

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

Woke up to some Head on Xmas morning

Vancouver sports fans have a few things to unwrap under the tree this year, indeed. The Vancouver Whitecaps, Canucks and Giants are all giving in the spirit of the season. To start, this is for you, ladies…

Octavio Rivero may not win the Golden Boot next season, but he should look good on the end of those Mauro Rosales crosses. Photo cribbed from the interweb.
La Cabeza  may not win the Golden Boot next season, but he should look good on the end of those Mauro Rosales crosses. The ladies tell me he looks especially good after scoring. Wait, what? Photo cribbed from the interweb.

Continue reading Woke up to some Head on Xmas morning

Five straight for the Vancouver Giants

The Vancouver Giants won their season-high fifth straight game Friday night, turning in what Brendan Batchelor lauded as a high point in his stint as the team’s play-by-play man:

Mason Geertsen scored his third of the year on a power play to open the scoring in a 6-3 win over the Victoria Royals. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Mason Geertsen scored his third of the year on a power play to open the scoring in a 6-3 win over the Victoria Royals. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

From Mason Geertsen’s third goal of the season late in the first to Tyler Benson’s third period shorty, the Giants played a solid 60 minutes and were full marks for the 6-3 win. Six different G-Men scored, and Payton Lee made 26 saves in the win.

Look for some colourful Christmas wear on Saturday night, as these same two teams do the second half of the home-and-home on Ugly Sweater Night at the Coliseum. We at Pucked in the Head dare you to have as much fun as these five beauties:

These beautiful Aussies were some of the most vocal ugly sweater wearers at a 2012 Giants game — we at PITH challenge you to outdo them this year! Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
These beautiful Aussies were some of the most vocal ugly sweater wearers at a 2012 Giants game — we at PITH challenge you to outdo them this year! Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Or even these folks:

The folks from the Now That's Ugly Society fundraise for the Make a Wish Foundation, and have loads of fun along the way. Check 'em out at http://nowthatsugly.com/.
The folks from the Now That’s Ugly Society fundraise for the Make a Wish Foundation, and have loads of fun along the way. Check ‘em out at http://nowthatsugly.com/.

It’s a bit of an ironic time for the Giants to go on a tear, as their crosstown NHL brethren in blue and green are in the middle of their longest losing streak of the season. The Canucks still sit high in the standings, however, based upon a strong first quarter. The Giants, on the other hand, languish at the bottom of the Western Conference despite garnering a full ten points in the last five games.

Still, it’s probably not a coincidence that the run comes with a new coach behind the bench. It’ll be interesting to hear at the end of the season just what Claude Noel brought to the room that Troy G Ward didn’t:

Giants win third straight on Teddy Bear Toss night

One of hundreds of stuffed animals that hit the ice when Jackson Houck scored at 2:18 of the third period. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the head.Jackson Houck scored the shootout winner for the Vancouver Giants on Saturday night, but it was his period goal a full period earlier that made the fur fly. His one-timer from just left of Saskatoon goaltender Nik Amundrud gave more than 8,000 fans reason to rain down teddy bears for the Vancouver Christmas Bureau, and inspired a record thirty-seven and a half alliterative phrases from play-by-play man Brendan Batchelor. In addition to the toy collection for underprivileged children, proceeds from in-rink fundraising also benefitted the CKNW Orphans Fund and The Province Empty Stocking Fund.

The Blades can thank their goaltender for the point they earned this night; the Giants dominated possession for the first 40 minutes, but were unable to ripple the mesh behind Amundrud until Houck bobbled a one-timer into the back of the net at 2:18 of the third period.

Despite being badly outplayed, the Blades never trailed in the game. Amundrud made 38 saves in the loss, plus two of three shootout attempts. For his part, Payton Lee saw very little action in the first half of the game, but came through when it mattered; he made two point-blank stops on Soshnin, and another late in regulation on Blades top scorer Alex Forsberg. He also stymied all three Saskatoon shooters in the skills competition.

Thomas Foster drives to the net to earn an assist on a late game-tying goal. His Giants would win the game in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Thomas Foster drives to the net to earn an assist on a late game-tying goal. His Giants would win the game in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Also scoring for the Giants was Jakob Stukel; defenseman Arvin Atwal had two assists in the win. Scoring for the Blades were Nikita Soshnin on a power play and Josh Uhrich  off a Giants defensive miscue.

The win was the third in a row for the G-Men — it marks the first time they’ve done that since the opening three games of the season, and brings head coach Claude Noel’s welcome-to-the-Dub undefeated streak to two games. Getcher red hot highlights, which mysteriously fade from a platoon of teddy bears to a fight at centre ice, here.

The Giants top scorer, Carter Popoff, was kept off the score sheet this night, but his Giants won 3-2 in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
The Giants top scorer, Carter Popoff, was kept off the score sheet this night, but his Giants won 3-2 in a shootout. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Giants next home game is Wednesday, December 10th against the dirty, rotten, stinkin’ Prince Albert Raiders; Saturday the 13th is — besides a horrible idea for a sequel— Ugly Sweater Night against the utterly revolting Victoria Royals.

Just a sample of the toys that littered the ice after Jackson Houck's early third period goal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.
Just a sample of the toys that littered the ice after Jackson Houck’s early third period goal. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Is there hope for 2018?

It is unknown at this time whether Benito Floro is familiar with the works of Emily Dickinson. Photo cribbed from a rudimentary foray into Googleland.
It is unknown at this time whether Benito Floro is familiar with the works of Emily Dickinson. Photo cribbed from a rudimentary foray into Googleland.

As Benito Floro begins the onerous task of hauling the Canadian Men’s National Team — kicking and flailing like Doneil Henry playing fullback — out of the year-long nadir that began with 8-1 and saw Les Rouges fail to score even once in 2013, there is a feeling of wrongness about even trying to hold this discussion. “A World Cup qualification,” we all cry, channeling the timeless incredulity of Jim Mora, “I just hope we can win a game!” But time marches on, and the abysmal 2013 plunged Canada far enough down the CONCACAF rankings that we find ourselves just half a year away from participating in the minnow round of yet another World Cup qualifying cycle. Is there hope this time?

Of course there is.

Continue reading Is there hope for 2018?

RIP Pat Quinn

Pat Quinn was an intimidating presence in just about any room that he entered, but he was kind and generous to players, media and fans, and he was humble and thankful for the successes that he had on and off the ice.

I was lucky enough to speak with the man twice. He was genuinely honoured to be on people’s radar after a lifetime in hockey. He was respectful, thoughtful, well-dressed and well-spoken, and he always stressed to his players that they should be, too.

There are many memorial pieces in today’s media, both traditional and social. I’m unlikely to cover new ground here at PITH. Suffice to say, this isn’t about a player, coach or GM; we’ve lost a good man. He wouldn’t have wanted all the attention when there are many others in the world struggling, wounded, oppressed and ill — give to, or volunteer for your charity of choice today in Pat Quinn’s honour.

Quinn

Here are links to a few of the articles about the big man:

Iain MacIntyre in the Sun
Vancouver Sun compiles social media reaction
Ed Willes in the Province
Tony Gallagher in the Province
Kent Basky at Nucks Misconduct
Canadian Press
Vancouver Canucks Official Statement
Toronto Maple Leafs Official Statement
Philadelphia Flyers Official Statement
NHL.com