Tag Archives: Olympics

Patience, Non-Hockey Fans, It’s Almost Over

It’s always good when there’s a game seven in the Stanley Cup finals.  it makes players, owners, program sellers, hot dog vendors, and Gary Bettman very happy. Seven games means money for some, honour and jubilation for others. Seven games means jitters for players and fans of the teams involved. And at seven games, wives and non-fans across Canada and parts of the US ask the usual burning question – you mean it isn’t over yet?

There will be a big, honkin game seven of the Stanley Cup finals to be played on Friday night to cap the hockey year, and yes, it’s a biggy, but I’m not going to use the old battle-scarred line about how we used to play road hockey and dream of scoring the winning goal in the seventh game of the finals as we shot the ball or puck past the goalie and yonder into a snowbank. That’s been done before. Hey wait, I think I just used it again!

European players didn’t, for the longest time, dream about the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals, and this is no steroptypical assumption. They readily admit it. Often. Many probably still dream more about the Olympics and the Worlds.  From Minsk to Moscow, all players thought about was making the Russian National team and getting screamed at by a succession of coaches beginning way back with Anatoli Tarasov in the 1950’s. European players put their heads on their pillows and dreamed of holding up medals from the Olympics and World Championships. I think soccer was more important to them than the NHL way over in North America.

But I think a lot of them are getting it now. They’ve read the stories, like the one you’re reading now, and have decided that yes indeed, the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals most certainly beats meeting Slovakia for the World Championship before six thousand people.

My wife’s son asked me on the phone recently from St. Petersburg, Russia, “Are you sad that Canada lost?” I didn’t know what he was talking about, then I clued in he meant the World Championships that had just ended. No I wasn’t sad. I was too busy trying to figure out why the Habs stunk this year to be concerned with such matters. 

On Friday, June 12, the NHL season will be over when the Cup arrives and we hope nobody drops it. Of course, the game could go into a few periods of overtime, then it would be early June 13th. Then the NHL awards crop up on June 18 in Las Vegas,  the amateur entry draft in Montreal on June 26-27, and the dealing with unrestricted free agents begins in earnest, meaning  that there will be more hockey news this summer. But there should be no skating and shooting. At least none that I’m aware of.

I just hope this seventh game is a beauty. Don’t forget, two games ago in Detroit, the score was 5-0. We don’t want that. We want a close, hard-fought barnburner with the losing team storming the net in the last minute.

I don’t even care who wins. That part left me when the Habs bowed out.

And imagine, in Gary Bettman’s perfect world, someday we could see a seventh game Stanley Cup final between Phoenix and Atlanta. And the sound of TV’s clicking off all over hockeydom would be heard loud and clear.

Three Serious Questions Part Two. Will Buffalo Work Hard Enough?

The Olympics are over, it’s late August, and school’s not far off. Which means two things: NHL training camps are soon to open, and retired people will take over the roads in their RV’s.

 

Which brings me to my questions. When swimmers do the backstroke, how do they manage to stay in a straight line? They can’t see. And how can retired people afford gas for their RV’s?

 

And because the gods have presented the city of Buffalo and its hockey team the extreme honour of hosting the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 10, is the city of Buffalo preparing properly for this incredulous occasion? 

Will Montreal’s hotel in Buffalo be scrubbed down properly and the silverware polished so it glistens?  

Will the Sabres make the visitors dressing room more lavish and comfortable than just any old dressing room for any old team?

Will there be a parade and ceremony in honour of this Pope-like visit?

Will the Montreal Canadiens be given the key to the city of Buffalo?

 

All important questions, I think.

 

 

I Can’t Shake The “Ole” Song, Even In August

Remember that wretched “Ole” song we heard all too often at the Bell Centre when Montreal was leading the game by a goal or two, and before you know it, the other team scores a couple and the song isn’t sung after that?

 

I hate that song. And the other night, watching the Olympics in Beijing, I heard it again during a men’s sailing event.

 

This song inspires the other team. It’s evil. Montreal has lost games because of this song.

 

I understand this is a popular soccer song in Europe. If so, fine. Then let it stay in Europe. Keep it out of Montreal Canadiens games. It doesn’t belong. It smacks of smugness and over-confidence, and celebrating before it’s time to celebrate.

 

I’ve never minded other songs and chants at games, only this one. It creates a positive charge for the opposing team. People who sing this think they’re rejoicing in the good fortunes of the Habs, but all they’re doing is rallying the other team.

 

There should be a city bylaw outlawing this song.

It’s Time You Saw A Little Piece Of Canadian Paradise

I first came to Powell River in 1970 when I was a young, restless vagabond, and I stayed for about a year. It was a crazy time, a great time, and I never forgot the place. I came back in 1995 after my first marriage fell apart in Calgary, and I’ve been here ever since.

Powell River is located on Canada’s west coast, 80 miles north of Vancouver, and right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a really creative place, full of writers, musicians, and poets, with old-time American Vietnam War draft dodgers who came here, planted roots, and contributed to Canadian society, plus a lot of loggers and fishermen who add to this magical west coast flavour.

Palm trees grow here, housing prices are reasonable, and deer come into my yard and eat the flowers. There’s 20,000 people, a paper mill that continues to downsize, and a little bit too much rain in the winter, although there’s hardly any snow, and the temperature rarely dips below freezing. (That’s why there’s palm trees!). Cruise ships cruise by, and whales aren’t far away. And in the evening as I sit on my deck, I can hear sea lions barking as I watch the ships and tug boats out on the water.

And if it sounds like I’m rich, think again. I simply paid 85 grand five years ago for my house with an ocean view.

If you’re coming from Vancouver, it takes two ferries to get here, one in West Vancouver, then an hour and a half drive by car, then another ferry, then a 30 minute drive after that. About five hours in total. The highway on the west coast stops north of Powell River, and that’s it, you can’t drive any further up the coast. But going the other way, you can drive all the way to Chile on this one road.

There’s no hustle bustle. You can get all your stuff done round town in about 20 minutes, and the pace is nice. Several big-time athletes have come from here, including several NHL’ers, a Super Bowl Champ, an Olympian, a world-class soccer pro, and a senior hockey team that has been been one of the best in the country for the last ten years and has won two Allan Cups. I’ll mention these people in the upcoming days.

Anyway, I’ve decided to take you on a little tour and I’ve enlisted my good friend Gaston to help. This’ll be done over a few days, so I hope you enjoy, and maybe I’ll see you out here someday.

 

Gaston sits at the ferry terminal in downtown Powell River. This particular ferry brings folks to and from Vancouver Island.

 

 

This is how you would see Powell River from the ferry. Gaston loves being in pictures and I don’t mind. He’s helping me.