Tag Archives: Vancouver

Powell River Is Where?

It takes about five hours to travel 120 kms from my home in Powell River to Vancouver. Each ferry takes a bit under an hour, add the waiting at the ferry terminals, plus the small curvy road all the way down, and it becomes a major trek.

But lots of folk don’t quite understand where Powell River is. Some think it’s on Vancouver Island but it’s not, and many don’t quite understand why it’s a bit isolated. So I took a coaster to explain.

Please note – I was a little off on my ‘end of road’ marker, so add another half inch or so. This is where the road, highway 101, ends (or begins) on the west coast. You can’t go any further north.

About this road: If you were to hop in your car at the little fishing village of Lund, about 30 minutes north of Powell River, and you kept going south, you’d end up in Chile.

And one last little piece of trivia. I used to work at the ferry at Saltery Bay. If all this isn’t enough, I’ve included a bonus picture of me on one of my better days.

Bruins Win Game Five

It was a dark and stormy night. In my mind anyway.

Boston wins 3-1 over Tampa in game five and takes a serious three game to two lead in the Eastern final. The series isn’t over, with game six now back in Tampa, but I’m sure Vancouver fans are already looking ahead to the Stanley Cup final with their Canucks playing Boston for all the marbles.

They shouldn’t plan ahead like this, but I think it’s human nature to do so. But a Vancouver-Boston final looks like a distinct possibility.

Yes it would be good to see two genuine hockey markets involved in the war for the big prize. And if Boston does make it, it’s definitely going to make me cheer even harder for the Canucks. The thought of seeing Bruins players skating around holding the Cup above their heads could drive me to drink.

 

 

Some Photos To Pass The Time

The weather in Vancouver today has been excellent. Sunny, slightly brisk, with the smell of Greek lamb dishes in the air, and we strolled along Robson and down to the Yale bar on Granville, and in doing so I took a few pictures to pass the time.

This Lamborghini on Robson reminded me of the Habs.
This one reminded me quite a bit of the Canucks.
Two guys I met on Robson Street. The guy in red looks much prouder.
Yale urinal. I'm sure many great bluesmen have stood here over the years.
The Yale Rhythm and Blues Hotel
The Yale from a worse view

Habs On The Road. Bonding With The Blues

I’m only just now looking at the new schedule because I’ve been battling an eyeball situation, but I see that the Canadiens open up on the road, hitting Toronto, Buffalo, and then a three-city west coast swing which takes them to Calgary, Vancouver, and Edmonton.

This might just be what the doctor ordered. All the new faces in the lineup, bonding early rather than later with the old faces on a good old west coach swing. And they get away from the pressure cooker before the pressure cooker is even turned on.

In Calgary, the boys can go out and take in the Calgary Zoo. They can go to the monkey cage and maybe see what myself and a bunch of others saw. A monkey sat behind the glass, looked at us with big eyes, and proceeded to play with himself until his eyes got even bigger. Mothers shielded their kids and scurried off. Japanese tourists talked politely, maybe snapped a few pictures, and carried on in orderly fashion. 

I myself looked at the monkey with great admiration. Imagine all those eyes on you and you don’t even give a shit?

Something like this is invaluable. Scott Gomez and Mike Cammellari and the old and new of the team would have a good topic to bring up in the dressing room when the pressure gets umbearable. Everyone would laugh and loosen up, at the poor monkey’s expense.

In Vancouver, the guys can bond at the Yale Hotel, listening to the best blues in the city, and hoping not to get shot at when they go out on the darkened Granville Street afterwards. Tip to the players – call a cab beforehand and when it arrives, dive into it like you’re Michael Phelps and get the hell back to your hotel.

But the blues is heavenly. And on second thought, that area of Vancouver isn’t seedy and dangerous. Okay, maybe it is.

In Edmonton, the team can band together, old and new, by looking out their hotel window and seeing snow falling lazily from the sky. It’s early October in Edmonton. Almost winter.Very soon it’s going to get so cold you’d think Gary Bettman and Jim Balsillie had just met in an elevator. Or they can go en masse to the West Edmonton Mall at gawk at ladies in bikinis at the wave pool and whisper crude yet very funny remarks to each other that hurries up the bonding process.

Opening on the road is a way to find out if any of the new guys are easy card marks and a new and quick way to make extra money on the side. It’s a chance to find out about players on other teams from which the new guys came from. If Jerome Iginla really likes Michael Bolton or Celine Dion, this can be valuable trash talk on Saddledome ice.

Scoott Gomez can relate Sean Avery stories from New York. Maybe Avery walks old ladies across streets and tips hotel housekeepers. Brian Gionta might show a different side when he punches out the first guy who calls him Tom Thumb.

Very quickly the team will become very close from all these monkeys and snow and the blues. Then they go back for a six-game home stand where they’ll probably kick some serious ass.

Maybe I Need A White Cane

I just took the bandages off. Bandages that covered half my face.

I’m in Vancouver, recovering from eye surgery, so this typing is taking me a lot of time because I type with two fingers and I look at the keyboard, the two things you’re not supposed to do. I’m having a hard time seeing, because like I said, I’ve just had eye surgery.

They wheeled me into an operating room where were two doctors, a nurse, and four students, and they got in behind my eyeball and pulled out this type of cataract that laser won’t fix. So now my vision is blurry and I’m suppose to drive back to Powell River today. And the doctor said my sight will be blurry for a couple of weeks.

I can’t find my Tylenol, my eye is throbbing, and I just tried my glasses on after taking off the bandages and they’re not helping. And apparently my face might swell up. I’m a mess.

But the beat goes on. Go Habs! Oh, this is the off-season. Never mind.

Can The Canucks Go All The Way?

Yes, that’s the question. Can the Canucks win the Stanley Cup?

Before the season started, I compared Vancouver with the Toronto Maple Leafs, except Toronto doesn’t have Roberto Luongo between the pipes. But I thought the Canucks were in their rebuilding stages. No one on the team had really accomplished much in the big leagues. The Sedin twins looked like they’d never become more than pretty good players, slow skaters who create nice plays from time to time, but could never be considered major stars. Ryan Kessler showed promise as a power forward, but hadn’t elevated to another level. Mason Raymond, Ryan Johnson, Alex Burrows? Who are these people, castoffs from the Bentley Generals?

Kyle Wellwood is a fancy playmaker, but small and unpredictable, and motivation is often questioned. Mats Sundin didn’t play for more than a year, and is older than Red Fisher. And in front of Luongo stands Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohland, and the rest of the cast of defencemen, none of whom strike fear in to the hearts of men.

Can the Canucks win the Stanley Cup? They can because they have Roberto Luongo in nets. When you have the league’s best goalie, you automatically have a real shot at the big prize. It’s like having a garage band with Elton John as your singer. And they can because those no-name players I thought compared to the Toronto Maple Leafs are arising as young stars. They’re not acting like no-name players at all. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kessler are making NHL teams throughout the league wipe drool from their bottom lips.

The problem is, as a Habs fan living in Canucksland, I have to endure the car flags, the excited talk at work and in bars, and the smiles and the laughter, all the while knowing my team sits in the cracks in the floorboard while the Canucks live it up in the penthouse after sweeping the St. Louis Blues. This hurts me, this every day reminder.

But I will cheer for the Canucks, but it doesn’t come without a price. Canucks fans must tell me nice things about the Habs. That’s the deal. Because as soon as Canucks fan laugh at my team or say naughty things about them, I’m going for Calgary.

Darn Interesting Canucks Information (As The Habs Jet To Long Island)

Mark Streit of the New York Islanders is suffering from a groin injury. There’s no truth to the rumour he obtained this injury after playfully rolling around with the Canucks’ Sedin twins at the Cupid Motel.

Canuckleheads Jordy, Jan, Lawrence, and Sandy insist there’s also no truth to the rumour they’re part of the Manson family.

After noticing that Gordie Howe was getting 500 bucks to sign a jersey, several Canuck players decided that they too could make some extra money by selling their autographs. However, the plan was aborted after fans complained that 40 cents was too much to pay for a Willie Mitchell or Ryan Kesler autograph.

Gary Bettman has announced that sometime in the near future, the city of Vancouver will finally be getting their first NHL franchise.

A recent poll conducted in Vancouver has Harold Snepsts and Jeff Brown as the all-time best players to ever wear a Canucks jersey.

Random Notes For A Sunday After The Debacle.

My dad, who’s 88 years old, says very soon the Montreal Canadiens will wake up and start to play. How can you argue with an 88 year old?

Apparently Sergei Kostitsyn is on his way back after purgatory in Hamilton. This is good, because as bad as Sergei looked before he was sent down, he can’t look any worse than what we saw from everyone against Toronto. It’s been years since I saw such a dismal display by the Habs, especially in the first half of the game.  Only Maxim Lapierre showed up. They could make a movie called ‘Dead Players Skating.’

And then there’s Sandy.

I work with Sandy, whose comments you might see from time to time here. She’s a Canucks fan and we have a perennial five dollar bet on who will have the most points at the end of the year, Montreal or Vancouver. As it stands now, the Canucks are leading with 85 points to Montreal’s 81.  Trust me, it would really suck if I have to listen to Sandy gloat. C’mon Habs, start winning – for yourself, for your fans, for the city, for the universe, and so Sandy will lose.

I have three ideas to make millions, two of which I haven’t told anyone before, and one I’ve been thinking about since the 1970’s and which I’ve told several people. None of these people, however, have gotten overly-excited about this idea. In fact, they didn’t get excited at all. Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m never going to do anything about my ideas, so I’ve decided to share them with you today. If you can make millions from any of them, great. Just buy me a beer.

Idea number one: Inventing a toaster that can make toast in under 15 seconds.

Idea number two: Inventing shin pads for hockey players that automatically tighten nicely to the legs, thus eliminating hockey tape.

Idea number three; This is the one I’ve been thinking about since the 1970’s. Coloured salt. White salt’s just not good enough. You have no idea how much you just put on your mashed potatoes. So I want to mix several colours – green, red, blue, yellow, etc. all together for nice coloured salt. What’s wrong with that?

Habs Didn’t Look Great. But The Woman In The Black Dress Did!

Three good things came from the Canadiens 4-2 loss Sunday night In Vancouver.

Although they weren’t anything to write home about, they played probably their best game of their western swing. But then again, I suppose that’s not saying much. Also, Jordy, who comments often on this site and usually makes great sense, came over to watch it with me and behaved nicely even though his team won. And there was a lovely woman in a low-cut black dress sitting right behind Canucks coach Alain Vigneault that the cameraman paid attention to in the late goings. He was smart, this cameraman. He made it look like he was focussing on Vigneault, the crafty bugger. 

When I say the Canadiens played their best game of the western swing, I mean they didn’t completely stink out the joint like they did in Calgary, Edmonton, and Colorado. Sure they let Vancouver have too many chances. Sure they allowed a last-minute, second period goal by Henrik Sedin to fall behind 3-1 which was the back breaker. Sure many of the guys didn’t step up. But there were some fine chances to score on Roberto Luongo. But that last minute goal just killed them. That was it. Time to grab a good seat in a sports bar before the crowd gets there. For all intents and purpose, that was the game right there. Over and done with in the second period.  

So I find myself not overly upset. It was a little better effort in a losing cause. And ‘effort’ is the key word, something I haven’t been able to use a lot of lately.

I disagree with the choosing of the three stars to be all Canucks. It wasn’t all that one-sided. Not at all. Even Jaroslav Halak, who allowed four goals, played well. Andrei Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist. What about the woman in the low-cut black dress? She should’ve been at least second star.

Game Note:

Guy Carbonneau put Carey Price in with about nine minutes to go in the game, and I’m taking this as a nice move by Carbonneau. Maybe I missed something, but was the coach trying to give the youngster some playing time, and a little more confidence, particularly because so many friends and family were there? Or did Halak give Carbonneau another reason to change things up? I’d like to think it was just a nice gesture by Carbonneau at that stage in the game when it was 4-1. If I’m wrong about this, please let me know. Sometimes I miss things because I don’t understand everything that’s said on RDS.

That’s it for the west. The Habs now head back east to visit Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night. I feel like the worst is over now. It’s the power of positive thinking rearing its head again.

Jordy brought over a couple of pictures for me, one of our friend Gary Lupul fighting for the puck with Gordie Howe, and another of Gary preparing to take a faceoff against Marcel Dionne. Jordy’s father Darren was probably Gary’s oldest and best friend.

Give Those Western Fans Their Money’s Worth

 

images2 edmonton2van1 It can be an excellent time for western Canada’s Montreal Canadiens fans. The team’s coming, with stops in Calgary on Monday, Edmonton Wednesday, and Vancouver Sunday. People are excited. They’ve had their tickets for months, or are now ready to fork out hundreds of dollars for the high-priced ducats.

I’ve seen the the Habs in all three cities, and in all three it’s a lovely sight. The Montreal sweaters everywhere, the “Go Habs Go” chant throughout, the cheers as loud as the home team when the Canadiens score. In fact, when the “Go Habs Go” chant starts, the home team faithful start their own chant to outdo them and it becomes a cross between funny and tense.

For many western hockey fans, the Habs coming is one of the big nights in a long season, regardless of the year. And regardless of the kind of team the Habs happen to be in any given year.

And what will fans in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver see this year? Will they see a team that makes bad decisions, horrible giveaways, and offers weak goaltending? Or will they see the other team, the one we see glimpses of sometimes, the one where passes are crisp, the scorers score, the defence crushes, and the goalie plays like he can.

It must make Montreal players feel good to see how they’re embraced in the west. It’s a clear example of what it means to wear the sweater. Vincent Lecavalier would be pleasantly surprised if he were a Hab on this western visit. This week they’re movie stars. The young heard from their grandfathers and fathers, many of whom grew up back east, about all the Stanley Cups, about Richard, Beliveau, Lafleur and the others. Most Flames, Oilers and Canucks fans, cheering on their team to wallop the Canadiens, know and appreciate the uniqueness of this club that has come to town on one of those rare occasions. So the atmosphere at the rinks is heavy-duty.

The only problem is, the Habs have looked incredibly mediocre lately. This west coast trip could be a disaster for all those who’ve waited, or paid those big dollars for a ticket. They may wish they’d stayed home and watched it on TV.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the Habs break out of their doldrums, for themselves, for their fans in general, and for the western fans who’ve been waiting impatiently for the big night since the schedule was announced.

And I especially want them to win in Vancouver.