Just let Alexander Ovechkin be Alexander Ovechkin

Dear Alexander Ovechkin,

As you may or may not know, I’m a fan of the game of hockey. It’s been a while since your now fabled 50th goal celebration happened, so let’s get a refresher for those who are unaware.

I know what you did caused a big stir within the media, calling your celebration to contrived or premeditated. It was “unnecessary showboating” and “gave a bad image to the game”, and I have to completely disagree.

In the realm of professional sports, you are meant to entertain us. We pay money and dedicate time to give our attention to something we enjoy, and very little of what you do changes or affects the overall history of the world. Sure, you might be the root cause of riots, but the world goes on with or without much thought about what happens in the realm of sport. That’s not to say that sport doesn’t have its place in terms of passion and entertainment, but the point is that you can let this all get you down.

I, for one, want you to be yourself. Forget what the media is saying and keep being your celebratory self where you jump up and down, play up to the crowd, and generally make the fans in Washington D.C. (and fans of the NHL for that matter) love to watch you play. As long as you keep that ego in check and keep making it fun to watch you play, keep doing what you’re doing.

As a fan who is the major part in keeping any professional sports league running, this is all I ask.

Earth Hour 2009 in Vancouver, B.C.

The time got a little bit away from me last night, but I was able to enjoy most of Earth Hour 2009. Since Rebecca was out covering the Juno Gala Awards Dinner at the Westin Bayshore, I had a hard time tracking down candles so I wouldn’t have to be in complete darkness.

And once I had that all setup, I wanted to grab a shot from the Numinous.ca Vancouver Webcam of what downtown looked like in the midst of Earth Hour itself. Of course, I shutdown my computer just after that.

Downtown Vancouver during Earth Hour 2009 from numinous.ca
Photo credit: numinous.ca

Interestingly enough, I found a shot in the numinous.ca archives from March 24th from nearly the same time, so it’s a really neat way to see the different from a normal night in downtown Vancouver compared to the buildings that participated in Earth Hour this year.

Downtown Vancouver on March 24, 2009 from numinous.ca
Photo credit: numinous.ca

Just taking a glance at some new headlines today, I found it pretty crazy how even the NHL took steps to participate in Earth Hour as well.

In Nashville, a tilt between the Predators and the Los Angeles Kings was originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET, but since both cities are very active in the Earth Hour festivities, the teams moved the game up to 5 p.m. so it doesn’t conflict with the blackout hour. [cbcsports]

Certainly read the rest of the article because they did more than just reschedule a hockey game.

If you missed out on Earth Hour this year, you can always look forward to next year, but it’s never a bad time to start thinking about energy conservation sooner rather than waiting until then.

NHL Winter Classic is coming on New Years Day

There is so much about this commercial that gets me excited and gives me goosebumps all at the same time. Also makes me shed a tear for the late, great Harry Caray[wiki].

As much as I have come to despise the Red Wings, I’m totally pulling for the hometown team in this one. Outdoor game at Wrigley Field in the Windy City? How can you not cheer for the Blackhawks? Of course, I spent years searching for a team to capture my attention in the NHL, and all the years I spent growing up in the Midwest, Chicago never did it for me.

At least until now because everyone in Chicago should rejoice in the resurgence of that team. They are chalk full of some amazing, young talent, captained by a youngster from and the pride of New Westminster, B.C. (which we often pass through on a regular basis), Jonathon Toews. Additionally, WGN acquired the broadcast rights for both TV and radio beginning this year, so that really puts a lot in place to bring the Hawks back into the hearts of Chicago.

In my opinion, this is the best thing that could have happened to the Blackhawks franchise. As many folks in the area can tell you, the bigger task is to put the team back into the mindset of the city where the MLS Chicago Fire ranks higher in popularity than its original six NHL team, at least as of a year ago.

Kudos to Michael DiLorenzo on Twitter for sharing this one.

The Stanley Cup happened to drop by work today

Stanley Cup and Me I have never been close enough to the Stanley Cup to really even see it prior to today. The one day I go to work without my camera, it decides to roll through the front door at work and pay the place a visit. In a mad scramble, I was able to snag a pic with it via cellphone, not to mention the opportunity to touch it as well as take a good look at it.

The one thing that struck me was how scratched it is. That’s not surprising, and I think it’s a lot like seeing people on TV and them not looking the same as they are in real life. It’s been through a lot, not to mention that its century old lifespan lends to have a little bit of wear and tear to it.

The cup was in town tonight for the Vancouver Giants home game where they honored legends of the NHL. The Giants even dawned the jerseys of the last team to win the Stanley Cup in this city, the Vancouver Millionaires[wiki] in 1915.

Back then, all you had to do was be a proven team and issue a challenge to the reigning holders of the title. A far cry from the 82 game regular season and playoffs consisting of four rounds, best of seven series. This point was only driven further into my head when I got home tonight to turn on “Hockey: A People’s History“[wiki] on television. A must see for any hockey fan.

Vancouver's only time on the cup

Alas, one day, Vancouver’s name shall appear on this cup once more as champions.

The Crazy Canucks featured on official Vancouver Canucks website

It was a nice surprise earlier this week to see how the Canucks organization was going to use some of the promotional photographs that they took of The Crazy Canucks crew that I mentioned previously, but I’m not sure that we were expecting to be apart of the launch for the Canucks Fan Zone.

A place for all Canucks fans to gather and share their love for the team. That’s pretty cool, but I’m still wondering if the possibility remains of see my face on the side of a bus or on a SkyTrain poster. Scary still, my face on the jumbotron in GM Place.

Flickr video is thanks to Rebecca.

Prepping for the return of the 2008-2009 Vancouver Canucks

As cool as the weather has been in the lower mainland in the past week or so, it makes me think about one thing: the coming 2008-2009 hockey season for the Vancouver Canucks.

To help get you and me both prepared for this, I figured I’d go back on some key points from the end of last season while looking ahead to this next one. Of course, these are the things that stick out the most to me, so feel free to add your comments. And if you are a Vancouver Canucks fan, you’re probably doing the same thing as me when someone asks you your opinion on what to expect come this fall. You’re probably shrugging your shoulders and saying, I’m not really sure.
Continue reading “Prepping for the return of the 2008-2009 Vancouver Canucks”

So long, Trevor Linden

Picture time line of Trevor Linden I’ve already made mention of this before, but today it’s official. Trevor Linden[wiki] is leaving the game of hockey.

No matter how little of time I have been an avid Canucks fan, there is no way to easily say how incredible of a person Linden is. Even though the career is over, it’s not about being sad. He never won a Stanley Cup, never blew away the masses with his talent on the ice, nor did he really set any notable records that will live forever in the history of the NHL.

When it comes down to it, he’s just another guy.

That’s easier said than what he actually means to the city of Vancouver and to the legions of Canucks fans around the world. He is who he is, and if you don’t know him already, then you don’t know an amazing person.

Calling the shots The day job took me very close to the events as they unfolded today. Running around to help out at the press conference to having him pop in at the home base for interview with the media #131, there is something that strikes you about the guy. Deep down, he’s still the same 18 year old kid that was drafted into the NHL twenty years ago, to this exact day.

And every time I was in the same room as him, he was nothing but smiles.

It gives you some comfort to know that people like him are out there in the big dollar business of professional sports. Even though he could walk into nearly any place in Vancouver and be treated like a king, he’d still give you the time of day and directions to the nearest Tim Horton’s. Hell, today it felt like he’d even give you a lift there in his car, he’s just that awesome.

Goal number two

Dave Nonis fired, what’s next for the Canucks?

Dave Nonis (Photo by: retrocactus on Flickr
Photo credit: retrocactus on Flickr

You know, when the Canucks missed the playoffs after this season, I thought my world of being involved and/or following hockey would slow down. I thought that we would all be saying our farewell to Trevor Linden, find out who wins the cup, get some new draft picks, make some off season trades, and then get ready for the preseason with that yearly glimmer of hope.

Wow. What a bomb shell.

Actually, I take that back. I kept asking friends, co-workers, and Crazy Canuckers as to what they thought about Dave Nonis[wiki] and his job being in jeopardy as GM of the Vancouver Canucks. Something inside of me just felt uneasy about his role for a better part of the season, more so at the tail end.

My feeling about it all is that he was a good general manager of the organization. After that, you can’t say much more. Sure, there was the blockbuster trade for Roberto Luongo, but that isn’t a ton more to speak of after that. Willie Mitchell, yeah. After that, it’s been a lot of pickups and trades that were not the strongest or memorable. They were just… good or okay.

There’s not a lot to say about his activity in the last few years as being great or prolific, but he wasn’t half bad either.

Nonis had the passion and desire to be good at the job he held. There is no doubt about that. What works against him is what didn’t happen. An incredible goalie with a strong defense in front of him didn’t produce the goals, points, and playoff birth that could have kept his job.

However, this wasn’t my decision to make, nor can I say that I’m 100% in agreement. The only reason I say that I can’t be surprised is the fact that we have new ownership of this team, and this team is a business. The Aquilini’s are a business minded group of people. They are also lifelong fans. Nonis had those things working against his job, no matter how much the team he is in charge of spends on the disabled list or doesn’t produce on the ice.

Darren Barefoot mentioned to me on Twitter how Nonis should have been able to finish the last year on his contract, and I agree with that. The year after the lockout saw a lot of shuffling around the league, and we were a team built for a different game than what came about that season. The next season saw something different for this city: a real goalie. This year was a nightmare of injuries.

With his contract in mind, I think Nonis had a plan. One more year left, he can’t finish that vision that he had, and we’ll never know if that script would have played out for the better.

They say that a true test of a general manager is proven in five years. The contract gave him four, but he only got three. When I do those calculations in my head, combined with all the ups and downs of the days of Nonis, the one thing I keep coming back to is concern as a fan. Concern that we now have owners of this team who can prove themselves that much better in half the time than one man did in three. If they can do that, then I’ll be really impressed.

Zanstorm has a really great post that made me think a little bit more about my point, and I think it still stands. His break down of what Nonis did during his tenure in Vancouver is a tad mediocre in the proof, so like I said. He did… okay.