Archive for the 'Hockey' Category

22
Mar
09

Hockey Analogies: Defending Quebec

OK, let me get this one out of the way right off the bat – the Rheostatics just dedicated a show to it… I’m talking about the sexual connotations of various hockey terms. You’ve got your five-hole, your hooking, and your high sticking to name but a few. I’m cetain the Rheo’s mined many a-more in this, er, shaft than I just have, but you get the idea.

Speaking of the Rheostatics, a rock band is much like a hockey team. Your singer is your centreman, and lead guitar and keyboards are your wingers (& it’s always nice when your wingers chip in a few goals). The bass player is your defenseman, be he or she of the stay-at-home variety (like me on bass), or if they jump up into the rush and maybe even pinch every now & then. Finally, the drummer is your goalie. And who do you blame if you have a bad game/gig? – You got it! (The goalie is also a little nuts, & is always the last one out of the dressing room – much like a drummer, who’s got the most gear to load in the band.. and nobody ever helps him!)

And speaking of goalie’s, as I write this I am in Quebec City. Martin Brodeur has just equalled Patrick Roy’s all-time NHL wins record – in Montreal, no less (& with Patrick on hand)! (Martin surpassed the record a few nights later in New Jersey.) I’ve always said that the best goalies in the world are Quebecoise. The fact that Quebecers Marty & ‘St. Patrick’ are both statistically the best ever bears that out. Beyond these two -to name but a few- you’ve got your Jacques Plante, your J.S. Giguere, your Marc-Andre Fleury, and the goalie who’s name is on the top NHL goalie trophy awarded yearly – George Vezina.

So what makes Quebec goalie’s so damn good? Well, I have a theory – it’s because their culture has been under seige, surrounded by the English language, and bombarded by American & English Canadian culture. They’ve had to defend their identity vigorously for centuries. They’re tailor made to hold the fort, steer that slap shot harmlessly into the corner, and snag that snapshot labelled for the top corner of the cage. And, of course, stack those pads – don’t let it go five-hole!

20
Dec
08

Ottawa Senators: Trade Vermette and Fisher

What’s wrong with the Senators? It comes down to two players who aren’t performing – Antoine Vermette & Mike Fisher. Unfortunately, they’re two of the most popular players in town (at least the ladies really seem to like them), so that makes it hard to trade them.
Teams have been frothing at the mouth for Vermette for years, and -hindsight being 20/20-, we should have traded him when his stock was high. Fisher’s slump of last year (when the whole team then slumped with him) wasn’t an aboration, but in fact a glimpse into the future of a player who’s peaked.
Bad drafting under GM Muckler is also at fault. With the new salary cap age, and with players now becoming free agents much sooner, the success of a team is now won or lost at the draft. The Senators used to be svengali’s at the draft, so -at first blush- this should have favoured the team. Perhaps the TSN Turning Point came when we passed over a Stahl brother to pick-up Brian Lee (gasp!).
The Sens can’t blame their goaltending anymore, and they’re defense has been solid. Another player who we should have traded when his stock was high is Christoph Shubert. We have a PK specialist in Chris Kelly, so -since Vermette isn’t scoring- Antoine has become expendable.
It’s too bad Sens fans rode Joe Corvo out of town on a stake. Offensive defensemen seem rare in this day and age, & we could desperately use some of his offensive flare right about now. And the Ottawa media screaming for a trade last year lost us Corvo & the popular player’s player Patrick Eaves for two rental players who promptly flew the coup at seasons end.
Finally, I think everyone should get off Jason Spezza’s back. It’s no wonder he’s having an off-year, when everyone jumped all over him for a single miscue in game 1 of the season and stayed on him like a dog on a bone. Every single team in the NHL would kill to have this guy in their uniform. Another problem is that Heatley just dones’t have the one-timer we’re used to, and it may take awhile to get it back.
It’s time to trade Fisher & Vermette for prospects, although perhaps not until the trade deadline when the price goes up.