NBC's coverage of the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games was nothing more than awful! I watched CTV/SNP/TSN coverage of the games first and it was amazing. The director of the opening ceremonies used not only the stage, but the entire crowd as part of his huge canvas. The entire building was the show. CTV's coverage was like being in the stands and I really felt like we got to watch it as it was meant to be seen; as a cultural spectacle. NBC's coverage was terrible. They did a close up of a dancer with an ear piece taped to her ear. They kept showing the crowd when I want to see what the crowd is looking at! They did close ups for most of the ceremonies. I didn't even get to see the entire stage for over 60% of the time. My belief is that NBC doesn't want to show the beauty that was put on before us, to the millions of American viewers watching at home. Not only that, they also aired it 1.5 hours after it started! They cut out a good chunk of the show as well. The camera work was awful. I feel bad for the Americans that didn't get to enjoy the beauty we displayed, but i'm pissed off because some of them are too arrogant and self loving to actually show it for what it was. Shame on us for allowing NON olympic camera work into the building for the show after the atheletes walk in. If we were smart, we would have said that the Americans had to use our cameramen/women. And Shame on the Americans for thier lack of professionalism.
The “Bull” is a nickname Ryan Kesler has had since joining the Canucks. Rarely is it used in conversation when talking about Kesler due to the fact that it is far from original, but it does have some meaning in terms of what is actually going on between the Canucks organization and Kesler’s agent. With both parties locking horns, it has left the Bull seeing red.
"I love it here, I really do," Kesler said. "But it's probably unrealistic to say I'm going to stay in the same spot forever.”
You see, contract negotiations between GM Mike Gillis and Ryan Kesler’s agent have come to a stand still, and won’t be brought up again until after the season is over, close to when Kesler becomes a restricted free agent. The Agent for Kesler, Kurt Overhardt, is quoted as saying "It's disappointing because based on the marketplace, it's not a difficult deal to get done for a core player like this. There's just not a lot of logic in waiting."
Maybe that’s spoken like an agent, but he does have a good point. Waiting until the end of the season could hurt the Canucks, as Kesler may not want to talk contract now until after he gets offers from other teams.
Kesler is more than just a second line center. Let’s look at the numbers. As of mid-March, Ryan Kesler has 64 points on the season. He is tied for points with Jerome Iginla, and only 2 points behind Ryan Geztlaf, 5 points behind Evgeni Malkin, and 6 points behind Alexander Semin. Granted he has played a handful more games than some of these players, but he has stayed healthy all season allowing the reliable center to be tied for 23rd overall in league scoring.
His 44 assists puts him in a tie for 15th in the league, 2 assists ahead of Sid the Kid and 3 ahead of Vincent Lecavalier.
So what is Ryan Kesler worth?
Well, Ryan and his agent are asking for around 5 million a season. He is currently making 1.75 million, a bargain for what he brings to the team, and I’m not just referring to the points. The Canucks are trying to get him to stay around 4 million a season, which is the same amount that Pavol Demitra is currently making. Keeping in mind that Iginla is making 7 million a season to put up the same points, 5 million doesn’t sound so bad.
Should we be worried? Kesler is from the Detroit area, and would love a chance to play at home. He also played for Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson for the Americans, who said prior to the Olympic break, "I really like the way Ryan Kesler plays the game. He's got great speed and I think you're seeing him start to hit stride and enter the early part of the prime of his career." Brian Burke also drafted this kid so it wouldn't surprise me if Toronto threw money at him this summer hoping Vancouver wouldn't match the offer. And let's not forget the Flyers offering Kesler 1.9 million the last time he was a restricted free agent forcing the Canucks to match.
So what will happen to this American born player? Maybe the 5 million dollar question is, are the Canucks willing to spend the money within their cap space.
For more information on talks between Kesler and his agent, and where I got my quotes from, follow the link below.
above is the link to unofficial British idiot, Lawrence Donegan, who is now infamously known for his comment that these Olympics in Vancouver are the "worst games ever."
Now, let's think about this rationally. There are two things that bother me with this comment and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am Canadian. (or does it...)
Firstly, what are the qualifications for someone to actually say that "these are the worst" Olympic Games...? There have been 48 Olympic Games since its inception in 1896, some 114 years ago in Athens. I would imagine that to make such a pompous remark, Lawrence Donegan would have had to have seen most of these 48. Let's just say he saw half of them at 24. That would mean that he would have to have been watching the games critically since 1964.
If I watch 3 Vancouver Canucks games over the course of an 82 game schedule, would anyone care about what opinions I have of the team?
Who does this Lawrence Donegan think he is and how can he be so quick to judge these games when we are 7 days into them?
I hope this is not how people in Britain actually think. Does one media member speak for the rest of their country? Is this how Brits feel about our hosting of the games? Perhaps if it's not, someone should either shut this guy up, or speak out.
I can't wait for the Olympics of 2012, because now the games in Mother England had better live up to our Canadian expectations.
But who am I to criticize? That’s not very Canadian of me now is it.
<img src="http://www.vdbab.com/newsletters/images/vancouver2.jpg" alt="" /><br />
Is it any wonder Ryan Kesler just signed a long-term deal with the Vancouver Canucks worth 30 Million dollars over 6 years? Ok well, yes it is a lot of money for this Selke runner up, but what Canuck fan wants to see him play for another team?<br />
There is a fundamental reason why Kesler wanted to stay here. Vancouver is becoming one of the most popular cities in the world, due to the culture and ethnic mix and the fact that its one of the greenest cities in North America. Oh and of course because of the over mentioned Olympic games in February. <br />
Think about it for a minute. If you were a star hockey player, and you wanted to get as much recognition as possible, wouldn't you want to play in a city that is popular to the world to showcase who you are into half-celebrity status? <br />
Why is it that stars like Gaborik and Gretzky and former Canuck star Bure, went to NY? You are a kind of low status celebrity there and you can rub shoulders with the higher ups in life. Don't you think Gretzky might have been a bit happy to be going to L.A. when he was traded by Edmonton? <br />
So what does this do for Vancouver? If you were a rich hockey player, would you rather live in a beautiful city, where there is mild winters (most times), where the world watched the city for 2 weeks and fell in love, and where your house overlooks nothing but ocean; or would you rather live in a city where the Winters are freezing icicles on the tip of your nose, or you live in a city where pollution fills your lungs in an Americanized Toronto? <br />
There are hockey stars that just want to play for those upper echelon city teams, but why not? I mean, I personally would love to work in New York, because then I could say to everyone, "hey, I work in New York with an office facing where the twin towers used to be. I'm an important person." <br />
You may laugh.<br />
Kobe Bryant in L.A., he is a celeb; Patrick Ewing in New York, would he have been a star if his career had been in Atlanta? Did you know Ewing played his last year in the NBA for the Orlando Magic? I didn't. I forgot he even played for the Sonics. Derek Jeter is a celebrity. LeBron James is just releasing his New York Yankee inspired shoe, gee; I wonder where he will go for free agency? <br />
So does this mean every NHL'er thinks this way? No, absolutely not. Some people don't want the flash and dash of life. <br />
One thing I know for sure, if Vancouver continues down this path to ranking in the top cities in the world, it will be our turn to finally get some players who will play here for less money or under what they could have received with a bad team, giving us more value on the ice. <br />
These next few years ahead seem just a little bit more exciting.
Did you know that among active Canucks players, the Sedin’s have played the most games and have been here the longest?
Then it is Salo and Kesler who has 553 games since 2003 under his belt. Then Burrows if you can believe it.
Then Bieksa, and Edler who has 42 goals in his career so far. Then Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen from 2007. Rome, Malhotra, Hamhuis. Ballard, Lapierre, Higgins, and i will slip in Hodgson and Weise round out the majority of the regulars.
Remember Jan Hlavac? He had 10 goals in 55 games with us. he went on to have 90 goals in 436 NHL games. He sits in between Weise and Booth for games played as a Canuck.
But I haven’t mentioned someone important. yet.
He has 382 regular season games as a Canuck. That puts him only behind Mclean for the franchise lead at 516. That also puts him in 7th on the active roster, just after Bieksa and just before Edler.
He also ranks 21st ALL TIME on the NHL’s list of goalies games played. Brodeur is #1 with 1,185 games. Roberto, or the guy who doesn’t like to be called Rob *ask him*, has played 722. He’s a season’s worth of games ahead of Tomas Vokoun.
He’s already passed Mike Richter, Ron Hextall, the ageless Marty Turco, and the aged John Garrett. Sorry John. The 20 goalies ahead of him have 35 Stanley Cups between them.
Luongo wants to win a Cup. it’s no question. but he also wants to play golf after a tough January game in a t-shirt. So lets get behind him and give him some confidence to win and than get back to his normal life facing 45-50 shots a night for a team that has a beach party on new years, and we can start living ours as a city that finally won a cup.
Those Lou chants have been sad lately. Yell it out.
And unless the Blackhawks lose most of their remaining games, it could be a second round matchup with the Hawks. Playoffs are almost here.
LOU LOU LOU LOU LOU
(above you see all-star players Mikka Kiprusoff and Dion Phaneuf enjoying a puff)
Ok, so is it really a big deal? I mean really. Who amongst us hasn't ventured into the abyss of a cigarette at some point of our lives only to realize that either A. we hate it and will never do it, B. Your one of those who purchases your favourite pack at least once a week, or C. you are the "casual" smoker.
So why does it seem like such a big deal when athletes smoke? Hell, even The President of the United States admits to smoking heavily before his campaign for Presidency, and has admitted to "falling off the wagon" during his campaign. The leader of the free nation was a smoker!
Who else has been linked in to the white stick in the NHL? Dany Heatley of the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton's injured goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, and even ex Canuck Mats Sundin.
Now, does this make you change your thoughts on these people or could you care less? Personally I think it's up to the players. And if you think about it, if 21% of all Americans smoke, than there has to be a smaller percentage of athletes who smoke, but a percentage non the less.
Think of it this way. If you knew Luongo smoked, would that change your opinion on him? and in no way am I saying that he smokes, I’m just merely trying to get you to think about how it would make you feel when your favourite player or a player you look up to, inhales deeply.
The only concern I have is, what if that player isn’t at the best he can be? What if we are in the Stanley Cup final and that chain smoker down the bench is coughing and wheezing and you need him to go out there and shut down their top forward? We pay these guys millions of dollars a year to perform, so does smoking hinder their ability to be at their very best?
I guess at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. We all have the freedom to make our own choices and take our own risks in life. And as long as these athletes aren't pulling a Tiger Woods, and putting there putter in whole bunch of different bags, they can pretty much count on this to be a non issue.<BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">
As we approach the playoffs, I can’t help but think about two things.
First, I hope we don’t take a losing streak into the second season; and second, I keep telling myself Luongo will be at his best again come playoff time. I just have to start believing what I say. But there are other reasons as a faithful Canuck fan that has me grinning from ear to ear and it’s not just because of this season’s potential playoff run.
As much as Mike Gillis is known for not making big trades, he is most definitely known for signing key players; with the likes of Luongo signed until he is 73 years old, most recently Ryan Kesler, and of course the twin powers in the Sedin’s, we have these core players until at least the end of the 2013/2014 season provided they don’t get traded. We also have Burrows locked in, albeit for one less year than his twin partners until the 2012/2013 season.
And it’s not as big of a hit to the cap as you think. For those top 5 players combined, they affect the cap with 25.95 million dollars each year for the next 3 years, and only 23.95 million for the following year without Burrows signed that far ahead.
With the Cap this year being at 56.8 Million dollars for this season, an increase of only $100,000 from the previous season, don’t be surprised if the cap stays close to the 57 – 60 Million dollar marks for the next 4 years, which still puts the Canucks in great position. That leaves them with at least 31 million dollars in cap space for the remaining players.
We have one of the leading scorers in the league and his brother, who could put up the same numbers if he is healthy all season.
We have a top 5 goalie in the league, which as Canuck fans know, since Kirk McLean; this place has been considered a goalie graveyard. When was the last time you said an explicative in your sentence, followed by a comment similar to, “I wish we could get a real goalie to play here”?
We have prospects like Jordan Schroeder, Cody Hodgson, and Anton Rodin, who had two game winning goals for Sweden in the World Junior Championship.
We have trade bait in Cory Schneider.
And we have current NHL young future stars like Mason Raymond and Alex Edler; you could add Grabner to that list, but I am not sold yet on his stock value.
So unless you would rather be in the same boat as other Canadian teams like Calgary, Toronto and in some cases Montreal, I think as Canuck fans, we needn’t worry about missing the second season for a few years to come.
And please, don’t remind us of the Naslund, Burtuzzi, Cloutier era. I think we are better than that. But that might be another story for another day.
IS THE SLUMP OVER FOR THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS?
Imagine what they are feeling right now. Booth. Luongo. The Sedin's.
The pressure cooker of the playoffs fast approaching. We are just 22 games away from a time when every game means the world and every save makes your heart gently murmur against the back of your chest.
The look of despair on the ice as a 3-1 goal in the third sinks the spirit for a moment. Your workplace becomes a flutter with Oiler and Flames and Leafs fans looking at you like your team is going to be a failure again. Because we don't have a cup. And we will always be the team that got as close as you can get without actually winning it.
How are we compared to the players on the team?
We hold our heads high because we are smug like our team and we know it. But we lay in shame because we still don't have that holy grail all the other idiots who cheer for or play for the wrong team keep reminding us about.
We love Ottawa because they remind us that we aren't the only team without a golden trophy in Canada. And Winnipeg is a few years away from that, but how would you feel if the Jets got it before we did?
The only thing we can brag about are the Lions. And as much as I love the CFL, it is a bunch of guys that couldn't make the NFL.
So as we count down the remainder of the regular season hockey games, listening to Rick Ball on the Team or Shorty on Sportsnet; we find ourselves slowly, and ever so painfully counting our days to the playoffs where each puck drop will finally mean something again.
And we wonder if this funk that they were in was just a blip on the radar. That maybe this slump is a direct cause of the fact that they want the playoffs again so bad they can't focus on today. So let's muster our way through the next month and hope we don't get Chicago in the first round.
Lets start with the blue jays. we have a pool of talent because we didn't have fans. we didn't have money to buy the players and we didn't have the fans to critique every move.
Watch a Canuck game. every single mistake is maximized. every single time Luongo lets in a bad goal, the crowd lets him know. The crowd also appreciates the small moves that mean something. A back checking offensive player gets applauded appropriately. I guarantee you Derek Jeter and A-Rod are critiqued 10 times more than Luongo is here. That's why big name players go to big markets. Or they go to Sports crazed cities like Green Bay who have just over 100,000 people in their population.
We want Luongo to be a winner so bad because we are putting all the blame on him if we don't win the cup while he plays here. but he knows that. and he also knows that he will be immortalized if he does win a cup. I don't get why we love to hate him. Let's get behind the guy and fully embrace the team because this isn't going to be presidents trophy teams.
Canucks need to lose to wake up.
They will wake up.
As John Shorthouse said post game on the team 1040 after the loss of the 2nd game, "You have to change the feel of the game." And I agree. Cory Schneider will start Game 3 guaranteed.
The resiliency will pay off for the Vancouver Canucks. Vigneault taught his team to work with each other. Remember the line juggling he did in the dog days of the regular season? Burrows was taken off the first line for much of the final 2 months, the all American line broken apart and brought back together at random times.
Vigneault and company were getting every player used to each other and at the same time watching what happens when they put certain lines together. It enables him to motivate multiple times during the game by changing things up dependant upon how the team is playing. Where the first line could be different by the end of the game.
He even split the twins up in multiple games*. Allowed them to get used to playing without each other. For instances like this. Vigneault didn't want the team to rely on the twins taking them to the cup.
He knows what he is doing with this team. He motivates them. Rick Bowness motivates them. To block out the media and believe in each other. Try being in the media storm right now in Toronto. Hard to block it out.
They have played a lot of hockey over the last 2 years, and they know what it's like to be the best.
I think you do the following:
Burrows, Kesler, Booth - The superhero line
Higgins, Sedin, Hansen - The technical line
Lapierre, Malhotra, Kassian - the shutdown line and the pylon
Raymond, Pahlsson, Ebbett - the goal every 2-3 games line
They also better play a video to the Canucks showing how the Boston Bruins were down 2-0 against Montreal last season and came back to win and go on to win the Stanley Cup. And in Boston vs. Canucks series, they were down 2-0 against us. Inspiration can be taken from that.
They have to believe they can come back. We haven't been in this position either as fans for years, where we start to feel like, what a team that sucked in the playoffs feels ilke.
Have to go 4-1 from here out.
Can it be done by these Vancouver Canucks?
post your answer yes or no, and a comment if required.
The problem with passion and sports is, once you get to the top, for many at least, it's the money that drives you.
Because something you were once passionate about, you sold for a price. And now you push yourself differently. Market yourself. You start fights because that's what your paid to do. It's the action that drives in the fans and brings in the dollars.
Take a Jerome Iginla. He gets paid the big dollars and the coaches ask him not to take dumb penalties. That a fighting major takes him out of the game when they need him to stay out of the box.
Imagine if the Flames let Iginla play with passion? Letting him play with that intensity where he wants to fight you because you got in the way. That was the best Iginla, now you don't see that from him anymore.
He is asked to be a leader lead with his stick, not his heart. But what if he did get 10 or so more bad penalties for playing with fire, but scored 15 more goals because of it. Wouldn't you take that? Wouldn't that energize the team more than asking him to play like every other player? You won't see a Brett Lawrie doing that.
Some of them take that celebrity step. LIke a Sean Avery, or an Ovechkin. Sean Avery made 4 million this year in the minors. He had 6 goals in the last 2 years.
Ben Eager, who is the same kind of agitator with hands, had 15 goals and he still made less than 1 million.
So what is the difference between the two players? Avery had that celebrity status. His fans loved him like we love Burrows. Except the rest of the league seems to hate him and we don't know why. I have heard 'Burrows is an idiot' by non-Canuck fans many times. And I couldn't figure it out. How could they say that?
Take Matt Cooke. We still love him, but we could see the ugly side of him after he left. He has done extremely well to try and end his career as someone who is mature and could by all means win yet another cup this year.
So what is it better to be? A Heatley who seems scared of the press, or the celebrity stylings of Brad Marchand?
A Mattias Ohlund who is the leading career points for a defensman in Canucklehead History or a Dion Phaneuf mess who has a celebrity girlfriend and probably begged to go to Toronto.
Which side would you choose?
Ok, so here's a thought, what if Team Canada's men's hockey team doesn't win on Tuesday against Germany? What then? Does that change Canada's already beaten morale on hockey in this country after the US beat us in the juniors? And by change, I mean, does it officially say that Canada is no longer the hockey power of the world?
We live in a nation where this is who we are. Where kids are born with hockey skates on their feet. Where we try and figure out which junior team they can play on when they can't even tie there own shoes yet. I will admit, being a father puts me in this very position. It's our Saturday nights watching HNIC, and our Pay Per View costs when we said we weren’t going to buy it.
So what happens if we don't win? If we place out of the medals. At least we could say, "Well at least we won a medal" "It's a one game series; it could have went either way." But now, we are faced with the reality that we may not be able to defend our own turf. Where Hockey IS War in Canada. We stand behind our team thinking about trades and free agent signings at work, and hope our first date likes hockey, although, its not usually something that stops us from seeking out an extended night out.
So what am I saying here? Well, I am saying that perhaps I’m an over-reacting, over-excited Canadian male. It also says to me that perhaps a piece of our Canadian ego's could be chipped just a little bit if we lose. Don't you want to know what if feels like to win a gold medal in hockey in Canada? don't you want to see it just for a minute, and feel that pride of being the best hockey nation on earth that will live on for our generation. How long has Bobby Orr's winning goal been etched into Canadian hockey lore?
Wouldn't it be nice to drink a beer on your boat in the summer and sit back and say, "remember that gold medal game?!"
Good Luck Canada, one more proud lover of two Canuck teams.
Was there ever any doubt? Of course there was, but as Canadians we could never give up on our dream of being the best team in hockey, once again. And as good as gold was for our country, now its time to put the focus back on this Vancouver Canuck team and find out what potential paybacks the 2010 games might give us. Good and bad.
So what do these Olympics do for Vancouver?
Well, we now have arguably the best goalie in the world to never win a Stanley Cup. I know, like many of you out there who wanted so badly to see Luongo just get a chance to play, this is the best case scenario for him to return to the his team, a winner as a starting goalie for Canada. Looking at the official stats from the iihf, his Olympic totals shouldn't be enough to make him tired for the remainder of the season or come playoff time.
He played a total of 307 minutes, which is the equivalency of approximately 5 games. Luongo was 4th in total minutes to the likes of Ryan Miller (355 minutes) for Buffalo, Jaroslav Halak (422 minutes) for Montreal, and Jonas Hiller (315 minutes) for Anaheim. He only had to face 123 shots, which is an average of 24.6 shots per game, standard to low for most NHL games.
Now yes, there is the fact that these games were all pressure games, and every shot made us hold our breath, but I can't see that as being a negative for Lou. This guy needed to play in high intensity games, so he can prove not only to us, but to himself, that he can play when it counts.
Luongo wasn't the only Canuck to have a great Olympics. Pavol Demitra was the leading scorer of the tournament with 10 points. 1 point ahead of teammate Marion Hossa and 2 points ahead of American Zach Parise. Of course when you look at it realistically we can't expect Demitra to play like that for the rest of the season, but we should expect it come playoff time. Demitra is a big game player and I think we saw that when he played against Luongo and team Canada.
Ryan Kesler, who played on the first line for the Americans, finished as a plus-5 and had one of the biggest goals for his team in the gold medal game. Here's a guy who wants to win, although he may not want Luongo to win a Stanley Cup to go along with his gold.
Sami Salo finished as a plus-2, and added a goal and an assist.
And what about Henrik and Daniel? Well they finished with 1 goal and 4 assists combined, and were plus-2 and plus-3 respectively.
Ehrhoff was the only one that was a real disappointment, finishing with 0 points and was a minus-1. Although he did have the game winner for the Canucks in their first game back from the break.
We have a team full of stars for their respected countries, and we should be proud of that. Granted we didn't have the most representation in the Olympics as some other NHL teams, but we did have a Gold medal winning goalie, the leading scorer of the tournament in Demitra, Kesler being on the top line of the silver medal Americans and of course the twin powers who were top 6 forwards on that Swedish team that won gold 4 years ago.
So we can expect a bumpy ride to the end of the season, but come playoff time, when the games count the most, we have a good of chance as any to make a run and maybe, just maybe, get that big save when the series and the season are on the line.</SPAN>