Geek Smithology

December 29, 2009

Hockey Liveblog

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 8:27 pm

Just out with thw wife watching the Hitmen (Calgary) play the Pats (Regina)[1]. We’re between the second and third period and the Hitmen are ahead 3-2. As a former Reginian Who attended dozens of Pats games as a kid I do feel some residual loyalties (even if none of these players were born the last time I regularly went to WHL games). Maybe it’ll be a tie.

[1] When meeting people outside of Canada saying you’re from Regina is almost always greeted with an incredulous grin and an amused “you’re from where?!?” (think about it)

Update: Calgary wins 4-3

January 5, 2009

Holy Five-peat, Caped Crusader!

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 8:19 pm

Let me congratulate Team Canada on a hard-fought tournament to claim a fifth World Junior championship in a row – this one on Canadian soil, led by a great performance by the best forward of the tournament, John Tavares.

I’m not sure if you are aware, gentle reader, but our opponents in the gold medal final (Sweden, again) did a little trash talking before the game, about Canada wasn’t to be feared and how we were totally beatable because are goalie wasn’t “that good”. They also said that we’d fall apart if they scored a couple of quick goals.

And well, that might be true, but we’ll never know, because Canada went up 3-0 and despite being outshot, ended up winning 5-1. I’ve got nothing against the Swedes in principal, but there’s a piece of me that loves seeing trash talking mooks lose almost as much as the piece that loves watching my country win. Add to that the gold and bronze Canada took in the Under-17 tournament and our future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades.[1]

This is Canada’s record-destroying 15th title – you need to add the next four teams together to get that total (okay, Russia has 11 if you add the 8 that the Soviet Union won to the that Russia has won, but I don’t). Can’t wait until 2012, when the world Juniors finally come to Calgary (and in Regina and Saskatoon next year for my prairie peeps.)

[1] It’s been 20 years, folks, it’s time to proudly (and without irony) reference Timbuk-3 again! Yeah right, who am I kidding…

February 3, 2008

Patriots IMperfect

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 9:59 pm

Today I watched the Superbowl. This is exactly the second full-length NFL game I’ve watched in my life (the first being the 2003 Superbowl in Shawn Metheny’s basement. I don’t remember who played or who won, but I had fun playing foosball afterward.) I watched it because I got a kick out of the stakes involved: the first perfect season since 1972 was there for the taking.

I don’t have the background to say whether or not the game was any good, but I can say that my heart was beating and felt a little nausea (although that may have been the painfully spicy vegetarian curry pie that I ate yesterday afternoon and fought with all yesterday evening, as the clearly evil pastry attempted to chew itself through my sternum in some kind of Giger-influenced yet non-trademark-infringing way) during the last three minutes.

Long story short, the perfect season was not had. I was cheering for New England to do it, but I wasn’t involved in any way that made me angry (you, know, like when I got so pissed off at Eric Lindros and the Flyers when they not only failed to beat Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals, but instead got swept) so I was happy for the New York Giants.

Anyway, that has satisfied my need for football for some time. If anyone has some invites for a 2013 Superbowl Party, send ’em my way, I just might show up.

And while I’m here, why did the players insist on referring to the Superbowl as the “World Championship”? I mean, okay, technically it is, but if you’re the only country that plays a sport called American Football, calling it a “World” Championship is somewhat presumptuous.

But, as Bruce McCulloch would say, “America, the land where spelling doesn’t count, people’s pets do!”

three and a half star

July 23, 2007

You can still thrash at powers of 2 > 4, baby!

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 9:03 pm

As an old-timer with less than two weeks before getting sentenced to being 33, it may surprise you that I own a skateboard. It may drop your jaw to realize that I even ride it. And you’ll accuse me of playing too much Tony Hawk 4[1] if I told you I did a railslide the other day. I’ll bring you back to earth by saying there was a rather sudden and painful meeting of flesh and cement[2] when I attempted to ollie on the roll[3].

So, after some alleyway and playground trickery, I figured it was time to cruise, so I jumped on the stick to head over to the bank to deposit some cheques, and it was an uneventful, if fun little jaunt. It’s quicker than walking, and goddamn it’s a workout! I will have Thighs of Fire(TM) tomorrow, but at least I wasn’t using a ThighMaster(also TM. I think. Whatever)

I’ve included a couple of pictures of my ride for those who may be interested. I wanted some action shots, but my wife refuses to be in the vicinity whenever I hop on – she’s convinced I’m going to break something (to be fair, this fear is not without merit. Or precedent…), so I’m throwing yet another half-hearted attempt at amateur (or is that auteur) photography onto the web to clog the tubes.

Y’all have yerselves a marvy day!

[1] Guilty as charged.
[2] My buddy Dave Calam always said “Flesh on Cement” would be a good band name
[3] If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry about it

April 17, 2006

I’m a bad fan.

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 3:46 pm

The Avs didn’t win their division this year. I should feel something, but I don’t. Even though the dozens of Flames “fans” that have materialized since Kiprusoff started pulling the bandwagon two years ago are chiding me and my team, all I can say is “well, they had their 10 years, it’s nice someone else can win.” And I’m glad it’s Calgary – while I find their style[1] insomnia-curing, Edmonton or Vancouver winning the division would be a travesty. In typical non-sensical sports fan style, I hate Vancouver because Bertuzzi is a jerk and the Sedin twins are ugly. And Edmonton? As a resident of Cowtown, while I don’t cheer for the Flames, I do cheer against the Oil.

I’m funny that way.

Do I think the Flames will win the cup? Only if Kiprusoff remains uninjured. Calgary is a low-scoring, grinding team that relies on their goalie more than anyone since the 1993 Canadiens. Yes, Iginla is great[2], Phaneuf is the real deal, and there is a handful of other contenders, but if Kipper blows a hip… Plus, they’re coming in as one of the favourites instead of a “we-made-it-on-the-last-day-of-the-season” Cinderella story, and the Detroit of 2006 is not the same as the Detroit of 2004 (as another President’s Trophy will attest.)

Of course, if New Jersey proved anything back in 1995, it’s that you can bore your way to a Stanley Cup. Oh, and that “winning goal” that didn’t count last time? It wasn’t a goal. I just wanted everyone to know.

Am I bitter? Of course I am.

I’m funny that way.

[1] I know, I know, not generally a word one hears when describing the Calgary game.
[2] But watching Iggy shine in the Olympics (moreso in 2002 when he was on a line with Sakic and Yzerman) shows you just how much the Calgary game stifles what he could be.

December 10, 2005

The Flames will win the Cup

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 11:30 pm

I’m not a Flames fan. I had a team before I came to this city and I’m not going to give up 20 years of history just ’cause I moved here. That said, my team isn’t going to win the cup this year, so it wouldn’t bother me if Calgary did win.

A lot of streetcorner pundits have ruminated on what would happen if Calgary played the class of the NHL, and they finally did that Saturday night when they played Ottawa. And the fact that Hasek wasn’t in net doesn’t change the fact that for two periods and an overtime, the Flames abused the Senators like their prison lover. They still rely on their goalie too much (and lost the Stanley Cup when they came up a goalie equally talented) and were until recently the only team with a winning record that had fewer goals for than against, but damn if they don’t look like they could take it all this year.

The only problem is that outside of a moment here and there, the Flames are boring. Remember 1995, when New Jersey bored everybody to the cup? I hope that doesn’t happen this year. Just like coding, success just isn’t quite as sweet when the execution is not elegant.

October 9, 2005

Hockey Night in Canada

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 9:44 pm

The first post-lockout season started Wednesday, which means yesterday was the first episode of Hockey Night in Canada in a loooong time (Movie Night in Canada kinda sucked.) It was also my first look at the new NHL, and my friends, it looks sweet.

Montreal beat the Leafs 5-4 (hey Eskimo Bill, Sundin lasted what, seven minutes?) in the quick paced first game. The second game was another all Canadian affair – Vancouver @ Edmonton. It looked like Vancouver was gonna eke out a 3-2 win when Ohlund flipped the puck over the boards, getting a penalty in the process (this is one of the new rules.) Edmonton threw six guys out for the power play and managed to tie it up with 23 seconds left. Overtime solved nothing, so I got to see a shootout, something I was looking forward to. They cleaned the ice for the shootout so that the players had a good surface to make things happen. Edmonton won when Torres and Hemsky scored (while Naslund and Bertuzzi were stoned), putting an exclamation point on the new look.

The commentators made a good observation that unlike last year, when fans started streaming out of the building during overtimes, everybody stuck around to see the shootout. Maybe the NHL is onto something.

For what it’s worth, I think that the new two line pass, the bigger offensive zone, and the obstruction crackdown have made for a far more exciting game. There were a few penalties that would’ve been strategies last year, and I think the rule changes will keep the game exciting even if the referees get lax on obstruction later in the season.

I have to say, I’m really glad hockey’s back, and so far even I am finding it difficult to be cynical (unless I’m talking about the Flames – 1-2 and outscored 13-9 after three games — ouch.) Just taking a look at some of the scores last night (8-1, 7-6, 5-4) makes me really look forward to what’s coming. Death to the trap!

August 6, 2005

Avs fans can breathe a little easier

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 4:24 pm

Milan Hejduk has signed a five year contract and Alex Tanguay has signed a one-year qualifying offer. Now that Forsberg is in Philly, I can start cracking jokes about the last time he actually played a full season.

August 3, 2005

Forsberg’s a Flyer???

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 8:18 pm

Oh…my…god. I thought there was hope when Foote was out of the picture. And with Vancouver signing Naslund and Calgary signing Iginla, it just seemed natural. Now he’s going back to the Flyers? At least he’s not going to Vancouver.

Somehow I just can’t find it in me to get excited about the Avs signing Pierre Turgeon right now. I’m still stoked about Sakic and Blake. But off goes Foote, and now Forsberg? They better find ways to keep Hejduk and Tanguay. I’m too distraught to comment any further.

July 22, 2005

Pittsburgh wins lottery

Filed under: Sports by Nathan @ 10:10 pm

So Mario Lemieux, once the “next Gretzky” (and probably a better player – look what he’s done despite the injuries), picks up the “next Mario” (let’s forget about that whole Lindros thing – the best thing he ever did was help Colorado win 2 cups.) Let’s face it, with 168 points in 62 games, the kid’s got something. Even better, it looks like he and the rest of the league might actually get a little help from some rule changes. While TSN has a good summary, here are the highlights as I see it:

  • Shootouts. Finally, no more ties! I know there will be grumbling about this one, but I say it’s about time. I never want to see one in the playoffs, because sudden death overtime is an order of magnitude more thrilling than a shootout, but if it means I never have to watch a lazy reg. season tie again, I love it.
  • Two line passes are in. Give hockey a fast break strategy and another weapon against the trap. Another good one.
  • Tag-up offside is back. I’m wait and see on this one – if every team’s strategy is a dump and chase, well…
  • Goalies now have a restricted area in which they can play the puck. It’s about freaking time for this one – I’m sick of untouchable goalies slowing down the game by skating waaay out of their creases to stop a puck.
  • Zero tolerance on obstruction. Face it – we’ll believe it when we see it. We’ve heard it before, yet we continue to see big, slow defensemen slowing down the speedier guys by latching on with the ol’ hookeroo and going for a ride. This (along with the reduced size goalie equipment) is probably the most important thing to make the game worth watching again.

In short, I was never all that bitter about the strike, and I’m looking forward to the season starting up again, so let’s play ball. Well, you get the point.

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