Wednesday, June 15, 2011

17 more years of waiting?

I publish this post after two periods of Game Seven in Vancouver. My team is losing 3-0. I am resigned to the Boston Bruins hoisting the Stanley Cup in our rink. This will be a bitter pill to swallow. I went downtown today on errands - and stopped not three blocks from the rink at midday. The atmosphere was electric, the mood incredibly anxious. Nearly everyone was wearing the team colours. I thought back to last year when my father and I were two of the lucky spectators at the Olympic gold-medal game. I could well imagine what the atmosphere was going to be in a few hours when the game would start and the Canucks would have a winner-take-all Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup on home ice.

I could rant about this series for hours, but the bottom line was this: this was the first Finals appearance by the Canucks in franchise history where they were the clear favourites to win the Cup. If this series had been played 100 times, I think Vancouver would have won at least 70 times. But this is real life. In a given season, you only have one opportunity to become a champion. You don't get a do-over or a large sample size to determine who wins the post-season tournament.

The Canucks didn't get the job done. Mostly, this was their own fault. Some of it was atrociously bad luck. And a very small part of the blame should be laid at the door of the NHL's inconsistent officiating, which definitely did the Canucks no favours. But make no mistake, over the balance of play of these seven games, Boston was the better team. That's why they play the games; in professional team sports the best team often doesn't win the championship. And that's what I believe happened here.

This was a gut-wrenching series to watch, especially for the last five games. The Canucks' luck was ridiculously bad - all the bounces of the puck went against them; the Bruins' superior goal-tending and defensive system negated much of Vancouver's league-best offense; significant injuries to nearly all of the Canucks' best players - most notably the Game One injury to Ken Hamhuis, the team's most reliable defenseman, and the clearly hobbled Ryan Kesler, the heart and soul of the team who soldiered on at half-strength - as well as the Aaron Rome suspension, robbed the team of its cohesion at the worst possible time. And you could just see the Canucks being worn down, their speed and skill advantages over Boston blunted as the series wore on.

Above all, this series will be remembered as one where the Canucks were blown out in all three games in Boston with sub-par performances by Roberto Luongo and most everyone else in a Canucks uniform.

I really hope the Canucks can make it back to the finals and take care of unfinished business before my nephew, aged 18 months, graduates from high school.

I hope Mason Raymond recovers fully from a gruesome back injury he suffered at the :20 second mark of Game Six.

If a miracle of biblical proportions occurs in the third period and the Canucks come back to win the series, I will probably end up collapsing after a week-long bender. If the Bruins win, I will undoubtedly be a morose grump for a few days. Either way, my liver is in for a world of hurt.

A very, very small part of me admires the achievement of Tim Thomas. He's the same age as I am - and he just put up a goal-tending performance for the ages.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

17 years of waiting is over

The Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Maui Trip Report, pt. 1

I don't want to write anything about the Canucks-'Hawks series until it is over. Until then, I'll post a serialized trip report from my recent vacation - with pics to come.

2nd April

Get up early for 6 hr flight to Maui. Supposedly I'll be sitting next to sister, brother-in-law and 16 month-old nephew in bulkhead seats - more room to stretch out? yes please! - but they prove to be a myth. Bad beat.

I had resigned myself to long odds that Oliver would behave on the flight but he came through like a champion, much to the delight of everyone in the vicinity, as we gladly enjoyed the 7-to-1 shot. Only bad part of flight was about 1 hour's worth of fairly significant turbulence. Would happily have traded back the hour saved - we landed in just over 5 hours - for a smoother flight.

Somehow we spent 2.5 hours on arrival collecting baggage and picking up two rental cars. We then drove to . . . Costco. Yep, the first stop on a Hawaiian vacation was a giant store. Nothing says you're in Maui like Costco! This store was quite a bit different than the ones you'd find in Vancouver, though. Picked up essential supplies, then proceeded to posh resort. A spot of trouble with our room, but this was sorted out to our satisfaction and we settled in. (We soon found out the unit we were renting was for sale for a cool 1.4MM.) We spent a quiet evening getting the hang of the place and barbequed some burgers, than we turned in, ready to hit the beach the next day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Escaping to paradise

I have been mulling over what to do with this space. Like many bloggers whose authorial voice has waned, my posting frequency has dropped to nearly nil. Since it's not 2005 and I no longer feel the need to try to post a lot about my poker adventures or record my halting steps towards proficiency at various forms of the game, I have been considering what other topics I might opt to write about here. I have a few ideas and once I've made some preparations, all six of you who still read this blog will hopefully be rewarded with some content of non-negligible value.

In the meantime, I'm happy to say that I'll be taking a family vacation in a week's time to Hawaii. It'll be my first time to that island paradise, and we're all set to stay at a very nice resort. I hope my nephew, who is fifteen months old, behaves on the flight. Other news of interest: my father, who is a few years older than this car enthusiast, and probably has even more disposable income than his fellow doctor to make frivolous purchases, will likely own one of these very soon. Needless to say, I have dibs on taking it out for a spin - my brother-in-law will have to get in line!

Sadly, I'll be an island away from this poker blogger when I'm vacationing, and it doesn't look as if I'll be able to hop over for a visit because our schedules don't mesh. I guess our next meeting will have to wait until Vegas in December.

I hope to fit in a round of golf whilst in Maui, so if anyone has any golf course suggestions, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In the words of an English peasant

This brilliant scene from one of my all-time favourite movies resonates with me more than usual this week, since Sunday is my birthday - my 37th. And I'm starting to notice the onset of age. I've spotted some gray hair. Carpe diem!

At least no-one has yet called me ...

King Arthur: Old woman.
Dennis: Man.
King Arthur: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?
Dennis: I'm 37.
King Arthur: What?
Dennis: I'm 37. I'm not old.
King Arthur: Well I can't just call you "man".
Dennis: Well you could say "Dennis".
King Arthur: I didn't know you were called Dennis.
Dennis: Well you didn't bother to find out did you?
King Arthur: I did say sorry about the "old woman", but from behind you looked...
Dennis: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
King Arthur: Well I am king.
Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

Go watch the whole thing. And laugh your guts out. Or go see Spamalot, because it's nearly as awesome.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Musings on the year that was 2010 and some 2011 predictions

Here are some predictions for 2011, and a few thoughts on 2010.

I will lose ten pounds to reach my target weight of 165 lbs (which is what I was at back when I graduated high school).

I will achieve some much-needed professional development and move upwards, not laterally, in the coming months.

I will improve my endurance and run some 10K races this summer, hopefully breaking the 55-minute barrier.

The Vancouver Canucks - currently the best team in the NHL - will be Stanley Cup finalists for the first time since 1994. We will probably lose in heart-breaking fashion to the Pittsburgh Penguins because Sidney Crosby always finds a way to win. This will be a time where my sincere admiration for Crosby will (temporarily) turn to unvarnished hatred.

I will attend next December's blogger gathering in Las Vegas.

I will put more time and effort into crushing some local private NL/PLO cash games that I've recently discovered. I will likely play more online poker in 2011 than I did in 2010, sticking to lower stakes mixed games and PLO8 cash games and a few bloggaments. Bring on the next BBT, Al!

I will blog more (but it's likely poker won't be a regular topic unless the American online poker industry blows up in dramatic fashion).

Looking back on 2010, I have a lot to be thankful for. I significantly improved my fitness, I saw the most famous international goal in Canadian hockey in my lifetime from 40 feet away (my DOB is post-Summit Series), and most importantly of all, my close family is all in good health and grew by one with the birth of my nephew Oliver, who recently turned one on December 30th.