Tag Archives: Calgary Flames

Calgary beats Vancouver

So Calgary beat Vancouver in six games.  I predicted they would and it’s always nice to be right.  I’ll leave this up to the Canucks fans to decide but I think this was a case of Vancouver lacking a killer instinct and grit rather than it was Calgary being a better team.  It happens sometimes in a series and this was one of them.

This is what I liked about this Calgary team.  For me it starts with them not firing Bob Hartley.  Either your coach can or can’t coach and if you have one that can, you don’t fire him because he misses the playoffs with a bad roster.  Instead Calgary stood by Hartley through the good and the bad and in the end he made the team into what he and also Brian Burke thought would win (and it did).

I don’t understand why teams don’t do more of this.  I look at the firing of Peter Chiarelli as Boston’s GM.  It seemed like the Jacobs were more angry and instead of going, “our roster aged more than we expected, we had some injuries and we still ended up with 96 points, it happens to the best of them,” that decided that someone has to pay and it’s the GM.  

Good franchises don’t do this.  They have a plan and they stick to it.  Bad teams like Toronto and Edmonton never seem to stick with a plan and instead replace the coach over and over and over again.  It is also his fault despite everyone (including the fans) knowing it really isn’t.  The next coach is always going to be the saviour.  In reality a hockey coach probably has less to do with wins and losses than anyone other than a baseball manager (I have read someplace that the difference between a good manager and a bad manager is about 5 games a season in baseball).

So back to my point, good job for Calgary sticking to the plan, good job for Edmonton getting a guy with a plan (and demoting those without one), and while I love Boston, I am really, really nervous about the move to get rid of Chiarelli.  The ownership transition from father to son is not going well.

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve.  It was a rare day for Wendy and I as we both had if off work.  We slept in for a bit and then I woke and was surprised that I wasn’t sick.  After a nice breakfast of Eggs Benedict and then taking the dogs out for a walk, we spend the rest of the day chilling out before heading meeting some friends for lunch at Alexander’s.  After some nachos, we chilled out a bit before heading over to Lee and Brittany’s for dinner.

Since it was Camdyn’s first Christmas, it was all about her.

We gave her a baby tablet, Oliver got her a cell phone, and Mark gave her a teddy bear that is the size of Oliver.  I’m seriously rethinking that gift.  She could get crushed by that bear.  Then again, in a fight with a giant monster, it will do quite well.

Teddy Bear vs. Giant Monster

The boys gave Lee and Brittany men’s and women’s Calgary Flames mugs.  Wendy and I gave Brittany a pizza stone and a signed copy of Amy Jo Ehlman’s book Out of Saskatchewan Kitchens. 

Wendy and I gave Lee a crate of dynamite inspired fire starter from Cabela’s.  Basically they are fire starters that look like sticks of TNT and come in a wooden TNT looking crate.  Unless I got him the wrong stuff and I actually got him dynamite.  If that is the case Evergreen could have a different look the first time he starts his fire pit.  Camdyn can use the giant bear as a protective barrier.

Along with Camdyn getting a teddy bear, we found Lee’s childhood teddy bear in a box in the corner of our basement.  It is over 30 years old, has seen better days but Wendy carefully sewed up Teddy and then got him a new outfit from Build-a-Bear.  So there will not just be one but two bears in their household, even if one is a greybeard.  Lee was so shocked that I think he almost cried when we gave him Teddy.  It was pretty sweet.

Lee wanted to get me a tripod but Amazon didn’t ship it in time.  Instead he gave me an Amazon.com gift certificate.  They also gave me a battery backup for my cell phone and a Pentax remote control for my camera.

They gave Wendy the main game and first expansion pack to Cards Against Humanity. The best part of the gift is that neither Lee, Brittany, or Wendy had realized how taboo it was.  They also gave hime a tea cup and tea from David’s Tea, a knife sharpener, and two books by Anne Lamott.  

They gave Mark an indoor basketball hoop, a book on the history of the NFL, a Denver Broncos toque (or knit cap for you American’s out there), and a violent PS3 game.

Oliver got a remote control dog, a Marvel posters, a Lego Batman alarm clock, and a Lego book/playset.

Now we get to head to bed and see what will happen on Christmas morning.  

Hope your evening was a good one.

Turning 40

Today mark’s my 40th trip around the sun without being tossed off.  I guess it also means that I am middle aged.  That being said, Time Magazine once said that 50 is the new 30 so I guess that makes me 25 or so.  Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

To celebrate my birthday, we have spent the last couple of days where it all began; in Edmonton.  Yes I was born in Edmonton.  I don’t like to talk about it because it wasn’t my choice and it is Edmonton after all.

We got up at Sunday at 5:00 a.m., left Saskatoon at 6:00 a.m., were in Lloydminister for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and in Elk Island National Park by 11 a.m.  After talking some photos of some bison, it was off to Edmonton.  Wendy used some Airmiles to book a decent hotel, the boys have spent the last couple of days enjoying West Edmonton Mall and I got out in the warmer weather and took some photos around the city.  I’ll post them online when I get back to Saskatoon.

I don’t really think of Edmonton as home.  I was born there and only lived there a year before moving to Rainbow Lake and then settling in Calgary for a decade.  Growing up as a Calgary Flames hockey fan, I used to despise Edmonton in the same way someone from Springfield thinks of Shelbyville.  Since things have changed (and both Calgary and Edmonton can’t play hockey),it is nice to be back, even if it does mean wandering up and down a mall.

Invicta Watch

For my birthday, the boys gave me a Pentax WG-10 rugged compact camera while Wendy gave me a GoPro 3+ Silver Edition and a really nice Invicta dive watch.  Maggi gave me a Denver Broncos sign that I will hang at the cabin.  Two of the four gifts say, “get outside more often” and after this winter, I can’t agree more.

The plan is to have dinner with the boys tonight at a local restaurant and then head down to Winston’s for a Diet Coke with some friends.

My brother gave me a DeWalt cordless drill and a bit set.  We are planning to build the deck on the cabin this summer and he included his ideas as well.  A 10×10 deck out back and a 8×8 deck in the front yard.  We should have it built in a day.

Brian Burke on the Calgary Flames

Burke speaks about the Calgary Flames

“Successful teams are big. We’re not big enough, that’s one thing. And we’re not hostile enough for me. I don’t like playing flag football. I like teams that bang. I don’t like the way we play … we want black and blue hockey here. It’s what we do in Alberta. And that’s the first thing. We’ve got to be big and more truculent — you’re all waiting for the word, and there it is.”

Duffy is out of friends

Stephen Maher on Mike Duffy

In 2004, when I arrived in Ottawa to cover politics for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, I was lucky to get a desk in the press gallery between Maurice Godin, a canny Radio-Canada veteran, and Mike Duffy, who was then the host of CTV’s political show.

Both Godin and Duffy were kind to the East Coast greenhorn, and since Godin was on the Hill in the morning and Duffy in the afternoon, I was often able to get help with a story from two of the best reporters on the Hill without leaving my desk.

I got to be friends with Duffy, a twinkly-eyed storyteller with a love for gossip and cold white wine.

He was kind enough to have me on his show a few times, including the night of Oct. 9, 2008, when CTV decided to air some outtakes from an interview in which Liberal leader Stephane Dion struggled to answer a confusing question.

I thought CTV was right to air the clip, since Dion wanted to be prime minister, but I thought Duffy’s take on the interview was way over the top. He treated it like the biggest gaffe since Robert Stanfield fumbled a football, and I’m embarrassed to say I squirmed through the panel discussion without saying that.

Duffy was in the tank for the Tories because he wanted Harper to appoint him to the Senate.

Saying Duffy did the Dion interview to get in the Senate was like suggesting that Steve Smith scored on his own goal in 1986 because he wanted to play for the Calgary Flames.

(that video never gets old)

Bonus link: Here is a video of what looks to be an intoxicated Mike Duffy attacking MPs and the Canadian Press.  The best part of the video is Duffy attacking Peter Stoffer on his expenses while defending his own.

The delusion of the Calgary Flames

Great piece by Eric Francis.  If Edwards’ statements are accurate (rather than just marketing talking) then it is going to be a bad stretch ahead to be a Calgary Flames fan.

Just when it appeared the Flames were finally ready to move wholeheartedly in the right direction, Edwards issued the type of directive that got this franchise into this mess in the first place.

Instead of building slowly towards something the city can eventually be proud of again, comments like that suggest the organization is destined to, once again, ignore the virtues of patience and better judgment by aiming for something that is not only completely unattainable but counterproductive.

Not so, argued president Ken King, who heard the rapid backlash.

“Trying to win and rebuilding are not mutually exclusive,” insisted King.

“We are not straddling the line of trying to balance — we are completely committed to the rebuilding process and should be judged on our recent and future moves.”

To think a team can jettison Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and likely lose Miikka Kiprusoff to retirement and somehow snap a four-year playoff drought despite receiving no NHLers in return is beyond nonsensical.

It’s delusional.

Intellectually dishonest.

So, why even float the idea out there?

While it’s important players continue to strive for wins throughout the process, standings should be irrelevant the next year or two. Improving with a re-stocked lineup should be the goal, however long it takes.

Feaster admitted Monday he hadn’t been as intellectually honest as he could have been the last two seasons by mortgaging the future to help a bad team. Edwards’ stated goal promotes more of the same.

The stage finally appeared to be set the last week for a prolonged rebuild fans have been screaming for. Calgarians are willing to sit through the growing pains absolutely necessary for every organization in pro sport to endure before going from the basement to Cup challengers.

The Flames’ age-old mandate calling for a team to challenge for the Cup every year isn’t realistic. Every franchise in every sport has to eventually take a step or two back to take one step forward.

By trying to emulate the Harlem Globetrotters, the Flames have looked more like the Washington Generals by advancing past the first round of the playoffs once in the last 24 years.

 

What’s next is next

When I resigned from the Salvation Army, I didn’t really have a plan or a job to go to so I’ll let you read into that all you want.  It was a pretty sudden decision but it was time to move to something else.  After years of being on call 24.7, I wasn’t sleeping well and it had started to take a toll on my body.  Stress was a major contributor to my heart “event” and part of the tension I had in my shoulders which is what partially lead to my rotator cuff issues (it’s healed now).  I have lost 30 pounds since I was hospitalized but as my doctor said, the stress still needed to be dealt with.  As he said, “my body was demanding a change of pace”.

When I resigned, I immediately updated my LinkedIn profile and sent out some resumes that day as to be honest, the idea of being unemployed doesn’t appeal to me.  I heard from a couple of headhunting recruitment firms that had some clients they were working with but I didn’t know what to think about those job descriptions.  I have had a job that I cared passionately about for so long that the idea of collecting a pay check for the purpose of collecting a pay check kind of freaked me out.  Well that might be too strong, if I got the kind of compensation package Urban Meyer got to coach OSU, I might sell out as well.  Especially if Notre Dame offers me their head coaching job. 

We did get some offers overseas that kind of came out of the blue.  The idea of living and working in England and Europe excited me, it would have been taking the job for the experience, it wasn’t anything that evoked any great passion out of me.  With the looming recession in Europe, I envisioned being made redundant (laid off) in 6 months anyways.  It may have been different if I was single or Wendy and I didn’t have any kids but it’s a big deal to move there just because I want to experience a part of Europe.  While the romantic in me loves the ideas of weekends in Paris or Berlin, the practical part of me says that at my payscale, it wasn’t likely to happen.  Because I always prided myself in thinking globally, I have wanted to live globally.  At the same time I do love this city of ours and I like to call Saskatoon (and Arlington Beach on summer weekends) home.

I then had to figure out what I wanted to do.  I know what I need to do to live on and Wendy and I don’t have much debt (mortgage, small car payment).  While Wendy wants to do a bunch of work to the cabin, the bill for that will be in the hundreds of dollars this summer, not thousands.  On top of that, Wendy cut back on a lot of her job responsibilities at Safeway this year.  She wasn’t getting paid for them and it was taking away from she liked about her job.  On top of that Oliver is at an age where being at the sitter a bit isn’t that bad for him and he really enjoys being there which has meant that Wendy can get much earlier shifts.  Both of these factors contributed to Wendy enjoying work a lot more and as she says, she enjoys work more now than she has at any time over the last 15 years.  While her depression is always there, things are better and it gave me some flexibility on what i wanted to do with my life.

So what do I want to do?  Initially I was so tired that I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I still wasn’t sleeping right but over the last week I have just relaxed and felt more alive physically, emotionally, and spiritually than I have in a long time.  I did realize that I still want to do something that I care about and I want it to be local.  I also realized there are relatively few things that get me excited.  I get friends who are working in churches and want to talk about ancient/future worship or some great new idea in technology and communication and I can barely generate an opinion.  It’s not that for some that stuff isn’t important but for me, it’s not how I am wired.  On the other hand I am not driven by money.  I wish I was sometimes and I have been derided for my lack of greed but I am driven by helping people.  It left me in a place where I want to spend more time on stuff I care about and less time on stuff that is important to other people.

So what does it all mean.  It means that on Thursday I’ll post where I landed and some other projects that I am working on.

Ken Dryden on Hockey Violence

In today’s Globe and Mail

I wonder what will make people say that about us 50 years from now. What are the big things we might be getting really wrong? Chemicals in our foods? Genetic modifications gone wrong? Climate change?

In sports, I think, the haunting question will be about head injuries. It wasn’t until 1943 in the National Football League that helmets became mandatory; in the National Hockey League, not until 36 years after that, in 1979. The first goalie mask wasn’t worn in the NHL until 1959.

And in a whole childhood and adolescence of playing goalie, I didn’t wear a mask until 1965, when I had to wear one on my college team. How could I have been so stupid?

A football wide receiver, 220 pounds, cuts across the middle of the field at 35 kilometres an hour; a linebacker, 240 pounds, cuts the other way at 20 km/hour. The wide receiver focuses on the ball; the linebacker focuses on the wide receiver, knowing that a good hit now won’t just break up the pass but will break down the focus and will of that wide receiver for each succeeding pass in the game.

Two hockey players, almost as big as the football players, but going even faster, colliding with each other and with the boards, glass and ice exaggerating the force of every hit.

Boxers, snapping jabs and hooks at each other’s head, round after round. (But no hitting below the belt; that’s not fair.) Ultimate Fighting: Fist, foot, elbow, knee, bone against bone – get your opponent down, get him defenceless and pound away.

In addition, there are the countless mini-collisions that never make the “Highlights of the Night.” They make players feel a little dizzy, but then seconds later, almost every time, they feel fine. So they must be fine.

As he points out in detail, they really aren’t.

During the lockout a couple of years ago, I watched a lot of hockey on ESPN Classic.  The game in the 70s and even 80s was incredibly different and it wasn’t just the mullets.  Even hard hitting physical teams like the Philadelphia Flyers or Boston Bruins played a far less physical than even finesse teams today do.  The amount of violent hits just were not there.  There were ugly incidents but the game was not nearly as physical as it is today.  Part of it was the equipment.  The equipment of the 70s was cloth with just a little plastic on you knee pads.  Today’s players are using a lot of plastic and composite materials that make players not only feel invincible when they hit someone else but magnify the power and intensity of those hits on someone else.  Add the fact that the average player is both faster, bigger, and heavier, you have a recipe for disaster, especially when you consider that the head is still the least protected parts of their body.

One thing that Dryden didn’t get at is this ridiculous idea that is spouted by Bettman is that the players have to govern this themselves.  As shown in the NFL, players won’t clamp down on illegal hits, it has to come from the league.  It has to hurt players in fines and in games lost (which hurts the team as well).  This isn’t about the Zdeno Chara/Max Pacioretty hit (which I didn’t see as dirty) but it’s about a crazy about of players losing not only their careers but being able to function as human beings after they retire.  As comments by Tie Domi about the death of Bob Probert show, players won’t even protect themselves from that fate so they need someone to step in and do it.  The question is will the NHL do it before the Canadian or U.S. government steps in and does it for them?

What to do in Saskatoon during the summer of 2010

With Wendy working at Safeway and her shifts being all over the map, we need to plan ahead as a family if we are going to enjoy all of what Saskatoon has to offer this summer.  While we won’t get to all of these events this summer, here is my list of why I think Saskatoon is a great place to spend the summer.

  • June 24 and 25th :: Broadway Art Encounter :: This is done in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival so there will an interesting selection of art and some great jazz to see.
  • July 10th :: Regina Red Sox vs. Saskatoon Yellow Jackets ::  Wendy and I have been meaning to go to a minor league baseball game since the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets came to Saskatoon.  They are a Western Major Baseball League team and I am told it’s not bad baseball to watch.  $8 per ticket.
  • July 18th to July 25th :: Arlington Beach Family Camp and 50th Reunion :: I am taking the entire week off work and spending most of it at the cabin with the boys.  Wendy will be out for part of the week while she works a couple of shifts at work.
  • July 23rd and 24th :: Rotary Club Dragon Boat Festival :: Not sure if we will be back from the lake but if we are, we will take this in along with the Taste of Saskatchewan.
  • Taste of Saskatchewan July 20th to July 25th :: Taste of Saskatchewan :: I really like the idea of Taste of Saskatchewan but in reality, I don’t really enjoy going.  The food can either be good or mediocre, it’s a really crowded event, the music is too loud to have a conversation, and parking can be brutal.  My honest feeling is that it would be a better event with fewer (but better restaurants), a larger venue, and a sound stage that doesn’t feel the need to blow out your ear drums.
  • July 29th to August 7th :: Saskatoon Fringe Festival :: Good food, lots of stuff made of hemp, hundreds of people smoking pot while the police look the other way.  I don’t generally take in the plays but instead just enjoy myself on Broadway Avenue with the boys.
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders July 31st :: Hamilton Tiger Cats vs. the Saskatchewan Roughriders :: It’s the Riders Centennial which means like all Saskatchewan Roughriders fans, we must make the mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca and take in a game.  We are choosing to see the Riders lay down a smackdown on the Hamilton Tiger Cats.  There is a reason why we have a cabin that is only an hour away from Mosaic Stadium.
  • NASCAR Canadian Tire Series August 4th :: NASCAR Canadian Tire Series :: 250 laps of NASCAR goodness at the Auto Clearing Motor Speedway.  Oddly enough, Pierre Bourque of Bourque Newswatch is also in the series.  Sadly, the Conservative Party is no longer sponsoring his ride, maybe because NASCAR drivers only turn left.
  • August 8th :: Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan :: I know it goes all summer but what could be a better way to spend a Sunday night than taking in some Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice) and then head to a place with a patio for coffee and dessert.
  • August 10 15 :: Saskatoon Exhibition :: This is the highlight of Mark’s summer and is fun to go with Wendy and Oliver as well.
  • September 3-4 :: Saskatoon Fireworks Festival :: After years of taking in really lame fireworks shows in Saskatoon, the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival changed everything.  It is a world class, must see event that is perfect for River Landing.  Let’s just hope the Traffic Bridge doesn’t collapse before that weekend is over.
  • Calgary Flames logo September 29 :: Calgary Flames vs. New York Islanders :: I know I broke up with hockey a couple of years (I said some things, hockey said some things… you know how it is) but we have been checking out each other on Facebook and I may grab a thing of nachos and see how hockey is doing.

As you can probably tell by the links, I am a big fan and user of Yahoo!’s Upcoming service.  I’ll keep adding events to my profile as I see them coming up.

Christmas with Reimers

We spent an early Christmas dinner with the Reimers and Kristy before the the Reimers head south to California for Christmas with their kids.  It’s our family Christmas dinner and it is a really nice evening.

The food is always good and during dinner I was having my second helping of a bean and mushroom casserole when I realized that this was almost every food I hated as a kid.  Jerry quipped that my mom should have just combined everything today and then I would like it.  I am not sure if scalloped potatoes would have made the casserole any better.

After dinner we went downstairs, sat around the fire and exchanged Christmas gifts.

I'm a Mac Gloria is quite easy to shop for as she is someone who likes to read widely.  This is the first year we didn’t give her a book but rather we gave both Jerry and Gloria a mini DV camera so they could take some video of their trip and hopefully post it to YouTube.  On top of the camera we found a rather excellent camera bag at XS Cargo which we tossed in some batteries and a tripod.  Gloria is an Apple person and it instantly recognized both the internal memory and the 2 gig memory card in the camera.  Wendy and I are rather particular about camera bags and were quite thrilled with the one that we found.  Of course I didn’t do PC people proud when it took me about 5 minutes to get the batteries in correctly to the camera, the + and – on the batteries is apparently a little too complex for me.  Maybe I am a Mac after all.

We also gave Gloria a fondue set.  It actually has a Lazy Susan built into it because we all know how tiring eating fondue can be.  Jerry can be a lot harder to shop for but over the may long weekend, I read Liar’s Poker and I knew right then that it would be perfect for Jerry.  Just giving it to Jerry last night I realized that I should read it again.

We gave Kristy a lap desk and some external speakers for her new laptop computer.  Of course it wasn’t the ideal gift as an ideal gift for Kristy would have been a lap desk with a personal heater built into it.

Kristy surprised both Mark and Oliver with some Calgary Flames gear.  Some Flames pajamas for Ollie and a Flames shirt for Mark.  She gave me a wonderful time wasting book, while she got Wendy a sweater along with a gift certificate for a photo shoot.  I was given a gift card in my love language, Starbucks.

I was tossed into turmoil when the Reimers gave me The Clinton Tapes for Christmas.  They knew I spend my summer vacation reading The Kennedys by Peter Collier at the cabin.  I had planned to read a substantial book on each presidency each holiday at the lake but now I am torn.  Do I wait until we return to the lake in April to read it or read it over Christmas and then maybe read Conrad Black’s biography on Nixon this spring.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Wendy was tossed into turmoil when the Reimers gave her a birthday gift that she can’t open till Christmas.  It’s Wendy’s 40th birthday next week and we celebrated last night.  I actually gave her gift to her a little early.  I blame Darren Friesen for this outlay in gifts as he got an iPod for his 40th and Wendy has never let me forget it.  She was also given an anti-aging kit (Mark and I have been biting our tongues all day over that one), and a Josh Groban Christmas CD.

Halo Wars by Mega Bloks Mark was given a Halo Mega Bloks tank kit.  He was a little excited by it as at 7:00 a.m. this morning he was waking us up to see if we could help him find a piece.  I am sure Bill Cosby would have handles this differently but we just him back downstairs.

I am sure Wendy will have some thoughts on the evening later but for right now, she is chasing Oliver through the house.

Well next up on the Christmas agenda is the Salvation Army Christmas Dinner.  Mark and I are helping serve 1000 people in three settings tonight at White Buffalo Youth Lodge.  I am bringing my camera and will post some photos later tonight.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for the Sports Fan | 2009 Edition

Readers of this blog know that I am a big sports fan.  As a sports fan I know how hard we can be to shop for and along that line I have some suggestions on what to get for your favorite sports fan.  Just a tip.  If you don’t know what his or her favorite teams are, find out before buying for them.  While that Vancouver Canucks shirt is a great deal, I’ll never ever wear it, no matter how much I love the person who gave it to me.  If you are wondering how deep team loyalty goes, I’ll let Rick Reilly from ESPN explain it to you.

The “If Bill Billicheck Coached in the CFL” Rider Hoodie :: With a pair of scissors, you can convert it to a short sleeve model as well.   You can get one of these for any CFL team at the CFL store but let’s be honest, you only need a Saskatchewan Roughriders one. | $89.95 (Can) at the Rider Store

Saskatchewan Roughrider Fans Gather Here Wall Sign :: Not only does this sign look great hanging on your wall, it also let’s your brother-in-law from B.C. know that if he comes over on game day, he is going to get a big wedgie from your friends. | $29.95 at the Rider Store.  Around $25 at other sports collectible places.

Notre Dame Football T-Shirt and the Notre Dame Football Sideline T-Shirt ::  I know the Charlie Weis era has been hard for Notre Dame football fans but better times are coming (we hope).  Either way a Notre Dame t-shirt for you or someone you love shows that you are no bandwagon jumper and you are in this for the long haul, no matter how many times in a row that USC beats Notre Dame.

Saskatchewan Roughriders BBQ cover :: I have one of these at the lake and not only does it look cool, it is a really high quality barbecue cover and is the envy or Rider fans at Arlington Beach. | $69.95 (Can) at the Rider Store but quite a bit cheaper at Canadian Tire.

Calgary Flames Upgrade Crew T-Shirt :: The Upgrade Crew Tee, part of the Reebok Face-Off collection, features:

  • 100% cotton jersey
  • Team name and logo screen printed across the chest
  • Reebok logo located on the left sleeve
  • Ribbed crew neck

Sure you can an Edmonton Oilers version but why would you want to be seen out in public in one? | $24.99 (USD)

Hockey Night in Canada Retro Puck & Stick Rug :: While Gary Bettman doesn’t respect the traditions of the NHL, that doesn’t mean that you can’t.  Check out this retro Hockey Night in Canada welcome rug which would look great every Saturday night as you host your friends and family for the Hockey Night in Canada double header.  Now if we could only find a way to automatically mute the television whenever Kelly Hrudey comes on. | $39.99 (Can) from CBC Shop

A customizable NFL team t-shirt or hoodie from NFL Shop.com.  These are great looking short and long sleeve shirts that have customizable front, back and sleeves.  They start about $20 for a basic shirt and can go up to $40 by the time you are done finishing it.

A pair of RB/WR NFL gloves :: If the person on your shopping list played high school football or above, there is a good chance he or she had a pair of these.  While they won’t keep you that warm, they are a great three season glove that can be worn while biking, hiking, or calling plays during the big game from the sideline.

If your better half is like Wendy, they get a little tired of all of this sports stuff laying around.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders have a solution in the form of this great looking gear locker.  This Gamebox fits perfectly in any den, sports room, office etc and is designed with the highest attention to detail and quality. The easy-to-clean Roughriders Gamebox is scratch resistant, and is decorated with the vintage Roughriders logos, enhanced with the 13 man logo and provide the official licensed word marks. Dimensions: 34″w X 18″h X 18 1/4″d | $249.99 (Can) from the Rider Store

Spalding NBA sized Street Basketball :: You need a decent quality basketball for when friends come over or when you step outside and address the 4 for 56 three point shooting streak you are on.  You could use the Spongebob Squarepants basketball your kid bought at Wal-Mart or you can ask for a decent looking Spalding basketball.  While your game may have gone missing, at least you can look like you can still execute a pick and roll, even if you can’t. | $19.59 (USD) from Amazon.com

SIGMA BC906 9-Function Topline Wired Bicycle Speedometer :: The ability to monitor individual rides, and overall training schedules is important to the serious cyclist. The BC 906 tracks your trip, your overall speed, distance, and riding time as well as allowing you compare your actual speed with your average speed. Complete functions include: clock; actual maximum and average speed; comparison of actual and average speed; trip and total distance; trip and total riding time; language selection (seven languages); and low-battery indicator. Also, the BC906’s small, low-profile keeps wind resistance to a minimum, its twist-mount, no tools required design ensures quick installation and its included 3-volt lithium CR2032 battery provides long-lasting power. | $20 (USD) at Amazon.com

Sportscraft Pubmaster Dart Board :: The official size 18-inch dartboard has traditional colors with steel tensile steel spider and high visibility numbers. You can throw either steel or soft tip darts at the bullseye!  Plus with no one really knowing when or if the economy is going to come back, having bunch of friends over for a night of darts is a lot cheaper than a night at the pub or doing much else now that I think of it.  The great thing about darts (and bowling) is that you don’t have to be good at it to have a good time playing it. | $19.99 (USD) at Amazon.com

Speaking of having people over, air hockey is another one of those games that one doesn’t have to be good at to have a good time playing.  Check out this free standing game for some good times.

If you have been to Mosaic Stadium, you know there are two temperatures.  Too hot and too cold.  The Saskatchewan Roughrider store has what you need to survive game day.  Here is your official Saskatchewan Roughrider thermos and water bottle.  Fill it with what you see fit.

University of Saskatchewan Huskies Basketball/Hockey Game Tickets :: It only costs $10 for adult tickets for Huskies basketball and hockey tickets.  While watching a game at Rutherford Arena takes some courage and a seat warmer, watching games at the PAC is starting to have the feel of big time NCAA college basketball.  If hockey is more your style, tickets for the Saskatoon Blades cost $16.57.  My point is that while NBA, NHL, and NFL tickets are really expensive in this economy, there are some great other semi pro, college, and minor sports that are really cheap and a lot of fun.

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

The Scandal of Two Tier Health Care in Canada

So the Calgary Flames jumped to the head of the line when it came to H1N1 vaccinations.  Are we surprised?  It’s long been a practice in Canada where professional and semi-pro athletes get preferential medical treatment.   They get a MRI within hours while the rest of us wait months.  Elective surgery comes within days while we wait forever.  Yes you can say that their job depends on it but a lot of people whose jobs depend on being able to work pain free get stuck on long waiting lists and have to go on disability.

So naturally the team doctors assumed the Calgary Flames could just jump the queue and I assume the person who set up the private clinic thought it was business as usual like it had been so many times in the past.  Now you have the Premier determined to “get to the bottom of it” but the reality is that this kind of stuff has been going on since the winter of 1980 when the Calgary Flames moved from Atlanta and stuff like this happens to almost all pro sports teams. 

If Premier Ed Stelmach wants to get to the bottom of it, why not show waiting times for the Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders, and the Calgary Flames for surgical and medical procedures and compare it the rest of the population who does not play professional sports.  I assume they jumped the queue in almost all cases.

Being a Habs fan counts for something

Montreal Canadiens logo I have known several die hard Montreal Canadiens fans over the years.  They are obnoxious and arrogant and when the Habs are winning, they can be impossible to be around. 

The same can be said for Toronto Maple Leaf fans.  They are also obnoxious, arrogant and the occasional times when the Buds are winning, they can be impossible to be around. 

The difference between the two is that Montreal actually wins.  They win a lot.  They win Stanley Cups.  24 of them to be exact.  In addition to a lot of Stanley Cups, they have a lot of players who are legends.  The Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since since 1967.  Their owner for the longest time was Harold Ballard which I could comment on but most of the relevant facts are still in sealed by the courts.

In other words as a Calgary Flames fan, I will take abuse and taunting from Montreal Canadian fans, your franchise has earned obnoxious fans.  Do them proud.  As for Toronto Maple Leafs fans… well when I go to the circus, I generally ignore what the clowns have to say :-)  Win another five Stanley Cups and we may start to pay attention.

"I hate dat Derek Jeter too"

A couple of years ago when we were in Boston for Soularize, our hotel had a little (kind of big) fire in it.  As we were exiting, some Boston firemen were entering the building with axes and  theirfire hose.  I was expecting them to have their game faces on and be in the zone to fight whatever danger they would face but no, this is what we heard as we left and they entered the fire, “I hate dat Derek Jeter too.”

mlb22_djeter4_photo_01_md I was out tonight and I saw a McFarlane Derek Jeter figurine on sale and it brought back all of these warm (pun intended) memories of Boston and to remind me that somewhere in Boston right now is an overweight Boston firefighter with a handlebar mustache hating Derek Jeter when he should be concentrating on his job.

I also noticed that he had done up a Calgary Flames Grant Fuhr figurine as well.   It looked pretty accurate but it had one mistake, he was actually stopping the puck.  Calgary Flames know that didn’t really ever happen when he was in Calgary.