Sunday, January 27, 2008

2010 Team Canada Forecast

With the Vancouver Games just over two years away it is probably a good time to kick around what the Canadian men's hockey team could look like for 2010. Okay, it is too early, but there have been enough bar arguments about it recently, so....

Predicted lineup as of January 24, 2008

Heatley – Crosby – Iginla
Getzlaf – Lecavalier – Perry
Nash – Thornton – Gagne
B. Richards – M. Richards – E. Staal
Spezza (13th forward)


  • Mike Richards continues to develop as projected – I fully expect his line to be the most effective in the tournament (isn’t that always the way?)
  • This is Perry’s breakout season and he develops into a top goal scorer while retaining his physical play (like a more talented Brenden Morrow)
  • Gagne recovers from his concussion problems
  • Spezza doesn’t suddenly develop the defensive side of this game (that will come later in his career) – after the trouble Canada had scoring goals in Torino they can’t afford not to bring him, although scoring goals probably won’t be an issue as long as Crosby is healthy
  • They don’t employ a true checking / grind / energy line (which they probably will)*
  • If Toews forces his way onto the team it will be at the expense of Staal, Perry or Spezza, as currently configured, but the most logical replacement would be Gagne (similar two-way game, although Gagne’s speed would be tough to replace and I consider him a lock for the team)
  • Sakic and Smyth, if still in the league, will be given the opportunity to withdraw from consideration in advance (i.e. soccer-style international retirement) and will have some involvement in the team during the Games à there’s no way Sakic won’t be involved somehow with the Games in Vancouver

I think you have to try the lineup above, but expect that they end up tweaking the lines after a game or two (i.e. after they barely beat Germany and everyone freaks out) to look like this:
Getzlaf – Crosby – Perry
B. Richards – Lecavalier – Iginla
Nash – Thornton – Heatley
Gagne – M. Richards – E. Staal

Backups: Toews, St. Louis, Briere
Goes to the orientation sessions for learning purposes: Gagner, Tavares, Stamkos, Turris
* Grind line: Morrow – Fisher – R. Niedermayer / M. Richards (of course, Ryan Smyth would need to be factored in if Canada goes this route)

Regehr – Phillips (shutdown pair)
Pronger – Vlasic
Weber – Phaneuf

Backups: Beauchemin, Campbell , Redden
Goes to the orientation sessions for learning purposes (at least): Green, M. Staal, Burns, Seabrook, Keith, Doughty
** With so many good, young defensemen, playoff experience will be a key determinant, which is why I’ve rated players like Vlasic over Keith et al.

GOALIES: Luongo, Brodeur, Price

Captain: Iginla
Assistants: Crosby, Pronger
GM: Yzerman
Coach: Babcock

Saturday, January 26, 2008

U2 3D

I'm still buzzing from this movie. What a fabulous, fabulous movie going experience. Amazing, unbelievable and intense. Words don't do it justice. It felt like I could could reach out and smack Bono in the head. I also felt like I should be cheering or clapping at the end of each song. There are some especially poignant moments when they really take advantage of the 3D cameras (e.g. Bono during Sunday Bloody Sunday). I thought the shots from behind the drum kit (like you were looking over Larry's right shoulder) worked particularly well.

All that and you can't shake the feeling when you are watching it that you are seeing the future of movies. Highly recommended (even if you aren't a big fan).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why the Leafs won't trade Sundin

Here’s why the Leafs won’t trade Sundin unless the bottom falls out horribly between now and February 26th: The lure of the pure profit from a minimum of two home playoff games. Given how much they make from these dates (and I’ve read between $1 -3 million in pure profit from the jacked up ticket prices and concessions, two dates can mean pure gravy for the NHL’s richest team. To give up on the season by trading Sundin with the potential windfall right there…. Unlikely. Sure, trading and building for the future might mean even more home playoff dates in the future, but it won’t do anything about profits for this April.

I hope I'm wrong. I'd love to see them haul in some good prospects for Mats, see him win the Cup and then re-sign with TO in the summer.... Dare to dream. I'm scared after this recent 3 game win streak that they'll trade Justin Pogge for a grizzled winger to try and sneak into 8th place (which they won't).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Hobbit Blog - the source for info on the Hobbit movie(s)

The Hobbit movie(s) -- see previous post -- are back on track. This site looks to be your Grade A source for Hobbit movie news and a total geekfest for fans:

The Hobbit Movie - Elijah Wood to return?

Exciting news for Lord of the Rings fans:

“I haven’t spoken to him directly (Peter Jackson) about it but I’ve e-mailed him, and as far as I know the two films that they’re doing, one will be ‘The Hobbit’ and another will take place between the 60 years that happened between ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings” the soon to be again Frodo told MTV Movies.

Now, if you are like me you are saying to yourself, "Self, Frodo wasn't in The Hobbit...." Well, apparently, this bridge from the Hobbit to LOTR (if it happens) could feature Frodo in a small role. Perhaps a cameo where Frodo (and Sam?) will tell the story by reading from Bilbo's book? Otherwise he'd be too young for Wood to play him, non?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Crystal at the ROM - interesting photos

Well, whether you love it or hate it, the new Crystal at the ROM (is that what it is officially called?) certainly elicits strong opinions. A stumbled across these photos on the Torontoist Flickr Pool. The shot at the bottom of the post was the Torontoist Daily Photoist for January 14.

Here are two ROM photos from
Sam Javanrouh:

1. Inside the ROM

2. Outside the ROM

Here's another cool photo of the ROM from the outside. This time by Insight Imaging John A Ryan Photography. (sorry, you need to click on the link, I couldn't upload it)

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Dark Knight Part 2

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot. The latest movie poster for The Dark Knight is the coolest and creepiest promo poster that I've seen in recent memory: How awesome is this?

The Dark Knight

Trailer for the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight" due out this summer. How great is this movie going to be?? I can't wait!

The Dark Knight movie promo posters:

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Barefoot Kickers

Barefoot kickers in the NFL – even harder to believe than the toe kickers. Will we ever see another one? With the NBA doing a throwback night – complete with 80s era short shorts – maybe the NFL could have 2 teams field barefoot kickers for a game next season (1st half only).

Chuck Klosterman wrote a great article on ESPN last year about barefoot kickers:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Alexander Ovechkin contract

The Ovechkin contract – good for him. Locking up $124 million bucks at the age of 22... not bad, not bad at all.

Whether you call him Ovi, Alexander the Great, Alexander the Eight (lame), the Ocho (my preference), whatever, the Caps have locked up one of the league’s top young talents for a long time and he has life long financial security. One point: Did Washington not learn anything from their disastrous mega-bucks contract with Jagr? Ovechkin will make approximately 20% of the team’s cap for the next couple of seasons and who knows where the cap will go in the future (Washington had better hope it goes up significantly). What happens if Ovi gets a knee injury, loses his burst and is reduced to merely a very good player for the final 8 years of the contract?

Crazy, crazy stuff but at the same time, what choice did they have? And Ovi doesn’t have an agent to pocket 10% of his windfall. Good times to be young, talented and Russian in Washington. Brace for the weekend chorus of, “Why, again, did we have the lockout?”

Chelsea FC add Nicholas Anelka

I know the Blues figure to need a permanent replacement for Drogba in the summer, but 15 million pounds for Nic Anelka? I can’t see him being the answer and when they make a move for a real #1 striker they’ll have a 30 million pound player (Sheva) and a 15 million pound player in the reserves. Can a move for the moody and out of shape Adriano be part of the summer plans – Next year’s sales pitch: “Look at all our useless, expensive strikers! “ or, “We’re like Inter in the 90s!”.

Anelka is undoubtedly talented but when you look at where he’s already worn out his welcome it doesn’t suggest that this will be a long and happy partnership.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Well, Team Canada has won again at the World Juniors (4 in a row!) and the Leafs are imploding and look poised to fall out of the playoff picture very shortly. It must be early January.

Friday, January 4, 2008

2007: The Year in Music & Movies


Songs of the Year

Umbrella – Rihanna
Grace Kelly – Mika
1234 – Feist
Young Folks – Peter, Bjorn & John
Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Stronger – Kanye West

My Personal Faves
1. Young Folks – Peter, Bjorn & John; the ubiquitous indie rock song of the summer;

2. Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control) – Groove Armada; in a perfect world this would have been the song of the year

3. Stronger – Kanye West;

4. Grace Kelly – Mika (the most fun song of the year);; see also: Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

5. The Great Escape – Patrick Watson; also see: Luscious Life, Drifters; PW was the surprise winner of the 2007 Polaris Prize;

6. Phantom Limb – the Shins; this one grows on you more and more with each listen;

7. Flathead – The Fratellis; big time exuberance and fun (“saw you one time at the back of the club chewing on glass and a ticket stub”);; also see: Chelsea Dagger, Whistle for the Choir

8. You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse;; also see Rehab. You’ve now heard them each a million times but they were so fresh when they came out. They’ve also proven sadly prophetic.

9. Dashboard – Modest Mouse; the energy build on this song is fantastic;

10. ‘Antichrist Television Blues’ – Arcade Fire; also see Intervention, Windowsill

Other Notables:
- Fluorescent Adolescent – Arctic Monkeys; also see: Teddy Picker, Yellow Sun
-I’m Slowly Turning Into You – The White Stripes; also see: Icky Thump, You Don’t Know What Love Is, A Martyr For My Love For You
- Smile – Lily Allen; also see: L.D.N.
- My Moon My Man – Feist (“1234” got the iPod commercial and the Grammy nod, but I prefer the jazzy sound of MMMM); also see: 1234
- Civil Twilight – The Weakerthans; also see: Tournament of Hearts (a song that uses curling as a metaphor… awesome!)
- Into Action – Tim Armstrong; great vibe and energy
- Thou Shalt Always Kill – Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip; an instant obsession
- Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex – CSS; gotta love this English is not our first language offering;
- Umbrella – Rihanna; the “ella… ella… ella” thing gets annoying but the rest of the song is excellent and just try getting it out of your head
- D.A.N.C.E. – Justice; This might be the coolest music video of the year:


My Faves – in theatres:
Hot Fuzz
The Bourne Ultimatum
No Country For Old Men
Knocked Up

Honourable Mention:
The Lookout – it is hard to believe that one of the kids from 3rd Rock From the Sun (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is on the verge of developing into one of the top actors of his generation but here you go
2 Days In Paris
Paris Je T’aime
The Simpsons Movie (a must see if you are a fan; if you are not, it is still pretty funny)

Biggest Disappointments:
Spiderman 3

My Faves – on DVD (movies watched in 2007, not necessarily released in 2007)
Bon Cop, Bad Cop
Letters From Iwo Jima
The Last King Of Scotland
Little Miss Sunshine
The Break Up

Movie Line of the Year: "Madness...? THIS... IS... SPARTA!" – King Leonidas, 300

Runner-up: [Singing tune to Spider-Man theme song] "Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig / Does whatever a Spider-Pig does / Can he swing / from a web? / No he can't / He's a pig / Look out! / He is the Spider-Pig!" – Homer Simpson, The Simpsons Movie


Best read of the year: De Niro’s Game – Rawi Hage

Other Notables:
Man Walks into a Pub – Pete Brown
Galveston – Paul Quarrington
The Egyptologist – Arthur Phillips