Monday, May 16, 2016

The Presidents Trophy Curse Lives On

It's been almost  a week since the Pittsburgh Penguins stunned the heavily favored Washington Capitals in Six games in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.

I might be in shock that it happened but I was pulling for the Penguins all along as the Presidents Trophy curse remains as the last team to win both the Stanley Cup and Presidents Trophy was the 2008 Detroit Red Wings.

This year, Washington was as big of favorites to win both since the 2011 Vancouver Canucks. That team made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final before they lost to the Boston Bruins in what was the most controversial of Stanley Cups in recent memories.

As a Canucks fan, I love seeing the Presidents Trophy winners lose in May and fall way short of expectations. To see the most explosive player in the NHL Alexander Ovechkin  not win the Stanley Cup really sits well with me as well.

In comparison to the 2011 Vancouver Canucks, they had the two most interesting players skill wise the NHL has ever seen. They are overrated in the city of Vancouver, underrated everywhere else in the world. To this day, people still can't get over how that 2011 team didn't win that year. The fact that peope still call the durable Swedish twins sisters speaks volumes of how uneducated American hockey fans are.

That's why, it should give comfort to North America's most hard done by fans that Ovechkin has never competed in the Cup Finals. At the age of 30, Ovechkin needs to win a Cup in the next few years, or else, he will be crowned NHL's best player ever to never win a Cup.

At some point, the Capitals might want to start thinking of trading the Russian superstar before his trade value diminishes significantly. The Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup in their 42 year history and only one appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.

This years team won't be in tact forever. Eventually, they will run into salary cap issues if they want to try to improve their team. That's why it was so important that they won it all this year. Evgeny Kuznetsov will need a pay raise at some point.  

At the end of the day, the Stanley Cup is the hardest North American Trophy to win, every bounce needs to a teams way to win the Cup. Ovechkin will have a chance to win the Cup again, but how many great opportunities will he have going forward to win like this year will be the question going forward.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

West Ham Says Good-Bye to Upton Park

Manchester United controls its own destiny to get into the Champions League next year. Will that be enough to save Louis Van Gaal's job?

Only time will tell. In this unpredictable Premier League season, the only thing that is a sure thing about today is that West Ham will play its final game at historic Upton Park.

When I was trying to pick a soccer team three years ago, there was a lot of stuff to consider. Logos, colours, jersey style, team name, history, city and stadium. In fact, its almost impossible to find the
right match.

When I was looking through the stadiums of the current 20 teams that were in the Premier League, Upton Park was one that really caught my eye. It really stuck out because of how noticeably the fans were to the pitch.

The Wrigley Field image is quite a good comparison to Upton Park. The 112 year old Stadium will say its final good bye when they face Manchester United, a team desperate for a win.

Next year, West Ham will play their games at the Olympic Stadium. Financially, a big upgrade to what they have now.

It just won't be the same unfortunately, the newer stadiums seem like they have more seats and aren't as close to the field. It is taking the tradition and uniqueness out of England soccer. For this reason, I just have a hard time with this new trend.

It comes down to the money. In European Soccer, money is everything if the English teams want to be as good as Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The EPL is the most competitive league in the world from top to bottom and because of that, most English teams struggle playing in Europe mid week.

The alternative, is to build a new stadium to create more revenue to try to get the best team possible. That is exactly what West Ham is doing. It will be Tottenham's turn to do that the year after.

It will be the end of an era in East London tonight, for West Ham's fans. lets hope it ends on a good note.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mets need to focus on Whats Ahead of Them, Not on Revenge

It's been 207 days since Jerrys Familia silenced the faithful at Dodger Stadium last October. For some of the New York Mets players, it only feels like yesterday.

During the brief five game series between the two teams in the NLDS. Animosity circled the air as both teams fought tooth and nail to see who was going to play in the  NLCS.

Unfortunately,  Animosity was being built for all the wrong reasons last year. During Game two of the series, Chase Utley slide in hard to break up a double play against then Mets second basemen Ruben Tejada.

What seemed like a hard everyday baseball play, turned into something much worse a few minutes later. Tejada, suffered not only a broken leg, but also a missed opportunity to turn an inning ending double play which led to the Dodgers scoring four times on route to a Game two win and evening up the series.

Thankfully for the Mets, it wasn't a series shifting play.

For the last time ever in the Vin Scully era of Dodger baseball, the Mets will be in Los Angels for a four game series. Instead of the focus being on Vin Scully as he will do his farewell year, the attention will be whether or not Utley will get beaned in the head with an aggressive Steven Matz fastball at some point tonight.

Would it be smart? No, but traditionally the pitcher would do it but that doesn't make it. If it happens in the very first pitch of Utley's first at bat tonight, Home plate umpire would for sure give a warning.

Despite, all of this, the Mets just need to focus on winning. After climbing into first place in the N.L. East yesterday with the Nationals loss and Mets win, there is the slightest of chances that the Mets never relinquish the division lead the rest of the way.

Likely? Probably not, but if there was ever such a hangover the Mets had it was the 2-5 start to start the year. At the same time, the Nats started the year 7-1 but have since cooled down. In contrast, the Mets have won 12 out of there last 16 and are easily the second best team in the National League right now.

Mets need to stay focused on baseball this week and not on revenge. They got the revenge last year in Game Five, it's time to set their focus of appearing in their second straight World Series in as many years.   

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Leicester City Could change Outlook on Premier League

I’m not sure people in North America can quite understand what the atmosphere in Leicester is currently. It’s incomparable to anything that has happened in sports5000-1 odds. Those were the odds at the start of the season. If you had a fortune-teller you would be rich by now. Analysts alike continue to preach how much this was a fairytale ending or a really good dream for Leicester City fans.
How much of a dream coming true was this? At the start of the season, the Foxes were expected to be not only in the bottom half of the table, but also relegated. If someone predicted Leicester to win the league last August, people would have suggested that a person spun a random wheel which landed on Leicester. The odds were that stacked against them.
The big reason why the media is calling this such a big story is because all the media talks about is the traditional five teams (Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.) Any other team that sneaks into the top four is glossed over and handed the label of “a dream team.”
For instance, Tottenham, the team that finished second was laughed at when people asked the question will the Spurs finish in the Top 4.
For me, sports should have peaks and valley's. Just like in North America, the New England Patriots weren't always the best NFL team. In NHL, the Edmonton Oilers weren't always a laughing stock. 

European soccer is different, until this season at least. Because in most years it has become predictable to forecast which of the top five teams will finish, as the question has always been where, not who.
That’s what happens when money means everything. Over the 38-game season, eventually the team with the most money finishes higher. Therefore, it wasn’t that surprising when the Foxes got off to such a great start. The simple explanation was that it was early and that it wouldn’t last. After all, Southampton and West Ham were second and fourth by Christmas last year before running out of gas and finishing seventh and 12th respectively. For that reason, it wasn’t unforseen to witness Leicester’s blistering start.
But what happened now might change how people view the Premier League forever. Next year, Leicester will be getting more money, more exposure and Champions League soccer will slot them against the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, among others. This will all happen after playing in the top flight division in England which was everything but certain.
Hopefully, Leicester City’s story will finally administer parody to the Premier League that now embellishes six different league era winners.

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6th - Padres 2, Mets 0

What is better then late baseball at night on the East Coast? Absolutely nothing, the first west coast road trip of the year is a sign of baseball season is in full swing!

I'm was a bit surprised by the start time of last nights game. First pitch was at 10:40 ET and yes, it's late because of the time change but it also the fact that the game started at the bottom of the hour instead of the traditional top of the hour.

Lets be honest though, watching sports late at night is one of my favorite things to look forward to everyday. It's a great memory to look back on especially if it turns out to be an epic game.

Unfortunately, the Mets have gone into a small slump out west as they were limited to only three hits in the 2-0 loss. This was the second consecutive frustrating outing for the Mets offense as they were held scoreless until the top of the ninth on Thursday night.

This should be a minor slump and I wouldn't worry too much about it, keep in mind, the Mets got off to a very bad start on the road last year before going on to cruise to a NL East Title.

Not that I'm scoreboard watching but the Nationals also lost today. The Nats lead remains 1 and a half games. The Mets still haven't hooked up with the NL East leading Nationals yet but when they do it will surly be a fun series.

At the end of the night, it is only a two game losing streak. If you are disappointed it goes to show how high the expectations are for the Mets this year.

Best thing about baseball is that there is always another game tomorrow. Only a 8:40pm first pitch as Matt Harvey looks to solve his own problems when he starts tomorrow.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Reaction to the Vancouver Giants Leaving for Langley

The Vancouver Giants are relocating out of the historic Pacific Coliseum and moving into the new state of the arc Langley Events Centre for the 2016-17 CHL season.

When I heard this news, I was a bit disappointed. I was looking forward to watching a few games at the iconic venue on Renfrew Street that saw the Canucks play in two Stanley Cup Finals and the Vancouver Giants win one Memorial Cup in 2007.

The Memorial Cup is the U20 version of the Stanley Cup that is competed for annually in May. A four team tournament that lasts over nine days. The winner of the CHL, OHL and QMJHL winner is represented along with a predetermined host team. Therefore, one team goes into the year knowing they are going to be part of the the Memorial Cup no matter what happens that year.

Unfortunately, maybe this move was going to happen eventually. With the Vancouver Giants attendance hovering just above 5,000 this year, it sure makes a lot of sense for the Giants to play their games in the smaller venue where there will be a lot more empty seats. In addition, the smaller venue might make for a louder more intimidating environment which could lead to a better fan experience and even more fans.

What will be interesting to see is if the Vancouver Giants get renamed the Langley Giants or even the Fraser Valley Giants. Renaming them the Fraser Valley Giants would attract fans around the Fraser Valley to come to the games and people in that region would feel that they have a new team to follow.

Langley Giants has a good ring to it and would be an awesome small town feel for a city with a population of only 25,000.

Unfortunately, the NLL's Vancouver Stealth play out of the LEC and they associate themselves by Vancouver and I would imagine the giants would do the same. Ironically, I can't imagine many people coming from Vancouver to watch a game. This would a great time for the Expo Line to extend out to Langley on the SkyTrain. *Hint Hint to Translink.*

Also, it will be very interesting to see if the Giants come up with a new logo. I have always thought of that logo as the Vancouver Giants and therefore changing the logo would be a great start for a new era of hockey at the LEC.

This might be the end of rumors for WHL hockey as at the AESC in Abbotsford as well. I believe there is a certain distance two franchises have to have the right amount of Kilometers between teams. If this rule is still in place, then that is  bad news for the world's most unused arena in Abbotsford.

Over the last few years, I have really gotten into the CHL. After spending three years in Kamloops, I would call myself a Blazers fan. Sadly, the CHL just isn't on TV on a daily bases to get fully into the league.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Next Year's Canucks Depth Chart Wish List

Canucks Projected 2016-17 Depth Chart


J. Hansen               H. Sedin             D. Sedin

S. Baertschi*          B. Horvat            FA Signing / prospect 

FA Signing/prospect B. Sutter              E. Etem*

B. Gaunce             J. McCann          J. Virtanen


C. Tanev                   B. Hutton

D. Hamhuis**              N.Tryamkin

J. Subann                   FA Signing / Prospect



FA Signing / Prospect

* Means RFA that they will resign

** UFA that they will resign