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NW Sports Beat: Riley’s Rants and Raves – Rational and Irrational Anger

1 Nov

Off My Chest

This week, things that bother me about the Canucks, their fans, and the NHL in general.

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A complete lack of David Booth articles.

I feel like I don’t know anything about the guy. Was he sad to leave Florida? Did the media in Vancouver surprise him? Was he excited to be here?

Because he’s American, can we give our now “All American” second line some kind of catchy nickname?

Did he attend the morning optional skate? Did he contribute to the oilers? Is he the missing piece?

Seriously, there hasn’t been enough coverage about this guy, I need to know more about him.

For those in the media who clearly have been derelict in their duty, here are facts that I want to know:

  • What color his toothbrush is
  • Boxers or briefs
  • The number of seconds he spent on the ice during his time in Florida when he wasn’t thinking about golf
  • The best “booth” related joke he’s ever heard
  • His relationship with every other NHL player. And I mean EVERY one. Don’t forget the fourth liners in Phoenix, just because no one comes to their games, doesn’t mean they aren’t a real team.
  • His favorite brand of beer or vodka

There are lots of other ways to write articles about Booth, the media has BARELY touched on him. In my obsessive need for immediate information, I will continue to rant about Booth until I know EVERY DETAIL ABOUT HIS HOCKEY CAREER, PERSONAL LIFE AND WHERE HE FITS INTO THE COSMOS GRAND DESIGN.

PLEASE!

I NEED MORE DAVID BOOTH!

Vancouver’s Goalie Controversy

The only upside of the Vancouver media being saturated with David Booth stories? The fact that it pushed Luongo and the goalie controversy out of the media for a few days. But believe it or not, it came back.

Listen, as a fan I understand the debate.  I understand that we don’t have to trade Schneider, that we really can’t trade Luongo, and that we could play both all year.

I understand that nothing short of a cup will save Luongo’s reputation, and that he could be compared to Patrick Roy if we traded him.

Every Vancouver fan who regularly reads the sports pages in British Columbia, am well aware of every angle of the controversy, because it honestly has been dissected to a point that people will look back on old newspapers in 100 years times and write graduate theses on this cities obsession with Luongo.

I would like someone to please find out how many articles have included the words “Luongo” in their title since he arrived here.

If Vegas had a line for this, I would take the over no matter what.

And what’s more, this issue is divisive. It has always been divisive and there is no way it can be resolved to make everyone happy.

If we split playing time between the two, the media will continue to assault Luongo, his confidence will be shaken, and Cory Schneider won’t know if we plan to trade him or force him to stay.

If we play Luongo more, than there will be calls to trade Schneider, and when he goes people will grumble that now we have no Plan B.

If we play Schneider more, people will grumble about Luongo being on the bench and wasting his cap space, he will want a trade, and then more rumors will shake up the team.

The media in Vancouver is incapable of not talking about this goalie controversy, which is so stupid considering that most of the articles are complete duplicates of one another.

The team needs to come up with a solution by trading one of the two, and soon.

I don’t even care which one, or what we get back for him, I just want one of them gone and the media to let it go. Focus on something else, anything else.

David Booth anyone?

NW Sports Beat: Riley’s Rants: Rational and Irrational Anger

1 Nov

Off My Chest

This week, things that bother me about the Canucks, their fans, and the NHL in general.

People who use “we” in sports.

As in, “we sure looked good on the power play last night!” Besides the fact that Canucks have had a TERRIBLE power play this year, “we” implies that you were somehow on the ice contributing, which is patently false. The correct thing to say is “THEY looked good on the power play last night.”

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YOU were not on the power play, YOU were sitting on your couch eating cheesies and looking at Kesler’s picture on ESPN.

The only people in the world who are allowed to use “we” in reference to the Canucks are the ones who are wearing those jerseys and the coaching staff.

If you happen to be an employee of the Canucks organization, it is acceptable to use “we” but only if you aren’t a smug SOB about it, remembering that what you do contributes very little in comparison to what the players are actually doing on the ice.

Roberto Luongo and his new deal with the Lottery Corporation’s PlayNow.com poker site.

Hey Roberto, Canucks fans already skeptical about your decision making, you might want to avoid advertising any other pastime that could include “Luongo” and “gamble” in the same paragraph.

Because the way this season is currently going, you are “gambling” with your Canucks legacy, which is losing steam faster than Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign.

If you aren’t concerned about your play, you should be, and you should at least be making every effort to assure Canucks fans that you actually are making all possible efforts to improve your game.

Instead of highlighting your “gambling” you should be partnering with sports psychologists, trainers, ex-goalies and whoever else to try and convince fans that you actually care about winning.

Whining after each game and brushing off questions about your poor performance won’t cut it. In case you didn’t notice, the city is a wee bit tense about this current Canucks team, and we would whole-heartedly support benching you in favor of Schneider.

Trust me, the ice you’re standing on is thin, and if you fall through we’ll quickly fill the hole over you, your inflated contract and your fragile psyche.

Man. Up.

Canucks early season predictions coming true, and everyone flipping out about it.

EVERY SINGLE Canucks preview that I read (and I read a lot of them when I was writing my Canucks Daily AM Java articles) said the Canucks would have a tough start.

They just endured a long playoff campaign with a soul-crushing ending, they lost one of their star defensemen, their third best player was hurt and they are weighed down by high expectations.

Shockingly, when all of these predictions turned out to be true, everyone lost their collective mind faster than the citizens of Gotham city when the Joker threatened to blow up a hospital. It’s only been six games!!

Yes, I agree the Canucks look awful.

But let’s at least wait 20 games before we start pulling out the pitchforks.

NW Sports Beat: Whitecaps Open New Stadium with an Exciting First Game

1 Nov

Whitecaps Game 1 BC Place:

On October 2nd, the Vancouver Whitecaps officially played their first game on the Bell Pitch at the new and improved BC Place.

The result was a tough 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers in MLS action.

The Whitecaps played well in the first half, just barely failing to capitalize on several good chances, including one fantastic shot by David Chiumiento that rippled the outside of the net,  and another from Camilo that was tipped over the crossbar by keeper Troy Perkins.

However, several poor turnovers had fans frustrated as they watched their team waste the otherwise impressive half. One turnover in particular proved costly, leading to a quick counterattack that culminated in Portland’s Kenny Cooper scoring in the 25th minute.

In the second half the Whitecaps controlled most of the play, keeping possession of the ball for most of the half and earning several good scoring chances around Portland’s net.

However, the Timbers were able to survive the Whitecaps assault and earned a much needed 1-0 victory that will continue to fuel their playoff hopes.

However, despite another disappointing loss, Whitecaps fans have every reason to be optimistic about the future.

First of all, reviewing the new stadium. For $563 million, Vancouver residents had every reason to expect that the new stadium would be breathtaking. And it didn’t disappoint. The new stadium is much bigger and more open, plus it keeps fans close to the field, making the experience more intense and personal.

The most impressive feature of the new stadium was the video screen, the second largest in North America behind only the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. It allows fans to follow the game no matter where they are sitting, and see highlights and reviews in perfect high definition.

However, a new stadium is not particularly valuable unless you can fill it full of rabid soccer fans. Despite some concerns in the week leading up to the game, the 21,000 fans packed the sold-out (not including the closed upper bowl) stadium and gave their team all the energy they had.

Before the game even began, there were crowds mingling outside the stadium, checking out the promotional booths and drinking in the scene. Inside the stadium itself, the fan section acquitted itself well against the minority of Timbers fans that had made their way up to watch the game from the opposite corner of the stadium.

The biggest regret the Whitecaps should have about this game is wasting the energy and atmosphere of the newly opened BC Place, an energy that hopefully will return in future home games.

A state of the art stadium and a rabid fan base in a city craving a championship?

The Whitecaps might not have impressed many this season, but they have several of the main ingredients required to turn their expansion team into a perennial contender.

NW Sports Beat: Making a Case for Wally Buono

1 Nov

Hot Hot Hot!

Wally Buono has done a lot of winning in his time as a CFL coach.

During his time with  the Calgary Stampeders he led them to eight division titles in twelve years, winning the Grey Cup three times. As the head coach of the BC Lions, he’s won four division titles in eight years, and likely will pick up a fifth this season.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR B.C. LIONS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION!

The Lions have only hoisted the Grey Cup one time during his tenor, but look to be the favorites this postseason.

During his 22 years as a coach in the CFL, Buono has been awarded coach of the year honors three times, the last being 2006 when the Lions won the Grey Cup. However, whether or not the Lions win the Grey Cup this year, Buono should win the coach of the year award.

Many people might argue that an 0-5 start disqualifies him from the coach of the year race, but I beg to differ.

The 0-5 start was certainly a catastrophe, but it is nowhere near as bad as the current win streak has been brilliant.

The Lions are currently the hottest team in the CFL and will carry that momentum into the playoffs.

Different players come through during different stages of each game, but the one common denominator is Buono’s steady hand doing what needs to be done for this team to win. He trusts his players and puts them into situations where they can succeed.

In return, his players trust his judgement and work their hardest to earn success.

Buono endured criticism early in the season but managed the weather the storm.

When fans were calling for his head he responded by working harder and figuring out ways to make his team perform. And from an 0-5 start the Lions now control their destiny and have a chance to win the Grey Cup at home.

Even if they don’t succeed, Buono turned a team that everyone had written off into not just a contender, but the favorite.

The biggest problem with Buono’s coaching brilliance is that most people have come to take it for granted. You can see this in other sports as well.

In the NBA Phil Jackson has won 11 titles but only one COY award. People always assumed that Jackson-coached squads would be successful.

The same is true of Buono in the CFL. If Buono doesn’t win the coach of the year award this year, that will be why.

And it would be a shame, cause this year more than any other, he deserves recognition.

NW Sports Beat: Notebook Example #2

1 Nov

The Home Stretch

The BC Lions took care of business in Saskatchewan on Sunday, beating the Riders 29-18. It wasn’t their best game, and it certainly wasn’t a dominating performance against an inferior team, but it was a win.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR B.C. LIONS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION!

The Lions are heading to Hamilton for their last road game of the season, a game that they should win if they play well.

CLICK HERE For BC Lions Stats —>

Key to the Game #1  – Efficiency

The Lions have been putting forward a superhuman effort during their eight game win streak, but at this point in the season you can see players getting tired. Tired players will make mistakes, and those mistakes can quickly turn close games into blowouts.

The key to keeping their players fresh is going to be making sure the Lions are efficient on offense and spread the ball around so that everyone is involved. On defense, they have to prevent the Tigercats from putting together long drives that eat up the clock and exhaust the defense.

Key to the Game #2 – Contain Williams and prevent big plays on offense

Last time these two teams met B.C. lost a 39-31 shootout. BC allowed Chris Williams to gain 189 yards and score a touchdown. Those 189 yards came from several big plays, including one 71 yard reception. At that point, Williams was a happy surprise for the Tigercats, and was hoping to remain a member of the squad when everyone was healthy again.

Since then, he’s been one of the strongest recievers in the leagues with just over 1000 recieving yards and seven touchdowns. If the Lions allow him too much room and let him get going, it could be a tough night for the defense.

Key to the Game #3 – Momentum

Like I sad last week, this is a key to the season as much as it is to this game. The Lions are victims of their own success, any losses at this point will be a huge let down and will damage their aura of invincibility.

However, losing to this weaker Tigercats team would be blood in the water for Edmonton and Montreal, both of which will be determined to break the Lions streak going into the playoffs.

The Lions need to play this game with a sense of urgency and keep their aura alive. As dangerous as it is, they need to keep the big picture in mind when they’re playing this game, it will give them an extra bit of motivation.

BC Injury Report – Click Here

In the Community

The BC Lions have been happily continuing their “Lions Pride” program which has the goal of inspiring youth to be active, make positive choices, and excel. For more details about this program’s second year, check out the link below:

http://www.bclions.com/page/lions_pride

NW Sports Beat: Notebook Example #1

1 Nov

 A Tough Loss

The B.C. Lions got crushed on Sunday. There’s really no other way to put it. It was ugly, it was sad, and….it’s not the end of the world. As much as this loss hurts, the Lions are still in the playoffs and still look dangerous.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT OUR B.C. LIONS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION!

Now the big challenge is going to be securing home field advantage for the playoffs. A win over Edmonton makes that possible, a loss means that they’ll have to play away for at least one game.

The Lions remaining two games are against the best two teams in the league, and they’ll need to bring the ‘A’ game if they want to avoid a skid going into the playoffs.

Key to the Game #1 – Get off to a strong start

The BC Lions will be playing the Eskimos on their home turf, and they need to get the crowd involved. That means lots of early pressure and putting some points on the board in the first quarter. If the Lions can score first, they’ll have a big 12th man advantage when the Eskimos are trying to put their offense together.

CLICK HERE For BC Lions Stats —>

However, if they play poorly (Lulay threw an interception on the first drive last time these teams met. That CANNOT happen again) and Edmonton comes out to a quick lead, the crowd and the game could both get ugly, which would be a very sour note coming near the end of an otherwise great season.

Key to the Game #2 – Self Control

And speaking of sour notes, the last time these two teams play there was some controversy when Lions defensive linemen Aaron Hunt accused the Eskimos O-line of playing dirty. Eskimos coach Kavis Reed disagreed and fired back at Hunt, telling him to “Just shut up and play football, period.”

Obviously there is a little bit of bad feeling between these two rivals, which can lead to emotions overcoming common sense on the field. That can’t happen. Teams that take dumb penalties don’t win football games.

A lot of this will come from Wally Buono during the week, he has to get everyone in the right state of mind going into the Lions biggest game of the year so far.

Key to the Game #3 – Leadership

The Lions are coming off of a tough loss. This is a huge game for them, and they all know it. Someone needs to step onto the field and be a leader, whether that means making big plays or keeping everyone focused and confident.

If you had to bet, you’d say that Paul McCallum would be that guy, but don’t rule out Lulay, he’ll be managing a offense that will look to score early and often.

BC Injury Report – Click Here

In the Community

Last night the BC Lions were at Playland’s Fright Nights, where they met with fans who were checking out all of the spooky Halloween attractions. For more details, check out the link below:

http://www.bclions.com/article/bc-lions-fanfest-at-fright-nights

NW Sports Beat: Java Example #2

1 Nov

Canucks News

Hey there folks and Happy Tuesday to you!

Surfing around for your Canucks coverage for today? Looking for Canucks, News, Links, Analysis and observations?

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We all love the Canucks right? But we all don’t have the time to go through the web to try to find the latest news and articles from the best writers on the planet.

The men that cover the Canucks 24-7.

Remember folks that on the right sidebar of this page is our Canucks daily email blast subscription. If we have any Canucks articles on any given day by subscribing you’ll get these articles from NWSB in your inbox.

Here are some articles and links for the Canucks for Tuesday.

What are the local guys saying!?

Canucks’ Mike Gillis Adds Another Piece to the Second Line – praising the Canucks GM and looking at the Canucks after the trade. Bleacher Report – Nucks IceMan

You Know What I Hate?! – a Canucks related rant. Fantastic. Canucks Army – Tinfoil Tuque

Is there a more polarizing figure in Vancouver Sports than Roberto Luongo? – right now, absolutely not. A better question would be, has there ever been? Canucks Corner – Bruce Ng

Canucks Review and Preview – a look at the Canucks so far, and what’s coming up in the near future. Canucks Hockey Blog – Caylie King

My Journey to the NHL – Andrew Alberts – an interview with Andrew Alberts. Canucks.com

Video: Canucks Plays of the Week – Enjoy! Canucks.com

Chicago Wolves Update – Grading the Canucks Prospects through 7 games – looking at some of the players we could soon be seeing in Canucks uniform. Nucks Misconduct – Ggooglyboogly

What are the National Guys Saying?!

David Booth gets his first taste of insanity they call the Vancouver hockey market – we love you right now Booth, but you’re not getting away with -31 in Vancouver. Pressure is on. Pro Hockey Talk – Jason Brough