Wake Up with Katy Perry

September 5, 2008

Her music video for “I Kissed a Girl” generated controversy due to its popularity with children and its depiction of sexuality, homosexuality, and promiscuity. In contrast, an essay in Slant Magazine argues that the song “isn’t problematic because it promotes homosexuality, but because its appropriation of the gay lifestyle exists for the sole purpose of garnering attention. “I Kissed a Girl” has become a worldwide hit, topping Billboard Hot 100, Canadian Hot 100, the UK singles chart, the Australian ARIA Charts, and peaking at #2 on the Worldwide Charts. So there you have it, a smoking hot girl kisser for todays Wake UP with, maybe with the other girl too…hmmmmm yum!

Where Would They Be If Not for the Big Time?

September 5, 2008

Have you ever wondered where your favorite sports athlete would be if they had not made it to the big time. Here is a short list of sport stars and the career paths they missed out on.

10. Mike Tyson (Boxer)-He probably would have ran into trouble with the law at an early age. He then would have cleaned up, and been a twelve step regular. From there he would take his new found serenity to a recovery house where he would begin his short lived career as a counsellor (he loses this job for biting the ear off some kid who tells him his voice sounds like a broken record).

9. Shaq (NBA star)-He probably would have put out a rap album.

8. Sean Avery (NHL Star)-Probably rodent removal…

7. David Beckham (Soccer Player LA Galaxy)-Probably would have married a spice girl, and modelled underwear for a living.

6. Any NASCAR Star- Tire sales, or wheel rotation.

5. Tiger Woods (PGA Golfer)- Could see him as a JC Penney Catalogue model for pleated pants.

4. Tony Romo (NFL Player)- Probably follow in his father’s footsteps, and join the Navy. That would be after his girlfriend convinces him that the beer helmet has already been invented.

3. Roger Clemens (MLB Player)- 7th. Grade teacher at an all girls school.

2. Maria Sharapova (Tennis Star)- Insert inappropriate comment here…

1. Dennis Rodman (NBA Star)- Would have changed sexes and become one of those girls you call for $4.99 a minute after a rough night on the town.

NFL Game Day Picks For Sunday September 7th

September 5, 2008

by Ivahn Lachowsky…

With the begining of the NFL season also brings the begining of many millions of hopefuls trying to win extra cash while enjoying the game.

Up here in Canada we have a sports lottery system called Proline.

Proline includes the pointspread, the over and under in combined points between the two teams as well as straight up wins.

This system of sports gambling I’m guessing is not much different from many others around the world.

To get to my point each week from 1 to 17 I will be presenting my picks for the Sunday ahead.

I’ll be doing this encourage myself to go with my gut on certain games which I have in the past ignored to dismay.

I would greatly appreciate feedback on my picks from my fellow Bleacher Creatures before and after the games.

I will not be submitting a lengthy speech for all the games I will leave that for the comments.

Well here we go:

Cincinnati [email protected] Ravens the line is Bengals by 2

I say the Ravens by 3 for I guess what you would call an upset this is a gut pick it could go either way.

New York [email protected] Dolphins the line is Jets by 4

I like the 4 points and more Favre has a solid offensive line in front of him with the addition of Alen Faneca as well as Woody, Fergusun, Mangold I say the Jets by 14.

Jacksonville [email protected] Titans the line is Jaguars by 3

Which ever way this game goes it might give a hint at who is the more serious threat to the Colts for the division I still say the Jags by 10.

Seattle [email protected] Bills the line is Bills by 2

I must say the Bills are an improved team but I was a little surprised to see them favoured by 2 over Seattle I say Seahawks by 3.

Tampa Bay [email protected] Orleans Saints the line is Saints by 4

With all the city of New Orleans has been through wouldn’t it be nice to see the Saints win thier opener I think so Saints by 7.

[email protected] line is Dal by 6 I say Dallas by 10

[email protected] Fran line is Arz by 3 I say San Fran by 3

[email protected] line is Det by 4 I Detroit 7

[email protected] line is Giants by 4 I like Was for the upset by 3

[email protected] line is Patriots by 17 I say Patriots by 14

[email protected] line is Steelers by 7 I say Steelers by 7

[email protected] line is Phi by 8 I say Eagles by 10

[email protected] line is Chargers by 10 I say Chargers by 21

[email protected] line is Colts by 10 I say Colts by 10

Let me know what you think.

BT’s 2008/09 NHL Season Preview: The Calgary Flames

September 5, 2008

by Bryan Thiel…

Preface: Well there’s only one team left in the Northwest, and only one spot left for them to be.

To recap, the Vancouver Canucks will be bringing up the rear, while the Avs (barring any dynamo additions up front) will be eyeing fourth. The Wild will tumble a bit from last year to third, while the Oilers will take a surprising second.

Let’s keep in mind though, that even with this team coming in first, the Northwest is a division that could really be won and lost by anyone—kind of like last year’s Southeast Division, which we’ll get to next week.

Anyways, let’s get down to business:

The Calgary Flames have had a lot of memorable players in their day—Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts, Lanny McDonald, Al MacInnis, Theoren Fleury, and Mike Vernon, just to name a few.

Ironically enough, all six of those—including another fan favorite, Doug Gilmour—were members of the 1989 Stanley Cup championship Flames team.

With their near-win in 2004—about two inches on another Martin Gelinas series-clinching goal away from victory—the Flames seemed to be turning a corner.

Four years later, though, there stands to be just as much optimism for the Flames today as in the future.

Roster Additions: Todd Bertuzzi-F (F.A.), Michael Cammalleri-F (Trade), Rene Bourque-F (Trade/Sign)

Roster Subtractions:
Alex Tanguay-F (Trade), Curtis Joseph-G (F.A.), David Hale-D (F.A.), Owen Nolan-F (F.A.), Stephane Yelle-F (F.A.), Kristian Huselius-F (F.A.)

How did 2007-08 go? 42-30-10, 94 points, Seventh in conference, third in Northwest, lost in first round of 2008 playoffs (Western Conference).

2008-09 Goal:
First in division, Conference Finals.


Let’s break’er down!

Some people think that the Calgary Flames are overrated, while some think that the Calgary Flames are underrated—so it’s really a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t scenario.

The only question I have is how are there still people out there that don’t appreciate Jarome Iginla?

To get a little, you have to give a little

The Calgary Flames’ big responsibility this offseason was to re-sign some of their key players, and they did that with contracts to David Langkow and Craig Conroy—their top playmaking centre coming off back-to-back 30 goal seasons, and one of their best two-way players.

In doing that however, the Flames failed to retain Kristian Huselius—a player who developed some serious chemistry over the course of last season with Jarome Iginla—and they also dealt Alex Tanguay to the Montreal Canadiens, a deal which has been expected for the past two seasons.

But everything happens for a reason, and because of those two departures, the Flames were able to open up a spot (and some cap space) for Mike Cammalleri—formerly of Los Angeles Kings’ “fame.”

In Cammalleri, the Flames were able to acquire a versatile forward who will most likely see time on the top line with Langkow and Iginla.  Chemistry already exists between those two—Langkow’s passing ability and Iginla’s grit, leadership, and scoring tendencies.  Adding Cammalleri—who scored 80 points just two years ago with the Kings—gives the Flames a top three that will be difficult for any defense to deal with.

With Owen Nolan departed for division-rival Minnesota, Todd Bertuzzi steps in as the Flames’ annual veteran ‘fix-me’ acquisition. The tumultuous seasons following the Steve Moore incident have certainly taken a toll on Bertuzzi’s game—frankly he’s still lucky he’s allowed to play—while injuries limited him to 40 points in 62 games last season.

But if Bertuzzi can provide anything close to what Nolan did last season—16 goals and 16 assists—then Mike Keenan could look like a genius once again.

But even after getting past the first line, and overlooking Owen Nolan, the Flames have depth like you wouldn’t believe. Matthew Lombardi has turned into a quality two-way centre with the likelihood of netting anywhere from 40-55 points, while Brandon Prust and Jamie Lundmark offer great depth down the middle.

The wings also feature an assortment of talent and grit, with the likes of Andre Roy, Kyle Greentree, Marcus Nilson, Dustin Boyd, Eric Nystrom, and the newly-acquired Rene Bourque.

The prospects of the top line alone are scary, but imagine if some of those names put up some serious points. That offense would be hard to stop.

I only like Pierre McGuire during ‘Double-Dions’…

The great thing about the Flames is that they’ve got one All-Star at every position—Jarome Iginla up front, Miika Kiprusoff in net, and Dion Phaneuf on the blue line.

Not only is Phaneuf the EA Sports cover athlete for NHL 09, but he’s turned himself into a heavy-hitting, hard-shooting, no-bones-about-it, perennial All-Star and Norris Trophy candidate.

If I were to peg Dion for anything less than an All-Star berth, a Norris Trophy nomination, and 50 to 60 points, I’d be off my rocker—but as some do far too often, we’re forgetting the “supporting cast” Dion has around him.

Since Phaneuf’s arrival, people have shifted their focus away from Robyn Regehr, despite the fact the 28-year-old has been a solid leader, and a great shut-down defenseman in his eight seasons with the Flames. Granted, he doesn’t put up the points like Dion—but Robyn more than makes up for it with his physicality, and the imposing attitude he brings to the Calgary Flames defense.

Add to that the occasional offensive flair and grind-it-out style from Jim Vandermeer, while Rhett Warrener controls the defensive flow and Adrian Aucoin unleashes bullets from the point, and the Calgary Flames have a dangerous defense that can step up in almost any facet of the game.

And that’s not even accounting for the tough-as-nails Cory Sarich, who brings much needed Stanley Cup experience to this squad, or the depth provided by Mark Giordano, Adam Pardy, and Anders Eriksson.

A ton of Flash and he always ‘Finish’es…

Should we really even bother with Curtis McElhinney? I mean, yes, he’s from London, Ontario, so I should probably give him some love—but given Miika Kiprusoff’s 76 games played last season, he doesn’t really need a backup goaltender.

That is, unless he gets blown out in the first period of a playoff game against the San Jose Sharks—but that hardly ever happens, right?

Maybe we should ask Curtis Joseph.

To give credit where credit is due, McElhinney is the best kind of backup goalie to give a coach like Mike Keenan. He’s a kid who’s got his head screwed on straight, with a hard-working nature and a thirst to improve and seek out his own opportunities, instead of waiting for things to get handed to him—although, with Keenan, sometimes waiting is the best option for a goalie).

He just plays behind the wrong guy—Miika Kiprusoff.

Kiprusoff finished last year with 39 wins—one away from his third-straight 40-win season—a .906 save percentage, and a 2.69 goals against average. The scary thing? That’s a bad year for this guy. Thanks, San Jose.

The only problem with Kipper is that he hasn’t been able to win in the playoffs since the Stanley Cup run of 2004, posting a 7-12 record in the playoffs the past three years.

But how about we let the Flames focus on the season before we get to ahead of ourselves, all right?


So what does this all mean?

The Flames seem to have it all in place. They have a tough defense with some puck-moving ability, they have gritty, in-your-face forwards who can score, and they have a Vezina-caliber goalie in between the pipes.

Throughout the regular season, I can’t see any team within the division giving the Flames a lot of trouble, especially seeing as they were only four points away from winning the division title from the Wild last season.

The Red Mile will be rockin’ this year.

Prediction: First in Northwest

So there you have it, the Northwest division. Hopefully, whether you agreed or disagreed, you enjoyed it, and the added input from the available Community Leaders.

As we said, next week is the Southeast division, so if you’re a fan of the Panthers, Lightning, Hurricanes, Capitals, or Thrashers—keep your heads up!

BT’s 2008/09 NHL Season Preview: The Vancouver Canucks

September 5, 2008

by Bryan ThielPreface: Before going on in this prediction, I’d like to state something that I haven’t yet gotten to in the Minnesota, Edmonton, or Colorado previews.

The division standings at the bottom of the previews don’t have points for a reason—I’m refraining from deciding how good or bad a team does with a solid numeric value, because none of us know.

It’s fun to sepculate position within the division, but to be honest, all five teams in one division could make the playoffs, making a “how many points are they going to get” aspect, redundant.

Just because I rank a team fourth or fifth, doesn’t mean that I’m assuming they won’t be competitive—some of the most competitive teams are the ones that suffer through the worst seasons.

Anyway, back to the task at hand…

Can anyone imagine the Vancouver Canucks any differently?

For a very long time, the “Mother Canuckers” have had the same system of leadership heading up their team. Now, management has decided that it’s time for a change.

The players designated as the “leaders” last season couldn’t return the ‘Nucks to the promise land, so why not try to get younger, and develop leadership from within?

Well, I don’t know how well that’ll go, but good on the Canucks for trying.


Roster Additions: Kyle Wellwood-F (F.A.), Steve Bernier-F (Trade/Sign), Pavol Demitra-F (F.A.), Nolan Baumgartner-D (F.A.)

Roster Subtractions:
Brad Isbister-F (F.A.), Aaron Miller-D (F.A.), Markus Naslund-F (F.A.), Brenden Morrison-F (F.A.), Trevor Linden-F ( Retirement), Luc Bourdon-D (Deceased)

How did 2007/08 go? 39-33-10, 88 points, 11th in Conference, last in Northwest division

2008/09 Goal:
Top Ten in Conference, Make the playoffs


Let’s break’er down…

For the Vancouver Canucks, last season was just a repeat of all the troubles that have dogged this franchise since the lockout ended.

Since 2000/01, the Canucks had made the playoffs every single season. Then the lockout hit. Following the lockout, the Canucks have only seen post season action once in the past three seasons, and they’ve become one of the more dogged franchises in the NHL, and the 2008/09 season may be just as troublesome.

Well, at least we’ve got Roberto…

One of the premier netminders in the NHL will be back on the West Coast for a third straight year.

After appearing in 149 games over the past two seasons, Roberto Luongo will be back between the pipes for the Vancouver Canucks, looking to lead the team back to the post season as he did in his first season on the west coast.

Luongo has proven over the course of his career that he can be the real deal. Since he started out with the Florida Panthers, Luongo has never had a season in which he’s sported a save percentage below .914, while his goals against average (2.60) is surprisingly low for a goalie who’s played behind a steady stream of unstable defenses in his career.

His career-best 47 wins in 2006/07 were enough to propel the Canucks to a division championship and a first round victory over the Dallas Stars, but unless Luongo can be even better than that 47-win season, the playoffs are going to be a difficult task for the Canucks.
And if he gets hurt? Well it’s unfair to say the Canucks have no chance, but to say that Curtis Sanford and Cory Schneider give them a chance at anything put John Tavares may be a stretch too.

A Defense depleted and defeated…

As hard as it is to fathom on a hockey level, the loss of Luc Bourdon is going to hurt the Canucks.

In Bourdon they had it all: a mobile defenseman who could skate, play the body, and could contribute to a consistent stream of offense. Now that they’ve lost such a promising young star to a horrific accident, the Canucks are back at square one.

To begin the journey ahead however, Kevin Bieksa is going to have to be healthy. After signing a 3-year, $11.5 million contract following the 2006/07 season, Bieksa had loft expectations. He was rocketing up Vancouver’s depth chart and he was looking forward to improving upon his 42-point total—his highest at any level of hockey.

The season however, started miserably for Bieksa as he was a -6 in his first three games. By November 1st though, his season would get even worse, as Bieksa’s calf was lacerated in a skirmish along the boards during a game against Nashville. The injury would force him to miss the next 47 games, and following his return, Bieksa was terribly inconsistent going -2 one night, and netting two or three assists another.

When you factor in Mattias Ohlund, Vancouver’s top defenseman, was either hurt or suspended for 29 games, while Lukas Krajicek also missed most of the second half of the season with a shoulder ailment, it’s not surprising that Vanouver struggled as it was buoyed by a bandaged and beleaguered defense.

Then we’ve got the unknown that is Lawrence Nycholat. Although he doesn’t seem to be destined for anything more than depth purposes in Vancouver, Nycholat has still proven that he can score at the AHL level, posting nearly 273 points in 483 AHL games. Nycholat is 29 however, and his scoring days are behind him. However, if he can bring a bit of a defensive presence to Vancouver, he may be able to climb the ranks slightly.

The two bright spots on the back end last season however, would be the play of both Willie Mitchell and Alexander Edler. Although Mitchell is nothing spectacular when it comes to defensemen, he came as advertised and provided Vancouver with a healthy, defensive-minded body on the blueline—something the team sorely needed. Edler on the other hand, put his 6’3, 220 lbs. body to good use, providing the team with a 20-point presence and strong defensive play.

Although it’s not out of the question for Edler to improve (expect 25-30 points) and Mitchell to stay the course of his career, it’ll be the rest of the defensemen patrolling the blueline that determine the Canucks future. Will Karjicek’s shoulder hold up? How effective can Mattias Ohlund his surgically repaired knee be? Is Kevin Bieksa going to prove to be a bust, or was his injury last season just simply bad timing?

I can’t answer those questions, but I’m not expecting the Canucks’ D to jump out of the gate. And if they get hurt again, you can’t rely on just Edler, Mitchell, and Salo the entire season—Roberto Luongo or not.

Is it too late to bring back Anson Carter?

Hi my name is Pavol and it’s nice Demitra.

That’s the classic line from Jay Onrait on TSN (or Canada’s ESPN) Sportscentre during morning highlight packages.

If the Canucks expect to compete though, that phrase will have to become a daily occurrence.

For the first time since 1995/96, the Vancouver Canucks will be without Markus Naslund, and although his scoring had started to slip towards the end of last season (7 points in his last 22 games), it’ll still be strange watching the Canucks without Naslund or Trevor Linden, the longtime Canuck who retired following last season.

With that however, the reigns of the team are left to the Sedin twins. Since being drafted, Henrik has become the playmaking centre man (61 and 71 assists), while Daniel has become the freewheeling goal scorer (36 and 29 the past two seasons), and anyone who has played with them (Anson Carter) has made seemed to be the long lost Sedin.

After the Sedin’s though, there’s a long list of players that are unproven, or have fallen off the map.

In the case of Pavol Demitra however, the Canucks are just looking for the production he lost in his move to Minnesota. For his entire career, Demitra has been good for roughly 20 goals, but the Canucks will need some of his old St. Louis success to shine through, as the ‘Nuckers were only able to outscore seven teams in the NHL last season. Chances are he finds a bit of it and is able to put up 65ish points, but at nearly 34, Demitra’s most productive seasons may be behind him, Sedin’s or not.

But with those unproven secondary scorers, or sometimes fallen stars, we can find the likes of Kyle Wellwood: the play-making, injury-prone, former-Leaf hopes to have found a place where he can play and be healthy, and possibly (although I highly doubt this) remind Leaf fans of Steve Sullivan.

There’s also Ryan Kesler who could crack the 20-goal barrier once again, and Steve Bernier, a player who’s hoping to find consistency in scoring (and a team) who could provide some youthful exuberance to a fairly average group of forwards.

Unless the third and fourth lines explode for the Canucks this season and start potting 20 goals a player, then this team is in for a long year offensively.

So what does it all mean?

The Canucks are great in net, could be good on defense, and need a lot of help up front.

Although the defense could be a tad fragile with three key cogs coming off of surgery or major slumps/injury, there should be some quality games played in front of Roberto Luongo.

That’s as far as that goes however. Luongo can allow two or three goals per game all he wants, but if the Canucks can’t score goals for him, then that may be all she wrote on another season.

Last in Northwest

Unfortunately, there isn’t a Community Leader available for Vancouver, so this is another one of those “audition through comment” teams.

KillerKilrea

September 5, 2008

The image “http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/topstory/sports/kilrea_brian0309a.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.by Murray Crawford… Sometimes the hardest thing to do in sports is to be consistent. Everyone has a chance to be great, and many are great for a certain period in time, but every once in a while someone comes along whom is not only great, but also great with consistency. I speak of Brian Kilrea. The Ottawa 67’s coach will be calling it a career at the end of this season, his 30th as head coach. That’s not a typo; I don’t mean 3 years or 13, 30 years. They were not consecutive; he had a brief NHL coaching career, 1984-86, and a very brief retirement between 1994 and 95. But for 30 seasons Kilrea coached a seemingly revolving door of teenagers.

In his career Kilrea has only missed the OHL playoffs once 1992-93, what followed was a decade of dominance, between 1993 and 2005 the 67s finished either 1st or 2nd every year, went to five OHL finals and one Memorial Cup. In his career Kilrea has been to five memorial cups and won two, entire junior franchises wish they could boast that kind of record. Five times he was OHL coach of the year, but only once was he recognized as CHL coach of the year. Five years ago he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Junior has the same revolving door of players that college football does, but they’re younger. So comparing Kilrea to a guy like Joe Paterno makes more sense, Paterno won 2 national championships in 42 years. It’s tough to really consider Kilrea in terms of his NHL potential or a comparable coach in NHL history. Scotty Bowman won plenty of championships, but with different teams, and he had the advantage of roster consistency and player maturity as compared to Kilrea.

What people forget about Kilrea is that he made an attempt at a career as a player, playing for none other than Eddie Shore’s Springfield Indians, the same team that was well known for it’s iron fisted owner and coach Eddie Shore. Between 1959 and 1962 the Indians won 3 consecutive Calder Cups. But Kilrea’s association with Shore goes beyond championships, in fact in 1966 Shore suspended Kilrea from play for starting a mutiny, or at least that’s how Shore saw it.

News of NHL expansion was spreading fast and the AHL was going to be the prime picking grounds for talent. Many of the Indians saw an opportunity to leverage raises. Shore didn’t like giving players money, he was a notorious penny pincher, and scratched players sold popcorn during the game. Kilrea was nominated, along with teammate Gerry Foley, to represent the players. Shore told Kilrea to leave the building.

The team rallied around Foley and Kilrea and went on strike. Shore assembled a team of replacement players and told the players that he would sue for breach of contract. Kilrea was again recruited to represent the players to contact none other than future NHLPA president Alan Eagleson. Eagleson took players statements about their mistreatment. Eagleson’s represented the players and General Manager Jack Butterfield became the intermediary between Eagleson and Shore. The result was that Shore stepped down as president and was no longer involved in day-to-day operations.

So Kilrea can be credited with both standing up to a very old school coach and bringing Eagleson further into hockey. Shortly thereafter Kilrea earned another distinction, becoming the first player to score a goal for the Los Angeles Kings.

Kilrea will hopefully be remembered as a coach who got three decades of players NHL ready. As a coach he had the distinction of coaching young Kris Draper, Alyn McCauley, Michael Peca, Gary Roberts, Bobby Smith and Kevin Weekes.