Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Go Skiing

Got today off ?

Looking for something to do because the weather isn’t great for suntanning ?

Go skiing.

I went yesterday to Mont St-Sauveur and conditions were mid winter. The Laurentians received 25cm of snow on Thursday and skiing has never been better. Add in that there is NO ONE there and you can sleep in, arrive at the hill for 11, get a 4hr ticket and snowboard/ski until the end of the day and enjoy zero line ups and excellent conditions.

They only have 2 chairs open (3 if you count Avila). So not all the runs are open and it’s full ticket fare. Even with that, it’s worth it. The best skiing of the year, I’d say.

I’d go back today, but I gotta work.

Habs Week in Review

Sweet Mother of Pearl!

C’est ben tight eh ?

Not but one point separates the Habs and the sucky Leafs. All that is left to play is but two matches: Thursday against the Rangers and Saturday against the sucky Leafs.

The Leafs, they luck out by playing the lowly Islanders who, since losing their goaler can’t buy a win, and then on Saturday against Les Canadiens.

So all in all, it may very well come down to Saturday. One match takes it all. Already I’m on pins and needles.

The good news is the Habs are playing well. Very well. After being partially benched by Carbo on Saturday, Koivu showed once again why he is the Habs captain, scoring the Habs only two goals of the night against the Bruins. The Habs new young star goalie, Halak, did the rest.

This remember is the exact same team back in February and early March that couldn’t win. All the futzing and juggling of lines, and the screaming to Gainey to find the Habs a new goalie is now moot. No one is questioning Gainey now.. are they ?

This very same team, is winning, is showing confidence and is looking like they are destined for the playoffs.

Even if the weather isn’t quite showing it, it’s springtime in Montreal.

Bring on the playoffs.

Reach For The Top

We’re not talking Canadian Idol here: far from it. Mike Boone of the Montreal Gazette has a great piece this morning on one of those quiet people who gets things done. This is Dean Whalen who last year instituted the Annual Mont-Royal Stair Climb for Children. Last year he started this and the participants together climbed over 133,000 stairs, raising $20,000 for the Montreal Children’s Hospital. He himself climbed over 10,000 stairs, that’s 41 flights, contributing almost 10% of the cumulative total.

It’s taking place again this year on Saturday May 5th from 8 a.m. – 12 noon. It starts at the Mount-Royal Stairs, on Pine Avenue, just east of McGill’s McIntyre Medical Building. It’s a marathon on stairs up on the jewel of our city, with no end in sight: 256 steps in all. This year’s climbing target is a total of 150 thousand steps, which should raise a minimum of $30,000.

So why not do your bit. You’ll find more details about this event here. Why not participate, every step will help. If you own a company, then become a sponsor. .. or if you work for a company, then persuade your colleagues and your company to get involved. For more details, call 514-346-3048.

Habs Week in Review

Buy the chaise longue. Seriously. Head down to Crappy Tire before work and pick up a chaise longue. Never mind how much it costs. Never mind that Crappy Tire is probably gouging their clients with those insane prices for chaise longue, buy it. You are going to need it for when the parade passes by.

This team is for real with a real goalie. Not that piece of swiss cheeze. A real live goalie who stops pucks. Lots of ’em too. Kovavlev is playing like the Kovalev when the Habs signed him. He scores goals. Koivu is fully energized. The kids are playing with full gusto and Begin is putting the puck in the net!

My mother always used to tell me: “Justin, poop or get off the pot”. Well, it’s time to poop. The Habs will make the playoffs. There, I’ve said it. But it will happen.

Yesterday I had to pick my girlfriend up at the airport. Listening to CKAC on the way in, riveted to the radio, I later had to apologize to her (at the end of the first period of course) for not really asking her how her flight was.. Sorry Hun, the Habs were down 2-0!

But then in the 2nd, DINK, DINK, DINK, DINK, DINK! 5-2, like that. The Rangers scored two in the 3rd to drive my heart rate up into lactate threshold zone but Streit’s goal in the 3rd sealed the deal.

The Islanders lost. The Hurricaine lost and the Habs are the sole 8th place holder. That’s the cutoff for the playoffs.

See you at Crappy Tire. They open at 9am.

Habs Week in Review

The chaise longues that were on sale at Crappy Tire are now back at regular price. Spots along the parade route are starting to sell once again.

Speaking with a buddy of mine, ever the Habs optimist, told me weeks ago that I am much too pessimistic.. that this is far from over.

Depending on how things turn out in various other matches, the Habs are right on the cusp of being in a playoff position with less then two weeks to play. They have two relatively easy matches to play against the Caps and again the Bruins whom they beat tonight 1-0.

Halak played a second great game, producing his first NHL shutout match; making key saves to get those much coveted two points. Latendresse scored Montreal’s only goal.

Habs fans and sports journalists are famous for going back into the archives when speaking of young Dryden and Roy being introduced into the NHL just before the playoffs and carrying their new teams into the playoffs and onto a Stanley Cup.

Even better news, some reports have Huet coming back earlier then expected.. possibly before the playoffs.

It’s still way too early to say, but I won’t be buying a chaise longue for the parade route just yet.. not at those new prices anyhow.

Habs Week in Review

Noam Chomsky called sports, or more pointedly, spectator sports as “Irrational Jingoism”. When Chomsky was in high school he came to the conclusion that his high school’s football team’s winning record had no bearing whatsoever on his life.

Chomsky also felt that our press was not free. He feels that various filters, 5 in fact, impede the flow of a free press. See Manufacturing Consent for more on this. Heading back to last week when the entire Kovalev affair hit the press, both of these statements by Chomsky came to mind.

LaPresse was lambasted during the week by readers and the screws turned on them by Les Canadiens. As I alluded to in last week’s post, Les Canadiens control the sports media. They do so by having a legion of journalists and commentators that they can count on to produce comments in the paper that are favorable to their position. They wield this control by choosing which players are available for comments and how often. What makes one journalist more successful then another is often the access he gets to certain players.

The entire team played a massive game of denial and circled in among themselves to help blow this story over. In the end, they were very successful. The story is dead. But what I took away from the entire affair is how incredibly unfree sports journalism is. How the guys working the beat are at the complete mercy of the team they follow. How if a paper steps out of line from the official line how a legion of writers descend upon that paper for having the nerve to actually write something that approaches real journalism.

The Habs are now in 11nth and will have to play like Gods to make the playoffs.

Habs Week in Review

Well at least we aren’t talking about how horrible the Habs are right now.

No, instead, we’re in the middle of a firestorm surrounding Alex Kovalev, La Presse and Le Journal de Montreal.

He said, she said. This is what it’s come down to. That, and how each media outlet is either attacking the story or defending it.

Alex Kovalev is reported to have said, to a Russian news agency that (and I am paraphrasing) that Carbo doesn’t like Russians, that the Habs are split into cliques based on nationality and that the younger players, most notably French Canadian players, ignore the veterans.

My first reaction? Ouin, pi ?

Am I the only one who doesn’t really see what the big deal is ?

Habs Week in Review

Another trade deadline passes and nada. There I was, scanning the net looking for a sign, any sign that Gainey would find us a new goalie.. Hell, I’ll even take Ed Belfour. Why not. He can’t be any worse then that piece of swiss cheeze that has way too many holes.. (ok, bad pun).

But no, the deadline passed and I felt like the ugly kid frantically scanning the high school gym floor looking for the pretty little red head as Stairway to Heaven plays over the PA… and there she is dancing with that jerk in misses Thomson’s class.. AACK!

Gainey did make one trade this week. Habs veteran Craig Rivet for a 22yr old who hasn’t done too much in the NHL and a first round draft pick.. It’s that second part that makes me almost forgive Bobsie for not finding us a goalie. So here we are, a few dozen matches away from the playoffs and we have to make do with a kid and what’s his useless face..

As of this writing, the Habs are in 7nth and losing to the Rangers 1-0.

Controversial soccer

Everyone has probably heard about the controversy that was created in Laval when a Muslim girl was not allowed to play in a soccer game because she refused to remove her hijab. The grounds were that it poses a risk of strangulation.

I’m torn because on the one hand I do see that there are safety rules for a reason, though on a personal note I wonder what the odds really are of someone being strangled because of a hijab. At the same time, a hijab is not the same thing as someone wanting to play while wearing a long string of beads around their neck or a hat for fashion’s sake, it’s a religious headscarf and I’m all about her right to wear it.

However, I don’t think the story in and of itself, as it was briefly described is the REAL interesting part of the story. What is interesting to me is that not only did she refuse to take it off and not only did her team support her by refusing to play, FOUR other teams walked off and refused to play in protest of the rule.

I find that part interesting and fascinating and even hopeful of a generation that cares about issues because when I was a young kid I don’t know how many of my peers would have cared enough to stand up for someone and walk away from a tournament like that.

Underground Race, how’d it go?

Me after the race, the finish line area, one of the friendly volunteers.

Well! The day after the Underground Race, my leg muscles are in pain! OUCH!

It was quite nice! I arrived at the Carrefour at around 7h10 and there were already many runners there! Everyone getting ready, stretching, preparing for the 5 kilometers! At 8h30 the race started.

The 1st kilometer went fine! Then I got tired a bit! I combined running with fast walking. At the 3rd kilometer I got some weird thing in my throat. In French we say “avoir un chat dans la gorge”. Something there, even if you cough it doesn’t go away! Grr! The 4th kilometer I was happy! Only 1 more to go! I can do this! I didn’t mind my time, my goal was to participate and do it for myself.

Along the way I enjoyed seeing my city! I ran in some places I’d never seen before. Like the upper levels at the CDP, wow! So pretty! And I didn’t know we had a piece of the Berlin Wall in Montreal!

Finally I arrived at the Complexe Desjardins! The finish line! YAY!

654 on 674 runners, total time 41:21.7, pace 8:17, 78 on 82 in my category of age (women 20-29) and 243 on 257 women. All of the results here.

I waited a bit for the medals presentation but apparently they were having technical problems compiling all of the results, so it was delayed. I decided to come home!

Matthew made a neat little video of runners at the Eaton Centre…

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