Archive for February, 2012

Big Buff Needs A New Home

Yup, I said it.  But it’s not what you’re thinking.

"Suck it, Vancouver!"

I love Dustin ‘Big Buff’ Byfuglien.  I think, like probably most ‘Peggers, he’s the player that I’m the most up and down with.  I haven’t loved any player on the Jets as much as I’ve loved Buff when he’s on, and he’s probably been my most hated player at times too. Whether it’s not hustling hard enough on the back-check, or a lazy turnover.  But nothing brings the crowd to their feet like a Big Buff clapper from the point that snaps the twine, or when he sends a guy literally flying, like only he can.

I’ve got a friendly rivalry with a pal who lives in Richmond, BC, so, naturally, we’re both gearing up for the only showdown of the season between the Jets and Canucks on March 8.

Back in 2010, before there were any serious whispers about an NHL team coming back to Winnipeg, I was just a regular Canadian hockey fan.  And here’s the honest-to-God truth: The only thing I vividly remember about the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup run is Dustin Byfuglien.

Specifically, the series between the ‘Hawks and ‘Nucks.  As a Canadian with no team to call my own, I was pulling hard for Vancouver to go all the way.  And let me tell you, when that final whistle blew, sealing the demise of the Canucks in the 2010 Playoffs, I knew one thing only: I hated Dustin Byfuglien.

That guy was parked in front of Luongo from the start of the series, to its finish.  He was smug, arrogant, big, strong, talented, and loved rubbing it his opponents’ faces.  My face.  But the real reason people hate(d) him, is because he’s damn good at what he does, and is effective.

Naturally, now that he represents Winnipeg, I love the guy.  But with every passing game, I feel more and more strongly that he needs to go back where he belongs; forward.

I am really having a tough time understanding why he was moved to defence, unless it was by his own request.  He’s easily one of the biggest, strongest players in the NHL, and has proven that he is far and away most effective when he’s parked in front of the net.

Sure, he’s got a hell of a slap shot, but he seems to struggle to hit the net a lot of the time.  He’s not the fastest skater, and everyone has seen how much he loves coming down off the point and going deep into the offensive zone.  So why are we surprised when he can’t make it back in time to even up a 2-on-1?  He’s an offensive-minded player, with the size and strength to wreak havoc in front of the net, and doesn’t stay in position on defence.  How many more reasons do we need to put him up on forward?

We’re at a little too critical of a point in time right now to be doing any experimenting, but I hope that Claude Noel will consider trying him out on forward maybe for some exhibition games in the next season.  Or hell, experiment with it on March 8 against the Canucks, and then ask Bobby Lu what he thinks of the decision after the game.

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Jets/Flyers

First and foremost, welcome to the revamped website!

I wasn’t all too happy with the way my site was laid out before, so I made a few adjustments aesthetically, but also updated a lot of information, and made my online portfolio more expansive, and threw up the ol’ resumé.

Photo I took from my seats at the Jets/Flyers game.

I had the (mis?)fortune of being at the Jets vs. Flyers game last night at the MTS Centre. I seriously don’t know which one it is.

What a game.

Just when it looks like we’re going to sweep the Philadelphia Flyers over the season… 15,000 strong on their feet, red in the face for yelling, paying respect to our Winnipeg Jets who were about to go four wins a row, and take down one of the best in the NHL yet again.  Our goalie and, quite frankly, saviour Ondrej Pavelec had made nearly 50 saves over three periods of play and had held on right to the end.  The two points were well in hand.

And then it all came crashing down.

Wayne Simmonds puts one in with under 10 seconds to go, and let me tell you… it was the Great Depression inside the MTS Centre.  I couldn’t believe it.  But even still, an OT win, a shootout win, it’s all the same.  There was still hope.

That Jagr salute will haunt me, as the Jets fell 5-4 in overtime, right after Pavelec made his 50th save of the evening.

An absolute heartbreaker to be sure, but we all (including the team) have to realize that a hard-fought loss to a top team like that, while at least grabbing a single point, is a hell of a lot better than a 2-1 loss to a team scraping the bottom of the barrel like the Carolina Hurricanes.

The positives out-weigh the negatives here, including the fact that our scorers are scoring, most notably our captain.  Our power play was outstanding last night, and has been good over the past couple games after being non-existent for about 17.  And we are still as much in the playoff race as we have ever been, right on the doorstep, tied for 8th place, and tied for the top of our division.

Like all the boys are saying right now, we need to take the positives from the last game, build on them, and put the loss behind us.  I’m impressed as hell with what I’ve seen from our Jets over the last four games.  They’re playing like a playoff team.  Win, lose, or draw, if they just keep doing what they’re doing, they’ll see the post-season.

By The #s

While story-hunting in Journalism class today, I came across a report on Statistics Canada that reports Canadians over 15 are not nearly as involved in sports as they were in the early 1990’s.  Whereas back then almost five out of every ten Canadians 15+ were playing sports, it’s now down almost 20 percentage points to three out of five.

As a sports enthusiast, this intrigued me.

Today’s task was all about charts and maps, and presenting numerical date (lots of it) in a much more easy-to-digest manner.

To put this into perspective, take the report I just mentioned for example.  It’s one thing to simply say “Canadians over 15 are not nearly as involved in sports as they were in the early 1990’s”, and for a lot of people, that’s enough.  It’s an interesting stat, and would probably surprise a lot of people just hearing it presented like that.

But for people like me, who are interested in sports, and are known to play them from time to time, perhaps we’d like to know more.

Since we’re speaking mostly hypothetically here, and we’re all students who couldn’t realistically compile data like this in about 18 hours, I will tell you how I would ideally like to see this data presented.

Since we’re talking about a Canada-wide survey, we’d need a map of Canada front and centre.  I think it would be interesting to know what specific parts of Canada are experiencing the biggest decline in participation in sports.  It would also be a great resource for journalists to use to compile data that can be used in stories.

The other thing I’d like to chart, and I’m not sure if it would even be possible, would be a comprehensive list of which specific sports have seen the greatest decrease in participation.  I think it would be especially interesting to get those numbers from Winnipeg, and see if more ‘Peggers 15 and older are getting involved in playing hockey, with the return of the Winnipeg Jets.

If nothing else, I was introduced to a great resource to use as a journalist, being Statistics Canada.  At the Winnipeg Free Press, I always loved to find a reliable website that I could visit to try and generate a good story idea.  The City of Winnipeg site is always great, because people are always interested to know what their government is spending the people’s taxes on.

If you get a nice big stack of sites to visit it actually becomes pretty fun to fire em all up each and every morning and just look for something interesting to investigate and write about.

Top 10 Lists

What the hell is better than a Top 10 list? Seriously.

I don’t even know why they’re such a staple, but everybody (even you) loves a Top 10 list about something they’re interested in, or that’s just interesting in general.

Nobody – I repeat, nobody – does the Top 10 list better than TSN.

TSN has so many Top 10 lists, I’m actually pretty baffled at their ability to continue to be able to come up with Top 10 anythings.

If there’s one thing I (think I) struggle with as a journalist, it’s the ability to keep coming up with fresh, new content. Especially if you’re working for a news outlet that puts out content daily.  I have good ideas, just like (almost) everyone else, I simply lack the experience, and therefore confidence, to believe that any of my ideas are good.

Take this blog post for example: I was sitting here trying to come up with an IDEA, while watching literally proabably 50+ TSN Top 10 videos on YouTube.  Now this blog post is about TSN Top 10 videos, and the fact that I can’t come up with good ideas.  Probably not a good idea.

Anyways, here’s one of my favourites, TSN’s Top 10 Penalty Box Moments.  Ahh, Tie Domi… I just love you.