CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for November 17: Lucic is a Moron, Chara is a Freak (Anagram Fun)

This edition of Clay’s Canucks Commentary comes as the Canucks approach the quarter-mark of the 2011-2012 NHL regular season.

With my daughter Kayla’s help, I decided to pop a few Canucks names into an online anagram generator to see what would result. I also popped in a few Bruins phrases like “Lucic is a moron” and “Chara is a freak”. The results are quite telling.

Music is “Hockey Night in Canada” recorded by Naturally 7 on their CD “VocalPlay.” (www.naturallyseven.com)

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Fine is Better Than Good: An Unexpected Encounter with my 2 Bosses

A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking to Archbishop Michael in the stairwell at the JP II Pastoral Centre when Fr. Luterbach emerged from the 2nd floor entrance.

“Stop the presses!” I exclaimed.  “My two bosses together in one place.  With me!”

After a somewhat-forced chuckle, Archbishop Michael suggested “So you better behave!”

“Are you talking to me or to him?” I asked, pointing to Fr. Luterbach.  While Archbishop Michael offered yet another forced chuckle, Fr. Luterbach did his classic roll-his-eyes-to-the-back-of-his-head maneuver.

Archbishop Michael then asked Fr. Luterbach “What’s it like working with Clay?” 

“You mean Moo-Moo? (Moo-Moo is Fr. Luterbach’s term of endearment for me).  “He’s doing fine.”

“Oh, just fine?  Not good?” asked Archbishop Michael.

It was like they forgot I was there with them and that I could hear them talking about me.

Fr. Luterbach replied “He’s fine.  Think of fine dining…it’s better than good dining.  So he’s doing better than good.”

I could barely believe my ears:  Fr. Luterbach was saying something nice about me.  And in public!  And to my bishop no-less!

Archbishop Michael seemed pleased with the answer, saying “That’s good to hear.”

“Don’t you mean fine?” I asked sarcastically. 

Either they didn’t hear me or they didn’t care to respond to my pathetic attempt at humour.  They started in on a new topic, leaving me to sneak away affirmed and encouraged.

It was a good encounter.  Make that a fine one.

 

 

 

 

 

A Hockey Blogger’s Love Letter to his Wife

To my lovely wife Gail:

I love you.

Thank you for remaining faithful to me and for standing beside me throughout the years. I know it’s not easy being the wife of a hockey blogger.

My fascination with blogging started back in 2007 when I saw a promo for a Vancouver Canucks fan contest just as they were launching some of their new social media initiatives. While you were pounding through report cards, I pounded through a video as I ran around the house with the boys making them memorize lines. It was very challenging as Jacob could barely speak any English, but buoyed by Sean’s strong performance we were able to finish if off in under 3 hours on our way to winning the title of “Ultimate Canucks Family.” The end result, The Ultimate Canucks Haiku, has over 29,700 hits on YouTube.

Over the past 4 years, my blogging has expanded to cover 3 of my favourite things: family, faith and hockey. With respect to the hockey blogging, I do my regular video-blogs called Clay’s Canucks Commentary and I now write for Canucks Hockey Blog. You like those guys, right? Even JJ?

Thank you for enduring the late nights. There are many times when I come to bed late because I’m working well into the night, or more accurately, well into the next morning. It doesn’t help that you often go to bed before sunset but that’s not the point here. I know you’d like me to get more sleep but it’s hard, especially when I’m excited about what I’m working on. And I realize it’s always the same routine in the morning: while we’re scrambling around trying to get the kids ready for school, you still take the time to read the blog or watch the video that I had finished just a few hours prior. Even when I can tell that you don’t care, at least you pretend to. That means a lot to me.

I know that I’m not the only one who’s deprived of sleep. I understand that you don’t think it’s healthy that I keep Sean up to help me with the video blogs. But I really need someone to press the record button while making sure that I’m centered in the screen. It’s too risky for me to try and press record and then guess as to where I should be positioned. But you’re right: I should go easier on him. It’s probably not good for his self-esteem when I yell at him for being too shaky with the camera. I keep forgetting he’s only 10 years old. Maybe I need to write him a letter too. Or at least write one to his teacher excusing Sean for how tired he is.

Also, thank you for letting me share season tickets with Mike. Please know that I’m well aware that the cost for my seat is more than our mortgage payment so I’ve made some sacrifices to help. I don’t buy as many slurpees now. I only buy things at Safeway if they qualify for Club Card savings. I cut my own hair. And I’m still wearing some clothing from grade 8.

With the money saved, I try to buy you something nice or treat you to a nice dinner once in a while. I’m pretty sure you like that weighing scale that I bought you for Christmas last year. And who knew that Boston Pizza was so delicious?

But I know you sacrifice way more than I do. That’s another thing I love about you: you’re so humble. Once Mike and I allocate all of the games that we’re going to, you don’t demand that you go to any of them. Rather, you take what’s left and are happy just to get into Rogers Arena once or twice a year. Thus, last season Sean went to more games than you did, and I treated a few friends to games including one guy who didn’t even know what team we were playing against.

I can understand, however, why you were upset that I took other women to games before I took you to your first game last year. I’ve rectified that for this season: your first game is in November instead of March. I’m sorry it’s the Islanders though. At least you get to see Michael Grabner.

Oh…you don’t know who he is? He’s the guy we traded for Keith Ballard. You know who he is…right? RIGHT?

Actually, it doesn’t matter if you know who these guys are. All that matters is that we’ll get some quality time together. But I might have to meet up with a couple of my hockey blogger friends before the game, during one of the intermissions, and after the game if that’s okay.

Lastly, I appreciate how you try to not bring up the fact that all of this is unpaid. I know, I know… I’m busy enough already with work, ministry, coaching, music, and other interests. Please know that I truly try to give the firsts of my time and energy to you and the kids.

I feel bad when my blogging cuts into our precious family time. I know that I’m a gross under-estimator of time and that things take twice as long as I promise they will. But at least I made it onto Puck Daddy!  That was worth the entire Sunday lost!

But don’t worry…it will get better soon. With the Replace the KB contest ending on November 20, afterwards there will be less pressure on me to deliver high-quality content. I’ll still want to do good stuff, but it won’t be as time-sensitive.

Unless I win.

Have I told you how much I love you?

Love,
Clay

CCC – Clay’s Canucks Commentary for November 7: A Musical Medley featuring Marie Hui

After a shaky start to their current 6-game road trip, I thought I would bring in a ringer to help me with latest CCC in an attempt to encourage, inspire and affirm the Canucks. Thus, I’m blessed welcome my good friend and anthem singer for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC: the beautiful and talented Marie Hui (http://www.mariehui.com).

We put together three songs that touch on the 3 positional facets of the game: our defencemen, our forwards, and our goaltenders.

For the D, we change up the words to Michael Jackson’s hit “Man in the Mirror” and wind up with “Men at the Rear.”

For the forwards, we concentrate on one in particular in David Booth as he ask for some more “Fireworks” (Katy Perry). Please note that we recorded this a few hours prior to his big game against the Blackhawks!

Lastly, we do our rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” with “Goalies in the Crease.”

And if you make it to the end…there’s a small blooper reel for your enjoyment!

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Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Bad Booth, Gaudy Goalies, and O Canada

With back-to-back victories over the Washington Capitals and Calgary Flames last week, it looked as if the Vancouver Canucks were going to put a mediocre October safely in their rear-view mirror.  Well, the Canucks didn’t get too far before returning to their middling October ways with losses to the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues.  Let’s call a spade a spade and look at 5 things that make me go hmmm…

1.  Who are you?  Booth Booth, Booth Booth. (If you didn’t figure it out, you were supposed to sing that to the tune of The Who’s “Who are You”).  David Booth has registered 2 points in his first 6 games with the Canucks.  Extrapolated over a full-season, that would amount to about 27 points.  Except that he already had played 6 games with Florida before being traded here, and he only had 1 point in those 6 games.  So extrapolate those three points in 12 games over 82 games (though the maximum he’ll be able to play is 80 games) and you get 20 points.  That’s an unacceptable number for a second-line forward making $4.5 million (cap hit of $4.25 million).  I know it’s still early in his Canucks career, but I’m already wondering who David Booth is.  Is he the dynamic player who scored 60 points and was plus 10 just three seasons ago?  Or is he more like the player who struggled to get to 40 points last year while amassing a dreadful minus 31?  I hope it’s the former, despite early returns indicating the latter.  Case in point:  he’s tied with Dale Weise in team scoring.

2.  You’ve Got the Minus Touch.  Speaking of plus/minus, have you seen some of the alarming numbers just 14 games into the season?  Manny Malhotra is a minus 10, David Booth is a minus 9 and Jannik Hansen is a minus 8.  With the Canucks at only a minus 3 in overall goal differential, it means that they are being badly out-played at even strength.  Add in Chris Higgins’ minus 1 and it’s not a good sign when your third line is a combined minus 19.  Especially when the third line isn’t supposed to be scored on.  It’s not much better on defense, with Keith Ballard at minus 9 and Kevin Bieksa at minus 8.  The term “Replace the KB” seems appropriate here for the two struggling defencemen. 

3.  Gaudy Goalie Numbers.  When you look at the top 5 goalies in terms of goals against average, the Canucks have already played against 3 of them:  Nikolai Khabibulin of the Oilers (twice), Josh Harding of the Wild, and Brian Elliott of the Blues (twice).  These same 3 goalies are among the top 5 in save percentage as well.  That means that 5 of the Canucks’ first 14 games have been against 3 of the top goalies in the league (stats-wise).  Looking at the Canucks’ offensive woes, this is a classic chicken and egg example.  Have the Canucks struggled to score because the opposing goalies are so hot right now?  Or has the Canucks’ inability to score helped contribute to the gaudy numbers?  The answer is probably a bit of both.  But one thing’s for certain: the Canucks better find their scoring touch soon before they slip further in the standings.  Remember, this is the same team that led the league in scoring last year.

4.  O Canada.  Who would have thought that one month into the season that the Canucks would be only the 5th-best team in Canada?  Looking at win percentage (as opposed to total points as all the teams have played anywhere from 12 to 14 games), the Canucks are behind the red-hot Oilers and Maple Leafs, and Canadiens and Senators.  Vancouver is only ahead of the Flames and Jets by less than a percentage point.  So it’s conceivable that after the game against Chicago on Sunday that the Canucks will be the worst team in Canada.  Unfathomable at the start of the season.

 5.  National Anthems.  Lastly, and staying on the Canada theme, just a small thing I noticed last year that bugs the heck out of me.  Why is that all 3 networks (CBC, TSN and SN) only show Canucks during the Canadian national anthem and never during the American national anthem?  Let me explain.  I get the fact that when playing at Rogers Arena against a team from a US city, that the Canucks are obviously the “home team”.  And vice-versa when then Canucks are playing in the States.  And I get the fact that when playing in the States, they are only playing O Canada because it’s the Canucks. But I still find it funny that we as viewers are to presume that all Canucks are Canadians and other opposing players are American.  I first noticed it in the Chicago Blackhawks playoff series last spring.  During the Stan Spangled Banner, the camera would focus on crowd shots and the Blackhawks, including Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook (before he got knocked out)…all 3 stalwarts on the Canada’s 2010 Winter Olympic Team.  And then, during O Canada, we got shots of Luongo (Canadian) but shots of the Sedins (Sweden) and Kesler and Higgins (American).  Although admittedly unrealistic, I would love it if the cameras focused on American-born players from both teams during the American anthem and Canadian-born players for the Canadian anthem.  Look for this during the next few games on TV.

The Canucks barely have any time to lick their wounds as they face their nemesis Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.  This will likely go one of two ways:  either the Canucks pick their game up for one of their biggest rivals or they come out with even less confidence and more discombobulated than they already are.  What will happen?  Hmmm….