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Sports

Roasted Shark Recipe

The Johnny Canuck Cafe is going to be serving up some tasty Shark dishes in the coming week! I am very Ben Eager to try them out! Here is a sample of the culinary magic.

First take a look around the Andrew Desjardin and gather up some fresh veggies. Place Shark in a Scott Nichol pot with 8 ounces of Anti Niemi. Light your dried up Kyle Wellwood, place your pot over direct Danny Heatley and Eric Clowe’s the lid. Bring to a Dan Boyle then simmer on low until Shark turns Ian White Serve with some Devin Eggs Setuguchi, Vlasic pickle spears and a nice glass of Patrick Marleau.

For dessert, brew up a hot cup of Joe Thorton and add 2 oz of Jamie McGinn.

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President’s Trophy Curse My Ass!

The Canucks are now at 109 points with six games to play .  If they win three of those remaining games, they will finish with at least 115 points and lock up the Presidents trophy for the first time in their 40 years of existence. As a result, they will enjoy home ice advantage for all four rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Or will they be done in by the “Presidents’ Trophy Curse?”

Over the past seven seasons, only one Presidents’ Trophy winner – the Detroit Red wings in 2008 – has gone on to win the Stanley Cup.  During that same period, four regular season point leaders have been given the boot in the first or second round. Not a very convincing record of success.

Given that I am trying to build a case for the Canucks to WIN the Stanley Cup this year I had to dig a little deeper. What I learned was that leading the NHL in standing points for the regular season is actually a good predictor of success in the playoffs.  While it does not guarantee taking home the coveted Holy Grail of hockey known as Lord Stanley’s Cup, the odds for the Presidents’ Trophy winner to make it to the final round and win the Stanley Cup are still pretty damn good.

Over the past 11 NHL seasons, the Presidents’ Trophy winner has captured the Stanley Cup four times.  Over the 24 seasons that the Presidents’ Trophy has been awarded there have been seven Cup winners and two losers in the final round.

Both of these stats put the odds of the Presidents’ Trophy winner making it to the Stanley Cup finals at around 37%.

If you go all the way back to the 1982 Stanley Cup, when the current playoff system was adopted (four rounds of seven games each), the case is even stronger.  In the 28 seasons starting with 1981-82, of the teams that led the NHL in points during the regular season:

•  12 have gone all the way to the Stanley Cup finals (43 percent).

•  Three-quarters of those teams have won the cup (9 of 12)

•  19 have made it to at least the Conference finals (68 percent)

•  Only five have been eliminated in the first round (18 percent) – Chicago in 1991, St Louis in 2ooo, Detroit Red Wings in 2006, San Jose Sharks in 2009 and The Washington Capitals in 2010.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the benefit of winning the President’s trophy is to review the fate of all other teams that have made it into the NHL playoffs.

Over the past 28 seasons, 42o other teams also started out in round one.  Only 44 of those teams (just over 10 percent) have made it to the final round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Only 19 (under 5 percent) have won the Cup.

If history is any guide, the team that leads the NHL in regular season points is four to five times more likely than any other team in the playoffs to make it into the Stanley Cup finals, and seven to eight times more likely to win the Cup.

Of course, history does not guarantee the Canucks anything. Only their talent, hard work, good coaching, and a little puck luck will give them the chance to take that first drink from Lord Stanley’s cup that has eluded this franchise for 40 years.

The deal closer on this one for me is the amazing coincidence that the last two times that a Canadian city hosted the Winter Olympics the host cities team went on to win the Cup the following year! The Canadiens did it in 1977 and the Flames did it in 1989.

Nevertheless, we can say with confidence that, when they win the 2011 Presidents’ Trophy, the Vancouver Canucks are well positioned to make a deep run into this years Stanley Cup playoffs. Go Canucks Go!


Get Your Kids in Sports!

This year my daughter, Maia joined the Steve Nash Basketball League. After a number of years playing baseball, which doesn’t require much running and soccer, where she played in goal a lot, I was thrilled that she was wanting to play a sport that required more extensive cardio. When I learned that she would be playing on a team with mostly boys I was concerned about how much she would like it. Like her father, she was not born with much in the way of “natural” athletic talent so I was wondering how her confidence would be affected. Everything both of us have ever accomplished in sports has been earned through practice and determination coupled with an acceptance that it’s okay not to be the best kid on the team. I’ve always told her, as long as you bust your butt and contribute in the best way you know how, you have fulfilled you part as a teammate.

Along with so many others, I believe that playing team sports as a child is one of the most crucial life experience building blocks that you could ever provide your child with. Now I am not a doctor or psychologist but here is a list of reasons why you should make team sports part of your child’s life.

  • Playing sports is fun. It allows your child to work with a group of their peers towards a common goal and gives them something enjoyable to look forward to every week.
  • Kids that play sports are more likely to have a positive body image, higher self-esteem and be more physically fit.
  • Kids involved in sports are less likely to take drugs or smoke because they realize the impact that these destructive activities can have upon their performance.
  • Physical activities are a good way to relieve stress and reduce depression.
  • Sports help kids develop discipline. They learn to set goals and then work to achieve those goals. They learn that by working hard they can accomplish the things that they want to in their lives.
  • Kids who play sports quickly learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. They learn to be a good sport in both situations. It also helps them learn to deal with disappointment and move on.
  • A quick internet search tells me that, according to statistics, kids who are involved in sports while in high school are more likely to experience academic success and graduate from high school.
  • Sports help develop teamwork and leadership skills. Kids quickly learn that they have to work together as a team to win the game.
  • Motor skills, strategic thinking, endurance and even math skills are learned by playing sports. Math skills are used as they calculate scores and stats. (Just ask my 7 y.o. son what combination of football scores you need to get 46 points!)
  • Regular exercise increases quality of life. A child who exercises is more likely to continue the practice into adulthood.

The team my daughter played for was extremely fortunate to be coached by two very talented individuals who both seem to enjoy every last minute they spent with the co-ed team of 12 year-olds. With their passion and knowledge of the game it quickly became clear to me that this was the best possible scenario for my daughter, as this was her first year playing basketball and she knew very little about the game. The husband and wife dynamic duo were super supportive and gave Maia the confidence she needed to compete. Every game she played in she got a little bit better and a little bit more confident. At the beginning of the season her skills were limited and she made many mistakes but she was busting her butt and giving 100% every game and that made me proud. She looked forward to every practice and game with amazing enthusiasm. As the season came to a close her abilities had improve substantially along with her confidence!!

Her team finished tied for first over all during the regular season with a 10-2 record. They then played a two game playoff and lost their first game in a thrilling overtime match-up that had all of the parents on the edge of their seats. Tonight was the final game and they won in convincing fashion, finishing 3rd in the league. For many of the kids this is it for the season but Maia was given an opportunity to continue on for another month with an all girls team and she jumped at it. This was music to my ears as it proves she wasn’t just in it for the boys! Thank you to Coach Mike and Coach Christine! You guys are awesome!


Green Bay Packers will win the Superbowl

As a huge Tennessee Titans fan it sucks not having your team to cheer for on Superbowl Sunday, however I do find some comfort in the fact that there are 30 other teams fans that are in the same boat. In looking at the Vegas line for Superbowl XLV in the billion dollar Cowboy Stadium, I was initially surprised to see that the Green Bay Packers are -2.5 favourites.  I mean the Pittsburgh Steelers have won an NFL record 6 Superbowls and have suffered just one loss. (’75, ’76, ’79, ’80, ’06, and ’09) Well let me break it down for you…

Let’s start out by taking a look at the Green Bay Packers. They clearly had the more difficult route to arrive for SB XLV. Often playing amid freezing temperatures and high winds, the Packers have thus far ruined the New York Giants playoff chances, eliminate the resurgent Michael Vick and his Philadelphia Eagles on their own turf, shattered what was poised to be the greatest season the Atlanta Falcons had ever had and make rabid Bears fans whimper in there over priced seats by destroying Cutler and company with great ease in their own backyard.

Then there are the Pittsburgh Steelers who have been their usual hard working selves all season long. They started the season without Roethlisberger for the first four games where they went 3-1 and then muscled their way to a 12-4 record to earn a first round bye in the playoffs. In their two playoff games thus far they have yet to play a full 4 quarters of football. Against the Ravens they found themselves down 21-7 at halftime but managed to claw their way back to victory in the second half. Then after building a huge lead against the streaking Jets they almost blew it late in the game.

Roelisberger does not seem 100%. His 35.5 QB rating in his last game is a good sign of that. Rodgers on the other hand is HOT, healthy, focused and set to be one of the fastest ever replacements for a Hall of Fame quarterback in Brett Farve. Mr Rodgers currently has the best all time career QB rating EVER at 98.4! He’s better than any of the great NFL quarterbacks you can name in this statistical category.

The game will see many great match ups.

Rashard “Strong like Tractor” Mendenhall who was huge in the game against the Jets vs. James “The Rookie” Stark who has shown some serious promise but will be in tough against the Steel Curtain. I will give the Steelers the edge on this one.

The Steeler’s receiving corps is fairly limited with Hines Ward and Mike Wallace carrying the lions share of the load but on the other side of the ball Rodgers has a number of targets that he loves to spread things around to with Driver, Jones, Jennings and Nelson. Troy “Head and Shoulders” Polamalu can’t be everywhere!

Speaking of Polamalu, both secondaries will be busy. Troy is a beast. There is no denying that but with the double threat of Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson don’t be surprised to see an INT or two on both sides of the ball. It will come down to who makes the most of them when they get them.

Kickers often play a big role in a close game as this one should turn out to be. The Packers definitely have the better kicker in Mason Crosby. He’s definitely more experienced than Shaun Suisham, the Steelers’ replacement for Jeff Reed, and if either team has to go for a long field goal to win the game Crosby gives Green Bay a better chance.

Defensive Lines are a dead heat. With Clay Matthews and AJ Hawk going after Roethlisberger and James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons with Rodgers in their sights both QBs are gonna see themselves flushed out of the pocket. I think both QBs will be on the run in this game for sure.

The final element, when it comes to Superbowl, is that X-Factor know as, “The Intangibles”. They are the surprising heroes, the young rookies that make key plays, the quiet guy playing the game of his life, injuries, whacky calls from the sideline and a long list of other unpredictable events. In many ways is will just come down to who wants it more and if recent play is the best indicator, I gotta give it to Green Bay for the first time since 1997! After all… Black and Gold is Getting Old.

Update Feb 7th/11

TOLD YA SO!