Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ledger Still On My Mind

It's been over a week since I first heard the news of Heath Ledger's tragic and untimely death, and he's still on my mind.

I've quit watching Entertainment Tonight to get updates on the investigation into his death, I've pretty much ignored the "was it an overdose or not?" frenzy, and I've even stopped leafing through my copy of last week's People magazine, in which, of course, his death was front-page news.

But still, I think about Heath Ledger, many times throughout the day. I'll suddenly remember a scene from "10 Things I Hate About You" (one of my favourite movies in high school that I watched over and over again), or from "A Knight's Tale" (one of my favourite movies in college that I watched over and over again), and it kind of takes my breath away in this weird, surreal way.

How can he be gone?

I know that Heath Ledger is not the first young actor to die before his time, but I guess he's the first one that has really affected me. I wasn't exactly Heath's #1 die-hard fan or anything like that, but if I heard he was in an upcoming flick, I'd get excited about it, and make a mental note to go see it. He was definitely one of my favourite actors, and it's still unsettling to me to know that he's no longer out there, making movies and living his life.

Last week, in the wake of his death, I went out and bought two movies that Heath starred in that I did not already have in my large DVD collection: "Four Feathers" and "Brokeback Mountain". I wanted to own as much of Heath as I possibly could, so that I can make him come alive on my TV screen anytime I want.

Strangely enough, I haven't been able to bring myself to watch either of them yet. I watched several movies over the weekend and the past few evenings - "Hairspray" and "X-Men" (thanks to my new James Marsden fetish), and "300" (hello, Gerard Butler). Each time I went to pop a disc in the DVD player, I toyed with idea of watching one of Ledger's movies, but I just couldn't do it.

I'm really not sure why. It's like it's still too raw and unbelievable to me, and while I've seen many pictures and shots of him on TV, I'm still not ready to sit down and watch any of the movies he actually starred in, even though I've already seen most of them. Very odd, considering he's in my thoughts so often these days.

I guess the truth is I'm not ready to let him go yet. I'm not ready to move on. Rather than watching his movies and remembering the great actor he was, I'd prefer to imagine he's still out there, walking the streets in Brooklyn in his grungy clothes, Matilda on his shoulders, a little smirk on his face.

Yeah. That's definitely the Heath I want to remember...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ray Emery: From Hero to Villain

OK, so apparently there's an interest here on the Blog about the catastrophe that is Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery. Personally, I've been trying to ignore it as much as possible, but I guess it's time to sit down and delve into Emery's fall from grace.

Doesn't seem so long ago that he was the king of the castle around here. After stealing the #1 goalie position from Martin Gerber last season, he led the Sens to the Stanley Cup Finals with some stellar goaltending, he was popular for his flashy wardrobe choices, he was teaming up with local rapper Belly on the "Go Sens Go" song - let's face it, Ray was the go-to guy in Ottawa. Our very own crazy celebrity in a town that is too often labelled boring and dull.

Last spring, with the playoff hype in full swing, I went out to buy a Senators t-shirt - the red ones that were really popular, with the big logo on the front and a player's name and number on the back. When I went to get mine, the Sports Experts location was almost sold-out. Of course, they had no Wade Redden ones, so I had to choose between Heatley, Spezza, and Emery.

I chose Emery. Not because I didn't like Spezza or Heatley, but because I thought Ray was the coolest guy in a Sens uniform. And I wanted his name on my tee.

Emery's fast rise to fame last season sort of covered up the past indiscretions that had previously had him in the doghouse of the Sens management. There was the legendary Cockroach Story - when Captain Alfie bet him $500 that he wouldn't eat a cockroach, so he ate it and collected his cash. The blonde hair that quickly disappeared, the rumour being that John Muckler, the Sens GM at the time, disapproved of it. The Mike Tyson-themed goalie mask that also quickly disappeared after a public outcry. Hell, he even got in a fender-bender while rushing to catch a flight for Game 5 in New Jersey in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season, stopped to sign autographs for the fans that gathered on the shoulder of the road, and subsequently missed his flight - it certainly didn't go over well with the team at the time, but he took a commercial flight, won that game, ending the series, so all was forgiven.

In the off-season, he signed a big 3-year contract, had surgery to repair his injured wrist that bothered him all last season, and prepared to return as the Sens #1 goalie.

But things haven't quite gone as planned. First, there was the Road Rage Story that hit papers during camp, which involved Emery having an altercation with a gentleman who claimed Emery cut him off on the Queensway, and the men then exchanged heated words. He also missed most of the camp, because his wrist took longer to heal than expected, and while he was still recovering, the Sens jumped out to an amazing 16-3 start to the season, thanks in large part to the exceptional play of "back-up" Martin Gerber. He was late for practice one day in late December, and while the team tried to cover it up by saying Emery wasn't feeling well, he fessed up that he'd slept in and was told to "beat it" by Coach John Paddock. There was also the practice where he threw a hissy fit and threw his stick into the stands and knocked over a bunch of water bottles. And then came the fight in practice with tough guy Brian McGrattan.

His work ethic has been called into question by the coaching staff and Daniel Alfredsson.

And I won't even get into all the rumours of his partying and wild lifestyle off the ice.

Now, the latest offence: he was late for practice on Monday after spending the All-Star break in Las Vegas, claiming his flight was late and he thought practice was being held somewhere else. Paddock didn't allow him on the ice, and he has since been fined one day's pay.

Emery is calling it an honest mistake. Whether it was or not doesn't really matter. The fact is, he's been on thin ice for a while, so he really should be taking extra care to be on time and work hard. How is that it's always his flights that are late? Why is he always the one who didn't know where practice was? How can 20 other guys manage to figure it out, and he can't?

The sideshow he has become is getting a bit old. It's not funny to hear about his disruptions anymore. He's not smooth and cool anymore. He's turning into a joke, and nobody's laughing. He's on a team that has been lauded as a Cup Contender from the first puck-drop of the season, yet somehow, his crazy antics are grabbing more headlines than anything else. It's grown tiresome; it's not cool.

I'd like Ray Emery to go back to the guy he was last year, when he was all about flash, style & winning. When he was the guy who's name I wanted on the back of my shirt.

However, I fear for Emery that it's already too late.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On All-Star Weekend, a Hockey Game Broke Out...

Surprisingly enough, I can report to you all this morning that I actually enjoyed the NHL All-Star game! Well, for the most part. I mean, as much as I possibly could, considering my two Senators reps, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, had a relatively quiet weekend.

Alfie was named to the starting line-up for the East, but he failed miserably during the Accuracy Shooting portion of the Skills Competition, and then was held off the scoresheet in the showcase game (but he did look pretty good out there, nonetheless). Spezza's role in the Skills Comp was pretty limited - he got to do the stickhandling portion of one event that also involved saucer-passing, one-timers, and the goalies trying to score - (Sound complicated? It was...) - and he was also one the guys dishing the puck to his Eastern teammates in the Accuracy Shooting, which Tomas Kaberle eventually won, and Spezza celebrated as if he'd just won the Cup. (OK, not quite, but his enthusiasm was a bit too much for his Leaf nemesis.) In the actual game, Spezz looked pretty nifty out there with Alexander Ovechkin, as he collected a couple of assists, setting up Alex the Gr8's 2 goals.

The East eventually swept the entire weekend, winning both the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game, so that was pretty nice, especially with Sens coach John Paddock behind the bench.

Other highlights for me:

-Alex Ovechkin's attempts in the Shoot-Out competition, when he bounced the puck up in the air, spun around, and tried to bat it into the net. He didn't score, but it was pretty cool to watch. Plus, I think he may have been the only competitor who realized the point of the drill was to entertain. And that, he did.

- Jason Arnott. Anytime the camera was on him. I was reminded of how handsome he is.

- The way the guys sitting on the ice reacted after Jarome Iginla fired a shot in the Hardest Shot competition and missed the net. They all ducked as though it was going to come riccocheting back at them, then they all burst out laughing.

- The moment I realized Taylor Kitsch, the Canadian actor who stars as Tim Riggins on the show "Friday Night Lights", was one of the celeb judges during the Shoot-Out competition. He was so hot. And then, I got to giggle everytime it came time to give a score, and he seemed to wait and see what the other judges were holding up before making his decision. Too cute!

- Rick Nash's hat trick in the showcase game, all scored on breakaways, and the first came only 12 seconds into the match, an All-Star game record. The other 2 were highlight-worthy, and it seemed Nash, who was left out of the Shoot-Out competition the night before, decided to put on his own little clinic.

- Ilya Kovalchuk's showmanship during the game was remarkable. The dude came to entertain, especially in the second period when he was clearly trying to score desperately for his hometown crowd. After one point-blank shot on Evgeni Nabokov that was stopped, he fell backwards in disbelief, sprawled out on the ice staring heaven-ward, then hopped up and put his arms around the West's goaltender. Moments later, he was sent in again on Nabokov, and after being stopped again in the dying seconds of the period, he slammed his stick on the ice and made a real show of being ticked off. Then, in his post-game interview, he was cracking jokes left, right & centre. His cell rang at one point, and he stopped to answer it, explaining, "It is my sister. It's her first time at Phillips Arena. She may be lost."

- The goaltending in the game was awesome, even though the final score was 8-7, and there were many flashy saves that were almost more impressive than any goal scored, particularly Tim Thomas' save, when the puck was trickling along the line, and he reached back between his legs with his stick and swept it away. Evgeni Nabokov, spectacular in the saves mentioned above against Kovalchuk, ended up being the only goalie to not allow a goal, allowing the West to mount a comeback during the second period after they had gone down early 5-1 to the East.

- They've been saying on the post-All-Star-weekend analyses how cool it was that an actual hockey game broke out, and that it did. Especially in the third period, when the West had stormed back, and the teams began exchanging end-to-end chances, and you could tell that both teams were actually trying hard to win. There was a little pride on the line after all, and it ended up being the most competitive All-Star game I think I've ever witnessed.

Kudos to the players for showing up and entertaining the masses. For once, the weekend wasn't a complete joke, and while there's still some tweaking to do, I think the All-Star game is definitely headed in the right direction!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

All-Star Weekend on the Horizon

Well, the Sens have been stinking it up lately, so forgive me if I'm already looking past tonight's game vs. Tampa Bay to the All-Star weekend.

Yes, that's right. I'm jumping from Stink Fest to Snooze Fest.

(Actually, I spent most of the week getting all primed for the Super Bowl, only to find out that it's not until next weekend. Which is something I can't figure out. In the NHL playoffs, if a team has a week-long layoff, people worry about the team losing it's mojo. In the NFL, a two-week hiatus is required to hype the game and give injured players time to rest. But that's really not important to this Blog, so moving right along...)

So everyone knows how lame the NHL All-Star game usually is. The elite of the NHL (or the guys who aren't injured, or decide not to just take a vacation) playing head-to-head in the East vs. the West, with absolutely no defence, guys laughing all over the ice, goalies getting bombarded, and the final score usually resulting along the lines of 14-13. For me, however, the more intriguing part of the weekend has been the Skills Competition, but even that has grown stale in recent years.

Thankfully, the NHL has decided to re-vamp the Skills Comp this year. There's going to be a shoot-out competition similar to the NBA's Slam Dunk contest, to see who can score the prettiest goals doing the sweetest moves, and there will be judges to give them scores. There are also other tweaks being made to the regular old drills to hopefully make things a little more splashy and exciting.

Now, as usual, one of the biggest problems with the All-Star game is that some of the league's biggest stars opt out to rest and relax, or they come up with some convenient "injury". This year, the leading vote-getter in the fan ballot, Sidney Crosby, will be absent. I'd be ready to crap all over Sid for being a sissy, but apparently he really is hurt, and is expected to miss 6 to 8 weeks. So I guess I have to lay off him a bit. I was a little pissed when I found out that Roberto Luongo had asked permission to skip the All-Star festivities after being voted in as the West's starting goaltender to spend the weekend relaxing with his wife, who is expecting a child in the Spring. Since then, I've heard the Mrs. Luongo has had complications with her pregnancy, so no one can blame Roberto for wanting to spend time with her instead of taking part in the All-Star Farce.

Last week, it looked like the Sens were also going to be seriously decreasing their number of All-Stars when both Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson went down to injury. Fortunately for me, it looks like Alfie will be ready to go, along with Jason Spezza, and only Heatley will be missing out with his separated shoulder, that should keep him out of the line-up for another month at least. Truthfully, without any Sens at the All-Star game, I probably wouldn't even pay attention to it, but I'm sort of interested to see how my boys fare out, and I hope they do us proud!

Let the All-Star festivities begin! Oh, wait...Dammit...There's still that pesky game tonight.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In Shock Over Heath's Death

Yesterday's Blog was all about celebrating the many, many attractive men of Hollywood.

Today, it's all about just one of them, as the world mourns the death of 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger.

I still can't believe he's gone. When Stacy called last night with the breaking news, I was literally shocked. So much so that when I gasped and exclaimed several times, "No! You're kidding! No way!", then jumped for the TV remote, I think my mom thought we were in the middle of another terrorist attack or something.

My reaction might have been different if it had been a celebrity with a knack for getting into trouble, a reputation of drug or alcohol abuse, a sad past spent trudging in & out of rehab centres. But I never heard such things about Heath Ledger. Not once.

Instead, Ledger was known for being a fiercely private man who was careful about the roles he chose, often leaning towards the edgy & dark, rather than high-profile pretty-boy parts, which his good looks certainly would have allowed him to play. He hated the paparazzi, and lived a bohemian lifestyle in New York, avoiding the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown. His first crack at the big screen was in the teen flick "10 Things I Hate About You", in which he played the brooding high school bad-boy Patrick Verona. After that, he also starred in "A Knight's Tale" (one of my favourites), "Four Feathers", and "The Patriot". However, the film that launched him into super-stardom & earned him a spot as one of Hollywood's most revered & respected was 2005's critically-acclaimed "Brokeback Mountain", for which he received Oscar buzz in his role as the secretly gay cowboy, Ennis Del Mar.

It was on the set of "Brokeback Mountain" that Heath met Michelle Williams, his on-screen wife, whom he became engaged to in real life & together they had a daughter, Matilda, now 2. However, he & Williams separated in September of 2007. Heath had also just finished playing the role of the Joker in the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight", which is still in production and should be released this summer.

I was completely blindsided by the news of his death. He was found face-down in bed in a SoHo apartment, and speculation is that it was an accidental overdose on prescription sleeping pills. It seems like such a sad and unexpected end to the life of one of Hollywood's brightest & talented stars. He had already accomplished so much at such a young age, and it seems a real shame that his life is over. Too soon. So tragic.

Tinseltown is still reeling over the news, and quite frankly, so am I. Oddly enough, I had Heath Ledger pencilled into my Top 5 yesterday, then replaced him at the last minute with Ryan Gosling. I'm finding that a little creepy right now.

Heath Ledger has been one of my favourites, ever since I saw him for the first time in "10 Things I Hate About You". I couldn't get enough of his smirky little smile & the way his eyes seemed to twinkle with mischief. And, of course, the sexy Australian accent. He was the main reason I bought "A Knight's Tale"; he was the only reason I went to see "Brokeback Mountain". Today, as I think back on him and all that he had accomplished as an actor, I can't help wallowing in the disappointed and devestated feeling that he could have done so much more if he'd been given more time.

Ledger's light was snuffed out far too soon. And now, all I have left, are a few DVDs and magazine clippings, and the knowledge that, while he was already considered great, he never got the chance to blossom into the true star that he was.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Welcome to My Top 5, James Marsden!!

You guys all know about my celebrity crushes. You've heard me gush and go ga-ga over many a male star. I'm a sucker for the pretty boys, for the bad boys, for the hot-as-hell boys. I'll never forget Sara's concern for my real-life relationships (or lack thereof), after we saw "Superman" and I fell in love with Brandon Routh. Sara wondered how any "normal" boys would ever match up now that I'd be comparing them to Superman.

One day last week, I decided to sit down and compile a list of my Top 5. The 5 stars I would want to be with, marry, spend the rest of my life with. If I had my choice, of course. Tricky little activity for me, considering all of the hot superstars I've drooled over over the years. Truth is, when examining my collection of movies, both VHS and DVD's, there's pretty much a hot guy that I was obsessed with in every one of them. The little-know movie "Circle of Friends"? Pretty boring, but I bought it during my Chris O'Donnell crush. "Inventing the Abbotts"? Not a bad one, but I only purchased it because of Joaquin Phoenix. The teen thriller flick "Fear"? Fairly lame when I watch it now, but I had to buy it during my Mark Wahlberg phase.

The examples go on and on, from accumulating movies starring Matthew McConaughey and Tom Cruise to scrounging around to find out what films have included Channing Tatum or Josh Hartnett in them.

I started out my Top 5 by eliminating Wade Redden. Yes, that's right. I eliminated him. But only because he's my Supreme #1...He would top any list of hot men that I decided to compile, so in order to free up that spot, I chose to make this list only for movie & TV stars. Then I sat there and wrote down every name of every guy that I've ever thought was attractive in any slight sense of the word. Survivor star Colby Donaldson, MuchMusic alum & host of "The Hour" George Strompalompoalous (no idea...), John Stamos in his "Full House"/Uncle Jesse glory days, even Scott Baio, because as Chachi from "Happy Days", he was my first love.

Before I knew it, I had a full sheet of loose leaf jammed with names of stars, some big names, some rather obscure, some old dogs, some still very young and green - and I couldn't even come close to narrowing it down to 5. Or 10. Or 20. I just loved them all too much.

But then, on Friday night, I went to see the premiere of the new romantic comedy, "27 Dresses". Instantly, one name that was on my list went from sorta hot to Top 5 quality...

Welcome aboard, James Marsden!!

In "27 Dresses", he plays Kevin Doyle, a wedding columnist, who bumps into Jane (played by Katherine Heigl of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Knocked Up" fame), one of those "always a bridesmaid, never a bride"-type girls. She's in love with her boss, George, but he ends up engaged to her sister, Tess. Meanwhile, Kevin's chasing her around, just trying to make her fall for him.

Let me tell you this - it wouldn't have taken me as long to succumb to his charms as it did Jane. Forget for one minute that the boy is completely drool-worthy, with his sexy dark hair (just a teeny bit shaggy), and his ice-blue eyes, and his tanned and perfect face, and his full, kissable lips. Just forget all that.

He's funny. He's charming. He's clever. He's amazing.

Now, I know what you're all saying - that's just his character, right? Sure, Kevin might have written his name & phone number on every Saturday of Jane's day planner before returning it to her, or sent her flowers, or danced on a bar with her to "Benny & the Jets". But James Marsden probably wouldn't have. He's an actor who played a cute guy that sucked me right in to thinking he was the perfect guy.

Well, turns out, James might be even better than his character in "27 Dresses". Because in the February issues of Glamour magazine, there's a photo that his wife, Lisa, took of him playing in their backyard with their children, Jack, age 7, and Mary, age 2. In the photo, he's sitting on the ground with a huge smile on his face, while Mary's standing in front of him with a huge make-up brush, about to doll up her dad, while Jack's behind him, putting grass in his hair.

And that, my friends, is when I fell in love with James Marsden. The hottest thing about him? He's a great dad. And isn't that what most of us girls are all looking for at the end of the day? A hot guy who's sweet and wonderful and loves kids. That's what catapaulted him into my Top 5.

And Sara might be right. Now that James Marsden is my "Mr. Perfect", the ordinary boys around here don't really stand a chance...

Oh, and for the record, I've tried to draft a quick list, just for the Blog. It may change at the drop of a hat, or the second I think of someone else, but here, in no particular order, are my Top5:

1. James Marsden (for all the reasons mentioned above)
2. Matthew McConaughey (not really liking his new long hair, but otherwise, he's sexy as hell)
3. Josh Hartnett (smoldering & mysterious...and hot)
4. Justin Chambers (my fave doc on Grey's, in real life he's married with 5 kids... *sigh*)
5. Ryan Gosling (I just watched "The Notebook" yesterday, and his Noah-ness is fresh in my mind)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My New Sport

Nothing will ever replace hockey as my favourite sport. As a Canadian, there's nothing that gets my heart pumping harder or causes butterflies of excitement as much as a highly anticipated match between two teams, usually involving my dear Senators. I love sound of skate blades slicing through ice, the roars of the crowds, the sheer thrill of seeing that red light flash on when my team scores. It's a rush like no other.

But for a while now, I've been taking a mild interest in football, both NFL and CFL. As a kid, I used to watch football now and then, usually the Grey Cup or Super Bowl, and try to make sense of it. However, nothing ever seemed to click. A bunch of guys would line up, shout at each other about colours and numbers ("Blue 52! Blue 52!"), then they'd all charge at each other, pile up in a big heap, and then do it all over again. Every now and then someone would throw the ball, another player would catch it, and score a touchdown. That part I understood. Everything else...I was clueless.

My dad used to laugh at my attempts to figure the sport out, but he never really ever offered any useful information. The only thing I can remember him telling me that was even close to football-related was, "You'd kick on first down if you were playing football." And I didn't even know what that meant.

Despite all of this, some of my favourite movies have been about football. "Remember the Titans", "Invincible", "We Are Marshall", "Radio" - I loved them all. Perhaps my favourite, though, was "Friday Night Lights", and the TV series it has spawned. I'll give FNL the credit for prodding me to learn more about the game. After watching the last episode of Season 1 on DVD last weekend, I decided, "That's it - this game looks like too much fun for me to continue ignoring. This weekend, I'm going to learn about football!"

Turns out, I picked a good time. The Super Bowl is approaching, so the NFL is in the midst of playoffs and things are very interesting right now. Before even watching a game, I knew that the New England Patriots hadn't lost a game all season, so I sort of just decided to cheer for them. How could I go wrong with them, right? No underdogs for me, I'm going with the best of the best, at least for now. Oh, and their quarterback, Tom Brady, is smokin' hot. Always a bonus.

So, I sat down Saturday afternoon to watch some football, and I asked Luke to please explain to me the basics. In about 5 minutes, Luke taught me more about football than I've learned in my whole life. When the afternoon game started, I finally understood (at least, a little) what was going on!

I didn't get to watch the New England game, but they did, in fact, win, so my team is still in it, and I'm looking forward to this weekend's games. I'm very excited about my new sport, and to learn more about it, and to watch Tom Brady - yummy! The best part of all, though, is now understanding what my dad means when he tells me I'd kick on first down if I were playing football, and I now know enough to say, "No, Dad, I wouldn't, only an idiot would do that!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why Can't the Sens Beat the Caps??

Can someone please explain to me why the Ottawa Senators can't beat the Washington Capitals?

It makes no sense to me. None whatsoever. The Sens have been atop the Conference standings for the entire season, widely considered the cream of the crop in the East, their NHL supremacy rivalled only by the Detroit Red Wings in the West, whom they beat Saturday night in Ottawa.

So why-oh-why can't they beat the Caps, a team that has wallowed at the bottom of the standings for much of the season, and, at best, will be fighting for a playoff spot down the stretch?

Yep, I know they've got Alex Ovechkin. I know he's amazing and could probably win a game all on his own any given night. But the Sens have shut down guys like him (ie: Sidney Crosby, Henrik Zetterberg, etc.) - so he can't be the only reason. And I can't think of any other good reasons, to be honest.

They're calling it the Curse of the Caps. I would assume because nobody else can come up with any logical explanation as to why such a dominant team as my beloved Senators could not come up with a W against the Capitals this season; how Washington managed to sweep the season series 4-0. It's a little befuddling.

Last night, for a few brief moments in the second period, it almost looked like the Sens might break the curse. With Washington leading 1-0, Dean McAmmond tied it up, and not long after, Wade Redden (*sigh*) took credit for a garbage goal after banging away at the puck in the front of the net. Miracle of miracles! 2-1 Sens!!

The magic faded quickly, though, when a mere 23 seconds later, the Caps tied it back up after Uh-Oh Joe (Corvo, that is) gave the puck up in his own zone to Semin and he zippity-doo-da'd around Redden to beat Emery. Blech.

Going into the third period tied, though, actually wasn't all that bad. A shot at a point, at least? The Sens would take that, given their problems with the Caps all season long. No such luck, though. Ovechkin scored on the power play and the Caps added another to make it 4-2 Washington, allowing them to collect all 8 possible points against the Sens this year. I do consider this one of the biggest mysteries of the season thus far, but it only gives more credence to my favourite hockey catch phrase: "Anything can happen. Anyone can win." (Thank you, Pro-Line.)

All I can say is that I hope to God we don't meet them in the playoffs...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In the Blink of an Eye...

I have vague memories of watching hockey as a kid and thinking that Craig MacTavish guy was crazy for not wearing a helmet.

He was the last NHLer (and the only one I can remember) to play without a lid. It blows my mind to think that for many, many years, men played this game without any protection on their heads.

Next step: Visors. It's an on-going debate, and as of now, they are still optional in the NHL. To me, it's as plain and simple as the helmets - they should definitely be mandatory. Of course, there are players who are for them, and players who are against them. Then we have that meathead Don Cherry claiming that players who use them are weak or soft Europeans. I was so angry a while back when Mike Fisher got into that fight where the guy head-butted him, and Grapes had the audacity to say Fisher should have never been in that fight, because it wasn't fair he was wearing a visor. The wuss.

Many guys claim they obstruct their vision on the ice. Well, you know what else can obstruct your vision? A stick in the eye. That's a permanent obstruction, one that I can't believe people risk when they step on the ice without facial protection.

Last night, the issue hit a little too close to home. Baby brother was playing hockey in Shawville in their little 4-team beer league, where of course there are no rules on visors at all. At about 10 PM, the phone rang at home, and it was one of those calls that you just sense there's something wrong. It was Bucky calling to say that someone had to get to the hospital because Luke had been badly cut around his eye.

About 40 stitches around his right eye later, Luke emerged a lucky boy. His eye will be fine, but the scar that will run around it should be a constant reminder of how close he came to being one of those guys who takes a stick in the face and doesn't see ice time ever again. Or anything else, for that matter.

Now, Luke will probably be the first to tell me to get off my soapbox; that it should be a player's decision to wear a visor or not, and that hockey is a dangerous game, with or without a visor. Who knows, maybe the guys stick comes up under the visor and it does even more damage, right?

Or maybe it deflects off the visor, and there's no hospital visit, no scare of losing an eye, and the dude gets a minor penalty for high-sticking. End of story.

So, yeah. I think visors should be mandatory, not only in the NHL, but in any league for that matter. Just as the helmet seems like such an obvious measure of protection, so too should the visor. Then players wouldn't have to worry about being labelled "soft" just because they want to protect their eyes. Everyone would be in the same boat, and certainly the chance of getting a stick or puck in the eye would decrease, which can only be a good thing.

A person's sight is such a precious thing, and taking a gamble with it seems so ridiculous. With one wild swing of a stick, or a puck shot high, it can be gone. Just like that, in the blink of an eye. Why the visor issue hasn't been resolved yet simply baffles me.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Blog Enters 2008

Well, it's a few days late, but Happy New Year to everyone in the Blogosphere!!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday - I definitely did! 12 straight days of eating and sleeping and watching movies and just doing whatever I wanted. It was bliss!

However, now it's back to reality - back to work, and trying to rid myself of all the extra weight I put on (and then some). That is my only New Year's resolution for 2008 - LOSE WEIGHT. I went back and reviewed by Resolution Post from last year, and let's face it: I set myself up for a big fall with those lofty goals. There was no way I'd get skinny, get a boyfriend, get adventurous, and become a world-famous author all in one year. That's just not practical. So this year, I'm sticking with the basic "Drop 30 pounds" routine. If I did that, it would make me very, very happy. I think it's possible, as long as I remain disciplined and focused. We'll see how it goes...

Now, on the final night of my holidays, I went to see the movie PS I Love You...And ladies, if you haven't already, get your butts to the theatres ASAP, because I guarantee you'll love it. If anyone needs someone to go with them, call me. That's right, I loved it that much that I'd pay the big theatre bucks to see it again.

Two words: Gerard Butler. He's my first "find" of the year. I'd never heard of him before I saw the movie; now I love him. Now, it's no secret that he dies very early in the movie, but fear not - he re-appears in many "flashback" scenes and in his widow's visions throughout, so there's plenty of Gerry to be seen. Yum.

Now, as if one hot guy weren't enough...there's also substantial Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the flick. For those of you not familiar with the name, he played Denny Duquette in Season 2 of Grey's Anatomy, Izzie's patient whom she falls in love with and becomes engaged to, but then he dies. Now, I was big fan of his just from his stint on Grey's, and I wasn't sure it was possible for him to get any hotter. But...TA DA!! He does. In PS I Love You, he's a hunky Irish musician. Oh yes, that's the other thing - I now know that I want to marry a guy who is Irish. 'Cause apparently they're all amazingly handsome, great singers, and super-funny.

So PS I Love You is basically a quirky romantic comedy, you've all seen the trailers - a young woman loses her husband tragically, but before his death, he set up a system so that she would continue to receive letters from him throughout the year after he dies, to help her cope with the loss. Hilary Swank is wonderful as the grieving widow, and I also thought Lisa Kudrow was her wonderful off-beat self in the role of her best friend, Denise. There are lots of laughs, lots of tears (just try not to cry in the scene where Holly returns to the karaoke stage after Jerry's death), and some really great music too.

I may be no high-falootin' film critic, but I give it 5 stars. It's easily my most favourite movie in a long, long time.

So that's a wrap on the first Blog of '08. Cheers, gang!!