Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sens Win Overshadowed by Stupid Habs

...OK, I'm not really that bitter.

I'm happy with my shoot-out win last night over the slumping Flyers from Philly. The Sens desperately needed the two points, especially now that both Jersey & Montreal have caught up, and the Penguins are breathing down our necks, too.

Long gone is that nice, cushy lead over the rest of the Eastern Conference. With about twenty games left to play in the season, getting on a roll and accumulating some W's is now crucial. Part of me doesn't really care if we finish first or eighth. Last year, we were in 5th place in the conference, and we ended up in the final battle for Lord Stanley's Cup. Sometimes it doesn't matter what your playoff seed is, or whether or not you get home ice advantage. It's how you're playing going into the stretch and how you play in the playoffs that matters most.

That being said, it still felt pretty good to end our 3-game losing streak in a shoot-out last night. I don't like losing very much, and I'm a little sick of the Sens talking about being "tired" and having the "February blahs". I missed the first period due to karate, so by the time I tuned in, it was already 1-0 for Ottawa on a Chris Kelly short-handed break-away goal. Then Antoine Vermette scored in the second period after Wade Redden did all the work for him. I was also impressed with the play of my new Sens, Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore. They're both starting too look like they're fitting in better.

However, I watched my two-goal lead slip away, much to my chagrin. That was OK, though, because we got to see 5 minutes of super-exciting OT. It was awesome end-to-end action with great chances and even better goaltending. (I'm not even getting into the Ray Emery/Martin Gerber "Win & You're In" controversy, quite frankly it bores me. I was happy with Ray's play last night, I hope it continues. End of story.)

So in the shoot-out, both Vermette and Jason Spezza scored, while only Kimmo Timonen captilized for the Flyers, resulting in a thrilling victory for my boys! Woo Hoo!

But...wait a minute...It would appear there was an even more thrilling victory going on in the NHL last night. Those damned Habs just won't go away. They came back from a 5-0 deficit against the New York Rangers to win their game 6-5 in a shoot-out. For all that talk of not caring where I place in the standings, it really does tick me off that I have to share first with them. When I heard they were losing big-time, I thought we were re-establishing our sole lead over the Conference. But they just won't go away.

So today the sports world is all a-buzz with the big Habs comeback last night. All I can say is: Bah Humbug!!

On a final note, thoughts & prayers are with the family, friends & teammates of Mickey Renaud today. Renaud was the 19-year-old captain of the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. He collapsed and died very suddenly & unexpectedly at his parents' home in Tecumseh, Ontario on Monday. A loss like that must be devestating to his team and everyone who knew him. From what I'm hearing, he was a great guy, and he will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Saying Good-bye to My "Friends"...Again

A few years back, those of us who lived for Thursday nights because of a whacky gang of buddies who graced our TV screens and made us laugh faithfully...Well, we were devestated, because their 10-year run as one of television's most popular shows ever was coming to an end.

At the time, I couldn't imagine how life could go on without Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica & Chandler. (Joey was the only one who was moving on to his own show, which flopped, and eventually I lost him too). I had followed their crazy lives from Day 1, and I couldn't imagine everything just ending all of a sudden. Would Ross & Rachel get married (again)? How would Monica & Chandler deal with raising their adopted twins? Would Phoebe & her new husband Mike have kids of their own? We did get to see Joey venture off to Hollywood, but unfortunately, without his gang back in NYC, Joey just wasn't the same & he got cancelled.

Then, I discovered TV series' on DVD. It was like the greatest gift ever. I could buy all 10 seasons of "Friends", and then I'd never be without them!!

The process started out kind of slow. First, I asked for a season for my birthday, three years ago. My loving family got me Season 10. I didn't particularly want to begin at the end, so I held off until I found Season 1 myself & purchased it. From there on, I watched each season as I got it, either as gifts for Christmas or my birthday, or when I bought them myself. It's taken a long time, but I've thorougly enjoyed soaking up every moment of my "Friends". There were a lot of funny moments I'd forgotten about, and a few episodes that I think I actually missed over the years. I also have paid more attention to how each character evolved, and how even the humour changed & became better from the first season to the last. My mom has noted that if one of the best things for people is to laugh heartily, then I get my daily dose of that from "Friends", because she often hears me burst out giggling downstairs while watching it.

So it's taken me about 3 years to make it through the 10 seasons, but now, here I am, winding down the final disc of Season 10. They're starting to wrap up storylines and I know the end is coming (if for no other reason than I can read the episode summaries on the inside of the DVD case).

It's kind of weird. I've actually stopped watching. I often would watch 2 or 3 episodes in one night, but lately, I've been avoiding it. It's like I don't want it to end again. The last time, I looked forward to that final episode, and highly anticipated watching how they were going to close things down for the gang.

Now, I know what's going to happen. I know it's going to be horrible to watch them all leave those keys on the counter as they exit Monica's apartment one last time. I know I'm going to cry - no, check that - sob as they all say good-bye.

I guess I should be comforted by knowing that once that sadness wears off, I can pop in Disc 1 from Season 1 and start it all over again. But honestly, I'm not sure if watching it end will ever get easy. All it does is remind me how much I miss Thursday nights, when Survivor wasn't the only cool show on the tube.

Back then, I had "Friends". And they were good.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What's There to Love About This Stupid Day?

In case the title didn't get my feelings across: I hate Valentine's Day. Hate it.

However, I tried to wake up feeling positive and cheery today. I don't want to be a bitter old spinster.

But seriously, what is there to love about this day?

First of all, at crafts last night, we had to make these decorative heart towels, and I decided for once not to just glue gun the whole damn thing. I actually paid attention while Sara's mom taught me how to do a blanket stitch, and tried desperately to complete at least one of the stupid towels. I didn't even come close. So that put me in a crank to begin with.

Then, the Sens lost, this time to New Jersey in OT. Nothing to smile about there.

Then, I went downstairs to watch my taped epidsode of Big Brother. All that drooling I did over Jacob yesterday? Cancel that. The boy turned out to be a total assbag. He got all yappy, told one-half of the Power Couple, Jen, that the other half, Parker, was a snake, and that everyone was saying so. Turns out, Jacob was the only one saying so, and when Parker called a late-night house meeting to find out who was talking behind his back, the truth became clear that the only person who had a problem with Parker was Jacob.

Sharon tried to cover for his ass by saying Ryan was also unhappy with Parker, but she picked the wrong dude to toss under the bus. With Parker suspicious of her real-life BF, Jen decided to spill the beans and tell her partner about her secret relationship with Ryan. Ryan wasn't exactly pleased that they were already revealed, but then he had no choice then but to tell his partner, Allison. Big mistake. Miss Allison is now jealous, 'cause she actually really liked Ryan, and by the end of the night, she was already talking about blowing Ryan's cover.

So Jen & Parker evicted Jacob & Sharon, then Alex & Amanda won HoH. Whoopi doo. The show is already pissing me off.

Now. Today's the dreaded V-day, I've already been put in a sucky mood thanks to last night's events, and I'm sick of everyone around this office being all sugary-sweet and lovey-dovey.

My romantic plans for tonight? I'm going to stop at the store after work and buy a bag of Skittles. Then I'm going to have supper with my mom & dad, as usual. Then I'm going to my basement to watch some really super-un-romantic movie, like maybe "Transformers". And then I'll watch Survivor.

Happy frickin' Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BB9 Ready to Roll

I was hoping to Blog today about a wonderful Sens win over the Buffalo Sabres last night, but we lost. 5-1. Not a whole lot more to say on that.

So lucky for all of you, the special winter season of Big Brother began last night! WOO-HOO!! As you all know, I love Big Brother, so I was super-pumped for the 9th season to start. This winter installment is called "Til Death Do You Part", and Big Brother is playing cupid. The idea is that they have 16 single people in the house, and they all completed personality tests before entering the house. They found the housemates most compatible based on these tests and paired them up. Each couple will share a bed, share strategies, share rewards, share power, and even share evictions.

I have to admit, at first I wasn't too keen on Big Brother playing God. Forcing complete strangers to unite and fight together, and also hopefully fall in love...Well, it seemed like they were pushing some boundaries a little too far.

However, then they introduced a few twists, and then I was hooked.

First, there's the exes. Two people within the house who used to date: Jacob & Sharon. Not only are they former flames, they were in a 12-year relationship, and broke up because Jacob was unfaithful to her once. When Jacob walked in the house and he & Sharon saw each other, it was obvious they were both completely shaken up. Several times, Jacob told the camera that Sharon was the love of his life and that he'd always regret his mistake. Sharon, on the other hand, fumed that they let her lying, cheating ex in the house and begged them not to pair them up.

Also in the house are Ryan & Jen, a couple who actually are in a relationship, but decided to keep that a secret from the rest of their housemates. Upon realizing that everyone else is single and that Big Brother would be pairing them up, both Ryan and Jen expressed that they desperately hoped they'd be put together, because playing the game apart would be hell. Particularly watching one another coupled up with someone else deemed to be their "soulmate".

So of course, Big Brother teamed up Jacob & Sharon, but split up Ryan & Jen. Things just wouldn't have been interesting if they hadn't!

I have to admit, I'm already rooting for Jacob & Sharon. For one thing, the boy is cu-uuuute!! And juding by their reactions upon seeing one another, there's still a lot of feelings and unfinished business between them. I'm hoping that sparks will start flying between them and they'll fall in love again, and that they can cap off their fairytale reunion by winning the game. Now, if they don't get along at all...That could be disappointing, but I guess it would also make for some good TV! Sharon was kind of dumb and told a few of the girls that Jacob was her ex, and when he found out she'd blabbed, he was none to pleased, as he feels (and I agree) that this puts a target on their backs right off the bat. However, I don't know how else Sharon could have explained to the girls why else she got all shaky and teary when Jacob walked through the door.

I also felt bad for Ryan & Jen getting split up; that's gotta be hard. Jen seems to be handling it best, completely ignoring Ryan and pretending that she can't get his name right. Ryan, on the other hand, isn't doing so well. For one thing, he's a terrible actor. He keeps gazing at her with this longing look, and he's also extremely jealous of her being paired up with paparazzo Parker. If he keeps it up, it won't be long before people realize that he knows her. Especially his teammate Allison, who claims to be a reformed gambling addict who is great at reading people. I wonder how long it will take her to read Ryan.

The other stand-out couple on premiere night was Adam & Sheila. He's a big beefy blonde with giant smoker's teeth, and she's a petite 46-year-old single mom who also happens to be a former model. She hates him, and he hates her. Absolutely no love between them, and neither can figure out how Big Brother pegged them as soulmates. I'm already betting they're the first voted out, if for no other reason than their negative vibes.

For me, there's a few good looking lads in the house to keep me happy - Jacob, of course, being one of them, but also Alex the DJ, and Matt, the dark-haired blue-eyed hottie. I also kind of liked James, the off-beat dude with a weird red 'do who has no money & has been bicycling around the country. He was paired up with Chelsia, who is a little off-beat herself and big into piercings. I had to laugh when Chelsia moaned about being paired up with James, saying, "I told big brother I liked bikes...But I meant the ones with motors, not pedals..."

Anyways, in the first Power Couple competition, the boys had to hang suspended in the air while they clung to the girls for dear life. Interesting way to get to know someone... Hard to maintian your personal space in that kind of situation, though, as Sheila & Adam quickly found out when he complained of her bad breath. Allison also had a little trouble with Ryan dripping sweat all over her - he was sweating profusely - but by the end of the competition, so were all the guys. Anyways, Jen & Parker ended up hanging there the longest, so they won the first Power Couple, and will be evicting another couple tonight. The only truly safe couple is Ryan & Allison, because there's no way Jen will allow her real-life boyfriend to leave the house under her watch.

Can't wait to see what happens tonight!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sens & Other NHL News

Well, there's still quite a bit I'd like to say in regards to the comments on my "I Hate the Media" Blog, but in the interest of keeping the peace here in Jill's World, I'm going to let it go and move on.

First of all, I have to address the latest Wade Redden issue. On Friday, those pesky reporters whom I have such great distaste for these days, broke the news that the veteran Senators defenceman had once again refused to waive his no-trade clause in a deal that GM Bryan Murray was reportedly cooking up with San Jose. Of course, Sens fans in Ottawa were in an uproar - the Redden haters calling him selfish and stupid ("Can't you see they don't want you, dude? Beat it!!"); the Redden fans saying he made a smart move ("Why would he want to leave a Cup contender for San Jose? He's just living up to his contract!!")

I tended to agree with the Redden camp that not only felt he had made a smart decision, but also that the organization was not exactly treating him very fairly by trying to shove him out of town against his will. Wade Redden has played his entire career as an Ottawa Senator, and he has done a lot of good over those years, both on the ice and off. He has been a big part of the community, and the fact that he was over-paid on his last contract isn't exactly his fault. He may be on his way out after this season, but for now, he just wants to win a Stanley Cup with the only NHL club he has ever known, and I wish that management would show him enough respect to allow him to fulfill his contract and hopefully do just that.
Now, after hearing the news initially, and listening to anti-Wade fans ranting on the Team 1200, I was literally boiling with anger. I was thinking that Bryan Murray had better not want to meet up with me anytime soon, because he should fear the wrath of the Redden fan who really, really wanted to give him a piece of her mind. After the fact, Mr. Murray went public stating that his conversation with Wade was more about his current play within the team, and that if he wasn't happy, there was interest in him from other teams if he was willing to discuss it, which he was not. No particular trades or teams were mentioned, and he was disappointed the story had been blown so far out of proportion, and that it wasn't fair to Redden to have to deal with this media firestorm. Fair enough. I'll back off Bryan for awhile. I hope now that Wade can just peacefully play out the rest of the season, win the Cup, be such an important part of said win that the team decides to re-sign him after all, and then all my dreams would come true!
So with "Reddengate" finally put to rest, the Sens moved on to their Hockey Day In Canada date with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. All I can say is: Welcome back, Alfie!! With out Big 3 reunited, they accumulated 15 points between them in a 6-1 romp over the Habs. Olé, olé, olé indeed!! Now that was a fun game to watch. But even more important to me than the fact that Alfie, Heatley & Spezza were on fire was that Ray Emery looked solid in nets. He looked like the Emery of last year. God, I hope he's back for real.

Now yesterday, the big news out of the Sens camp was the 4-player trade that saw Joe Corvo & Patrick Eaves heading to Carolina in exchange for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore. Pretty much everyone is calling it a good trade for the Sens, so I guess I'm happy with it, although I'm always a little sad to see my players go. In this case, especially Patty Eaves, who is young, spunky, and has tremendous promise, despite the fact that he has spent much of this season on the injured list. I wasn't quite as attached to Corvo, and I sort of enjoyed the nickname "Uh Oh Joe" that the Ottawa Sun put on him for his risky defensive play, but I will always remember him scoring the goal in double-OT last season in the playoffs vs. Buffalo that gave us a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Both guys will be missed to a certain degree, but Stillman is the Top-6 forward Murray was looking for to fill the void in secondary scoring, and Commodore is the rugged defensive defenceman that the Sens were also desperate for. He'll suit up tonight alongside Redden, and I'm hoping that the two will click and all will be right in my world again. GO SENS GO!!
The other NHL news that grabbed my attention, and that of many others, was the near-deadly accident in Sunday night's game between Florida and Buffalo. Panthers' forward Richard Zednick was hit by teammate Olli Jokkinen's skate blade, resulting in a sliced artery in his neck. Footage from the incident was so graphic that TSN chose not to show it all, but the overhead shot of the ice surface covered in blood was enough to give everyone a pretty good idea how terrifying it was. Zednik, likely in shock, actually held his own wound and skated to the bench, which they are now saying likely saved his life. Had he dropped to the ice and waited for medical attention, he might not have been helped as quickly. The game was stopped for 15 minutes while they waited for the ice to be cleaned, and officials debated on whether or not to call the game. When word came that Zednik was stabilized and on his way to the hospital, they decided to finish out the final 8 minutes of the game. However, the cameras caught players on the bench looking very shaky and upset, so one has to think that they weren't really thinking about hockey for those 8 minutes. It truly is an incident like that that makes me realize there are way more important things in the world than hockey.

Thankfully, Zednik's emergency surgery was successful, and he is now recovering at the Buffalo hospital he was rushed to. Thoughts and prayers remain with him that everything continues to go well for him.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Crossing the Line

I've got a little problem with the media lately. I understand it is their job to report, to bring news to the public, to take pictures and videos of important people doing important things.

But sometimes the media cross a line. Sometimes they are cruel, sometimes they're too pushy, sometimes they won't let go, even when they are unwanted.

I realize there's a big difference between the paparazzi and, say, the local newscasters on CJOH. But this week I found a legitimate comparison to the Hollywood shutter-bugs and our own local media.

You've probably all heard the story of Wade Redden and teammate Brian McGrattan jawing at the cameramen who awaited outside a close-door team meeting at Scotiabank Place on Monday. After emerging from the 40-minute meeting, the players, obviously upset over the recent turn of events that have people calling them "Team Turmoil" and edgy from probably being lectured for almost an hour, they walked into a melée of cameramen and reporters, all looking to sensationalize the downward-spiral the Sens have been in for a while now. (And I blame the media for that, as well. Little spats at practice and such would largely go un-noticed with other teams, but because they're the first-place team from the Nation's Capital, everything gets blown out of proportion).

Anyways, apparently Redden crudely told the reporters to shove their cameras, and McGrattan followed suit with similiar suggestions. It was a pretty hot story for a few days, and the local media were all riled up about it, even though Redden did say later he meant his comments to be a joke. (I doubt it, but I'm glad he tried to smooth it over).

The local scribes and sports radio hosts were a little miffed at their reaction to their cameras, claiming that they are well compensated for living the life of famed athletes in the city and that they should be acting more like the professionals that they are. Also brought up was the fact that none of the players seem to mind the media attention when things are going well, so they should take the good with the bad, suck it up, and play nice with the photogs.

Now, lets transport ourselves to another world entirely: The world of Britney Spears. Yes, that's right, I said Britney Spears, believe it or not. Now I'm hardly sayting Wade Redden is anything like the fallen pop princess, but there is a comparison to be drawn. Poor Brit, she went from one of the hottest stars in the music industry to a great big joke in the past year, but now, it's gone beyond that. What's happening with her is no longer a laughing matter. The girl is seriously ill and quite obviously needs help, and I do think that the paparazzi are largely to blame. Everywhere she goes, they are there. Camped out at the gates of her estate, following her when she goes to Starbucks, and even ready to pounce when she's leaving the hospital.

Therein lie the similarities. Cameramen are cameramen, whether they are working for a reputable news source, or the tabloids. And these celebrities they are trying to catch doing something wrong are actually human beings, who have limits and boundaries, no matter how much money they make. Imagine if you've had a bad week at work, and everytime you leave the office you're hit with a barrage of questions and flashbulbs popping in your face. Wouldn't it make you want to snap?

At the end of the day, I guess Wade Redden shouldn't have barked at the cameramen. It wasn't exactly a shining moment in his career. But to be fair, they aren't always oozing with compliments for him in their columns and stories, especially over the past two seasons. In fact, he's been their favourite whipping boy.

So the way I'm feeling about the "paparazzi" lately...Well, just maybe they deserved the tongue-lashing he gave them.