DK\’s Blog

June 11, 2006

Canadians singing the American Anthem

Filed under: hockey — darrenkelly @ 10:05 am

It is interesting watching Canada's great sport – ice hockey – down here in the States.  The perspectives of the Outdoor Life Network (soon to be "Versus" network), and NBC commentators is informative about the state of of Canada-US relations. 

Tonight, NBC did more to repair American/Canadian relations since Ken Taylor during the Iran Hostage Crisis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_hostage_crisis.   They showed, in full, the singing of both national anthems before the game (a tradition that began in 1946 back when hockey had only 6 teams, 2 Canadian, 4 American).

Most folks don't know that Edmonton fans have a long tradition of singing along to the national anthem.  I remember my first non-Edmonton sporting event in Toronto, when I started to proudly belt out "Oh…Canada…Our home and native la…….." when I realized that besides the guy standing on the red carpet on the ice, I was the only other person providing choral support.     

Tonight, Edmonton fans took the tradition to a new level – singer Paul Lorieau  http://coveredinoil.blogspot.com/2006/06/liveblogging-pain.htmlactually stopped singing after the first few lines and let the deafening crowd bring "O Canada" home.    It was pretty impressive.  

More subtley, but more importantly after 5 years of Canadians declaring their disdain for George W. at every cocktail party, the Edmonton fans also sang "The Star Spangled Banner" – you could clearly hear it on the NBC broadcast.  Jon Davidson, the color commentator, made a point of it to the American TV audience.    Perhaps it was his way of saying "See, Canadians really are the last people on Earth who don't hate Americans and everything they stand for."  Actually, I think it is Albertans, in particular, who share most of the same values as Americans (and who tend to do pretty well when the price of Oil hits $70 because of the few kagillion barrels of oil up in the northern part of the province and they all owe Georgy a big one for that) and that is why the crowd took the opportunity to show that they still like Americans.

IMHO, the White House should make a call to the NBC brass and quietly order them to sign the NHL to a $200 million television deal next year.  George would help out the Canadians by ensuring the 17 year hockey players from Moose Jaw would continue to enjoy big paychecks in the NHL for years to come.  He'd help out Americans by showing that there ARE other people in the world who don't hate America, and he might pick up a couple of points in the polls.  He'd win fans on both sides of the border and the next time he wanted to build an oil pipeline or large "Star Wars" missle defense shield installation in the Yukon he'd have all the Canadian support he'd need.  Well, at least in Moose Jaw.

May 26, 2006

Why the Oilers will Win the Cup

Filed under: hockey — darrenkelly @ 4:35 am

I am actually one of those people south of the Canadian border who has watched pretty much every NHL playoff game this year, both East & West.    I said in about January that a Western conference team will win, because hockey in the West resembles old school hockey.   The players are bigger, tougher, and the coaches are smarter.   In the East a fast, free-styling game plan was all you needed to let your top 4 or 5 play-makers get loose and put the puck in the net.    In the West, coaches actually had to discipline their players to play their roles within a system.    Teams with discipline could adapt at any time by playing a system that cramped the style of whateever opposing team they faced that night.   The Oilers' ability to beat Detroit by changing the way they played on a dime is an example.

The more interesting question is why the West should be more disciplined than the East?  Simple – Geography.   The Western teams are much farther apart and have tougher travel schedules than the East.   This means they are more tired and have less practice time.  As a result, they can't rely on speed and freshness to carry them throughout the long regular season, so they HAD to learn disciplined, system-based hockey.   Thus, they are better equipped.  

Bet the farm, the Oilers will win in 5 games.

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