Thursday, 26 January 2012

State Of The Team Address

It's coming to something, no matter what sport you enjoy, when you see your team win and you come away from the game thinking "Gods, that was horrible. What the Hell do the management have planned for us?"

I am a Montreal Canadiens fan.

I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before, but as a Habs fan from over the ocean I have A) no right to be a fan unless I admit I'm "just a trophy fan", and B) not a real fan unless I can speak Quebec French.

Well. I say this to you: Pierre. Donnez-moi un Coupe Stanley, maintenant, s'il vous plait. Qu'est qu'il y a dans la panier? Ou est la piscine, pour quoi? La bain est un lapin, et ma soeur cherche la chemise sur la cheval. Qu'est ce que c'est. Penblwydd Hapus. Diolch.

Because that's all the proper French I know, and you guys in Quebec can go fuck your "Quebec French" just like you Americans can go fuck your American English. It's a tap, not a faucet. They broke the mould when they made Guy Lafleur, not the mold. It's aluminium, because there's no uranum, plutonum, or radum. Quit taking our rate proper European language from us.

Anyway... My point.

Being a Montreal Canadiens fan is a tough thing to be. There is a home-town expectation of the team that is deeply rooted in history that perennially puts us as a Stanley Cup favourite, even when it's clear we do not have the team to even make the playoffs. Take last season, when we got past the fancied Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins only to fall short at the horrible Boston Bruins for our chance at the Cup. The Bruins, a team coached by a fired Habs planner, featuring two ex-Habs forwards. We deserved what we got...

...and so did The Bruins. That's how you put together a Cup winner.

I watched us play the mediocre Maple Leafs last weekend, and we won, 3-1. But watching it reminded me of exactly what I don't like about modern hockey. Dumping the puck in. Grinding it out in the corners. Looking for that perfect play. Whatever happened to skating it into the zone and taking the shot? What happened to shooting the puck on net whenever you can? What happened to open ice hits? What happened to tough guys sticking up for the smaller, skilled players?

I write this off the back of a "surprise" 7-2 win over the league-leading, continuously interesting-to-watch Detroit Red Wings. It was a surprise too. With no intention of watching, I had us pinned for a 5-or-6 goal loss with us bagging one goal if we were really lucky. The Wings must've had an off-night, because the team we skated was pretty much the same god-awful set of overachieving minor-leaguers we've endured all season long. Oh, but with past-it Scott Gomez, who, to be fair, looked like the loves-playing-hockey-Gomez of Devils seasons past.

Twas a shock, I and Wings fans assure you.

The Canadiens will not make the playoffs this year. I re-read the vitriolic rants I made (on Facebook) on our 3-1 win over the Leafs on Saturday and I stand by what I said:

1) We don't have the size to compete against the top teams.
2) We have skilled players, but they don't know how to translate that skill around the opposing net.
3) The only players that look like they want to play for Les Canadiens are Subban and Pacioretty.
4) Price is a fantastic goalie earning a wage. He'd play exactly the same in any city and that city would never win a Cup. Whatever Pat Burns wrote to him in that letter made him a better goalie, but it didn't make him a better team player.
5) I will never love the Habs the way I did until they have a Captain I think cares about the club. And I mean PK Subban, and no one else.

This team is utter shit. Gomez is a has-been. Kostitsyn is a never-will-be. Plekanec might as well only play 20 games a season. Gill could just as well be a goalpost. Diaz, Emelin, and Weber are best suited to Hamilton still. Cole is collecting a wage because he has no one to excite him into actually showing us what he can do. Desharnais has the making of an undrafted legend, but not the intensity or apparent desire. I desperately want him to go all Theo Fleury on the ice, being an utter fucknut-psycho-asshole-you-love on the enemy, but no one's built like that any more. The rest are just bit-part players vying for an NHL job. Bourque? Too soon to tell. Markov? Buy out his contract and FFS get Shea Weber on the team whatever it costs.

The Canadiens have a history of doing whatever it takes to get the best players, but that was always O6 or early expansion era. In this day and age, in the keenest hockey market, they take no risks at all. Just look at the list of guys they could have picked ahead of the crock of shit we have now: Ryan Getzlaf. Jeff Carter. Dustin Brown. Zach Parise. Claude Giroux. It's just depressing...

How it seems to me, as a "not proper" fan, is that we have an ownership that is intent on nothing more than keeping a historic brand in the cornerstone of its market. They know they can shift a few thousand Gomez jerseys in the first season and make some juice from it. Even when he plays worse than a fat high school kid who's discovered glue. They know the occasional obligatory Quebec draftee will have the same impact for the moronic French-speaking "hardcore".

Like it or not, for hockey to be a global phenomenon (do do de-doo-doo) teams are going to have to ditch their snobbery. O6 teams are the worst. Fact.

I love my Habs. But right now I think I'm loving the history. What I see before me is pathetic. How can I love that? Oh yeah... Because love is unconditional, when you know you're in love. Yeah...

I still love my Habs; PK as Captain or not.

As long as Pierre doesn't fucking trade away Pacioretty we're cool missing the playoffs...

...and saying that means I'm not a proper fan. Apparently.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Land Of The Wee

I love America. No, seriously. This is not one of those sarcastic entrées I have for blogs where I rip into something after it initially appears I'm practically masturbating over it. I do love America. America has given me Bill Hicks and Pearl Jam. What more could a rational human being ask for? A burger that weighs a pound and is almost a foot high, you say? Yeah, well... it gave me one of those too, once. Happy times!

America amuses me. In the big scheme of things it shouldn't be one country at all. The people are so different from state to state, and the economic dependence so varied there are probably a dozen or more states that could declare independence from the USA and actually find themselves better off. But what pulls the nation together is the mutual sense of outrage and indoctrination that the USA is the grrreaaatest nation of 'em all when it comes to politics and democracy. Which I think is actually pronounced "de-MAR-cruh-SAIR" during electioneering.

Heh. The elections. Democracy. Do any of us buy this shit any more? How can you have a democracy in a 2-party system where the biggest supporters of those parties are those investing and expecting a return? Seriously America, if you want to call yourself a democracy, put a cap on election spending, make campaign donors public, and stop advertising your politics on TV, and open up the table to everyone. In the land of the free. And the home of the Ron Paul. I mean brave.

I'm loving these Republican caucasians or trimapries or whatever you call it though. It's glaringly obvious to everyone except the US electorate who the next US President is. And it's not hard to figure out. You guys subconsciously vote for stuff associated with icons of traditional Americana. Don't believe me?

The last President you voted for was named after a place soldiers are housed in. You love warring. The one before that, you voted for him because of his Daddy, and America loves family. Before that? Same name as the money you use and love. Before that? Well, sadly a genuine war hero who will sadly be remembered for being an oil company puppet and comedy vomiter. Before that you have the Star Wars weapon loony-toon president of the same name.

And your next President is named after a baseball catching glove.

Jesus...

You people...

How long is it going to be before you elect Applepie Grabowski? Or Touchdown Spunkerbowl? Or Pisson Towelhead?

America has for a long time been the perceived benchmark of what people consider to be a democracy yet the last 10 or 20 years have really clued up the rest of the world that the current perception of democracy is bullshit. Money buys power. That power lies in the hands of where the money comes from, otherwise your extensive borders wouldn't be patrolled by inner city kids 5000 miles from home.

All this stuff on the news about some jarheads pissing on dead Taliban fighters? You've seen that? You're disgusted? Maybe you should read some history and read about how the British, American, Canadian, Dutch and French troops treated the Germans when we marched for victory. Imagine if we'd had HD camcorders back then? Oh how we'd laugh at the gang rape of pregnant women. Oh the humour in the beatings and sexual assault of children coerced into Nazi party membership. Random execution of agricultural workers? Never hapeened!

We're scum. As a species, we're scum. Stop blaming America just because we have a media outlet that gives scope for that. What you see on the news is nothing compared to what happens day in, and day out, in societies , armies, and playgrounds all over the world.. I'm not condoning what those troops did, because it's our apparent responsibility as the face of civilized society to not act like an utter cunt, but they were men in a time of hardship, depravity, terror and fear. Their boundaries were moved, and who can really blame them? They're ordinary guys in extraordinary circumstances, sent by extraordinary wankers trying to come across as ordinary men. And woman.

Factual recent history has taught us two things: the Taliban will kill you, and they will let your body rot for months before handing it over. The US will kill you, and they'll maybe wee on you.

Do you really give a shit who wees on you when you're dead? I guess we find out when there's CNN video evidence of a dead grunt getting golden showers from a dozen CIA trained ex-mujahideen Islamic militia of one faction or another.