I Suck at Being Canadian: What’s Hockey Day?

I had my Saturday planned from start to finish last night.  The plan for the day was: hot yoga, Chipotle, writing/homework/reading, Flames/’Nucks, and movie before bed.  Of course, it would’ve been a good Saturday but Nicole texted me in the morning informing me that it was Hockey Day in Canada.  This was the first time I’ve ever heard of this.  She told me that they profile hockey stories across Canada and how the game has helped shaped lives across our great nation.  She added they even have seminars on how to parent hockey players.  Who holds these/facilitates them, what do you need as qualifications to talk about this?  Younger me would get mad and demand that they need to do this for basketball.  I understand now that this will probably never happen, hockey is too big.  I really need to move.  Naturally when Nicole is gushing about this I’m in bed oblivious to the existence of Hockey Day and reading Dream Team by Jack McCallum for the second time in as many weeks.  I asked Nicole about the true meaning of Hockey Day.  I felt like I asked her what was the meaning of Christmas.  Basically, someone from CBC decided that Canadian’s love hockey way too much so it should get it’s own day.  Again, this is the first time I’ve heard of it.  I swear hockey would be bigger if Canadians knew how to promote things better, oh, and if Gary wasn’t commissioner.  Speaking of which have you checked out how Nicole and I got the idea for this blog?  Or have some time to kill why don’t you see how we explain our lives in GIFs?

I know Hockey Day should’ve been the big news thing for me for the day but this story popped up on ESPN and I’m still laughing about it now.  Enough basketball news that’s not why you’re here, onto this week’s game.

I swear I’m not turning into a ‘Nuck fan, I wanted to watch the Flames and this was the only game this week I could catch.  I’m saddened that Luongo didn’t get the start.  Apparently, this is Schneider’s second start in a row.  Is this Vancouver’s way to stop the goalie controversy, by giving Schneider an easier game?  Kind of like how MLB teams start new pitchers against teams which can’t hit?

Apparently this is Iggy’s 215th Saturday night game.  Personal story about the Captain, he visited my class in grade three.  I don’t know who should feel older, I’m going to say him.  The reason he visited was because the daughter of the GM at the time was in my class and they set it up.  I’m sure if Nicole was in my class she would’ve fought this girl.  I don’t remember much from Jarome’s visit, he was nice and at that time it was his first full year in the league I think.   So, naturally if you weren’t MJ I didn’t care.

The Flames players who I can name off the top of my head: Iggy, Kipper (injured), Tanguay (old), Cammalleri (overpaid and injured), Bouwmeester (ridiculously overpaid to the point that Nicole makes fun of his contract), Stajan, Wideman, and Glencross.  It helps that the majority of the Flames have been in the league forever.  I don’t know anything about Calgary’s stand in starter Leland Irving, it feels weird to hear “Irving” in the broadcast because I’m not used to my name being thrown around.  I feel like I should be more excited about this but he’s no Kyrie.

Someone needs to tell Calgary’s coach that three button suits are so 90’s.

My favourite thing about hockey and soccer is when a superior team decides to impose their will on the other team and control the flow of the game.  It’s like they cut the ice/field in half and it’s only a matter of time before they score…and of course as I’m typing this the Flames score their first goal.  Forget I said anything.  And of course I am proved right when Vancouver scores three unanswered in the second.  And then two more in the third.

My favourite minor detail in hockey: the way hockey players use their asses to clear out space.  Is ass attacking taught in hockey camps?  Can they throw their asses like punches?  Does Hockey Day have ass attack seminars?

Earlier in the day I asked my friend Michelle whose a huge Flames fan – she refers to Iggy as her husband – if there’s anything interesting about this team.  Nothing particularly interesting was shared, she told me that they have a lot of players injured.  Tanguay is her favourite player right now and Iggy has been disappointing.  Also, the new head coach is having them work on speed and being more offensive minded.

I told her that Iggy isn’t disappointing, he’s just old.  Someone give him some deer antler spray.  Also, how do we know he’s just not killing his trade value because he wants to stay in Calgary?  Better question, why am I firing shots at a player whose universally loved?  I’m sorry Iggy I’ll always remember that you visited my third grade class and the two gold medals.

Quick question, has Iggy trade speculation gone overboard yet?  Like the way it did the summer of 2010?  Nevermind, nothing will be that crazy, unless Lebron becomes a free agent again in 2014 and joins the Lakers.  What I meant to ask is, have the Iggy trade rumours reached that annoying point where all stories lead with the useless phrase, “Sources say…”  Or “Sources close to the situation…”?  Basically every time a link appears on my Twitter that involves the word “sources” I want to poke my eye out.  If this is true then I’m glad I don’t follow hockey and if it hasn’t reached this point yet then I’m happy for NHL fans everywhere.

Glencross was interviewed during the second intermission and explained, “That the team was getting used to the new system.”  Where have I heard this before?  Oh no, the Flames have turned into a broke man’s Lakers.  I don’t know if the Flames executives watch the NBA (I’m guessing no) but you do not want to be described as a broke man’s Lakers this season.  It’s a good thing they play in Calgary and not the second largest market and don’t have the guy who’s the most polarizing figure in the league.

Nicole and I have had many discussions about the Flames (she likes to pretend that I’m a Flames fan just because I’m from Calgary) and will occasionally talk trash to me about it.  Her favourite thing to say to me is to refer to the Flames as the Shames.  If I was a Flames fan I’m sure I’d have something to say, or not because let’s be honest the Flames have screwed up majorly in building a team.  With the Oilers I proclaimed that they reminded me of the OKC Thunder circa 2009/10.  I may not know as much about hockey as the average Canadian male but I do understand what you want to avoid how to build a team in a salary cap sport.  Yes, I’m assuming that the way to build an NBA team and an NHL team is comparable.  For both sports you want to be either have the ceiling of a top five team or be a bottom five team.  You never want to be a team in the middle whose ceiling is a second round out.  Now, I understand the NHL playoffs are nothing like the NBA playoffs.  In the NBA, talent wins out, if you have the best player in a seven game series you’re probably going to win.  In the NHL seeding doesn’t really matter, the game is too chaotic, a goalie can get hot, it turns into a game of breaks and which team takes advantage of them.  I understand why Calgary wouldn’t want to bottom out but it would have been the smart thing to do.  As it stands right now, they’ve been a team good enough to sneak into the playoffs and that’s it.  Anytime, your team’s ceiling is an eight or ninth seed, it’s time to blow things up.  Of course this isn’t news to anyone who follows sports except for the Flames but maybe they’re just stubborn.  So when Nicole refers to them as the Shames I have nothing to say back except, “The team would be nice if it was 2003.”

It’s Like I Have ESPN or Something – Nicole

Warning: you just gave fashion advice to Bob Hartley. You should cross your fingers he never gets wind of such a thing, or it’s smack-down time. You should plan your next move very carefully. No one messes with Mr. Hartley. No one.

You should also know that ass attacking is actually a thing. In every sport with body contact. It’s called being strong. It’s highly effective.

Now, Iginla. Let’s be real, he’s not smushing his trade value. He simply has no one to play with. What’s the point in rushing the puck if by the time you hit the top of the offensive circle, half your teammates are changing shifts and the other half of your line is still huffing it across the red line? Nothing. He’s got no one to pass to and no one to get passes from. In Vancouver 2010, he reminded Canada how stellar he can be when he actually has wingers. It’s mucho tragic no one from the Flames management actually made a note of that. It hurts to watch a stand up talent go to such waste – it’s like watching Shane Doan melt in AZ, or Rick Nash try to carry the entire CBJ organization on his back (which, mercifully, is over). As much as Iginla purports to love Calgary, I can only hope he gets traded to a contender and can wrap up his career in Ray Bourque fashion (“after 22 years, Ray Bourque”. Gets me every single time). Canada/Calgary, we owe the man this. He deserves it.

Irving Chong (@Irving_Chong) and Nicole (@_nicoliooo) are co-creators of This is Why we Can’t Have Nice Things even though it doesn’t make sense why they’re friends


4 thoughts on “I Suck at Being Canadian: What’s Hockey Day?

  1. The Flames are not that interesting of a hockey team. Perhaps that is why the media doesn’t like them. They have finished 8th, 7th, 5th, 10th, 9th and 9th in the West in the past six years. Their seasons usually start slow with a steady build and charge to the finish only to falter down the stretch. The media doesn’t find that interesting. This is why there has been a call to rebuild this team.
    Of course the reality in hockey is that the Top 5/Bottom 5 thing doesn’t hold true. Which team has been the most consistent bottom 5 team? The Columbus Blue Jackets. They have constantly been bad and just don’t seem to be able to draft/develop good players. In hockey, top picks can certainly help and have helped teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh and LA. However for every team that becomes successful through high picks there are teams that get success through lower picks and free agent finds. The Red Wings are the prime example of this sort of team, but Boston and Anaheim are recent examples of teams that have built their core by simple selecting smart rather than high. The Oilers certainly may become the Thunder, but they may not. They’ve been a popular pick to rise for the last few years and haven’t yet got there. It remains to be seen whether three straight number 1 picks will pay off.
    Unfortunately the Flames have a history of drafting very poor. Since 1990, the best career of any player they’ve drafted might be David Moss. Seriously, David Moss! They do however seem to have a knack of getting players that turn out through trade and free agency (Iginla, Kipper, Regehr, Conroy, Martin St. Louis to name a few). The Flames best two players this year may just be their two free agent signings from this summer. They actually seem to the first time I can remember actually have some young players I am looking forward to.
    The media wants the Flames to tank to get a high pick because that is interesting, but it isn’t proven to work. Years of failure don’t give you guarantees other than years of failure. What the Flames need to aspire to is building scouting and development that brings in good young players. Which is why I like Bob Hartley and the Flames’ plan. They are giving the veterans a chance to win and giving the young players chances to play at the same time. They have traded for picks instead of trading picks away. If they end up sucking and get a high pick so be it. But if they don’t then they can still get a good player with a mid-pick. Yeah, I can see why the media hates that.
    I think Iginla stays in order to mentor the young players. While people love to see superstars eventually win the title, is there anyone who really felt awesome when Ray Bourque won the Cup as an Av? Yeah maybe good, but a bit dirty too. Selanne winning the Cup as a Duck was the right way. Do we honestly want Iginla to become Karl Malone?

    • Hey Trevor,
      Tons of thanks for commenting. I actually couldn’t agree more with you about the top five or bottom five positioning in the NHL – it just doesn’t apply. I think that drafting quality talent that matches the needs of your team (and can often be snagged with a late pick) is incredibly important, but I also think that developing this talent is where many teams, like CBJ and the Flames have faltered. It stands to reason that LA won the cup based on the entire cast of characters they had, not just the talent they drafted in the first round. This is totally something we know about hockey – it is definitely not the first round all star one-player situation that the NBA can thrive on. The Abbotsford Heat are 1st in their division, 2nd in their conference right now, and I wonder if this is a sign of mediocrity running its course in the Flames organization. I also agree with you that Bob Hartley is fantastic for their organization. As much as I dislike the Flames, perhaps they might be on their way to an upswing. I don’t believe it will happen this year, but if patience prevails with what is usually an impatient fanbase and management, perhaps Bob Hartley will be able adjust the trajectory of the organization. We shall see?

      And, while I totally hear you on Bourque and the Avs, I’m on the other side of that team. Bourque won it with many players he helped grow, such as Sakic, Foote, and Tanguay through the wider Hockey Canada fraternity. I think that still makes it an incredibly meaningful win. Imagine if Iginla gets to win with players from the Salt Lake City team, or some guys from Vancouver? I think that is still full circle for him, and I have to believe that Flames fans would send nothing but goodwill his way. Thoughts?

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