Friday, October 20, 2006
The first game of the road trip was the back end of a home-and-home with Edmonton, which the Canucks lost as Dany Sabourin gave up a couple of early goals before he settled down. The Canucks had two nights off before this game in Saint Louis against the Blues, a team that was the worst in the NHL last season. However, this was also a team the Canucks failed to beat in four games last season, something that one could easily look at as a reason the Canucks missed the playoffs in 2005-06. A lot of reasons the Canucks failed to make the postseason last year had to do with underperformance by their own players, and that definitely happened against the Blues, but the Bluenotes also had a couple of players that were doing in the Canucks, namely Mike Sillinger and Curtis Sanford. Sillinger was traded to Nashville late last season (and faced the Canucks again as a Predator) before landing on Long Island for this season. Sanford stayed with the Blues and started in net against the Canucks in this very game. The Canucks also looked to extend their streak of 20 straight successful penalty kills.
With Taylor Pyatt having just been sent to the box for holding, the Canucks won a draw in their own zone and the puck went into the right-wing corner. Alexandre Burrows gave chase and tried to clear it away, but Keith Tkachuk held it in at the blue line and passed to Petr Cajanek at the right hash. Cajanek skated a few feet toward the net and stuffed it in on the short side past Roberto Luongo. Away went the Canucks' streak of 20 straight penalty kills, but it was a good one.
»» 1, SAINT LOUIS, powerplay, Petr Cajanek 1 (Keith Tkachuk) 6:41
The Canucks outshot Saint Louis 9-7 in the period. They were 0-for-2 on the power play while the Blues were 1-for-6.
About five minutes in, Henrik Sedin centered the puck from the right-wing boards to Mattias Ohlund skating down the slot, who was foiled by Curtis Sanford on an initial shot, and he covered up his stick side on Ohlund's hack at the rebound as well. At the midway point, Henrik Sedin from the right-wing boards centered the puck, and Daniel Sedin deflected in onto Sanford, and the puck was cleared away. Vancouver badly outshot the Blues 16-4 in the period (25-11 overall). They were 0-for-5 on the power play (0-for-7) and weren't whistled for any penalties in the period.
On a Saint Louis power play, the puck went to Bill Guerin behind the net, and Lee Stempniak came to get it, and he passed to Tkachuk on the left side, who shot to the net and had it stopped. The rebound went off of Bill Guerin's skate in front and through him, and Stempniak skated back to the slot and snapped it through the glove side past Luongo.
»» 2, SAINT LOUIS, powerplay, Lee Stempniak 3 (Bill Guerin, Tkachuk) 5:41
Not long after, Markus Naslund on the left-wing boards passed to Sami Salo along the blue line. Salo faked a shot and passed to Henrik Sedin on the right-wing boards. Henrik passed to brother Daniel past the goal line on the right side. Daniel then centered to Pyatt on the doorstep, who put it through as the Canucks had finally solved Sanford. Pyatt was basically unmoved in front of the net for the Canucks' entire possession in the Saint Louis zone before the goal.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Taylor Pyatt 3 (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin) 7:30
Not even a minute after Vancouver had scored, Dennis Wideman was trying to get the puck out of the corner in his own end and Matt Cooke threw a hit on him. In the final minutes, Jay McClement and Ryan Johnson (who pounded Ohlund into the boards on a chase for the puck in the Vancouver end with the empty net) took penalties for the Blues, putting the Canucks up two men for twenty seconds with fifty seconds to left to play. Alain Vigneault and the Canucks went for broke, sending Luongo to the bench (6-on-3) after the puck got deep into the Blues' end after they had won the faceoff with 40.4 seconds left. Daniel Sedin and Pyatt sandwiched Eric Brewer along the end boards in the Blues' zone and got the puck from him. Henrik Sedin got the puck in the right-wing corner and passed to Naslund near the right point. Naslund passed to Salo at the back of the left circle, and he tapped it back to Naslund now up high, dead center. Naslund decided to forego his wrister and went for the slap shot, rattling it off the inside of the left post, then the right post, off Sanford's blocker, and into the net to finally tie the game with 25.9 seconds left.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 5 (Sami Salo, H Sedin) 19:34
Vancouver outshot the Blues 8-5 in the period (33-16 overall). Vancouver was 2-for-4 (2-for-11) on the power play while Saint Louis was 1-for-3 (2-for-9).
About a minute in, Jamie Rivers got the puck at the right hash and put up a shot that was blocked, and Doug Weight was robbed by the left pad of Luongo. Half a minute later, Henrik Sedin stood behind the Saint Louis net and found brother Daniel at the left hash, who wristed the puck toward the net and hit the post above Sanford's right shoulder. In the final minute, Daniel Sedin from the right hash passed to Salo mid-slot, whose monster wrister was stopped by Sanford, who held on for the whistle. The Canucks won a final faceoff in the Blues' zone inside the final ten seconds of play. The puck went to Naslund behind the right circle, who passed to Salo at the blue line. Salo faked a shot and drew Dallas Drake to the ground to try to block it. Salo stepped around him and wristed the puck past Sanford on the final horn. The puck went through the net with 0.9 seconds left. The Blues first tried arguing that time had expired before the puck went through, then tried arguing that maybe Bulis tipped it through in front with a high stick. Replay footage went to league headquarters in Toronto and everything stayed the same. Though the puck went through with more than zeroes remaining on the clock, no faceoff took place after the goal, and it would have been moot anyway because I've never seen a puck go from center ice through the net in 0.9 seconds.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, Salo 3 (Naslund, Brendan Morrison) 4:59
Vancouver outshot the Blues 6-3 in the overtime (39-19 total). Neither team had a power play chance, so the Canucks finished 2-for-11 and Saint Louis was 2-for-9. Luongo stopped 17 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Salo, (2) Saint Louis' Lee Stempniak, (3) Saint Louis' Bryce Salvador
H Sedin 0-2-2
D Sedin 0-1-1
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 29 of 62 draws (47%). Brendan Morrison won seven of 15, Ryan Kesler won four of nine, Josh Green won four of eight, Marc Chouinard won five of seven, and Henrik Sedin won eight of 21. Henrik Sedin led the team with seven shots, Daniel Sedin had six shots, and five shots apiece went to Mattias Ohlund and Lukas Krajicek. Matt Cooke dealt four hits, and Kevin Bieksa dished out three. Alexandre Burrows and Jan Bulis recorded two takeaways each. Green coughed up the puck three times. Bulis missed the net four times with shots, and Sami Salo, Morrison, and Markus Naslund all missed it thrice.
The only even-strength goal of the game was scored in the final second of overtime, so the plus-minus isn't very eventful for this game. Salo, Morrison, Naslund, and Bulis were on the ice for the goal, so they were all plus-1 while all the other Canucks got the even rating.
The win pushes the Canucks to 4-3-1 (2-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for nine points. This puts them in second place in the Northwest Division, three points back of Minnesota, who has a game in hand. Edmonton lies a point back of Vancouver in the division with two games in hand, and Colorado has a single game in hand with the same number of points. Calgary is holding up the cellar with five points and one less game played than Vancouver. Vancouver is three back of San Jose and Anaheim (both one less game played). The Canucks have one more point than Chicago, who leads the Central Division and is third in the conference as a result. Dallas leads the conference with 12 points to lead the Pacific Division with the same number of points as Minnesota, San Jose, and Anaheim. Vancouver wouldn't have any rest after this game, as they had a date in Nashville the next night.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
[check back later because I might add some links, as there are many that could be added]
As some of our remaining readers out there may know, I can be quite particular about sports uniforms and I could dissect them and discuss them for hours. Since I have some trouble these days coming up with post material that doesn't have to do with the games themselves, I like it when I'm able to come up with an idea and just run and riff with it. Thus, a post like this is nearly effortless for me. I just put the fingers to the keyboard, they type and type, and then I end up with more than enough material that I'm okay with.
So, here is the first installment of my unloading on sports uniforms. Here I turn to baseball first, and here is the American League East. Keep in mind I'm drawing from a base of memories from around 1987 (when I first took a major liking to baseball) to the present.
Baltimore Orioles -- the uniforms aren't horrendously bad, so that's good. There was a period in the '90s where they reversed the color scheme on their lettering and everything. The home uniforms had orange lettering with black lining, and the road uniforms had black lettering with orange lining. They then flipped the home and road lettering and colors, and Cal Ripken, Jr. broke the consecutive games streak at Oriole Park in Camden Yards wearing the reversed scheme (black with orange lining). Around the same time of the decade, the Orioles tried out a gray hat on the road, which matched with the gray uniform, and the orange lettering didn't really clash, and the road uniforms to me looked bland. The Orioles since switched the home lettering scheme back to what it was, but they left the road scheme the same, so basically, the color schemes of the home and road lettering are the same. The Orioles' third jerseys (black with orange lettering) need white lining on the lettering or something, because I don't think the orange (or the edge of it) clashes well enough with the black. As for the Bird Head/Bird Body debate having to do with what goes on the caps, I'm still not sure which side I take. If there's one thing I'll give the Orioles' uniforms, it's that the font of the word "Orioles" on the front hasn't changed in forever (though the size has differed), and I hope it never does.
Boston Red Sox -- old baseball cards with a young Roger Clemens show the most basic Boston road uniform that had all navy blue lettering, and the font and numbering were basic and everything. Then at some point, they took the font and the numbering off the home uniforms and put them onto the road uniforms, and added surnames to the road uniforms as well (along with the color red). I hope the Red Sox home uniforms never change. Even surnames on the backs shouldn't be done. The most blasphemous thing, of course, was when the Red Sox rolled out the third jerseys during the regular season. Yes, I'm talking about the red tops. Black (or navy blue) lettering, white lining and piping. In a way, it reminds me a bit of when the Calgary Flames turned the "C" logo on their dark tops to black from white, but they had that extra color (yellow) to throw in there, while the Red Sox don't. The Atlanta Braves tried the same thing with red tops too, but somehow it doesn't seem anywhere near as bad as it does with Boston. Lastly, the number font Boston uses is unique to the rest of the Majors, and that's good.
New York Yankees -- I hope their uniforms never change. I don't even want the players' last names on the backs of their uniforms. I shouldn't laugh at what I'm about to say, but I do -- I laugh when I see people wearing the Yankee shirts that say "Jeter 2" or "Williams 51" or "Rivera 42" on them for the sole fact that no Yankee wears a last name on his back when he's on the field. The great thing about the actual Yankee jerseys is that they afford you the flexibility with which to wear a number for whomever you want unless the number is retired. I don't know this from personal experience, but if you saw someone wearing a 13 jersey in the Bronx that had no surname on the back, the right person (or a person ashamed of admitting the jersey was bought because Alex Rodriguez just came to New York and was wearing the number) might say that they bought a 13 jersey because Jim Leyritz wore the number and delivered clutch postseason hits for the Yankees. By the same token, if someone wore 33, they could cover up the fact that they thought Melido Perez was incredibly cool back in the day by saying, naw, it's a David Wells jersey. Anyway, the pinstripes are decked in baseball lore. Due to what probably was the picture quality on the household television back in the day, I always thought the Yankees wore black, but when I got the right Upper Deck baseball card, I found the Yankees wear somewhat of a navy blue. The White Sox wear black, not the Yankees. Really, the only year-to-year changes the Yankees make to the uniforms have to do with whatever patches they might put onto the sleeves. I'd also like to thank the Yankees for not using a third jersey during the regular season.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- originally I thought the multi-color gradient thing on the fronts of their jerseys from the franchise's inception up through the Jose Canseco/Greg Vaughn era was kinda cool, but it really was a bit much. In addition, putting two words above one another (Devil above Rays) on the front of a uniform is a little much as well. So they had the two words and the devil ray on the front of the uniform, and I think they might have used purple for the letters and numbers on the backs of the road uniforms. Then they switched to the overly green color scheme they currently have and dropping the name "Devil" from the uniforms. The whole thing is more traditional, sure, but it's pretty drab. The road vests don't look too bad, and not long ago they switched from "Rays" to "Tampa Bay" on the road jerseys [correction -- they capitalized the T and B in "Tampa Bay." No "Rays" was ever on the road uniforms]. The city name could be a little larger on the road vests. The green jerseys also don't look that bad, partly because the numbers on the backs stand out so well. I think they have to throw another color into their scheme and ditch the font of "Rays" on the fronts of the jerseys. Of course, the Devil Rays changing their logo and color scheme might have a reaction akin to a tree falling in the forest with nobody to hear it.
Toronto Blue Jays -- I thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with the Joe Carter/Paul Molitor/Jack Morris-era uniforms. Blue and a lighter blue were the main colors, and they were used nicely. In addition, the white front panels on the home caps didn't seem hokey at all. Then came the Roger Clemens-era uniforms. The Blue Jays messed with the fonts on everything (even the last names on the backs of the uniforms) and added red as a main color. Red was utilized more on the road uniforms as the in-between color on all the lettering and numbering (what used to be white). The home tops at the time had a lighter blue as the dominant color and the regular blue as the in-between color, but this was later reversed, which looked better. The main thing of which I'm not a fan regarding the current jerseys is the dropping of the word "Blue" from the jerseys. That and the not-black-enough lettering on the backs of the road jerseys makes them not stand out enough when light reflects the right way when you see it on television. I'm also not a big fan of italicized numbers on the backs of uniforms, which I think throws off the balance a bit, especially if the last names on the backs are arched (which they are with Toronto). That said, I like the huge last names on the backs. I also love the fronts of the road jerseys, which I think are just about perfect. They stylized and modernized the word "Toronto" enough and they did it tastefully. Whoever designed that should be commended.
There you have it, the AL East. If I thought there would be any structure to these posts, I'd end up doing the AL Central or AL West next, but I probably won't. I could skip to another sport, for all I know. Anyway, hope you enjoyed it.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Coming off their best win of the season against Edmonton the night before, both teams had to hop into the plane and head for Edmonton for this game taking place the very next night. The odds were stacked against Vancouver, having to fly to start a five-game road trip and finding a start for backup goaltender Dany Sabourin. If it was any consolation, the Oilers were starting Jussi Markkanen in net instead of Dwayne Roloson. Still, the Canucks would have to find their legs against the Oilers, who throughout their franchise has had teams that could skate, skate, and skate. Amazingly, the Canucks came into this game having killed off their last twelve penalties, an about-face from their shakiness from earlier in the season on the man-disadvantage. Now if they could just get their power-play unit together, the Canucks might get warm or something.
Ethan Moreau had received a pass that deflected high into the air after hitting his stick, and he put it back on the ice and from the back of the left circle fired a slapshot that beat Dany Sabourin over the right shoulder. Continuing a slightly disturbing trend carrying over from the preseason, the Canucks had surrendered a goal on the first opposing shot of the game.
»» 1, EDMONTON, Ethan Moreau 1 (Jarret Stoll, Steve Staios) 0:51
Marty Reasoner along the end boards on the left side centered the puck to Patrick Thoresen in the slot, who wristed it past Sabourin on the glove side.
»» 2, EDMONTON, Patrick Thoresen 2 (Marty Reasoner, Staios) 3:01
In the dying seconds of the period, Joffrey Lupul walked from the right point and wristed a fake shot that went to Ales Hemsky beside the net to the left. Hemsky had a wide-open net with which to pot the goal, but Sabourin dove back in time and stopped the puck with an arm. Edmonton outshot Vancouver 7-5 in the period. Edmonton was 0-for-3 on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-2.
On an early Edmonton power play, the Canucks' penalty kill dumped the puck into the Oiler zone. Jussi Markkanen played the puck behind the net and left it for Fernando Pisani, but Pisani didn't put a body on Matt Cooke, who beat him to the puck and fed Josh Green at the right hash. Green quickly shot to the net and Markkanen dove back in time to slow down the puck, and Marc-Andre Bergeron was alert enough to race to the net as he saw the play unfold, and he cleared the puck out of the blue paint after it had leaked through Markkanen. Just over four minutes in, Steve Staios inflicted a hit along the boards in front of the penalty box on Daniel Sedin. Just past the midway mark of the period, Petr Sykora centered the puck from the right-wing corner to Shawn Horcoff and Thoresen, the former of which directed the puck toward the net and was stopped by Sabourin, and the latter of which was foiled by Sabourin on the rebound. With just under two minutes left in the period on an Edmonton power play, Ryan Smyth had the puck along the end boards on the right side and looked to pass, then drove to the net looking like he was going to try and jam it into the net. However, he drove, dropped a pass back to Lupul, and tried screening Sabourin on the play. Sabourin got his left pad on the Lupul shot.
Edmonton outshot Vancouver 8-4 in the period (15-9 overall). Edmonton was 0-for-4 (0-for-7) on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-1 (0-for-3).
Raffi Torres delivered a hit on Josh Green in front of the benches just past the seven-minute mark. With the Canucks on a two-man advantage and down two goals (jsut past the eight-minute mark), Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo tried setting each other up for slapshots, but Ohlund got the actual chance, booming one that brought Markkanen to the seat of his pants, and Daniel Sedin's stick snapped while he was trying to put home the rebound. With about two and a half minutes left, Daniel Tjarnqvist landed in the box for interference, giving the Canucks a power play opportunity. With the desperation setting in, coach Alain Vigneault pulled Sabourin from the net for an extra attacker to make it 6-on-4. It didn't take long as Henrik Sedin on the left-wing boards fed to Daniel Sedin behind the net. Daniel waited a few seconds and passed to Markus Naslund in the low slot, who buried it to the glove side.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 4 (Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin) 17:31
Vancouver outshot Edmonton 13-5 (22-20 total). Vancouver was 1-for-3 (1-for-6) on the power play while Edmonton was 0-for-1 (0-for-8). Sabourin stopped 18 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Edmonton's Steve Staios, (2) Edmonton's Ethan Moreau, (3) Naslund
D Sedin 0-1-1
H Sedin 0-1-1
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 22 of 52 draws (42%). Brendan Morrison won five of 11, Ryan Kesler won all five of his faceoffs, Josh Green won three of ten, Marc Chouinard lost nine of ten, and Henrik Sedin won seven of 14. Mattias Ohlund led the team with six shots, and Markus Naslund had four. Matt Cooke led the team with three hits, and Sami Salo and Taylor Pyatt threw two hits as well. Morrison notched a couple of takeaways. Kevin Bieksa coughed up the puck twice. Alexandre Burrows and Chouinard blocked two shots apiece. Jan Bulis missed the net four times and failed to record a shot.
The Canucks' only goal was on the power play, so no Canuck recorded a plus rating. The minus skaters were all minus-1 and they were Ohlund, Bieksa, Salo, Pyatt, Rory Fitzpatrick, Naslund, Daniel Sedin, Tommi Santala, Chouinard, and Henrik Sedin. All other Canuck skaters were even.
The loss dropped the Canucks to 3-3-1 (1-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout) and third place in the Northwest Division as Edmonton leapfrogged them in the standings. With seven points, the Canucks are one back of the Oilers, who have played one less game. Undefeated (5-0) Minnesota is three points ahead and have played two less games than Vancouver. Calgary is two points back with a game in hand, while Colorado is three back with two games in hand. Vancouver is seventh in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Chicago, who has two games in hand. Vancouver is one point back of fifth-place Anaheim and three back of Minnesota, San Jose, and Dallas, who are first, second (one game in hand), and fourth (two in hand), respectively. Vancouver has the same amount of points as Central Division-leading Detroit, but the Red Wings have played two less games. The Canucks head further out on the road starting with Saint Louis on Friday, a team that was the worst team in the NHL last season, but was a team that beat was undefeated against Vancouver last season. Take two of those games, and the Canucks leap into the playoffs instead of...Edmonton, who went all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals as the eighth seed. Go figure.
Monday, October 16, 2006
After getting chomped on in their home opener by the Sharks, the Canucks returned to the ice three days later for their third division game of the year, this one against the Edmonton Oilers, whom they would host on the front end of a back-to-back home-and-home set. Oddly, the last power-play goal the Canucks had given up was one by Brian Rolston in the Minnesota game on Tuesday. Well, maybe it's not that long of a streak, but the Canucks held the high-powered San Jose Sharks scoreless on six power plays on Friday. Last season, the Oilers controlled the rivalry early in the year, seemingly having the Canucks' number (especially Jarret Stoll) until the Canucks got some points near the end of the year, though definitely not enough, as anyone who looked at the Canucks' division record last year could surmise.
On an early Vancouver power play just under eight minutes into the game, Daniel Sedin had the puck in the left-wing corner and dished to Henrik Sedin along the end boards, who centered quickly to Sami Salo in the right circle. Salo was then robbed by the glove of Dwayne Roloson. With five and a half minutes left in the period, the Canucks were nearing the end of another power play as Daniel Sedin chipped the puck from the left hash to Kevin Bieksa in the high slot, who gloved it out of the air, put it down, and ripped a shot that rang off the post on Roloson's stick side. Daniel Sedin was foiled by Roloson's glove on the rebound of Bieksa's shot. The Canucks badly outshot the Canucks 17-7 in the period. They were 0-for-3 on the power play while Edmonton was 0-for-2.
Josh Green checked an Edmonton puck carrier into the boards and took himself out of the play as the puck trickled along to Petr Sykora. Sykora took the puck from the boards to the middle of the ice and walked it across the blue line. He skated toward the left-wing boards and dished off to Marc-Andre Bergeron, who snapped a quick shot from the left circle that was stopped by the pads of Roberto Luongo. As Sykora took the puck over the blue line, the Canuck defenders left Raffi Torres with a boatload of open ice, and he went toward the net as both Alexandre Burrows and Willie Mitchell were watching the puck. Torres snuck in behind Mitchell and Burrows and put the rebound through, top shelf behind Luongo.
»» 1, EDMONTON, Raffi Torres 1 (Marc-Andre Bergeron, Petr Sykora) 2:01
Trevor Linden at the right point dropped the puck back for Bieksa, who faked a shot along the boards, then let one loose that went off Roloson's stick. The rebound found Taylor Pyatt skating into the low slot, and he put it past Roloson.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, Taylor Pyatt 2 (Kevin Bieksa, Trevor Linden) 8:13
On a truly beautiful goal, Salo took the puck from the right point, took it to the goal line, then skated along the end boards with it. He wasn't done, as he traipsed along the left-wing boards skating backward until he caught the back edge of the left circle and flung a wrister that found its way through traffic (Daniel Tjarnqvist and Burrows fighting in front of the net) and past Roloson.
»» 3, VANCOUVER, Sami Salo 2 (Alexandre Burrows, Josh Green) 19:00
The Canucks outshot Edmonton 12-6 in the period (29-13 overall). They were 0-for-1 (0-for-4) on the power play while Edmonton was 0-for-2 (0-for-4).
With just over three minutes left in the game, Sykora coughed up the puck in his own zone, and Josh Green passed back to Matt Cooke, who unleashed a hard shot that Roloson covered. The Canucks outshot Edmonton 8-5 in the period (37-18 total). Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play and were 0-for-6 for the game. Luongo stopped 17 shots for the game.
Three stars -- (1) Pyatt, (2) Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson, (3) Salo
In the faceoff circle, the Canucks won 31 of 54 draws (57%). Brendan Morrison won eight of 12, Ryan Kesler won two of five, Josh Green won seven of 12, Marc Chouinard won four of six, and Henrik Sedin won eight of 17. Mattias Ohlund led the team with five shots, and Sami Salo, Willie Mitchell, Kesler, and Daniel Sedin had four shots apiece. Ohlund dealt three hits and Green two. Morrison notched two takeaways. Kevin Bieksa blocked two shots.
In plus-minus, the plus-skating Canucks (all plus-1) were Ohlund, Salo, Taylor Pyatt, Trevor Linden, Rory Fitzpatrick, and Green. The lone minus-skating Canuck was Lukas Krajicek. All other Canuck skaters were even.
The win elevated the Canucks to a 3-2-1 record (1-0 overtime, 0-1 shootout), good for seven points and second place in the Northwest Division, three points behind the undefeated (5-0) Minnesota Wild. Every other team in the division has a game in hand, and the Oilers are a point back, the Flames two back, and the Avalanche three back (their only win was against Vancouver). The Wild lead the conference, the Stars are second (same points but one less goal than Minnesota), and Detroit leads their division with seven points. San Jose and Anaheim have a game in hand on Vancouver and both have eight points for fourth and fifth in the West, respectively. The Canucks finish out the home-and-home in Edmonton Tuesday night.
[there's never a bad time for an obligatory Iron Maiden reference]
[I used the post title before I'd realized it was upgraded to a 6.7-magnitude quake]
My power situation...
power off: Sunday, 7:20a
power on: Sunday, 9:30p
power off: Sunday, 9:35p
power on: Monday, 4:53p
combined power-off time: approximately 33 hours, 28 minutes
As Steven Jackson got eight yards on 2nd-and-12 on the first possession of the game, the earth shook in Hawaii. The last play of Seahawks/Rams that I saw (it was televised to Hawaii) was the false start against Chris Spencer on 3rd-and-5 on the Seahawks' first possession.
Then the power went out. I figured it was a shallow localized quake, much like a 3-pointer we had over here a month or two ago that rattled a bit. This one rattled just a bit more, I thought, but I didn't think it'd be any more than a 4. I guess the sad thing is that when I know it's an earthquake, all I do is say "hey, that's an earthquake" to myself instead of ducking and covering like we're all taught back home.
Thus, I sat for the next hour waiting for the power to come back so I could resume watching the Seahawks and Rams. I waited and waited until finally I realized I should probably go make some phone calls. Seeing as to how my place is in a cellphone dead zone, I had to take the car over the hill to get some reception. Without knowing their hours, I went downhill to Monterey Bay Canners, a restaurant by the Pearlridge mall that usually has some sports on their many televisions. The parking lot was deserted, which told me all I needed to know, but it was doubly moot anyway since they didn't open on Sundays until late afternoon, and I was out at mid-morning.
It was at this point that I learned via a local emergency alert radio station that virtually the entire state had lost electricity. I'll add that it had rained very hard in the wee hours of the morning and continued raining somewhat hard throughout the rest of the morning. Taking the conditions into account, the normal public advisories were relayed -- stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to use them, and if you do, treat all intersections with dead traffic lights as four-way stops, turn off most of your breakers so you don't lose appliances to power surges, etc. At this point, everyone watching any 24-hour cable news channel (i.e., anyone outside Hawaii) probably knew more about the aftermath of the earthquake than we did here. I drove over to a mom's friend's house to see how they were doing.
At that house, I called my parents to let them know I was safe, and I called Jeremy (you may know him from this very blog) to ask him if Seattle had won, and he relayed the score and the fact that Josh Brown hit the 54-yard field goal to win it, which was the brightest spot of the day for me. A couple hours later, I heard power was being restored to Pearl City and Aiea, the latter of which is sort of where I live. Hopeful, I headed home.
The power was still out. I drove back down toward Pearlridge because I knew the power was on. The mall itself was open, though very little inside it was open. The adjacent Denny's, Chili's, and Circuit City were open. Any nearby restaurant had incredibly long lines.
So where did I go, knowing my power was out? I went to Best Buy. Why? I searched and searched and found a little HD LCD screen that was the only one in the place hooked up to live ESPNHD feed. I did walk out of there with season one of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge on DVD and a Norm Macdonald comedy album, so I wasn't completely freeloading. That doesn't mean I didn't watch about 40 minutes of the NFL Blitz on SportsCenter though. I saw the highlights and was jubilant. I got my fill and headed home. So, to summarize, the power was out, so I went to Best Buy to watch football highlights and buy crap that I wouldn't be able to use at home until the electricity returned.
I drove away from the Pearlridge area and found that it was dark. I drove on an overpass above the H-1 freeway, and the power was on, which gave some hope. The power followed that road until it dead-ended into my road. I looked further uphill, and it was dark. I drove further up the hill, and everything else was dark sans two apartment complexes that had power, possibly on emergency generators or something, but everything else was dark. Surprise! My place was still in the dark.
With the night upon me, the entire neighborhood was dark. The power came on at 9:30p, and I started getting back into the swing of things, trying to catch up on everything I'd missed throughout the day. Five minutes or so later, the power went back out again. It didn't came back quickly, and I slept. I still had my cellphone with an alarm and found out how to set the alarm on my wristwatch, so I was able to get up at my normal Monday time. I got up at 4:40a and the power was still out. With nothing to do and no means to cook breakfast, I decided I'd head to McDonald's or something, and then to work. I drove to the crest of my hill, and the street lights were on, somewhat of a line of power demarcation that laughed and mocked at me as everyone down the hill from there had power, and a couple hundred other people and I didn't. Anyway, I went to work to take my mind off not having power at home, so it was ironic when our building at work didn't have power either, but we still put together a full shift of work with a shorthanded crew.
I kept calling home throughout the day because I knew from the five minutes of power the night before that one of the breakers I hadn't turned off was the circuit my phone was on, so I knew if I called home and got rings, I knew the power would have come back. My shift at work came and went, and I called home many times and got "call failed" on the ol' cellphone. After I got some gasoline (much shorter lines than the day before) I drove home, and I drove past my house and headed a little further down the road before turning around, and before I turned back, I saw a Hawaiian Electric Company (aka HECO, pronounced "HEE-koh") manlift operating on a nearby road. Thus, I was hopeful about the power situation. I got home and the power was still out. This was about 3:50p or so today (Monday). My thinking at that point was to drive down to Pearlridge, eat a Chicken Cordon Bleu combo at Arby's, and keep trying to call back to the house. After about my fourth try, I got rings, headed home, turned on my usual media outlets, and typed this. I still might not open my refrigerator until tomorrow (I didn't have any perishable foods...yay!).
So there's my past two days for you all. I'd like to thank the Seahawks for winning because it would have really put a damper on everything if they didn't. I'd also like to thank the house I'm living in for not sliding down the hill (knock on wood) as a result of the driving rains followed by the earthquake. It was also great that there were no deaths or major injuries as a result of the earthquake.
As a guy with a geology degree, I was surprised that a 6.6 quake was possible in the middle of an oceanic plate away from any sort of plate boundary and with rock of low silica content, but as usual, I was horribly wrong. Just because Hawaii can't get a 9-pointer from a subducting boundary doesn't mean a major earthquake isn't still possible.
If you got this far, I hope you had a nice read. Life will go on as usual here in Hawaii.
I was in St. Louis yesterday for the Seahawks-Rams game. The Seahawks won 30-28. You knew that, though. At least I hope you did. Heh.
Enjoy the visuals.
This came from a Rams fan in our row at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis yesterday after Josh Brown's 34-yard field goal hit both uprights and didn't go through. The time? 9:33 of the THIRD QUARTER.
If you know your Seahawks-Rams history, you would know that these contests are never over with over 24 minutes left. I even pointed out the infamous 2004 game at Qwest Field to a guy in front of me. After that game, I knew that no game was over until it was over. So, needless to say, this Rams fan who said the game was over was full of it.
I arrived in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon. Downtown St. Louis was hopping with Game 3 of the NLCS between the Mets and Cardinals. Of course, I went to the Chicago Blackhawks-St. Louis Blues game at the Scottrade Center (formerly the Savvis Center). The Blues won 4-3. The fans at the Blues game were more interested in the Cards' game. Not shocking.
I'll do this post in notes format, since that's the best possible way to describe my experience in the Gateway City. Thank God the Seahawks won.
---Thank you to the Midwest Seahawkers. They had their annual event in St. Louis where they had a reunion party at the Holiday Inn (I spent Saturday night there) and there was a tailgate party over on the corner of 11th and Convention Center Plaza. It was great to talk to all the 'Hawks fans. Thanks once again, Midwest Seahawkers.
---I'm not in the Holiday Inn lobby for two seconds and two Rams fans call me out. "You guys are in the basement!" Me: "Defending NFC Champions!" That shut them up.
---Rams fans, for the most part, are an alright bunch. I think I only saw one Leonard Little jersey all day. The fans must have known that I was coming to town. Although I did get a good dig in during the Seahawks' introductions. When Grant Wistrom's name was announced to the crowd, I yelled, "Not a murderer!"
---Re: Rams fans. They do have some lame comebacks. "How about your Mariners?" Hey, this is FOOTBALL. I know the Mariners are mediocre. I don't need a St. Louis fan to tell me otherwise.
---The Tigers are going to win the World Series. Nobody's stopping them. Nobody.
---I was a little disappointed that the Rams didn't give out rally towels. I had my sharpie ready to mark the Rams logo out. Dammit. Instead, we got flip cards with each team's roster on it. I thought the flip cards were cool, to be honest. I did buy a $5 program, however, with Steven Jackson on the cover. And judging by the picture, it looks like he's dancing. YEAH!
---Rams fans don't know what they got with Steven Jackson. They expect him to be Marshall Faulk. Look, there's just one Marshall Faulk. If I'm a Rams fan, I'd be glad to have Scott Linehan on board. He's actually let Jackson run the ball this year.
---The feeling of walking into an opposing team's stadium is great. You know that you're clearly in the minority. You have the "wrong" colors on. Fortunately, this was St. Louis. If I would have said something bad about Scott Spiezio (and boy, I wanted to), then I would have had more trouble with the Rams fans.
---Scott Spiezio, thanks for showing up. I mean, seriously...let's move on.
---The Rams' brought Chuck Berry to the game. It's his 80th birthday on Wednesday. I told someone that in Seattle, they couldn't honor anybody's 80th birthday because all the good rock stars from Seattle are already dead. And the ones that are left have distanced themselves from Seattle. Still, a nice touch of class on the Rams' part to bring Berry to the game. He's a legend, folks.
---The Rams' intro song? Godsmack's "Speak". Good call. This would prove to be the best musical choice of the day at the Edward Jones Dome.
---The Seahawks' secondary, Jesus. I had this Rams fan two rows in front of me shrug his shoulders and tell me, "what are you going to do about it?" This would also be the guy who clings on the past and told me that the Rams have won a Super Bowl. It's important to note that since the Seahawks joined the Rams in the NFC West, the Rams have not been back to the Super Bowl. 1999 was 7 years ago. Kurt Warner's not walking through that door. Ricky Proehl isn't walking through that door. Brenda Warner's spiked hair isn't walking through that door either.
---Oh, and the Rams are no longer playing Todd Rundgren's "Bang The Drum All Day" after every touchdown. Instead, they play Blur's "Song #2" and Outkast's "Hey Ya!" At least with Rundgren, they had some originality. But I was so glad I didn't have to hear that damn bang your damn drum song all damn day. Damn.
---The first half......yeah. STEP THE HELL UP, DAMMIT. (I got a rise out of the crowd when I yelled that. Some guy in the section next to me said, "I sense frustration over there!" No kidding.)
---But the second half...
---When Bryce Fisher sacked Marc Bulger to end the first half, I said to anybody that would listen that it would set the tone for the second half. While the Seahawks couldn't score on their first drive of the second half, my prediction came to fruition.
---I love Deion Branch. You tell who would be more valuable, Branch or the 2007 1st round pick? In addition, I'm digging the lime green gloves. I would get myself a pair of those gloves, but I wouldn't be as cool as Branch.
---Hoo boy, the pass interference calls. I'll admit, I wasn't too sure about them. But hey, the Seahawks have had calls go against them several times in the past, so when things go right for the 'Hawks, flag-wise, I'll take them.
---I really need to get myself a "What Would Ed Hochuli Do?" t-shirt.
---That 42-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Darrell Jackson was the best pass I've seen in a long time. What a great play call. This came right after Mack Strong's touchdown was called back. Again, a great play call on 3rd-and-15.
---When Jackson scored, that's when the Seahawks defense just took over. To that guy who said he sensed frustration: I sensed frustration as well among the Rams fans for most of the second half.
---The 4th quarter came and Brown would kick a 49-yard field goal, the first of three in the final 15 minutes.
---Similar to last year's game in St. Louis, the Rams would fumble a return. This time, it was Kevin Bentley who recovered Kevin Curtis's fumble, not J.P. Darche. Two plays later, Branch records his second touchdown of the day. The Seahawks finally led, 24-21.
---After another 3-and-out by the Seahawks defense which included two sacks (Julian Peterson and Marcus Tubbs/Rocky Bernard), Brown would kick his second field goal of the quarter. It was once again a 49-yarder. Seahawks 27, Rams 21 with 10:33 remaining.
---Remember what I said earlier? It wasn't over. Not even close.
---The Rams' drive would stall at their 47-yard line, so Matt Turk, a not-so-young Turk, would come on to punt. Three of his five punts were inside the 20.
---Bulger would finally throw his first interception of the year. Lofa Tatupu took the ball 19 yards before being stopped at the Rams' 17-yard line. Game over, right?
---Maurice Morris is not an every-down running back. He's not Shaun Alexander. I felt sick when he fumbled the ball. The last thing I needed was a Rams' comeback...
---Torry F*cking Holt. What a catch. But they left too much time on the clock...
---1:47, no timeouts, no problem. When the Rams' defense hadn't done a damn thing in the second half, there was no need to be concerned at all. It didn't matter that the ball was at the Seattle 17-yard line.
D.J. Hackett would start the drive 14-yard reception and his catch would be followed by Jackson with a 19-yard grab to midfield. After an incompletion, Hasselbeck would throw to Branch for a 9-yard reception. Strong would run for 9 yards and Hasselbeck would spike the ball. To get the ball just right for Brown, Strong would run for a yard, putting the ball at the Rams' 31-yard line. What happened next, wow...
Hochuli's crew called the 'Hawks for an illegal formation. I knew very well that this was not a 10-second runoff play. The Rams fans around me were like, "Game over! Game over!" Read your rulebook, Rams fans. I didn't need to say a word. Not one word. Call it a quiet confidence, if you will.
So the ball is moved back to the 36-yard line. Brown would have to make it from 54 yards out. Not an easy job, but this was a dome. Nobody will mistake Brown for Jeff Wilkins, but you know, Brown isn't too bad himself.
Ball snapped, hold down, kick is up and it's..............
Josh Brown is money. Money. Money. Money.
The Edward Jones Dome was silent. Absolute silence. Except for the few hundred Seahawks fans that were in attendance. I was just going nuts. As I walked down the steps to the concourse, this girl, who was probably 19 I think, said "Boo" in a normal tone of voice to me. She had really cute hair (pigtails!) which had been dyed blue and gold. I told her that I liked her hair and then she said thank you and the she added, "You know, you're not a bad Seahawks fan. You have class. I appreciate that." She was up a few rows above me and she told me that she heard me througout the contest. That was all, but hey, I wasn't a bad fan at all throughout the game. Surprisingly, I did not use a single curse word (at least out loud, anyway). I was impresed with myself for that.
---But man, I tell you what, walking out of the Edward Jones Dome after your team wins on a last-second field goal is absolutely fantastic. You can't ask for anything more than that. The sounds of silence permeated througout the concourse. I was smiling on my way out. High-fived a few Seahawks fans on the way out. We knew that it was a great game and that THE NFC WEST STILL RUNS THROUGH SEATTLE.
---Once I was out of the dome, I talk to a few 'Hawks fans outside. David called me and told me that there was an earthquake in Hawaii. He said that after the third play of the game, the power went out. He's OK, thank goodness. His apartment is OK as well, at least that's what he told me. So that's why there wasn't too much action in the game thread yesterday.
---After I get off the phone with David, I walk over to the buses outside the dome. I'm able to get Jerramy Stevens' autograph on my ticket. Simply awesome. He didn't play yesterday, however. I can't wait to see him back in the lineup. This offense needs him back.
What a win for this Seahawks team. They needed this in the worst possible. I needed this in the worst possible way as well. The five-hour drive back to Arkansas was much better with a Seahawks' win than a Seahawks' loss.
Whatever Mike Holmgren told the players at halftime must have worked. Obviously. There was no fire in the first half whatsoever. I was disturbed by that. Thank God they stepped up and played Seahawks Football in the second half. That said, this team could use Shaun Alexander.
I'll add a few photos later when I'm back at my place. In the meantime, enjoy this win. It can only get better from here. Of course it can.