Attention Vancouverites: your couch has asked me to pass on a message on its behalf.
Dude, I miss you. You’re spending far too much time outside, and frankly, I’m not happy. Don’t you know I need attention too? Don’t you know that I need to feel close to you?
I don’t know what your obsession is with doing stuff, but this Vancouver lifestyle of getting out and being active really annoys me. Sometimes your neglect leaves me wishing I had been bought by a Torontonian, or dare I dream, an American.
Imagine – a lazy-ass owner who never left home. I’d never be cold or lonely, and I’d feel included in every major moment of my owner’s life.
My needs are simple; I don’t ask for much. Please don’t forget me.
Listen, if you are ever going to rekindle the magic you and your couch once had, this weekend of televised Vancouver sports events is perfect for it.
Maple Leafs vs. Canucks: Hockey Night in Canada
At 4 P.M. on Saturday, the Canucks play the Toronto Maple Leafs. Based on the recent performances of both teams, if this game didn’t feature two of the largest markets in hockey, and if it weren’t being played on the largest stage the sport offers – Hockey Night in Canada’s 4 o’clock slot – there would be no reason to even talk about it.
Two teams on more opposite ends of the spectrum, one cannot fathom. While the Canucks have won 7 of their last 8 games, and are living up to expectations, the Leafs have lost 7 straight and 10 of their last 11. The outcome should be a foregone conclusion, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch.
Why? There’s drama: prior to the Leaf’s last game, the team held a closed door meeting. In a coach’s bag of tricks, this is a move saved for only the most desperate of times: a message to the team that if this group can’t perform, changes will have to be made.
Well, the team didn’t perform – they lost to the Panthers. Cue the changes.
James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail tweets:
@mirtle: Burke said he and Nonis talked immediately after the Florida game and knew they had to do something (i.e. callups).
Accordingly, they’re calling up Nazem Kadri and Keith Aulie from the Toronto Marlies to try and salvage the beleaguered Maple Leafs.
Just one and a half weeks ago, when the team had already lost 5 of 6 games, and the idea of recalling Kadri was proposed to Burke, he scoffed at it.
At that time, Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins had this to say on why Kadri should not yet be playing for the Leafs:
“You know what, he has enough skill and creativity right now to play in the NHL. The problem is, that skill and creativity will be just greatly exposed [when he makes mistakes] and he would be the goat in the NHL.” (quote from this article by James Mirtle in the Globe and Mail)
So much for that. This week, Kadri will be playing Canada’s best team – the Vancouver Canucks – on Canada’s biggest night – Hockey Night in Canada – and if the team loses, which seems almost inevitable, or if he makes the slightest mistake, Kadri the saviour will indeed be turned into Kadri the goat.
If this doesn’t offer enough intrigue, just wait for Coach’s Corner during the first intermission. Last week, Don Cherry went on a rant about the Kadri situation:
“How you can keep a kid down there that’s getting goal after goal … is beyond me. He should be here.”
As we well know, no one likes to say “I told you so” more than Cherry, and you can bet it’ll be coming out this week.
“Didn’t I tell ya? You think these guys don’t listen to me?” he’ll say in that hoarse, worked-up voice that only the Leafs can induce. “They’re all dumb-dumbs, the whole lot of them!”
Obviously, I have no idea what he’ll say, but this probably isn’t far off.
Lions vs. Rough Riders: CFL Playoffs
Your couch isn’t done with you yet. Put in perspective, the hockey game is just 1 of 82 regular season games, and it is not a must win for either side. The B.C. Lions game at 1:30 P.M. on Sunday, on the other hand, is as important as it gets.
By a stroke of sheer luck, the Lions have made it to the playoffs after starting the season 1-7, and they may actually have a shot to make it even further.
An interesting note: by beating the Eskimos last week, the Rough Riders sealed their fate to play the more dangerous Lions in the first round of the playoffs. One would think that they could have easily rested starting quarterback Darian Durant in the final quarter, or even the entire second half of the game, claiming it to be precautionary, and lost/thrown the game, so that they could face the Esks this week.
But they didn’t do that, and as a result, we get to dust off our barbeques and host our annual CFL playoff parties.
Speaking of which, I need to stop writing and get some steaks marinated for Sunday.
Enjoy your weekend!