Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Situation Remains Fluid

Mondays and Tuesdays my wife works twelve hour shifts. She leaves before anyone is up and comes home after the kids are in bed. I work from home and my days look something like this:

Get up and get kids breakfast, get the dog out, dress the baby, wash faces, brush teeth, pack snack for eldest, ensure backpacks and diaper bag are ready.

Drop baby off at daycare and kids off at school.

Pick up boy at lunch and drop him off at daycare.

Pick up eldest after school and bring her home.

Pick up boy and baby after work and bring them home.


Ready for bed. Etc etc etc.

Its pretty busy.

So last night we finished supper (beans and toast - quality, hey at least the beans were homemade!) and then I suggested a walk over to the ice cream shop. Although this was met with quite a bit of resistance, as you could imagine, I managed to convince them, mostly with threats of violence and a major temper tantrum.

Last summer and fall were pretty shitty but the winter here was absolutely ridiculous. We had maybe one cold day and pretty well no snow, by far the warmest winter in memory for me. And the spring has been just fantastic. Its been ice cream weather for almost a month now. Unbelievable.

So the kids get milkshakes and I get a cone and we hang out and enjoy the sunshine and then we head home, its just a two minute walk or so, we get in there and as I'm wrangling everyone in the door suddenly the boy comes out and he's looking a little pinkish, like he has pink on his lips (he had a cotton candy milkshake) and all of a sudden here it comes and the front mat is now pink, not black.

He's a little traumatized by this, he keeps repeating that it was his first cotton candy milkshake and there's a bit on his shoes and the baby and the dog are looking at this with interest and he's wailing on the front porch and so I drag the dog away and get the baby away and into the care of her six year old sister and I take care of the mess and the boy and we're back in business.

Now we've been experimenting a bit with staggered bedtimes. We get the kids to bed early (7pm) but the oldest ones generally stay up talking and playing for an hour or so and our oldest (she's six) is probably okay to stay up later now we think and even the boy can probably handle some later nights here and there. So over the weekend they stayed up and watched some hockey before going to bed and the end result is that the oldest is fine but the boy is a little out of gas so last night he was in bed at seven while I hung out with the girls and watched some of the Crosbies.

The baby wandered off and then my eldest went to get something and came back and said that something stank in the kitchen and that was where the baby was so of course you know what that means. I called for my youngest and she came running and I could smell her from ten feet away so I asked her if she needed her diaper changed and she said no.

Thing is she has her yes and no confused, well she actually does not say yes, so if you ask her if she wants some milk she will say no and then you give her a cup of milk and she will thank you profusely.

So no means yes is what I am saying. I get that but its confusing for, well, everyone else.

So I grab a diaper and some wipes and I unzip her sleeper, one of those deals with feet, and I see right away that its a little runny and actually its run out of her diaper and its on the edges there.

Poo poo, she says.

You bet.

And as I begin to remove the diaper I realize that this is the atomic bomb of shits. Its everywhere. I mean everywhere. I send my oldest to get a bag and my God she is a huge help, seriously, and she brings a plastic bag and holds it open while I put the diaper and about fifty wipes in it because basically the sleeper is full of runny milky shit and my youngest is covered in it from neck to toe.

And its just fucking vile, something created by some gastro bug, the entire ground floor stinks of it (my wife smelled it as soon as she walked in an hour later despite the window being open and a healthy dose of Febreeze being sprayed).

Bathe the baby and she's to bed and I'm so traumatized its a heaping helping of Pernod to kill the pain and numb the senses.

Waiting on the big fellow to follow up on this as in the middle of the chaos (situation #1 that is) I was trying to get the compost out and left it unattended long enough for him to chow down on a chicken carcass, bread crusts and brown beans.

Luckily I am at work today.


I have been watching way too much playoff hockey this spring. My head feels like its going to explode. Plus its contributing to sleep deprivation and alcoholism.

First round always ranks up there in terms of entertainment though, doesn't it?

I've been watching this shit forever and there are three truths I have found to be evident about the first round.

1/ The underdog very often wins the first game. This year was the same as always as favourite after favourite fell and lost home ice advantage. Some clubs didn't play all that well (Pittsburgh and after a strong first, Washington), some ran into hot goaltending (Chicago), some had bad breaks (San Jose). Some ran into more than one of these issues. It always happens in game one and people start talking about upsets.

2/ There are always, almost always, upsets. Some are mild, some not so much, but its very rare that the top four seeds advance, if ever. Remember 2006 in the West when all four top seeds fell? Now sometimes like 2006 the bottom seeds are a lot better than their regular season results (San Jose, Anaheim and Edmonton that year). Sometimes its all on a hot goaltender. Sometimes guys are hurt. Sometimes its a luck thing. In any case even in a year like this one where it seems pretty clear who the favourites are, so much so that few upsets have been predicted at all, presently the favourites trail in four series and are even in two others. This leads to my last point though.

3/ The series isn't over until one team wins four games. Its always interesting to me how fans and the media jump on the idea of momentum. A team wins a game and the other club is in trouble. A club goes up three games to one and its over.

Fact is quality does not always win out but for the most part it does and my guess is that when round two comes calling most of the favourites will have advanced.


I've been watching series in a bit of a scattershot fashion and so my comments will be presented in a similar manner.

Interesting to see some favourites find their footing after struggling for a game or two while others still are having a tough time. The Capitals looked dead near the end of the second in game two and then again with just minutes left in the same game but then a combination of poor goaltending (Halak), poor decisions (Gomez taking himself out of the game for five minutes) and sheer talent (Backstrom) saved them. The Habs have looked better than I thought they would but my guess is that they are almost done. They have to be near perfect and Washington has to struggle and the goaltending has to work out in their favour. I can't see this happening.

Pittsburgh is also overwhelming the Sens. The Ottawas were in a tough position anyways with their injury situation. The fact that they actually had a negative goal differential was kind of a big red flag too. Anyhow they may be game but their goaltending has not been good enough and the Pens are looking like Stanley Cup champions, much like many others have in the past. A so-so regular season has given way to a pretty impressive looking run here and Crosby! crosby CROSBY (STRONG MUSCULAR THIGHS) has been just phenomenal.

Its early early but with Jersey and Les Sabres struggling I would put money on a Caps/Pens conference final.

I almost went with Philly but I did not and with Pronger channelling his 2006 self the Flyers are in good position. They have to close the deal and with Boucher in net and apparently Gagne and Carter out for game five I would not say its over yet but Brodeur has looked rather pedestrian again. Can't see the Devils winning three straight with that goaltending. Plus I fucking hate the Devils so screw them. Seriously. Three Cups, one of the best teams of the last 15 or more years and do you know anyone who is a Devils' fan? I don't and there's a reason for that.

Buffalo and Boston bores me. I thought Buffalo would take care of business but the loss of Vanek has hurt them and while Miller is terrific I forgot about Rask. Nice trade Leafs!


Chicago got a bad bounce in game one but their biggest issue has not been their goaltending. They just haven't looked right. Part of this is Nashville who have really been terrific. They have had great work from Rinne and some good luck but last night's game had very little from the Hawks who seem to have fallen into a funk. Their best players look mediocre - I would think that unless Toews and Kane get going this may end up being a short postseason for Chicago. Still early though.

Same with the Canucks and Kings although this one is looking iffy for the Canucks who looked like they were going to be up two nil in game two. Then the wheels came off and now, like Chicago, they don't look like they can do anything right. Quick has been fine and while Luongo has been fine as well, for the most part, he has not been better than that and this is the issue. Just like last year when they got ousted by Chicago its not all on him but another save or two would go a long way. Unlike Chicago if the Canucks go down three to one I don't really see them coming back. The Kings have some serious quality out there.

Detroit and Phoenix has been fun. it really does look like it will be up to Jimmy Howard now. If he can play well then I think the Wings can finish this but if not then the Coyotes will move on in a mild upset. Not sure if the Wings have what it takes this year though. Its really weird. Each series happens in a bubble. Hard to say what happens if they move on.

And finally there are our friends the San Jose Sharks.

Now first of all this series has been really one sided. I watched game three and it was ridiculous. As pointed out at Copper And Blue where they are doing scoring chance counts for this and the Canucks/Kings series, the Avs did not generate a good scoring chance in the third period or overtime yet they still won. Crazy.

Three games decided in overtime and the fourth in the last minute.

Pretty entertaining. And the best moment of the playoffs so far when Anderson got that standing O after Game Three.

You know what though? The Sharks deserve a lot of the scorn they get though. Sure they've run into a hot goalie and they've had some rotten luck but this happens every year and there are a couple of contributing factors. Nabokov generally makes a mistake here or there that really costs them (stick on the ice!) and their big guns don't score. Now these guys might go off next game or the game after but Thornton, Heatley and Marleau don't have a damn goal yet. Not one.

Is it bad luck? Maybe a little. And the Avs are quick and neither Heatley nor Thornton has an extra gear. And would you drive the net maybe once in a while?

But at some point you'd think that they have to do something, no? Its one thing to talk about bad luck but after a while there's a reason you keep having bad luck, at least in sports.


R O said...

Thornton et al were underwhelming in game 1, couldn't gain access to the scoring area very well.

From then on all I noticed was Pavelski who is seven kinds of awesome. But apparently Stastny didn't do too well (which is weird because normally he is pure quality) and one only imagines that's because Thornton and friends were better.

I do think that San Jose is seriously cursed. I mean I think it's possible, even for an entire season, for a group of players to get screwed by the bounces. I think San Jose is that team.

R O said...

Crosby is incredible eh? I mean Bob Cole's cohort (Galley?) was trying to deflect attention to Malkin the other day but it's not even close. Crosby is everywhere and always on the puck, it is just unreal.

Best player in the game right now and with a bullet, I think.

mike w said...

Poo poo, she says.

You bet.

Another LOL line and I NEVER LOL.

doritogrande said...

I'm so traumatized its a heaping helping of Pernod to kill the pain and numb the senses.

You mean people actually drink this stuff? In my experiences it's just for making 6-foot high cooking fires to give seafood some licorice flavour.

You must have a stomach lined with kevlar, Pat.

Black Dog said...

lol Winters. LOL!

dorito - Pernod is dandy pal. Highly recommended for killing any bugs that ail you.

Black Dog said...

R O - agreed on Crosby, I was trying to think of a comp, maybe Messier? Although he doesn't have that viciousness Messier did obviously he really has a physical aspect to his game. And defensively he's just terrific as well.

Nobody better right now imo.

As for SJ really nobody has been noticeable for them. I presume that the loss of Hejduk is a major one for them. He's not what he once was but I think (Maybe Scott Reynolds can chip in here if I am right or wrong) that he would make some difference. And Mueller, while not a difference maker, is a bigger guy and might have helped as well.

I look at their lineup and its almost Oilerville which of course makes their competitiveness that much more astounding.

As for SJ I'm of the belief that generally luck evens out. Unless they use all of their good luck in the regular season something just isn't right there. Weird because despite their rep Heatley had great success in the playoffs when Ottawa had their run and iirc Marleau was amazing in 2004 - I seem to remember multiple playoff hattricks.

Its like Ottawa. A ton of talent and yet they could never beat the Leafs or their goaltending at least. Yet so many of those guys have had terrific playoffs since those days and even Hossa had a great run with Ottawa the last year he was there.

But SJ makes Ottawa look like they've won multiple Cups comparatively.

I think goaltending has a little bit to do with it. I think that they do feel the pressure of these past failures somewhat. Heatley had a wide open net in G1 or 2 and instead of just firing it he took all of the time in the world and hit the crossbar. And I think a couple of these guys don't get off of the perimeter enough. jmo, I mean they are dominating but while Anderson has been very good I don't find that he has been making a ton of showstoppers.

You let a team hang around and at some point you're going to get fucked.

R O said...

BD: I like Pavelski from San Jose a lot, I mean one would imagine that Thornton et al would steal the show but it's not been the case, it's been the Pavelski show in terms of who dominates their matchup. Natural conclusion of having really good players in depth positions I guess.

Nabokov can't stop a beach ball though, and while it's been a lot of bad luck this series for him, but based on his career, I don't think bookies would have been comfortable giving the Sharks the edge in nets.

As for that Colorado squad, what a bunch of dogfuckers. The parallels to the Oil are apt, too many rookies, not enough good players. In fact I'd say that when the Oil were still competitive this season (i.e. when everyone not named Souray was still healthy), they were better than any iteration of the Avs that have skated since October.

But the Avs have Anderson in nets and he's not Hasek but he's not JDDDD either. Plus they score at just the right time when they really don't deserve to, like the Canucks of the past two seasons or the Flames of 03/04. It's a great experience when you're a fan of the home team but infuriating otherwise.

Re: Crosby. I never saw Messier play in EDM. If anything though Crosby is multiple players, to my modern-game eye. The other day I saw him take the puck off the defender on the boards with a hit, drive through a seam in the slot and score. My first thought was "that's an Iginla's move".

And he protects the puck behind the net and makes plays there that you might attribute to Gretzky (my immediate comp was Sedin) and his passing game is Thornton-esque. And he doesn't cheat often, and the play rarely dies with him. And he's playing with Guerin, who I'm not sure is that great a player. He's basically a one man cycling play, it's just incredible.

Malkin is the one who baffles me. He's got huge skill but damn, the play just dies with him all the fucking time at the blue line. He could just make a few better decisions and he'd be an incredible player, but right now he's just got "meh" written all over him.

Good Muckin' Tonite said...

Heard an interesting comment about the Sharks the other day on the radio and the analyst - can't rember who it was - referred to the team as a "bunch of dudes", insinuating that once you land in San Jose to play hockey, you take that SoCal sufer mentality where everything's just "cool". I thought he captured how they play exactly right. No urgency, it's all good kinda thing. That being said, their hading the Av's their asses, crashing the net like crazy as I type during the 3rd period. Maybe the bad break the other night in OT is the wake up call.

Black Dog said...

Good stuff GMT. Yeah they smoked the Avs last night. Hard to say if its just pure talent winning out or if the Sharks have figured it out or what.

Sharks won't get left alone until they go to a SCF, imo. Just like the Sens. They used to be known as choking dogs and now everyone praises them as a club that can tough it out.

Black Dog said...

R O - eh, Malkin's just a kid though. ;)

Yeah with Crosby they really have broken the mold. He is a playmaker, he scores goals, he takes care of his own end, he plays that power game. Really a unique player.

As for the Sharks/Avs well that might be it although Anderson might come right back this weekend I am sure. Really though the Avs just are not that good. Their roster is pretty comparable in a lot of ways to the Oilers. They do have some quality kids but they are overmatched right now and their vets like Yelle and Tucker are done.

Hard to believe they have lasted this long. Gravy for them I guess.

Brad said...

My dark horse in the West is...

The ice.

I think a team is going to lose a game (or win if you're a glass half full type) with a bad bounce on shitty ice in the 3rd or OT.

And it's not just the Southern US teams. Weather here in Vancouver touched 20 degrees last week.

It's been a lot of fun. I hope the kids in CO, PHO and LA can pull it off. An LA win sort of spoils the party here in town, but I thought Ryan S had a helluva game 4 despite the loss and I don't mind seeing the kids from the West come out and take on any eastern team.

Bruce said...

Malkin seems like a shadow of the monster that was dominating last year's playoffs. Flashes of greatness for sure, but a shitton of mistakes, many of them pretty lazy and/or selfish.

Not just the playoffs either. This year he was a minus player with a negative Rel Corsi, and "led" Penguins forwards in GA/60 and SA/60.

Brad said...

Addition by Subtraction? Marc-Andre Bergeron is -8 for the Habs in the series.

roaddog61 said...

Long day for me...glad it's over. Just read this and had to say: You are such a great writer, Pat. I haven't been here for a while 'cause I thought you were quitting and hastily removed the bookmark. This piece is exactly why I enjoy reading your stuff. Thank you so very much.

Black Dog said...

Thanks roaddog61, appreciate it.

Brad - Bergeron is with Markov for the most part which means tough minutes for him or so I would think. From what I have seen of the series he's actually played decent.

Bruce - he was hurt a couple of times, no? I would think that's had something to do with it.