Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Look at those crazy kids!
We have three weddings this year and when you get to our age that's a lot of weddings. Last Saturday we went to the first of these, it was here in Toronto, it was our kids' first babysitter and so they too were invited and for all three of them it was their first wedding.
I enjoy weddings, I really do. I'm, well, I'm a realist and a cynic about a lot of things but I'm also sentimental and I like to party and I've had the good fortune of being to a lot of fun weddings mostly because I hang around the right type of people, the unpretentious partying type of people I mean.
I remember one of the first weddings I went to as an adult, we were in our mid twenties, it was a huge affair, set in a ballroom downtown iirc, they had money or their parents did and so we wandered amongst the hundreds of people and we partook of the free bar liberally of course. As the father of the groom began his speech, which would last, well forever, with the words 'A marriage is like a merger' - he was an accountant and all of the accountants in the crowd raised their eyebrows in an explosion of mirth - we rolled our eyes and listened sadly as Van Morrison rollicked in the room next door, a reception that began AT THE SAME TIME AS OURS DID. We sat and we sat and we sat while we heard laughter and dancing and drunken singing and like that scene in Airplane I may have been the last one standing when the speeches finally ended as my tablemates did themselves in one by one.
Other than that though we've had good times. Good times. DYNOMITE!
The wedding on Saturday was fun though my fun was dampened by the fact that I was the designated driver. That's okay though. I don't need alcohol to have fun. Not me. /retrieves one of many strategically placed mickeys of gin from hiding spot/.
This was a Portuguese wedding, my first of these and oh my god the food. Talking to the father of the bride we asked him what was on the menu and he said 'fish, chicken and roast beef' which we took to mean that we would have a choice of one of these options. So after the bread and salad we were surprised when the servers came around and piled our plates with fair sized pieces of fish (two or three of them) and rice. We thought 'oh this is the meal' and so we told the kids to have some as well even though we thought we were told they would have chicken fingers. No matter right?, we were probably high at the time. So we finish our mountains of rice and fish and then about ten minutes later they come out with the chicken and the beef and the potatoes and the veggies.
The kids were troopers but as the night wore on they began to tire and especially the boy was struggling as he had been up early to play hockey that morning and he had a slight (massive) stomach ache. They began to agitate to leave and it was around 10:00 and then the seafood buffet came out as well as a massive table of sweets so that delayed our departure and then we were about ready to wrap it up and I was coming back from the bathroom when Home For A Rest began to play, you know that nice easy beginning just before it gets mental.
This is a wedding standard, at least at the weddings we attend and traditionally I have had a dozen or so at that point and start jumping around and I am quite sure (hopeful) that when I go it will be at the age of ninety or so from a heart attack induced by this. So I come back to the table and sit down and look at my lovely wife, my God she's a beauty, and she gives me a little smile and the slightest nod to the dance floor and up she gets and up I get and next thing we're hopping around like we're absolutely mad and our kids are staring, mouths agape, at a sight they have never seen.
Almost seventeen years we've been together now, married for thirteen, isn't that something?
I swear I'll never forget that moment, that smile, that nod, a reminder of something shared between us all of these years, of so many wonderful times. Just a second and my heart ready to burst out of my chest. Isn't that something?
Wasn't that Chicago - Los Angeles series unreal? I know there's a term for it but I can't remember it, how people attribute more value to something because it is more recent. That's not the best description of it but you know what I mean, right? The guy who argued with me last year that Jonathan Toews is the greatest Blackhawk ever, greater than Stan Mikita or Bobby Hull. Or that some basketball player a few years into his career is better than Jordan or, in the most ridiculous examples of this, that a player is better than another player based on his work of the past week. So Jonathan Toews is the best player in the world, better than Crosby, although now I guess that's Anze Kopitar, except he's European so probably not, right?
With that said I have been around a long long time and I cannot remember a series played at such a high level as that Western final just completed. It was dramatic and it was unreal hockey and in the end it came down to a coin flip. If these teams played one hundred series they would probably each win fifty. Fantastic hockey and of course it reiterates what I talk about here a lot. Luck, man, luck. If the Kings get one less bounce (every single goal in game seven came off of a relatively crazy bounce) then Chicago moves on and we're talking dynasty if they beat the Rangers or as close to a dynasty as we will see in these times. Instead two blocked shots bounce right to a Kings' shooter, Carter goes offside and knocks a puck out of midair, Gaborik picks off a rebound perfectly and then Martinez puts one in off of Leddy's shoulder. Just nuts. (Though from the other point of view we can talk about the goal Toews scored of course and that is just a starting point for Chicago luck).
That's the way it goes. Hockey is a flat circle of violence and degradation and puck luck and the sorrow of Leaf fans. /creates little Hossa out of Slovakian beer can/
I had the Hawks winning and the Habs too, the latter was more of a hunch which was dumb because those never work out. That left me at 9 and 5 for these playoffs and by round my all time records are as follows:
First: 53-19 Second : 18-18 Conference Finals: 12-6 Stanley Cup Final: 4-4
Funny huh? In two rounds I kick it and two I'm even steven. I looked back and in the final I wrongly picked the Oilers (should have won), Sens (stupid anti Pronger sentiment), Wings in 2009 (should have won) and the Canucks (losing losers who lose).
Honestly though those three all went seven games and of course here is the crux of it all.
Either the Kings or the Rangers have a good shot at this. The West is the best, we all know this, there is no argument against this but the Rangers are quality, this isn't the Panthers or Capitals sneaking in to get strafed by a juggernaut. I had the four western powerhouses and Boston in my first tier and then the Ducks and then after that the rest with the Rangers at the top of the East, which makes going with my gut on the Habs that much dumber.
I'm not going to run through all of the pros and cons because this has been done a thousand times but here are some quick thoughts:
- the Kings have a ton of elite talent, more than the Rangers, this is a huge deal
- the Kings are unreal up the middle, Stepan (who I like) would be the King's third best centre
- in Doughty LA has the best defenceman in the league imo
- the Rangers actually have a little more depth up front and are the faster team
- McDonough is healthy and is pretty amazing himself
- obviously if things go according to the past six weeks Lundqvist is vastly better than Quick but its goaltending so it may not
- two great coaches, I really rate Vigneault highly
Should the Kings win? Yes and they are my pick. Some folks point to the rest New York has had but I think by this point unless a guy is relied upon too much they'll just keep going. Chara is an example of this last year and maybe Doughty could wear down, he was making some mistakes near the end of the conference final so this may be an issue for Los Angeles. The possibility of injuries aside I think that the Rangers have a shot but they will need Lundqvist to steal one or two games or for Quick to give one or two away or they will need some luck.
Of course all three of these things are absolutely possible and so the Rangers have a shot but in the end I am picking the Kings in six because I always pick series to end in six but mostly because LA has Kopitar and Gaborik and Carter who are three elite offensive talents and when you are so good that you have Justin Williams on your third line then you're a really good team and probably the best in the league.
Posted by Black Dog at 3:11 PM