We watch that show The Biggest Loser. I think I mentioned that before. Its really the only reality show I can stand. I watched the first Survivor but I think it was more of a Colleen Haskell thing than anything else. Other than that I'm not a big reality TV guy. But The Biggest Loser I dig.
The drama gets a little silly at times but at least its not a bunch of bartenders and wannabe actresses with fake boobs trying to emote, some of these folks have pretty serious issues. You don't tip the scales in the three fifty range before you hit twenty five unless something is goofy. This season has one fellow who has almost lost two hundred pounds and is still over 325. Fucking bananas. And as you can imagine a lot of these guys and gals, well they are a little lonely. This season has a lot of relative youngsters and at the beginning of the show many of them lamented that they had never had a girlfriend or boyfriend, including one young fellow from Oklahoma (pictured up top, he's the guy not in a Sharks' uniform) named Daris. Poor fellow is blubbering, 'ah've never had a girlfriend' and my wife blurts 'well you ass, you might get rid of the clown hair for starters, you're already fat, with the lid you look stupid as well'
The head on the guy.
And of course its a few months later and now he's barely two hundred pounds and he got a haircut and buddy looks pretty good. And on a recent episode they kept showing him from the beginning of the show, poor bastard, tipping the scales at 360, weighed in front of a whole whack of family and friends, tearing up and he says:
'Ah will do mah best to make you proud of me and ah will become proud of mahself as well'
This is now my mantra at work and at home. Say it with me, in a southern accent. I do, all of the time. My coworkers are giving me a wide berth, the kids think its hilarious and my wife, as always, wonders what the hell she's gotten herself into.
So if the Sharks beat the Wings then is Joe Thornton no longer the NHL's Biggest Loser? Nope. Fair or not this guy has the reputation now. Either this club has to go all the way or they have to bow out despite a terrific performance from him or he's going to be wearing the goat horns for sure. You're allowed to struggle one year or another and every powerhouse team gets upset now and then but the Sharks have the rep now. Beating the Wings will go a long way to fixing that but it might even take more than that. Remember that the Sens fell late in Game Seven of a conference final to the Devils a number of years back. Even going that deep in the playoffs they were known as chokers right until the year they went to the Final.
Its not just that the west is stronger than the east. It is of course head to head, there's no doubt. And in the Finals lately the Ducks won and then the Wings won and they would have won again last year if not for the fact that Lidstrom and Datsyuk and Hossa were all hurt in the Final. And while the West is again stronger this year its not just that the top seeds out east have fallen its the fact that the remaining clubs are being decimated by injuries. Gagne is back for the Flyers but they are still missing Carter and even if they win tonight they're pretty well done. The Bruins have Seidenberg and Sturm and Krejci all out now and Savard can't be 100%. Meanwhile the Habs have lost Markov and the Kostitsyn brothers are fat on top of that and the Pens are down Guerin and Staal is on the limp. And they're not even the team they were last year.
Out west I'm sure guys are playing through bumps and bruises but other than Heatley I can't think of a guy who has gone down for any team and he's already back. The Canucks could use Mitchell and Jonsson certainly would help the Hawks though. But its nothing like out east.
But Its The Champions' League, isn't it?
Frequent visitors here know that I follow Spurs in the English Premier League. They're a tough club to follow. Over the past number of years they have always been on the cusp. A number of years ago they just missed finishing in the top four in the league which would have gotten them into qualifying for the Champions' League. They had some serious quality and then mismanagement frittered it away so that a club that was always in the UEFA tournament (second tier European club tournament) and that won the Carling Cup in 2008 was basically scattered to the winds. Eighteen months ago the club was at the bottom of the league, looking at relegation. Its fans were disheartened and angry, its future bleak. Mismanagement.
They brought in a manager called Harry Redknapp, a well travelled fellow, and under him the club slowly but surely got better. There have still been hiccoughs, most notably a recent loss in the FA semis to a bankrupt (literally) Portsmouth side but as this season wore on the club hung around near the top of the table, just short of the biggest fish, but always in position. They had some injuries that should have fucked them but they did not allow that to happen. (Imagine that!) And coming down the stretch they faced a brutal schedule including the big three. They fell to Man U but they beat Chelsea and they beat Arsenal, rolled over both of them actually, and so on Wednesday they went to Manchester and took on City, who trailed them for fourth by a point. A tie and Spurs would have their destiny in their hands, needing only a win in their last game to clinch the coveted spot. Instead they went one better, beating City and thus clinching their berth in Europe's biggest club tourney with one game to play.
And after a year of watching shitty Oilers' hockey, I sat back and smiled. Even if they're not really 'Champions' per se at least they've had a successful year.
Hockey Hockey Hockey
Two of the series have been blowouts but the hockey has still been excellent. With a few breaks the Wings would have swept the Sharks out of the playoffs already and Philly certainly could be in a better position as well. So it goes though. If Jason Williams hits the net or the dummies are aware that Thornton and Marleau are on the ice then maybe they play it a bit smarter. Play that dumb and you deserve what you get I'm afraid.
What exactly was John Ferguson thinking, the dummy. You have two very good kid goaltending prospects. Its years before either may make it. They could get hurt. They could turn out to be shit. You're in a position of strength. And then you fuck yourself for Andrew Raycroft? The Kessel deal is defensible. You don't think you're going to be in the lottery and you're getting a kid who can score goals and a lot of them. But for Andrew Raycroft? I hope Rask ends up in the Hall of Fame. Not to stick it to poor Leafs fans but to the dummies who run that club. What a bunch of stupid fuckers. Ferguson will never be a GM again.
Smart move by Boston though. They've made a lot of those lately. They've made some mistakes, every GM does, but they have some serious quality kids to go with some nice veterans. I'd like to see them go to the Final although I'm afraid they'd get outclassed pretty seriously if they do. No reason they can't beat the Pens or the Habs though.
That awesome Habs' strategy continues to pay off. (Where's the bookie key?) Now they're not getting as dominated as badly as they were by the Caps and it seems by my eye that they are getting more good chances as well but once again they are getting a lot of luck here. And Halak is playing terrific. Best of three now and if it comes down to goaltending, well, I think I bet on the Habs. Fleury has been all kinds of meh except in game three, imo.
As for Chicago/Vancouver well this is a hell of a series so far, the best one, but we find out tonight if the third period of game three was the Hawks waking up or just an aberration. I've watched a lot of Chicago (I admit I'm pulling for them which means they are totally going to lose) and they have not looked good this spring. Out of sorts a bit, a little tight maybe. The guy who was supposed to be a problem, Niemi, has been fine. Its everyone else.
If they can play like they did the other night in the third they're going all the way. Thing is will it be that club or what we saw in the first or more likely, something in between? A win tonight pretty well seals the Canucks' fate. If they can't win one of their two at home then they're fucked.
My Poor Old Guy
The past few weeks have been tough around the McLean home. Our old dog is dying, its a pretty good bet its cancer. He's a stoic old man and he still has a wag of his tail for us. A couple of weeks back it became clear that the end of his days is coming and that sadly he won't make thirteen, which is but three months away. We figured a couple of times that this was it but he is confounding us, bouncing back to live another day.
Zona, you were right. I said I was ready for this. I am not. Its killing me.
We're spoiling him because that's what he deserves, the wonderful old fellow. Its treats all of the time and spaghetti for supper and I came down one morning to find that my daughter had brought down her pillow and a blanket for him.
Two weekends ago we took him to a little ravine in our neighbourhood. I'd like to get him there one more time but I think that was his last time there. On this sunny spring morning I drove him over because he cannot walk that far anymore and we met Jenn and the kids there. He grinned his dog grin as he walked along the upper rim of this little green bowl in the middle of Toronto. He walked by the spot where he first sunk his teeth into a raccoon and when we got to the steps that lead to the bottom of the bowl I picked up my old friend, still pretty big but not as solid now that the cancer is wasting him away. I carried him down the steps and set him down and he walked with the kids as the sun danced through the trees and the tiny brook cut by the path and the tears streamed down my face. He sniffed and he drank from the brook and whereas before he led the way impatiently now he stayed close to the kids, especially the little one. We went to the end of the ravine and then our youngest climbed the steps to investigate. My wife went with her and so my other two kids and I turned to start back, calling for old Ben to come along.
He would not though. Instead he stood and he waited, waited until my wife and our baby came back to join us, and then he turned, satisfied that we were altogether and safe, and began to make his way back. Our old boy suffered the indignity of being carried back up the steps and then walked back to the car where I lifted him in for the ride home.
Not long now for our poor old guy now I'm afraid.