Another niece, off to Jamaica

My sister Karen gave birth to her second daughter, Scarlett Eileen Code on April 18th. Congratulations Karen (and Lanny)! This is my third niece, and they amazingly all have their birthdays within five days of each other! Berlyn is turning the big three on April 22nd and Piper is turning one on April 23rd.

I have finished writing the initial drafts of seven chapters for a book I am coauthoring. Tomorrow night, Tressa and I are leaving on vacation for Jamaica! So we are really excited and ready to relax.

 


First Round Prediction: Habs in Six

As a lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan, I am terribly biased that they will upset the Boston Bruins. However, I have also witnessed several first round upsets over the last ten years by Montrael. Going back to the Bruins teams that Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov were a part of, Montreal upset Boston as an 8th seed in 2002 and as a 7th seed in 2004. Who can forget last year, when Montreal eliminated the 1st and 2nd seeds Washington and Pittsburgh, as a lowly 8th seed.

This year the Canadiens are a 6th seed. Their season record against Boston was 4 wins and 2 losses. I think the one lopsided loss (7-0) and the Zdeno Chara-Max Pacioretty incident have left a skewed memory and expectation in people's minds.

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NHL.com recently showcased a computer simulation that predicted that Boston would win the Stanley Cup. They also had the highest predicted first round winning percentage of any simulated matchup, at something around 98%. What was even more incredible was that Montreal was given a 0.001% (that's of one percent) chance of winning the Stanley Cup. That is absolutely ridiculous. I am not saying that they will win the cup (it would be nice). However, I would give them much higher odds. Maybe off the top of my head, 1 in 20 or 1 in 25. So 4 to 5%. That is 4000-5000x times higher than the simulation.

To get a grasp at how awful I find that prediction, look at it the following way: If you bet $1 on Montreal to win the cup and they did, you would win $100,000. No bookie in the world would offer that up, so I think the simulation has some obvious flaws. As a sports fan, I know that nothing is ever written in stone. Recently the local WHL franchise, the Saskatoon Blades had their best season ever and were first in the league in the regular season. Yet, they got swept in the second round yesterday.

What was even more surprising to me was how many respectable hockey analysts are in complete agreement that Boston will win the series. Yes Boston are a bigger team physically, but that alone does not determine a series.

Here are some components and who I think has the edge:

Speed: Montreal.

Size: Boston.

Special Teams: Montreal. Kirk Muller's guidance over the last few years has made the Canadiens phenomenal penalty killers.  PK Subban, Mike Cammellari, Brian Gionta pack a punch. Zdeno Chara's shot and some big Boston forwards are also dangerous on the PP.

Forwards: Boston (slightly). Milan Lucic was the top scorer for the Bruins, but only 39th overall in the league with 62 pts. Tomas Plekanec was the Canadiens top scorer, but only 58th overall with 57pts. Boston has more offensive depth, but Montreal has Cammellari, Gionta and Scott Gomez who have the potential to have key goals. Boston does also boast Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron and the veteran Mark Recchi.

Defense: Montreal (slightly). Boston has Chara and Tomas Kaberle. But I am impressed with Montreal's defensive depth. They have a solid combination of skill and experience. Jaroslav Spacek had a great first round series last year against Alexander Ovechkin. Subban is a smooth, gifted skater. Pickups James Wisniewski and Brent Sopel have an offensive side, while Roman Hamrlik and Hal Gill are hulking physical bodies. If Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges can come back later down the road, that would give Montreal a very, very strong defense in my opinion.

Goaltending: Montreal (ever so slightly). Both goalies are extremly good and have had tremendous seasons. We all remember what Jaroslav Halak did for Montreal last year. Conversely, Price has struggled his last couple of playoff series. However, Price is a goalie bred for greatness. The winning goalie for a World Junior championship team and later an AHL championship, he may have some off seasons, but he is no flash in the pan. 

A goalie can singlehandedly win a series. I remember several years ago Patrick Lalime having three shutouts in a playoff series. Lalime was an ok, but not great goalie. But both Price and Tim Thomas are playing great this season and are key factors in who moves on to the next round.

I have a gut feeling that Price will win the series for Montreal. I like Thomas, but he is an emotional player. If frustration starts, combined with last years playoffs horrific collapse to Philadelphia, expect bandwagon jumpers to come back to the Canadiens side.

Conclusion:

As you can see, I think the series is fairly evenly matched and will be fun to watch. My prediction is that like the regular season, look for Montreal to go 4-2.

Canadiens in six!


so much that has happened!

Many big events over the last few weeks. The biggest of which is my brother Robert and his fiance Lisa eloping on Saturday, March 19th! It was a very small ceremony and I was privileged enough to be a witness to it. Congratulations Robert and Lisa!

Also this month, Tressa went to Las Vegas with her mother, Robert and I went to a very good Plants and Animals show, I went on a road trip with Vince, Nick and Kendra to Edmonton for a late "Happy 30th" bash for Brad, and I am just about done my portion of the writing for the PHP book I am co-authoring.

Oh, and Cuba is not available during Tressa and I's upcoming holiday dates, but we have Ocho Rios, Jamaica booked at the end of April and are looking forward to some holiday time!

 


Very busy, but in a good way

Hello all, I will write quickly as I am very busy right now. Outside of my normal work I was doing a technical review for an upcoming Apress book [the plug]. Long story short, I am writing several chapters for it now, which is very exciting but also, of course, more work than normal for me.

Recap of some events of late: Tressa won the door prize of $100 in Mary K cosmetics/manicure from our Valentine's day dinner at The Ivy. We went to a wedding in Hudson Bay this weekend. It was a fun time, but ungodly cold -35 celsius without windchill when we left. Tressa and her mom left today for Las Vegas for a week (T's graduation gift from her mom). Meanwhile, I am holding the fort in town and getting my work done, braving the cold and probably returning to my night owl bad habits for awhile.


music, music all around - martin sexton show and upcoming releases

Tressa and I saw John Martyn Martin Sexton play in Saskatoon on February 3rd. It was a good show. I only knew the songs Glory Bound and parts of Black Sheep beforehand, but was impressed. Sexton was much bluesier that I had previously thought and a very solid guitarist. He also has a really good voice...like...you don't even know how good, Vince. You don't even know ; )

It was a fun outing and we discovered that Tressa needs a wagon for her purse. So I welded her one ; )

Looking at the list of upcoming albums, three have piqued my interest in the next month.
February 15th:

  • PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    has had rave reviews. Interested in what this will sound like
  • Bright Eyes - The People's Key
    latest from the Nebraska band of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nate Walcott

March 3rd:

  • Fleet Foxes - Helplessness blues
    Long await sequel to there great first album. Really looking forward to this one!


Words of Wisdom

In the beginning, there was nothing. And the Lord said 'Let there be light' and there was still nothing, but now you could see it.

Terry Pratchett

More Quotes & Lyrics
Spotlight Song
TV On The Radio - Will Do

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Spotlight Album

TV On The Radio - Will Do ()

Really good song off of TV on the Radio's new album Nine Types of Light.  I love the lyrics

 

...Your love makes a fool of you
You can't seem to understand
Our heart doesn't play by rules
And love has it's own demands

 

But I'll be there to take care of you
If ever you should decide
But you don't want to waste your life
In the middle of a lovesick lullaby

Anytime will do
My love
Anytime will do...



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