Good Riddance October

For the Vancouver Canucks October is as nice to them as Freddy Kruger is to his victims.

Another season, another miserable start. Coach Alain Vignaults club finished October with a 5-5-1 Record putting AV’s October record since joining the Canucks in 2006-07 at just over .500 with a 34-32-4 record.

What exactly is it with October? How exactly do the Canucks do so miserable in October and then turn the switch on when it comes up to November? I think almost every Canucks fan would like a peek into that particular Magic 8 Ball.

Well it also doesnt help that goaltender Roberto Luongo has a miserable October as well with a 30-29-4 record but thats not entirely all his fault over the six years he has been a member of the Canucks. Plus he truly makes it up with a November where he has a record of 29-16-4, including a 8-2 run.

Of course the 2011-12 version of the Vancouver Canucks were coming of a least we say disappointing Stanley Cup run, plus a major trade that brought in David Booth and Steve Reinprechit from the Florida Panthers and shook up the team dynamic in the middle of October. Still every Canuck must cheer at the thought of Halloween as the spooky day is the beginning of the Canucks change of fortunes.

But maybe , just maybe November will be just as good to the Vancouver Canucks as it has been in the past.

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Itch to Switch: The Realignment Decision.

Who Stays? Who Goes?

When the Atlanta Thrashers offically became the Winnipeg Jets this past off-season it presented the NHL a few head scratchers in terms of logistical issues. The main headache was Winnipeg’s strange and awkward position in the Southeast Division. It was announced by NHL Commish. Gary Bettman that this was a temporary situation and it would be solved by 2 things.

A: Winnipeg would move full time to the Western Conference by the 2012-13 season &    B: A Current Western Conf. team would jump over to the Eastern seaboard to keep the conferences even at 15 teams apiece.

So now begs the question who jumps ship from the West to make room for the Jets. Here are the 3 of the current teams who would love to make the switch:

Detroit Red Wings: Owner Mike Illitch recently revealed that Bettmen promised the Wings 1st crack when the opportunity arose for a team to move east, plus given that Detroit is a model francise and their closeness in terms of miles to other east teams such as Toronto & Montreal makes you want to say that the Wings are the favorite.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Jackets are farther east then the Wings and an much earlier road game schedule(No more 9 or 10PM road games) would certainly help a franchise with a slowly developing fan base. Playing most of their games vs the easier comp. from the East wouldn’t hurt & also raise the Jackets playoff hopes.

Nashville: The Preds see themselves as the perfect candidate to replace the Thrashers in the Southeast Division given their proximity to fellow division members such as the Carolina Hurricanes and would make an easy swap putting the Jets in the Central. The Preds may not be in the same time zone but the fact that the Preds would play teams geographically close to them at least 8 times a season makes it a very appealing move to ownership and the fans.

So with that in mind this is what the divisions in the east could possibly look like:

With Detroit:  Northeast: Boston, Detroit, Montreal, Ottawa & Toronto: Detroit has a close proximity to 3 of the division’s clubs. The 3 Canadian clubs remain together with Boston & Detroit replaces Buffalo. You instantly have a Original Six rivalry renewed and we keep the fierce rivalries between Boston/Montreal and Toronto/Ottawa.

Atlantic: Buffalo, Islanders, Rangers, New Jersey & Washington: Buffalo and Washington replace the two Pennsylvania clubs as all of the New York area franchises are placed into one division and the New York division rivalry is now a 3 team race.  Now Washington is the wild card in this division as the Caps could easily fit into the Southeast but their placement here will really show us if the Caps have to the stuff to win it all.

Southeast: Carolina, Florida, Tampa, Pittsburgh & Philadelphia: Our 2 resident Pennsylvania clubs replace the Jets and Caps and makes this division no longer a guarantee win such as in the past. Plus having Sidney Crosby coming to the Sunbelt at least 8 times year certainly wouldn’t hurt things. Although it does leave the Hurricanes as the odd team out when it comes to state rivalries.

With Columbus: Northeast: Buffalo, Columbus, Montreal, Ottawa & Toronto: Now a case could be made that the Northeast remain the same with Columbus in the east but work with me here. We still have the 3 Canadian clubs together along with Buffalo who love being so close to the canadian border plus having Columbus have teams such as the Leafs and Habs coming to Ohio up to 8 times a season certainly would help in growing the Blue Jackets fan base.

Atlantic: Boston, Islanders, Rangers, New Jersey & Washington: Yea we take the all New York area division away but we do add the Bruins and this division could become the Northwest of old where almost every team has a chance for the post-season. Plus having the Rangers and Bruins in the same division wouldn’t hurt right? Just ask the MLB what it means having that NY/Boston rivalry in the same division.

Southeast: Carolina, Florida, Tampa, Pittsburgh & Philadelphia: See above

With Nashville: Divisions would basically remain the same as they currently are as Nashville would take the Jets position in the Southeast Div.

Confused yet? Just wait until we go over what this would mean for the West.

We have a few potential scenarios when it comes to the West.

Scenario 1- Detroit Moves: Northwest: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota & Winnipeg: The Jets are added to the Northeast as all 4 of the Western Canada clubs are together and Minnesota gains a much closer rival in the Jets.

Pacific:  Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose & Colorado: 1st off we get rid of the issue of the Dallas Stars who really belong in the Central. Plus traveling to Denver is a lot closer then Texas for the California clubs.

Central: Columbus, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago & Nashville: We finally put the Stars where they belong and give them much closer rivals in St. Louis and Nashville. Plus this scenario does minimal movement but keeps most rivalries alive and creates much needed new ones.

Scenario 2 – Columbus Moves: Now with a Columbus move the Western Conf. Division realignment could stay exactly the same as above with no issue as Detroit would just basically replace Columbus in the Central.

Scenario 3 – Nashville Moves: Same as above but with Detroit & Columbus staying in the Central. Although a case could be made for the Jets to replace the Preds in the Central and the Northwest and Pacific divisions remain the same, but the Dallas Stars really need to get out of the Pacific.

But what if we really wanted to get creative? Well this is my solution for the West..

Northwest: Colorado, Calgary, Edmonton, Minnesota & Winnipeg: Your 1st thought is that Vancouver is missing but I can explain. Colorado is the somewhat oddball but you have to keep the Battle of Alberta and Minny and Winnipeg are close rivals and it could be interesting to see how Vancouver fares in the Pacific.

Pacific:  Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose & Vancouver: This situation would place the Canucks in a much more friendly time zone to travel in as they would only be out of the Pacific time zone when playing road games in Arizona. Although other divisions and teams may have envy over the non-existent jet lag these teams would have.

Central: Columbus or Detroit, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago & Nashville or Columbus: Basically the only change here is the addition of the Dallas Stars and for the Stars playing in a much more friendly division time zone and travel wise could boost the team and find the francise an actual owner.

Really it is all a guessing game until the final decision is announced but it can’t hurt to stand in the NHL’s shoes for just a moment. Can it?

The Crackberry Outage

Blackberry users across the world since Monday have been exasperated with RIM and their Blackberry’s as a outage of email, BBM and data services spread to the U.S. and Canada and stretched into the third day for Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

It is the biggest outage in years for RIM and comes at a time when the stocks are falling and its biggest competitor Apple releases its newest iPhone. On the bright side for RIM Apple was having issues with downloads of it operating system iOS 5.

RIM announced that a crucial link in its European infrastructure failed Monday, and the backup didn’t work either. The underlying problem has been fixed, but a backlog of emails and messages has built up that the company is working on returning to normal service. Meanwhile those e-mails and messages from England and the rest of Europe were clogging the system such as letters in a mailbox and therefore caused outages in the US, Latin America and RIM’s homeland Canada.

Unlike other smartphone makers such as Apple or Android, RIM handles 100% of its         e-mail and messaging services to and from every Blackberry. That system allows Blackberry to provide services that other phones & companies don’t have, optimize data service and provide top-class security. But when it encounters a problem, a large share of the 70 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide can be affected all at once.

In a letter on RIM’s website Robin Bienfait, RIM’s chief information officer, apologized for service interruptions and delays. She said email systems are operating around the world and they are continuing to clear any backlogged messages.

“You’ve depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we’re letting you down,” Bienfait said. “We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can.”

An A+ or Fail on the newest NHL change.

Another NHL season, another change in the uniform.

Apparently this is happening this 2011-12 NHL season

Minnesota Wild Head Equipment Manager Tony Da Costa tweeted images of Dany Heatly’s helmet just before the puck was set to drop on the new NHL season.

He added that all players will have numbers on the front and back of their lids beginning on opening night.

According to the NHL players numbers will be added to the front of all players helmets(#’s are not mandatory on goalie helmets). These numbers  will measure no less than 1.25″ and no more than 2″ in height. The new number placement is designed to aid on-ice officials, broadcasters etc. by providing an additional point of player identification.

Now I was at the Vancouver Canucks home opener last night and the first thought I had was this was going to get annoying fast. Home fans already know their players and numbers so really the only way I can see it being a good thing in terms of fans is when teams are on the road and the visiting teams.

Yes not all change is bad but since the 1950’s broadcasters have had some sort of number to identify who is who. Broadcasters seem to be doing fine with the 4 existing numbers already  (5 for teams like SJ & Dallas who have numbers on the front of the jersey).

I understand why they were added, if it helps with player ID then great all for it although I don’t get how the numbers will help in judging blindside hits which is the league’s biggest issue, but in terms of ascetics helmets just seem a little overcrowded.

It might just be the newness effect but for some jerseys and the Canucks included it just throws the whole balance of the uniform’s look. Number plus a team logo and helmet makers name make me think what’s next? Could it be advertising on the player’s lids or even the jerseys? As long we don’t start putting ads on jerseys and helmets like the European leagues I think I can eventually get used to the numbers on the helmet.

If we as the fans have to choose between numbers of the front of the uniform or a number on the top of the helmet, most of us would choose the latter as its really the lesser of 2 evils as well as the one that’s easier to get used to. Seriously though if we have an issue of identifying players maybe we should just hire local company EA Sports or 2kSports to digitally put that blue circle around the player with their name and number. Just Saying!

Rest In Peace Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is a man who died far too young but also a man who will be forever remembemberd for what he did for technology and with a small company called Apple and turning that company  into a multi-billion dollar company that produces iconic products just big enough to all fit on a bedside table. Products such as iTunes, iMac, Macbook, iPod, iPhone and the iPad all came out under the watchful and brilliant eye of Steve Jobs.

Demanding of himself and striving to be the best, Steve Jobs changed our lives forever with universally must have items. Creating products people from young to old could enjoy together with their sleek designs and superior operating systems as he slowly turning Apple into the most talked about company in the world.

Once, referring to hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Jobs said, “There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love: ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple.”

Steve Jobs was the leader of the technology revolution, dominating where ever his travels took him. It all started in 1986 when Jobs acquired Pixar Animation Studios(You’ve heard of them right?) The same Pixar that would go out to put out 11 straight $300B+ movies and and has grossed over 6.3 billion worldwide.

Although Pixar was great it really was the iPod that started it all, released just 6 weeks after 9/11 had struck New York, Jobs engineered a shift in the world this one being technology based. The iPod came and took Sony’s Walkman for all its worth. Jobs changed all that with iTunes and the ability to stream your songs to your iPod and all it cost was 99 cents and it was his irresistibility as a pitchman that brought the record labels so completely into line that iTunes is now the dominant player in the digital music business.

Jobs focus on making every single Apple product “insanely great” helped Apple maintain that hold on the people who fell in love with the company in the 1st place. Apples products have sleek designs and had style unlike Dell, Samsung or Toshiba’s cardboard box routine.

“Steve Jobs has a way of making people believe,” 3Com’s Metcalfe told the San Jose Mercury News in 1997. “It’s called the reality distortion field. Whenever you get near him, no matter how mean he might be, there’s this field that distorts reality. You are made to feel that if you disagree, you are a jerk.”

Steve Jobs did just that with the iPhone as long line formed at Apple stores across the county as people were buzzing about this newest Apple product and they still are. Even stores became like tech shrines and become one of the fastest growing retail company. For a decade, Jobs was the only CEO of two major American corporations, running Apple (as the iPods got smaller and smaller), and Pixar (as the box office hits got bigger and bigger).

Then once again with the iPad changing the game when it came to tablets. Apple was always the 1st with the newests info. iPads sold out in hours and Steve Jobs once again reliazed what the consumer wanted even before we were sure we wanted it

Jobs did all that through the force of his personality, which was sometimes maddeningly abrasive, and the perfection of his vision, which often seemed limitless. But now, suddenly, the bright star at the center of Silicon Valley’s universe has gone out.

Heros come from everywhere

What is a hero?

The classic picture is of a young lad with muscles galore who does everything in his power to rescue the damsel in distress, or thats what Walt Disney would like you to believe. A hero is cape and form fitting suit is Super Man or Spider man’s way of life but really most heros are just ordinary people who we walk with everyday.

Last June, the city of Vancouver was taken over by rioters who were steaming from a Canucks Stanley Cup loss and wanted to do some damage. The very next morning heroes were born. They came in every age, sex and race carrying only brooms, brushes and garbage bags with no capes to be seen. They boarded up shops, removed garbage and made the city itself again in under 4 hours. Hundreds of thousands of people cleaning up a city they lived in and have fell in love with.

For the Vancouver Canucks this time of year is where the player remove the rust, play out the kinks and test out the prospects but it is also a time in which Canucks Sports & Entertainment is taking a minute to say thanks to the thousands who were there on June 16th cleaning statues, buildings and removing burnt out police cars and garbage cans.

During the first 3 pre-season games of the year the Canucks hosted members of the Vancouver Police Department & Royal Canadian Mounted Police who donned the riot gear and so valiantly protected the innocent and protected the city and its treasures, Vancouver Firefighters and Emergency Workers and First Responders including members of the BC Ambulance/Paramedic association, E-Comm 911 and staff from Vancouver General Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital who risked their lives to put out cars, garbage cans and pretty much anything on fire as well as tend to the injured no matter who that person was, innocent or not. So the Vancovuer Canucks final pre-seaon game on Saturday against the visiting Oilers is reserved to recognize those volunteers who initiated the clean up efforts through Facebook and Twitter and were there as early as 6-7AM to clean up a city that to some wasn’t even where they had a address.

For this the Canucks gave out tickets to those who participated and made a world of difference; entrants were asked to submit a 100-word blurb and photo of their clean-up efforts to be considered for the tickets.

Hira Gill, Calvin Ng, Aaron Bonogofsky, Anish Dwivedi, Tammy Post, Shannon Alexander and Michael Dharni, all strangers a night prior, are some of the fans who came together to piece Vancouver back together. Mandeep Hayer was there as well and it was an overwhelming experience for him.

“Having lived in Vancouver all of my life, and knowing what this city meant to me I knew I also needed to be part of this,” he wrote in. “I called several of my friends and we decided we needed to be downtown first thing in the morning to try and help our city. We arrived downtown at 8 o clock and joined the 100’s of proud citizens who were already working away trying to clean up this horrible mess. Everyone from little children to the elderly were doing everything they could, picking up little pieces of glass, cigarette butts, anything to clean our beautiful city. At the moment I had never felt prouder to be from Vancouver, this is what the real Vancouver was about: pride, community and love. I couldn’t help but shed a tear as I saw a place that was tormented that night, restored to all its glory by its loving citizens.”

The clean-up group created on Facebook helped organize and guide fans as to what needed to be done to undo the destruction, so while cousins Romi Gill and RJ Kohli weren’t brooms in hand, they’re the reason a lot of people were.

Gill and Kohli, who setup and promoted Post Riot Clean-up – Let’s help Vancouver, had over 20,000 Likes, which become a place in which people all over the world posted their post-riot support. The pair then took things a step further by creating therealvancouver.ca “to promote the goodwill in Vancouver and show the world that Vancouverites are peaceful people and riots were not caused because Canucks lost.”

Both Gill and Kohli will be at Saturday’s game, as will Ward Grant, the Neil Armstrong of the “Wall of Love” that surrounded The Bay, where fans left encouraging messages to the city, it’s inhabitants and the Canucks.

The morning after, something inside Grant was screaming about how deplorable this treatment of Vancouver was.

“This is unacceptable and I will not stand for this, so I painted a poster,” wrote in Grant. “All I wanted to do was sneak down and put my poster up. The rest, as they say, is history. Way to go Vancouver.”

Grant’s handmade poster read “On Behalf of my team and my city, I’m sorry!” in black, blue, green and white letters. After receving a cheer for posting it, Grant offered markers to the crowd that had gathered and as he said, “the rest is history.”

The riot is history as well, thanks to all those who demonstrated the Heart of a Canuck when Vancouver needed them the most.

What If…9-11 had today’s technology.

Its a question many have ask as we pass the 10 year anny. of the September 11th attacks and in an era when news can come in a instant.

In 2001, there was no Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or even blogs. Internet was still a relatively new thing and many wonder how diffenent 9-11 could have been with the instant Internet and smartphone we have today. With In-Flight Internet now, we could have easily had emails, tweets and facebook messages sent out from Flight 11, 175, 77 and 93. At Ground Zero and across the USA, there would have been terrified Facebook status updates and video clips from camera phones.

Media has changed drastically since 9-11.

Such as how the world was never the same after Sept. 11th, news was never the same after social media broke into the world. If 9/11 happened today news coverage would not be limited to BBC, CNN and other networks such as ABC, it would have everywhere and anywhere.

Ten years is a long time especially in the technology department.

In 2001, Internet was brand new, text messaging was non-existent, no one had heard of Blackberry or BBM and smart phones such as the iPhone was nothing. In fact cell phones hadn’t even hit there climax yet. Cell phone networks weren’t what they are today and even if you got through you most likely were to get a busy signal. If these attacks had happened with today’s technology, the 1st reports would have come from Facebook updates or a pedestrian’s Twitter feed who had just witnessed the 1st plane hit the North Tower.

If you imagine 9-11 with Facebook and Twitter, how diffenent does that picture seem? Do people even think about posting on Facebook when they are close to dying and possibly facing their death. Cell-Phone pictures would have been taken and posted to Twitter & Facebook, people in the South Tower would have been taking pictures after the 1st plane hit thinking they were safe. What if South Tower victims had posted what was going to on to family and friends? Would they have evacuated sooner? Indecision and the unknown before them paralyzed many people on 9/11. Perhaps this social influence from loved ones would have mobilized more people to ignore building security’s initial instructions and leave the South Tower earlier.

What if United 93 had 2011 technology? With on-board wifi providing those with access to sites such as Twitter perhaps they may have learned of the attacks sooner and stopped there own hijacking in time to save their lives. The run of social media is sometimes even faster then the event it covers.

There is also the cons of todays technology as well:

1st, a nation was looking for all the answers as soon as the 1st plane struck and who knows what kind of stories and lies could have possibly made it out to the main stream media. All it would take is for 1 tweet to spread some false truth, Twitter would be taken over with back and forth re-tweets of peoples arguments with one another and Facebook would be flooded with status updates that aren’t 100% accurate, unlike in 2001 when all this happened over emails of rumors and pictures spreading like wildfire every few minutes rather then the seconds it takes now.

Social Media’s real time sharing is a different story. Messages are shorter and in twitters case limited to 140 characters but move across the globe in a blinding fast speed. Still as soon as something is posted on Facebook, another storie jumps in front of it. News Feeds across america would have been flooded with  posts of mourning, sadness, horror and anger. People who rarely post would feel compelled to weigh in, caught up in the heat of the moment.

First hand accounts would have added a whole new dimension as we would hear and see what was happening from a personal perspective through text messages or videos taken from camera phones would be an experience different from the viewpoints of giant media.

But how much phone or in-person contact would you actually have with your friends and family in the aftermath?

In 2001, 9-11 requitred us to truly think about what had just happened, to talk with family and friends as we tried to come to terms with it and collecting our emotions. Families affected still carry with them those mementos that have the voice of a husband/wife, father/mother, daughter/son, sister or brother on them, the one thing that may not have happened in today’s instant media world.  In 2001, the phone is all we had, the only way of letting family members know that we were safe.

We all had our own take or story of that day but everything we documented was through peoples stories verbally told on TV or on the streets, not on some computer screen. Talking is how we healed.

So today we came to expect tweets and news feed stories honoring those fallen heroes lost in 9-11 and rightfully so or 9/11 references, videos and tributes to grace our TV screens. On Sept. 12th though other then a few news stories its back to normal and tweeting about celebrities or NFL football.

I’m not saying that social media would make us care less if another event like 9/11 ever came along, because despite everything we believe and understand we don’t know how we as a nation or world would react and hopefully we never have to find out. Given the world we sometimes live in an answer could come sooner then we think and I believe the same sadness and anger felt on that day would be a very familiar feeling.

The healing process however, will change us forever.