Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Glen and Troy's Mid-Season Predictacular

Welcome one and all to one of the more infrequent features here on this ol' blogeroo. Back at the start of the year, Troy and I predicted the standings for each of the divisions one by one by one by one by one by one, and now we're going to look back at how things have changed in the past 50ish games, and make some more 100% guaranteed predictions.

And so, without further ado...


Troy says:

Ottawa is the class of the east so far which is probably not a stretch for most people and I see them holding onto that spot. The Atlantic division should be a tight battle between Philly and New Jersey but when it comes to these two teams I will always pick New Jersey. As far as the Southeast I see Washington making a move and taking first place in the division leaving Carolina out of the playoff picture.

I see Montreal being pretty secure in 4th spot (BTW, my Canadians currently have the second best record in the east, huzzah!). Next I see Philly holding down 5th, and Pittsburgh continuing some strong play and taking 6th. In a huge turnaround from last year I think Boston can hang on to 7th and I see the Rangers beating out the Islanders for the final playoff spot because well.....they're the Islanders...and they suck.

Next I see Carolina in 10th followed by Buffalo (who knew losing Briere and Drury would hurt so much...oh yeah...everyone knew that). Florida should take 13th and Toronto, who really should start selling will finish in 14th leaving the basement for Tampa.

If you are lazy like me, here are my predictions in listical form.

1. Ottawa
2. New Jersey
3. Washington
4. Montreal
5. Philadelphia
6. Pittsburgh
7. Boston
8. NYR
9. NYI
10. Carolina
11. Atlanta
12. Buffalo
13. Florida
14. Toronto
15. Tampa Bay

Glen says:

Well this conference has been oddly surprising in a lot of ways, which is a bit out of the norm for these usual dual and predictable 15 teams.

One team that hasn't surprised has been the Ottawa Senators, with the Sabres two big guns walking away last year, there was a huge power void that needed to be filled, and as expected, the Sens filled it, quickly and effectively. On the other end of Ontario, we have the Leafs, who I said were going to compete for 10th, but it looks like they will be trying to make a big push for 12th as the year goes on...way to go JFJ!!! The Habs have been a pleasant surprise this season, as they currently sit 4th in the East. I predicted that they would be able to sneak into the playoffs, but over the past few years this team has notoriously struggled down the stretch, so I would be shocked to see them in the Top 4, but they should be a solid 6th place. The biggest surprise to me has been the Bruins, who I thought were going to be competing in the Steve Stamkos derby, but they have been very respectable thus far. I guess a return to the playoffs is likely for the long-struggling franchise. I thought that the Sabres had enough depth to make it into the post season, but I guess I was wrong.

As for the Southeast, they are a mess, as expected. I don't think that anyone expected Tampa or Atlanta to be THIS bad. Right now Carolina is leading the division, even though they have as many points as the 9th place New York Rangers. Yet again, requests to change the playoff format will be coming thanks to this horrible division. I expect the Capitals to make a push to topple the Canes only to come up short, leaving them out of the playoffs.

So who will make the playoffs then? The simple answer: The Atlantic Division. At time of writing a mere 6 points separate the first place Flyers from the last place Rangers. Now I must say, I am shocked that the Rangers are in last place, I thought that they were finally out of their underachiever mode, but I guess they are back in old form. Still, I expect them to outlast the Islanders and cling to the last playoff spot. As for the lead in the division, it really is between the Flyers, Devils, and Penguins, and I'm going to take a bit of a controversial pick and go with the Pittsburgh Penguins. If they are able to stay within striking distance over the next month and a half, they should explode when Crosby gets back and fly into the lead, leaving their rivals to dog it out for the 4th and 5th spots.

I guess that shapes it up to look something like....

1. Ottawa
2. Pittsburgh
3. Carolina
4. Philadelphia
5. New Jersey
6. Montreal
7. Boston
8. New York Rangers
9. Washington
10. New York Islanders
11. Buffalo
12. Florida
13. Atlanta
14. Toronto
15. Tampa Bay


Glen Says:

Ahh now things get interesting, the Wiki-wiki-Wild-Wild-West. Things, as predicted, have been completely wild and unpredictable as two of the three divisions are completely up in the air, as all teams are able to compete on any given night. And don't look now, but the Central Division has shown some signs of life.

As usual, the Detroit Red Wings are running away with the Central Division, to the surprise of...well just about nobody. But what has been surprising has been the competitive nature of the other teams, especially the Columbus Blue Jackets, who could just make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Chicago shocked the world by coming out strong, but a few key injuries (surprisingly not to Martin Havlat) have left them near the bottom of the league, don't worry Blackhawk fans, your day is coming, very, very soon. The Nashville Predators are one of the most surprising teams in the league, as you never seem to know if you well get the slumping franchise, or the red hot overachievers. Lastly, we have the Blues, who came out strong, but have struggled a bit, before the season I thought that they would make the playoffs, but I think that I stand corrected.

Perhaps the most surprising team this season has been the Dallas Stars. I really didn't think that they had the offensive talent to be near the top of the league, but Brendan Morrow is back and Riberio is playing so well it must be driving Habs fans nuts right now. Not surprisingly, the Ducks and Sharks are battling it out to lead the division, however, it has been surprising just how poorly all of the Sharks that aren't named Joe or Evgeni have been playing this season. I expect more things out of Michalek, Marleau, et al. as the season wears on. Also, we have the Kings, who I honestly expected to be a dark horse, but yet here they are sitting last in the league. Lastly, there are the Coyotes, who most people expected to be last in the league, yet are proving to be a dark horse. I wouldn't be surprised if Ilya Bryzgalov sneams them into 8th, but I have a feeling that they may get bumped by a few teams that I have yet to mention.

And then there is the Main Event, the Northeast Division. The division leader has been changing between any of four teams on a given night, as the Cancucks, Flames, Wild, and Avalanche are all caught in a true dog fight. The Oilers have been, pretty bad. But the other four teams more than make up for it, as they really are making me feel like every game they play counts, as only one of them can lead the division, and they are all very close to being bumped from the playoffs. I think that all of them are going to tough it out until the end, and all four of them are going to sneak in.

So after all is said and done, this Conference will look like this...

1. Detroit
2. Anaheim
3. Minnesota
4. San Jose
5. Calgary
6. Dallas
7. Vancouver
8. Colorado
9. Phoenix
10. Columbus
11. St. Louis
12. Chicago
13. Nashville
14. Edmonton
15. Los Angeles

Troy Says:

Surprise surprise, the big bad Red Wings are running away with the Western Conference once again. The scary part is this year the other teams in their division are actually decent for the most part meaning that Detroit actually deserves their record. Second place in the conference is a bit of a toss-up between California rivals San Jose and Anaheim, and Dallas. With the return of Neidermayer and Now Selanne, I have to give the edge the Ducks. Third place in the conference is basically impossible to pick as all 5 teams in the Northeast are within 8 points of eachother. That is sick. I'm gonna flip a 5 sided coin and pick Calgary to take the division and hold third place in the Western Conference. I can see San Jose sneaking into 4th place letting Dallas settle for 5th. Minnesota is tied for third in the conference in wins so I see then clamping down on 6th spot. Here's hoping that Luongo can be strong and help Vancouver take 7th spot leaving 8th for Columbus.

Again, for us lazy folk,

1. Detroit.
2. Anaheim
3. Calgary
4. San Jose
5. Dallas
6. Minnesota
7. Vancouver
8. Columbus
9. Colorado
10. Nashville
11. Edmonton
12. Phoenix
13. St. Louis
14. Chicago
15. Los Angeles.

Glen Says:

And now as a special bonus, added treat we have a round by round prediction of the....



Troy Says:

Ottawa vs NYR

Last year the Rangers throttled Atlanta and we cannot forget that this team has a lot of playoff experienced players so they won't just roll over. Ottawa is the better team though and should take this series. Ottawa in 6.

New Jersey vs Boston

Boston has had quite a turnaround this year but it really hard to bet against Brodeur in the playoffs. I could see this series being a battle of attrition. New Jersey in 7.

Washington vs Pittsburgh

How sweet would this series be? Another Crosby/Ovechkin battle. And just like at the WJHC in 2005 I see Crosby coming out on top. Pittsburgh is the more experienced of the two teams and I think that would propel them past Washinton. Pittsburgh in 6.

Montreal vs Philadelphia.

This would definitely be an interesting series but I think Montreal would pull it out. I could see Montreal's youth being the key. Montreal in 5.

Glen Says:

Ottawa vs. New York Rangers

Fun Fact about the Senators in the Playoffs #1: All four of their playoff series's from last season lasted five games. Ottawa in 5.

Pittsburgh vs. Boston

This should be an interesting series, as Chara will get very familiar with Crosby, and it should get very, very intense as a result. While last year was Sid's first trip to the Post-season, this should be his first trip to the second round. Pittsburgh in 6

Carolina vs. Montreal

The first of many "Revenge" Series's that I see happening this year. If you recall in 2006, Montreal destroyed Carolina in the first two games of their opening round tilt, scoring 6 goals in each game. Then all of a sudden, Saku Koivu takes and injury to his orbital bone, Carolina takes the next four, and goes on to win the Stanley Cup. I see things going a little different this time around. Montreal in 6.

Philadelphia vs. New Jersey

Speaking of revenge, these two teams are no strangers to each other in the playoffs, having met a number of times this millennium. While it's hard to bet against Martin Brodeur in the spring, I think that the Flyers are just a little too deep, and seem to be clicking to much right now. Flyers in 7.


(Reminder - Second Round Match-ups feature highest remaining team vs. lowest remaining team)

Troy says:

Pittsburgh vs Ottawa

Last year Ottawa rolled over Pittsburgh in the first round and I for one did not see that coming. This year would be much closer. Crosby and Co. now have another year of experience under their belts but I don't think they have enough to break through. Ottawa in 7.

New Jersey vs Montreal

The thought of a NJ/Montreal series makes me cringe. Montreal won in New Jersey last week for the first time since the Big Bang. This one would hurt. New Jersey in 5.

Glen says:

Ottawa vs. Montreal

Fun Fact about the Senators in the Playoffs #2: While they have played Toronto in the playoffs many times, they have never met their closest geographic rival, the Montreal Canadiens. In fact this is the one All-Canadian match-up of any two Canadian teams in the same Conference that we have never seen. Ottawa in 6.

Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia

Now this is another series that we have seen many times, as the cross-state rivals hook-up one more time. This should be an interesting clash of styles as the stylin' n' profilin' Pens meet the rough n' ready Flyers. All I ask is that Downie, Jones, and friends stay away from Crosby's head, if the Pens can protect their Captain they should be fine. Pittsburgh in 6.


Troy says:

Ottawa vs New Jersey.

These two teams are not the same as when they last met in the playoffs. New Jersey has lost a lot of depth, and Ottawa has gained a lot of experience. Ottawa in 6.

Glen says:

Ottawa vs. Pittsburgh

Fun Fact about the Senators in the Playoffs #3: While the Senators have made the playoffs for each of the past 10 seasons, only 5 teams have been able to eliminate them, the Sabres (97, 99, 06), the Capitals (98), the Leafs (00, 01, 02, 04, 05), the Devils (03) and the Ducks (07). Ottawa in 6.


Glen says:

Detroit vs. Colorado

Remember that "Revenge" bit that I talked about awhile ago? Well here we have it yet again, as these two once bitter rivals square off once more. Sure Claude Lemieux is gone, but I'm sure some of the hatred remains. These teams have met 5 times in the playoffs, with the Avs holding the lead 3-2. Interesting fact about these series, 3 times the winner of that series has gone on to win the Cup. Detroit in 6.

Anaheim vs. Vancouver

Here we have revenge once more, as we get the Canucks looking for a shot at redemption from their second round loss last season. Expect them to come up short once more. Anaheim in 4.

Minnesota vs. Dallas

While this is a first time playoff match, there is still quite the story as the former North Stars return to Minnesota, their original home. I expect this series to be nothing short of phenomenal, two fast skating, tight checking teams with great goaltending. This is were legends are made. Minnesota in 7.

San Jose vs. Calgary

In the late mid-to-late 90's the Sharks were known for causing playoff upsets. One of their best, and most surprising, was against the Calgary Flames in 1995. In 2004, the Calgary Flames made an improbably run to the finals, upsetting the top three seeds along the way. One of those teams was the San Jose Sharks. Going into this match-up the Sharks are the favourites. Look for the trend to continue. Calgary in 7.

Troy says:

Detroit vs Columbus

So lets see, the stacked and experienced Detroit team versus a young inexperienced Columbus team. Hmm, tough call. Although we know if any big team is susceptible to upsets, it's Detroit. I really don't see that happening this time however. Detroit in 4.

Anaheim vs Vancouver

If this series goes longer than 4 games, it's Luongo's fault. Anaheim is the shiznit this year and Vancouver will have a tough time keeping up with them. Anaheim in 5.

Calgary vs Minnesota

This would be a rather defensive series but interesting nonetheless. If Kipper can find himself it could be a walkover. Calgary in 6.

San Jose vs Dallas.

This would easily be the best series of the first round but I give the edge to San Jose. Even though their uniforms are ugly. San Jose in 7.


Glen says:

Detroit vs. Calgary

Last year, the Flames and Red Wings met in a first round series that seemed destined to be a classic, but ended up being rather underwhelming. This year though, I think we may get our classic between these two. Keenan knows how to win and to motivate his teams well, plus Kipper should get back on track in time. Calgary in 7.

Anaheim vs. Minnesota

That's right, I think that both second round match-ups in this Conference will be rematches of last years first round. Can't say that I remember that ever happening before. Last year, the Ducks rolled over the Wild, and completely outclassed them along the way. It should get a little better this year. Anaheim in 6.

Troy Says:

Detroit vs San Jose

Anyone remember this series waaaaa back? Early 90s? Young upstart team beats experienced Detroit team. Good times. Completely different this time. San Jose beating Detroit would certainly not be an upset. Infact it's hard to say who the underdog is in this series. Bit of a pick 'em but I like San Jose. San Jose in 6.

Anaheim vs Calgary

Anaheim is an amazing team and unfortunately I don't give Calgary much of a chance in this series. Anaheim in 5.


Glen Says:

Anaheim vs. Calgary

And my revenge theme continues, as we look back to a rematch of the 2006 season, when the Ducks upset the Cup-Contending Flames in a very physical series. While I expect another intense series between these two teams, I am very curious about one question. Will Oilers fans cheer for Calgary or Chris Pronger? Anaheim in 6.

Troy Says:

Anaheim vs San Jose

This would be the sweetest series since the Big Bang. I hate the idea of two of the league's best teams being from the state of California but that's where we are. This is a tough call and I think it's San Jose's turn. I've been liking them for a while. San Jose in 7.

Stanley Cup Final

Glen Says:

Ottawa vs. Anaheim

Fun Fact about the Senators in the Playoffs #4: Last season was the first time that they had been able to defeat a team in the playoffs that had previously defeated them, and they did it against both New Jersey and Buffalo.

In another quirky bit of hockey trivia, there have been eight occurrences when we have had a finals rematch the following season. The defending champions have won seven times.

Anaheim in 6.

Troy Says:

San Jose vs Ottawa.

How much would it suck for Ottawa two lose two Stanley Cup Finals back to back to Californian teams? It would suck a lot....and unfortunately that's what I see happening. San Jose is so good. good!! So is Ottawa but playing in the East kinda softens a team up, just like living in the Caribbean make me a pussy to cold weather. San Jose in 7.

Glen Says:

Wow this turned out to be one of the longest posts ever....hope you enjoyed the marathon nature of this one! And as always, we can look back in the spring to see how right I am :)

Until next time,


Saturday, January 26, 2008

The First 21st Century War

Here we sit eight years into the twenty-first century, and we now find ourselves at a very important, and historically significant juncture, just last week, our world plunged into war for the first time this century. Now I know what you're thinking, that the current war in Iraq is almost five years old, so what war could I possibly be talking about?

Before, I answer that question, I need to explain something. The Iraq war is not a 21st Century War in any way, shape or form. For starters, in a typical US Foreign Policy move, no official declaration of War was made. In fact the United States has only officially been at war four times, the War of 181, the Spanish-American War, and both World Wars. All other times they have taken "Police Actions" or other vague terms which mean that they are not as inclined to follow the rules of war.

Secondly, and most importantly, this is plain and simply a 20th Century War. The comparisons between this Iraq War and the Vietnam War have been made time and time again. There was no real mission, no clear objective, facts were distorted or ignored to sway public opinion, they were both largely unpopular, really I could go on, but that would be a topic for another post, hopefully you get the point. The "Good Guys Coming to the Rescue" Model which seemed to work in both World Wars and in Korea, failed in Vietnam, and seemed to be a success in the first Iraq War, has failed miserably this time around. The Bush Administration has been using the 20th Century narrative of Us vs. Them, Good vs. Evil, and Freedom vs. Tyranny, to confront a 21st Century Problem.

While this model may have worked very well before, there is something very important that has changed, the access to information. One of the simple reasons that Vietnam failed, was because of Walter Cronkite and the evening news. The harsh realities of the war were broadcast directly to Americans so they became much more open to the realities of the time, and subsequently rejected the notions of the establishment at the time.

Fast forward to 1991 and the next American "War", this time in Iraq. By this point, the establishment had learned how to use the television in their favour and not against them, and were able to twist their message around and ensure that people saw what they wanted to see, and low and behold, we have a popular American war in the name of "Freedom" (i.e. oil).

We fast forward again another decade and a bit, and the world is a very different placeYet despite the different world, we are given by and large the same message to support another war in Iraq. The establishment proved great, yet again, at controlling the spin on television, as CNN, Fox News, and the major news networks in the United States, broadcast news that largely supports the War in Iraq, regardless of what they may say now. But there is one very different thing that the Bush Administration did not take into account, the little machine that I currently type on, and you currently read this blog on. That's right they forgot about the internet. This day and age, information and ideas are able to spread like wildfire. People were able to learn almost immediately that the Bush Administration was lying about the Weapons of Mass Destructions, which anyone with half a brain would have known before, no wonder Fox News never figured it out. Yet it took people a solid four decades to figure out the the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was exaggerated and/or fabricated, making it pretty irrelevant at this point.

So what's my point here? That the Iraq War has been a failure because the United States is busy waging a 20th Century War in the 21st Century. Just like World War I can really be seen as the last war of the 19th Century instead of the first war of the 20th Century, due the 19th century's narrative featuring the rise of nationalism and liberalism, the Iraq War can hopefully be seen as the last 20th Century war, due to that century's narrative of the rise of individualism, shifting public opinion and political dissent.

So while the last war of the 20th Century rages on, without an end in sight, last week the first war of the 21st Century was declared, fittingly, on the internet. With this video, the nature of war has changed.

Yeah it's cheesy, yeah it's weird, but I'll be damned if it's not historically important. A hacker group known only as Anonymous has officially declared war on the Church of Scientology, called Project Chanology. In the past week, since war has been declared, many official Scientology websites have been hacked and crashed, the Church has received many prank phone calls and "black faxes". Anonymous has also obtained many of the Church's official secret documents and posted them on file sharing websites, and has organized many protests outside of Scientology Churches. They have also repeatedly posted these videos of Tom Cruise extolling the virtues of Scientology that was initially removed by Scientology's notoriously powerful legal squad. I'm not sure how long this video will be up, so please leave a comment if it's down and I will find a way to repost them.

Note the lines in the first video of "I don't hesitate to put ethics on somebody else" and "We are the authorities on the mind"...and I really don't know how they come up with this number of 1.037 billion, and I like how they included "...of Earth" at the end. Which needless to say, is pretty interesting, considering their supposed fundamental creation myth.

Scientology has responded by placing a $5000 bounty on the head of the hackers, and have shut down several Anonymous related websites, and have repeatedly relied on copyright laws to threaten the people who host the videos and documents.

Needless to say, this is going to get really interesting in a hurry. This is the first time that we have seen an anonymous (pardon the pun) group declare total war on an established organization in a very long time. Previous wars have started with a shot, but yet this one begins with a click. Both side appear ready for battle for a variety of reasons, and I expect this to be a very long, drawn out process.

What I find so very interesting about this, is just how 21st Century this conflict is. I think that someday historians will look at the beginning of the 21st Century as the "Me Age", characterized by the individuals total empowerment. Because of technology, every day people like you and I, have more power than ever imagined. We can shape the lives of people on the other side of the planet in literally an instant. As shown on September 11th, 2001, a group of individuals can paralyze a nation. Here we are a little over half-a-decade after that event, and people are beginning to realize this fact.

This marks the beginning of the pendulum swing that began in the 19th Century. Then we saw collectives of people fight against the individual tyrants, in the 20th Century we saw collectives fight against one another, and now at the beginning of the 21st Century with this "war", we are seeing individuals fight against collective tyrants.

While this "war" probably has no immediate effect on your life, mark my words, it's outcome is important to all of us. This is a war of The Individual vs. The Collective, which I feel will be a hallmark of the 21st century. However, instead of being fought with guns and bombs, this war is being fought with something far more powerful, information. This war is going to be decided by whoever is able to spin the truth more aggressively, and effectively.

While I assume more "wars" of this sort will be fought in the coming years in grander, and grander style, make no mistake about it, this is something that history will look back on as a defining point in our information age. History is happening right here, history is happening right now on your computer screen, be sure to pay attention to it.

I leave you now with another of Anonymous's videos, this one to the media...enjoy...

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Music to Give to a Stranger

The other day, while perusing McNutt's blog, I noticed his post about Operation Disc Drop, put forward by CBC show The Hour. Now I was obviously very intrigued by this project, as I love both sharing music and random acts of kindness, so obviously an opportunity to do both was a great idea. The instructions for the project are really simple, and can be found on The Hour's Disc Drop Blog:

STEP 1: Make a mixed CD of your favourite tunes. Somewhere on the disc write: "DISC DROP -"
Be sure to include a track-listing so people can track down more music by the artists on your disc.
STEP 2: Drop off your disc in a random public place.
STEP 3: Go to the "I Dropped a Disc - What Now", click on the comments, and write down where you dropped off your disc and the track-listing. Check back later to find out who picked it up, and where it's heading next.

So I spent a few days thinking about what kind of a disc I would make, and where I would put it. After a bit, I decided to make a playlist to introduce people to some "Indie" bands, and give them a few songs that I felt had some deep meaning and could have those "Change your life" type moments. Here's the catch though, I wanted to leave it at school and aim it at some High School Students, so I had to be especially careful in my selection.

Here's what I ended up coming up with, complete with YouTube links to the songs in question:

1. Feist -- "1,2,3,4". I started out with this song as a bit of a Trojan Horse. I figured that most teenagers would know it from the iPod commercials (something that I have mentioned on here before) , and probably love it since they would associate it with their most prized possessions. I wanted the people to find this CD to want to listen to, and I figure starting it out with a familiar, and trendy song would make them want to give this a listen.

2. Guillemots -- "Trains to Brazil". Now here's were we start the education. I wanted to follow up the song that most of them would know with a song that most of the would not know. Also, the trumped themed joy of the first song led well into the trumpet themed optimism of this song.

3. The National -- "Fake Empire". I decided to make this CD follow a very typical structure. Start out with a bang, up it, and then bring it down. Here we are bringing it down a bit. I decided to go with one of the best songs, off of one of the best albums of 2007, and I kept with the trumpet theme, by going with this one.

4. Apostle of Hustle -- “My Sword Hand’s Anger" (Sorry this was the best video of this song that I could find). And we take things down a bit more. I have talked about Apostle of Hustle before on here, and I must say, that they have been one of my favourite musical discoveries of 2007. I mean, I had heard them before but I hadn't really LISTENED to them before, and seeing them live was one of my musical highlights of the year. I really like this song, and I feel it went along with the slow descent that is going on in the theme of this disc.

5. Matt Weddle -- "Hey Ya". Here's where the fun starts. This is the first of three covers that I used on this CD. Now more than any other, teenagers are very protective of their musical tastes, and often say things like "[Insert particular genre] rulez, everything else is teh suck"...or something like such, I decided to take a few songs that they may find familiar, but were reinvented a bit to expand their horizons a bit, and maybe introduce them to a different type of genre. Here is the first one as Matt Weddle, takes one of the best songs of the 00's, "Hey Ya" by Outkast and changes it from a dancy-pop-love-fest to a sad-acoustic bit of brilliance. Plus it really fits with the slow descent that I'm going for here in the middle of the playlist.

6. Broken Social Scene -- "Marketfresh" (Sorry, I coudn't find a video to this one...). I knew that I needed to include some Broken Social Scene on this one, but I had to remember that I was making this one for students, and there was an outside chance that my principal could find it, so I knew that I could have any swearing, or strong sexual references, thus eliminating "Time = Cause" and "Lover's Spit", the two songs that got me hooked on this band. So I decided to go with a brilliant bit from Beehives their forgotten album. Also, I figured that there was less of a chance that someone would have heard this one, making it more likely to be a discovery for more people.

7. The Shins -- "Young Pilgrims". This song is aimed clearly at the Garden State crowd. I totally agree that "New Slang" is a brilliant song, but there is SO much more to this band than that one track. Chutes Too Narrow is very overlooked, since it came out slightly before Garden State and it does not have "New Slang" on it, but it is probably their best work to date. As such, I took this great track from that great album to expose people to this band as a whole.

8. Joseph Arthur -- "Echo Park" (You owe it to yourself to find a better recording of this song, it is brilliant). I went with another slow, melodic song here. I took this song, one that very few people would have heard as a gem for people looking to really expand their musical horizons. For people who weren't, I sandwiched this track between two songs that would have some appeal to the average person, as a way to essentially, make them listen to it.

9. Tori Amos -- "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Here comes Cover #2, this time of one of the greatest songs of the 90s, as Tory Amos rethinks the Nirvana classic, with just her voice and the piano. It is haunting and amazing. Like I was hoping that The Shins song would go for the artsy crowd, I'm hoping that this one speaks a bit to the grungy kids.

10. Dispatch -- "Hey, Hey" (You're going to have to jump to about 3:50 of this video to hear the song, before that it has "Free Falling" by Tom Petty...not a bad song either). Now here's where I get a teachy and preachy. I didn't want to go too over the top with strange music, so I think that this one stays in people's comfort zone, plus it has some pretty solid life lessons in the chorus saying "Question yourself, are you really what you seem?", which is a solid lesson for any teenager.

11. The John Butler Trio -- "Nowhere Man". I mentioned this song back when I did my travel playlist, when I said " [The song] is a great way to sum up those long bus/train trips when you feel like you aren't anywhere." And really that's the main reason I put it here, I just think that it's nice and hopefully awaken the wanderlust in some of these kids.

12. Hawksley Workman -- "Don’t Be Crushed". This song really is gorgeous, and touching. I thought it may be a good one in case one of the students was going through some sort of teen angst thinking that their life is over and maybe this one will help. Also, I wanted to include a song by Hawksley, but I ran into the same problem that I had with Broken Social Scene, too much swearing and raw sexuality...

13. Eva Cassidy -- "Time After Time". Here is cover #3, and the slowest portion of the CD. While I know that most of the teenagers out there don't know much Cyndi Lauper, but I know that this song was used on the Smallville soundtrack, so it may appeal to some of them. Plus, it really is awesome.

14. Wilco -- "What Light". I knew that I needed to feature Wilco somewhere on this disc, and I originally had "Heavy Metal Drummer" as my song, but I decided that I needed to give people something a little bit more familiar, so I went with the best of the Wilco songs that has been used on Volkswagen commercials this year. Plus, it has the whole "Be Yourself" message that seems to be so popular with the kids these days.

15. Death Cab For Cutie -- "Soul Meets Body". Death Cab is one of the popular "Indie/Alternative" bands out there, so I figured it would be nice to have a song that would appeal to any kids who may have heard of them. With this song (and the last two) I was trying to give some kids a reason to pop this into their CD player, and keep it playing. Plus this really is a great, soft, song, whose poppy beats help bring the tone of the playlist up as we near the end.

16. Peter, Bjorn & John -- "Young Folks". Speaking of poppy beats, we have PB&J, one of the greatest Indie Pop bands you can find. The opening whistle of this song is a great hook, and hopefully will keep the recipient of this disc interested. This song really speaks about a teenage romance saying "We don't care about the young folks, talkin' about their young style. We don't care about the old folks, talkin' about their old style too.", and has some rebellious teenage undertones.

17. The Arcade Fire -- "Rebellion (Lies)". Speaking of teenage rebellion, we have one of the greatest songs ever made on the subject! This is probably my favourite song ever made, and it really speaks to my cynical, slightly rebellious side. A side that I know is loud and clear in teenagers.

18. Sufjan Stevens -- "Chicago". Sufjan needed to present, it's really that simple. This is one of his most accessible and catchy songs, and it has that added bonus of being a song that people will say "I know this song from somewhere" (i.e. The Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack)

19. Stars -- "On Peak Hill". I devoted an entire post to my pure love of this song, and I have to say, that not much has changed since then. I simply adore this song, and this band. I had a ton of their work to choose from, but I went with this little ditty from one of their earlier albums, since it is less known, and because it helps cool things down near the end.

20. The Weakerthans -- "My Favourite Chords". I couldn't think of a better way to end this CD with this simple, eloquent, lullaby. It's just like a warm musical hug.

So that's my list. I decided to make 5 copies of this CD and put them in five pretty random places around campus (I left one in the staff room, one in the art classroom, one in the main reception area, one in a popular student hang out, and one in a random hallway). I know that the one in the staff room got picked up, and I'm hoping that the other ones will get nagged soon, and that other people keep this great idea alive. I know that I want to get one...

Until next time,


Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Heart-Warming Teaching Story

Now, followers of this blog probably know that I am a first year Math Teacher/Residence Don at a private school in the GTA. Now in teaching there are a lot of average days, and some very frustrating days, but there are some days, and moments that simply warm your heart and more than make up for any negative moment. On Thursday, I had one of these moments.

See I had to do late night duty on Wednesday night, which means that I had to ensure that the oldest students in boarding were all snug in their beds, when they lights out is at 11:30pm. Now the very next morning, I had a three and a half straight hours of teaching, starting at 8am. Normally this is a minor inconvenience and grumble of mine, but to top it all off, I was feeling exceptionally sick and tired. Nothing major, just a cold, where I needed some mint tea and a lot of bed rest, two things which I was just not going to get with that kind of schedule. Sure, I could have called it in, but I feel a certain sense of pride in showing up to work feeling bad, I like to feel tough after all.

Now the first two classes went alright, my second period students were being a bit of a chore, but they had in class assignments to work on, so I didn't have to be too involved. But then along came my third period class, Grade 8 math. I had a lesson that I had to teach them on graphing, and there really was no easy way out of it for me.

I knew that I needed to suck up my illness and exhaustion, and just do it.

This is when the projector failed on me, and I was stuck teaching like it was the 20th Century, and I had to use chalk and a chalkboard. Now, for those of you who just know me by the blogosphere, won't know, is that I have horrible, HORRIBLE writing. My students have gotten fairly use to reading it, but there was the added challenge that I needed to draw the graph, and make it accurate enough so that it would make sense to 12 year olds who knew nothing on the subject.

I started drawing a horrible, slanty graph, that I knew the kids just didn't get. To top it all off, my exhaustion and illness were getting the better of me, as I was making frequent mistakes. I still had a good 40 minutes of class to get through, and I knew it was going to feel like an eternity.

Then, a hand raised and one of my students asked me "Are you feeling ok?"

"No, I'm feeling pretty sick and tired, I'm sorry that I'm making mistakes, but I'm trying my best" I decided to answer honestly.

It's wroth mentioning that I just two students, who had just transfered into my class from the advanced stream that my school offers, and had therefore done this before. These two kids, raised their hands and said "Do you want us to teach this?" to which, I thought it was a GREAT idea, I passed them the chalk, and sad down.

These two students proceeded to do the next example, and I would occasionally interject and make sure that certain points were emphasized and what have you. But they ultimately did a fantastic job in covering the lesson.

Then one of the boys in my class looks over to me and says "You can tell that you're an experience teacher. They're not as easy to listen to as you are."

With those simple words, I became energized, and my illness faded away. I was suddenly overcome with a great feeling of relief and clarity.

For all that people complain about "kids these days", there really are some fantastic young people out there who are caring, supportive, and mature beyond their years. They could have very easily just let me screw up, make mistakes, and try to grind my gears to get a reaction. But no, not my students, they decided that they wanted to help me out, make me feel better, and learn something along the way.

While I hope that they learned something from the lesson, I am certain that they ended up teaching me instead.

Until next time,


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reflecting on my Vocation

So the past week at my school it was Faculty Chapel week. See, working at a private school, there are definite religious overtones, as the Chapel is a big part of the school schedule and community. While I was initially skeptical of this, the chapel services are multi-faithed, so they include reasons from not only Christian but Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and secular sources.

Anyway, as part of the Faculty Chapel week, they asked for faculty members to make short (3 minute) reflections on their vocation. So of course, I thought that I would take a chance to chyme in with my thoughts. In typical Glen fashion, I decided that I would relate the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Napoleon Dynamite to my career.

Here is a copy of my speech, enjoy...


So I was asked to come up here and reflect on my vocation. Well I have only been teaching for a few months, as opposed to a few years or decades like some of my esteemed colleagues sitting to my right, I don’t quite have as much to reflect on. Instead, I will reflect on why I decided to become a teacher in the first place.

When I was a kid, I had four heroes who I held above everyone else. They were not Michael Jordan, or Wayne Gretzky like other boys my age, they weren’t my teachers, or even my parents. No, no, no my heroes were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Every Saturday morning, I would wake up early, grab a bowl of Count Chocula, sit down in front of the television, and I would watch my heroes save the world from the forces of evil, yet again. I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like them. But no matter how many times I asked my parents didn’t buy me a katana or send me to ninja school, they had other plans…public school.

When I was there, I was never able to sharpen my bo staff or numchuck skills, so I had to learn how to fight evil some other way. It was then that my teachers armed me with two very powerful weapons to fight against the forces of evil; they armed me with hope and compassion.
Over the course of my life, I realized just how powerful hope and compassion can be in overcoming evil at every turn, and I believe that there is nothing that they can’t overcome.
Hope will cure diseases and prevent environmental catastrophes.

Compassion will unite nations and bring about peace.

So while I am here teaching function or fractions, in true ninja style, that is just a cover. What I really want to teach are hope and compassion. And if I am able to get that through to even one student over the course of my career then maybe, just maybe one of you would be able to cure cancer, or end poverty. Then I will get just what I have always wanted, I’ll get to be just like me heroes, I’ll get to save the world. And I’ll be able to do it without a katana or turtle shell.


Until next time,


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why Benazir Bhutto's Death Matters - Part 2

Last time, at Getting Glenergized, we unveiled a strange plot involving Afghanistan, September 11th, and a host of lies. It turns out that Mahoud Ahmad, the former head of the ISI (the Pakistani Secret Service) was having breakfast on September 11th, 2001 with two US Congressmen (who would later conclude that George Bush did no wrong in preventing the attacks) when the attacks took place. It was later revealed, to the ignorance of much of the Western World, that this same Mahoud Ahmad, transfered $100,000 one of the hijackers who completed the attack. However, he didn't transfer the money himself, he did it through an intermediary, Ohmar Sheikh, who has a long history of being involved with terrorist actions, including the murder of Daniel Pearl. We looked at some reports of Bin Laden's possible death in December 2001, and an interview with Benazir Bhutto, that left a startling revelation.

If you fast forward that video-clip to 2:14, Bhutto is stating people that she felt were trying to kill her and she says "Ohmar Sheikh, the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden".

In my haste to get this posted, I forgot to add two one very crucial event to our time line.

April 26, 2002: In an interview with Robert Burns, Donald Rumsfeld says "We're hunting [Osama Bin Laden] down," he said. "We're tracking him down. He's hiding. We haven't heard hide nor hair of him for about, oh, since December, in terms of anything hard."

September 22, 2004 to May 5, 2006: Porter Goss, one of the men who was having breakfast with Mahmoud Ahmad during the September 11 terrorist attacks (and later cosponsor of the Patriot Act) serves as the director of the CIA.

Now we are ready to fast forward to 2007, Bhutto's return to Pakistan, and subsequent assassination.

October, 2007: US Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice telephones Bhutto in Dubai, and helps broker a deal for Bhutto's safe return to Pakistan. Bhutto agrees to not protest Musharraf's re-election as President, so long as Washington promises to hold Musharraf to his promise to hold free and fair elections. Rice says that she will see this through.

October 16, 2007: Bhutto writes a letter to Musharraf naming four people she believes to be involved in an alleged plot to kill her. These included the current Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief Ijaz Shah, former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former chief minister of Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim, and the former ISI chief, Hamid Gul, as those who posed a threat to her life, all of which are connected to Musharraf.

October 18, 2007: Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan.

Two suicide-bombers set off blasts at the airport where she lands. The detonations kill 136 people and injure approximately 450. Bhutto leaves unharmed.

Bhutto makes requests for increased security protection, which she does not receive. She begins daily contact with officials in the US embassy. They recommend private security firms for Bhutto, which she refuses, fearing that militants will have infiltrated them.

November 2, 2007: Bhutto gives the interview with David Frost (embedded clip above) when she talks about people trying to kill her. She states:

"One of them is a very key figure in security. He's a former military officer. He's someone that has had dealings with Jaish a Mohammad, one of the band groups of Maulana Azhar, who was in an Indian jail for decapitating 3 British tourists and 3 American tourists, and he also had dealings with Omar Sheikh, the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden.

Now I know that dealings with people does not necessarily mean direct evidence, but I also know that internal security has totally collapsed in Pakistan, and that internal security cannot collapse without there being some blind eye, if not collusion, being turned towards the rise of the militants and militancy."

November 3, 2007: Musharraf declares a state of emergency, due to the actions of the Supreme Court and religious extremists. The constitution is temporarily suspended. Bhutto, states that if the state of emergency is not lifted that free and fair elections will be difficult, if not impossible. She says "The extremists need a dictatorship, and dictatorship needs extremists."

November 8, 2007: As Bhutto prepares for a rally to oppose the state of emergency, she is taken under police custody and placed under house arrest.

November 9, 2007: The house arrest is lifted.

November 30, 2007: Musharraf gets sworn in as a civilian President, promises to lift the state of emergency by December 16.

December 15, 2007: State of Emergency is lifted.

December 27, 2007: After leaving a political rally in Rawlapindi, Bhutto stands through the sunroof of her bulletproof car to wave to supporters. A man, standing very close to her car (pictured and circled to the right), fires a number of shots at her. Shortly thereafter, a bomb is detonated, killing at least 20 people. Bhutto is rushed to the hospital, but dies later that day.

December 28, 2007: Pakistan's interior minister, stated that Bhutto was not killed by gunshots, but died from a skull fracture when she tried to duck into the car, and struck her head on the lever for the sunroof, and that she had suffered no bullet or shrapnel wounds. This directly contradicted the initial hospital report. Bhutto's lawyer disputes the claims made by the government as does Toyota (the makers of the car that Bhutto was in) as they state that it was an impossible scenario, given the design of the car.

One anonymous doctor, states that the Pakistani Government took Bhutto's medical records, and urged them all to stay quiet on the subject.

December 30, 2007: Scotland on Sunday, a British newspaper cites sources in the British Secret Service, who claim that forces in the ISI were responsible for Bhutto's death.


So here we are now three weeks later, and still trying to fit the puzzle together. The Pakistani government is claiming that Al-Qaeda is responsible for the murder, but opposition leaders are very insistent that the Musharraf government is somehow involved.

If you remember, from her interview, Bhutto stated that someone out to get her was a "key figure in security" and a "former military officer", who had links to Ohmar Sheikh. Connecting the dots, ever so slightly we can see that she could very well be referring to Mahoud Ahmad, he himself a former general, and head of the ISI. Who used Sheikh as an intermediary for transferring funds to a 9/11 Hijacker. Also, it should be worth pointing out that the city Bhutto was killed in, Rawlapindi, was the very city that Ahmad served as military commander in. Obviously he would have quite a bit of contacts in the region.

The motivation for Ahmad and Sheikh, seems apparent enough. Bhutto opposed terrorists, and those who financed terrorism. Sheikh was himself a terrorist, and Ahmad helped finance one. Makes sense, does it not?

If Ahmad was somehow culpable, what are we to make of his connection with the CIA? Remember, he had meetings with Porter Goss, when he was a congressman on 9/11, and Goss would go on to become the director of the CIA. What are we to make of that?

Also worth noting, is that very night she was killed, Bhutto was scheduled to have a meeting with two US Senators, Patrick Kennedy and Arlen Spector. According to Spector, they were going to discuss "...our concerns are about what is happening here, the stability; what's happening with the supreme court; what's happening with our fight against terrorism, our efforts to capture Osama Bin Laden; and what is happening to the very substantial funding the United States has put in here..."

Can we notice that Spector mentioned the efforts to capture Bin Laden? This coming a mere six weeks after Bhutto states in an interview that Bin Laden has been murdered. Could she have had some proof that he was dead to share with the Senators? Could Kennedy and Spector, both of which have been very critical of the Bush Administration, have taken this information back to Washington, leaving the powers that be in political hot water?

Lastly, why does the Pakistani government seem so dead set on hiding Bhutto's official cause of death? What could anyone in the government possibly have to gain from lying about this?

Sadly, I sit here, leaving only questions, and no answers. I am just a guy on his computer, and I can't find out too much, but I'm sure someone out there will be able to find a bit more if they only look. It's apparent here to me, that something really sinister is going on, and we are all getting taken along for a ride.

As horrible as it is that Bhutto was killed, and a country has been totally destabilized, I fear that there is a more tragic victim, the truth.

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why Benazir Bhutto's Death Matters - Part 1

So it's been a solid 3 weeks since the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. As the time has passed on there has been a great deal of information surfacing. After a little bit of research, inspired by one of my favourite political blogs, Little Country Lost, I have come to some pretty startling conclusions.

I think that the easiest way to present this is to list the events chronologically, and not by topic. I am sorry if this is confusing, but I swear, like an episode of Lost all of the pieces will fit together, and it will leave far more questions than answers. Today I am going to give the back story that leads

Our principal characters are:

Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan
General Pervez Musharraf, current President of Pakistan
Osama bin Laden, September 11th Mastermind
Mohammed Atta, one of the September 11th hijackers
Mahmoud Ahmad, former head of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistani equivalent of the CIA
Ohmar Sheikh, British-born terrorist of Pakistani descent
Condolezza Rice, current US Secretary of State
George W. Bush...hopefully you know that name...
Daniel Pearl, American journalist
Porter Gross, Republican Congressman, and co-head of the Joint 9/11 Intelligence Inquiry
Bob Grahme, Democratic Senator, other half of the above Intelligence Inquiry

1994: Ohmar Sheikh kidnaps three British and one American traveler and is sentenced to jail in New Delhi, India.

1996: Benazir Bhutto is removed from office as Prime Minister of Pakistan on charges of corruption.

1998: Bhutto flees Pakistan, and moves to Dubai on self-imposed exile.

October, 1999: General Musharraf leads military coup of Pakistan. Establishes Mahmoud Ahmad as the head of the ISI. Ahmad had been serving as the corps commander for Rawalpindi (remember that place, it'll be important later)

December, 1999: Indian Airlines Flight 814 is hijacked and all of the passengers are taken hostages only to be released in exchange for three convicted terrorists, including Ohmar Sheikh. The four hijackers are late revealed to all be Pakistani nationals with links to the ISI.

November, 2000: George W. Bush wins his first term in office...sort of....

September 11, 2001: Osama bin Laden masterminds major terrorist attacks as 19 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta, commander four passenger flights and crash them into the two World Trade Centre Towers, the Pentagon, and one crash lands in Pennsylvania.

While the first plane (flown by Atta) strikes the North Tower, Mahmoud Ahmad, ISI director, is having breakfast in Washington D.C., with Republican Congressman, Porter Gross, and Democratic Senator Bob Grahme, as they discuss Osama bin Laden. Ahmad is quickly brought into meetings with US officials, who demanded Pakistani cooperation in the ensuing investigation.

September 17, 2001: George Bush states that he wants Osama bin Laden "Dead or Alive".

October 7, 2001: Mahmoud Ahmad steps down as ISI director in the face of US pressure, after it is reported that he ordered Ohmar Sheikh to transfer $100,000 US to accounts owned by hijacker, Mohammed Atta. The story goes widely unreported in Western countries.

The United States leads an invasion of Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden and depose the Taliban.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I told you that this was complicated, trust me, we'll be getting back to Bhutto in a bit, this will all become very clear soon.

November 17, 2001: Allied forces begin battle of Tora Bora, were they believe to have Osama bin Laden cornered.

December 26, 2001: Egyptian Newspaper, al-Wafd, and the Pakistani Journal publish an article discussing Osama bin Laden's funeral 10 days prior.

Read that one again if you need to, soak it in.

January 23, 2002: American journalist, Daniel Pearl, is kidnapped in Pakistan.

February 2002: Porter Gross and Bob Grahme begin their work as co-heads of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.

February 21, 2002: A video titled The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl, is released, showing Daniel Pearl's dead body.

March 21, 2002: Ohmar Sheikh is arrested as the supposed mastermind beyond the Pearl kidnapping and killing.

April 4, 2002: The US Joint Chief of Staff says "The goal was never to get bin Laden". Signaling a startling shift in the Bush Administrations language with respect to bin Laden.

July 15, 2002: Sheikh is sentenced to death for his role in the Pearl murder, a decision which has been appealed and subsequent hearings are delayed. No final date has been set for his trial.

December, 2002: Porter, Goss and co. release their report outlining what could have been done differently to prevent the terrorist attacks, however they accept the White House's ruling to not mention anything that the President did or did not know prior to the attacks, stating that it is classified information.

So here we are 5 years ago, ready to jump to the events of this fall and winter that lead to her Bhutto's and how it all links together with the September 11, attacks. I'll give you a hint though, it has something to do with this interview that Bhutto had with David Frost of Al-Jazeera English on November, 2007. If you are feeling lazy, jump to 2:14 and listen to what she says...

Yeah you heard that right...

I'll be posting Part 2 in a few days, depending on my schedule and such....hope you're intrigued...

Until next time,


Monday, January 14, 2008

Western Conference No-Star Team

Just yesterday, I posted the Eastern Conference No-Star Team, and it appears that someone in the NHL was reading, as one of my starting forwards, Marc Savard, was named as a replacement for the injured Danny Heatley. Well done on that one Gary. I suppose since I am now short a player on the Eastern side, I'll need to find a replacement, I'll take...ohhh, I don't know...Jaromir Jagr....

Today we look to the more interesting conference out West, were there were there is arguably less Star Power, but far more depth of solid players. So without further ado, here are my starting 5...


Mike Riberio
Dallas Stars

Credentials: I was thoroughly shocked that Riberio did not make the cut. He is in the Top 15 in the NHL in points, and is a strong candidate for this years Most Improved Player. While it may be frustrating to Habs fans to see Riberio explode AFTER being traded from Montreal, in what I call "John LeClair Syndrome" (henceforth referred to as JLS), he has played very well this season, and is well deserving of the prestigious starting centre position on this roster.

Kristian Huselius
Calgary Flames

Credentials: The answer: Anze Kopitar, Henrik Sedin, Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and Shawn Horcoff. The question? "Who are 5 All-Star Forwards who have less points than Huselius?". I'll admit, I was convinced that Huselius would be the first one shipped out of Calgary on the Mike Keenan express, but I was totally wrong! The talented left winger has shown remarkable growth this year and has gelled impressively with Iginla and Langkow as one of the league's dominant lines.

Corey Perry
Anaheim Ducks

Credentials: He 24 goals and 75 penalty minutes in his first 47 games. Perry has excelled this year, easily filling the scoring gap that Selanne left. He and Getlzaf are a remarkably solid duo at both ends of the ice. Make no mistake about it, Perry will be one of the leagues dominant power forwards for years to come.


Brian Rafalski
Detroit Red Wings

Credentials: He really is a victim of circumstance here. With teammates Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Lidstrom, and Chris Osgood all making the trip to Atlanta, it would be hard to justify sending a 5th Red Wing to the big dance. None the less, he has posted All-Star numbers, as he is trailing only teammate Niklas Lidstrom for the lead in points by a d-man, and has been as solid as usual in his own end. So he really is a no-brainer for this squad!!!

Marek Zidlicky

Nashville Predators

Credentials: While Rafalski is on this team as a victim of circumstance, Zidlicky makes it by being in the right place at the right time. Last season Kimo Timonen left the Predators, and then early this season, heir apparent with the man advantage, Shea Weber, went down with an injury, enter Mr. Zidlicky. While the Predators have had their struggles this season, Zidlicky has done very well quarterbacking their powerplay, and so he gets to be surprising starter for the No-Star Team.


Pascal LeClaire
Columbus Blue Jackets

Credentials: This man is EASILY the biggest snub for either All-Star Team. Back when Troy and I tried to predict the All-Star team, I had this man as my starting goalie (mind you that was before Luongo went on his huge tear). He currently leads the league with 7 Shut Outs, and his .927 Save Percentage is better than any goalie playing that got the call. Two thumbs down for messing up on this one.

And now for the warriors from the bench...


Daniel Sedin
(Vancouver Canucks) - Daniel must feel a little left out, as his twin brother Henrik got the invitation, but he didn't, despite posting similar numbers, so I'll gladly take the prodigal son for my team!

Brad Boyes (St. Louis Blues) - It was a tough call between Boyes and his linemate, Paul Kariya, to represent St. Louis on this team, but I decided to go with Boyes, as a feel good pick. After being shipped from Toronto, to San Jose, to Boston, he appears to have finally found a home in St. Louis as he is currently on pace to break the 40 goal plateau for the first time in his career.

Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) - The surprising leader in rookie scoring gets the nod here. I understand the league not picking him for their team, as they need to give a bit of prestige to the usually dull Young Stars Game, but I would love to see what the 19 year old phenom could do with the quality linemates that he would get in this game.

Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks) - Raise your hand if you know that Patrick Sharp has more goals than Sydney Crosby. Now keep it raised if you expected that to happen. Everyone with your hand up, you are a filthy liar. Sharp has been one of the most surprising success stories of the season as the 3rd year winger has already set a career high in goals, and has played no small part in the rejuvenation of the Blackhawk franchise.

Ales Hemsky (Edmonton Oilers) - If it wasn't for a pesky injury, Hemsky could very well have his team lead in points, and be playing in Atlanta right now. He has played very well, and his smooth skating and passing mesh so well with Horcoff's heart and grind game.

Daymond Langkow (Calgary Flames) - Langkow has had a fantastic year playing with Huselius and Iginla, as he even lead the league in goals for a while at the start of the season. He has always been a solid hard-working player who I really didn't think could make it as a number one centre, but I guess I was wrong on this one.

Dustin Brown (Los Angeles Kings) - He joins Corey Perry in the "Future Dominant Power Forwards to Play in California" Club. He is on pace for 40 goals and can throw a big hit when needed.

Marek Svatos (Colorado Avalanche) - He is on pace for 38 goals and 4 assists. Now I don't want to bother looking threw the plethora of statistics, but I don't know if there has ever been a player with such a lop-sided goals-to-assists ratio. While he needs to work on his ability to move the puck, he must be doing something right to be able to score so well.

Brendan Morrow (Dallas Stars) - He joins his teammate Mike Riberio in the list of Stars forwards that were somehow omitted. Before the line up was announced I was convinced that one of them would make it, but I am shocked to see neither of them make the cut. After a nasty wrist injury limited his play last season, he has bounced back with a solid campaign thus far, and not coincidentally, his team is surging as well.


Lubomir Visnovsky (Los Angeles Kings) - I had started a write up to make him one of my starters, but I just couldn't ignore Visnovsky's brutal -14, and Zidlicky's great success story. Despite his defensive liability, Visnovsky has done well as a power play quarterback, yet again, as he is near the top of the league in scoring from the blue line.

Ron Hainsey (Columbus Blue Jackets) - Like many players in Columbus, Hainsey has been quietly successful all season. He has done wonders for Columbus's powerplay, and is a solid +6 on a team where most players are in the minus ranges.

Brent Burns (Minnesota Wild) - Has done well in making the adjustment from Right Wing to Defenseman, a very rare and impressive feat. Much like Hainsey, he has been solid at both ends of the rink, and been by and large unheralded for his successes. Don't worry boys, I noticed!!!

Craig Rivet (San Jose Sharks) - He is my "Yanic Perault" selection. His 12th season is on pace to be his most prolific, as he has succeeded in leading the Sharks powerplay where Carle has failed. And to be honest, I need a Shark on this team, and I couldn't justify putting the disappointing Marleau or Mihalek on my roster, so here we are.


Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix Coyotes) - After Bryzgalov's clutch, and seemingly forgotten, performance in leading the then Mighty Ducks to the Conference finals in 2006, I was convinced that the Ducks would ship out Gigure and put their faith this guy, as he had starter written all over him. One of the biggest surprises this year was watching Bryzgalov go through waivers and land in Phoenix. I am simply shocked that no other team could have offered the Ducks something for this guy. Even a late round draft pick would have enabled Pittsburgh, Atlanta, or Tampa to not have to worry about their goaltending woes for a very long time.

Mathieu Garon (Edmonton Oilers) - Another last minute addition, as I just deleted J.S. Gigure from the list. While this may seem like a bad decision on my part, Garon has a better save percentage, an equal goals against average, and more shut outs than his California Counterpart. Also keeping in mind that Garon has played less games, and well...he plays for Edmonton, a team that currently sits 13th in the Conference.

So there is the Wild Wild Western No-Star team, as usual there are a number of players that missed this cut including, John-Micheal Liles, J.S. Gigure, Paul Kariya, Alexander Frolov, Martin Erat, and Piere-Marc Bouchard, among others.

Now I wonder which player from this team that the NHL will take for their team when a player goes down....

Until next time,


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Eastern Conference No-Star Team

Earlier this week, the NHL Announced the two All-Star Teams, and there were many obvious choices (Crosby, Zetterberg, LeCavalier) and a few surprises (Keith, Osgood). But more importantly, there were many glaring omissions. As such, I proudly present you with the first ever Glenergized No Star Team. Where I take another All-Star team out of the players that were omitted from the mid-season classic. I will follow the standard All-Star selection rules, that every team needs to have at least one player represented at the game. Today I kick things off with the Eastern Conference, and I'll chyme in with the Western Conference No-Star Team tomorrow.

For the starting line-up we will have:


Mats Sundin
Toronto Maple Leafs

Credentials: Regular readers of this blog will know how much I loathe the Toronto Maple Leafs, but even I will admit to being impressed with their Captain this season. He is getting older, and has next to know supporting cast (as he has for much of his career) yet he continues to sit in the Top 15 in NHL Scoring, yet again. If the Leafs somehow make the playoffs then Sundin deserves the MVP, hands down. So I begrudgingly make him my starting Centre for the Eastern Conference.

Evgeni Malkin
Pittsburgh Penguins

Credentials: The NHL missed a golden opportunity to have a Crosby-Malkin-Ovechkin line. It would simply be a thing of beauty and no doubt create some All-Star memories to last for years. Like Sundin, he sits in the Top 15 in scoring, but he brings something that the Leafs Captain can't bring, style. Malkin would be pretty damned impressive to watch in the skills competition, and in playing in a game with next to no checking or defense played. The league really missed a chance to market one of their future stars by having him sit this one out.

Marc Savard
Boston Bruins

Perhaps the most underrated player in the NHL Today. Savard is once again in the Top 10 in the league in assists, and he does it quietly, game in, game out with very little fuss or attention. While I took Malkin because he is all style, Savard, eager to deflect the attention, would be the perfect player to feed to him.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Original picture of Patrice Bergeron has been updated, many thanks to Doug for pointing that one out...I guess it shows just how underrated Savard is if Google Images doesn't even have pictures of him. SECOND EDITOR'S NOTE: I took a picture straight from from the article where they discussed Savard's addition to the All-Star team and gave it no turns out that was a picture of Jiri Slegr. I guess the third time is a charm)


Tobias Enstrom
Atlanta Thrashers

Credentials: While there may be a few omitted Eastern D-men who deserve the start more than Enstrom (barely mind you), I do need to remind you that the game will be held in Atlanta this year, so this gives a great opportunity for a rousing hometown ovation. This is far from a sympathy pick, as Enstrom has evolved into a Top Power-Play Defenseman this season, and is totally deserving of a spot on the No Star Team (if not the actual All-Star Team)

Mark Streit
Montreal Canadiens

Credentials: Quick who is the highest scoring defenseman that won't be playing in the All-Star game? The answer (if you didn't figure out by the heading) is none other than Mark Streit, who is currently 10th in scoring among blueliners. Surprsied? I know that I am! Streit has been an excellent compliment to Markov on the powerplay, giving the surprising Canadiens another weapon with the man advantage. He deserves a ton of credit for their success this season.


Henrik Lundqvist
New York Rangers

Credentials: He is easily the most glaring omission on the Eastern Front. While his play has slipped a bit this past week, before that it was nothing short of spectacular. He is currently second in the NHL in Shut Outs and near the top in Wins and Goals Against Average. On top of that, he has helped take a team that has struggled offensively and kept them competitive. I really don't understand how the league went with DiPietro over him, for shame Bettman, for shame.

And now for the reserves....


Alexi Kovalev (Montreal Canadiens) - Showing a career rejuvenation this season, as the talented, but enigmatic, forward has been posting some surprisingly solid numbers for the Habs.

Oli Jokinen
(Florida Panthers) - Jokinen has been posting solid numbers for the struggling Panthers, yet again. I was really quite shocked that he didn't get the nod for this game, but I guess Vokoun has been playing well enough.

Ray Whitney (Carolina Hurricanes) - Another player, like Sundin, who seems to defy the odds and post solid numbers year after year.

Vaclav Prospal (Tampa Bay Lightning) - It's a contract year for him, so he's playing well. Do not expect the same out of him next year, but for now, well done!

Mike Comrie (New York Islanders) - I guess the real reason that DiPietro edged Lundqvist for the All-Star game is because Comrie was the next best choice to represent the team. The little guy has done well on the Island, so we'll be happy to take him!

Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) - The young forward's emergence is a big reason why the Devils don't seem to be missing Scott Gomez this season. Plus he can play the other end of the ice quite well to.

Daniel Briere (Philadelphia Flyers) - The reigning All-Star MVP was narrowly edged out by teammate Mike Richards to get his team's nod in the big game. Briere, is having another great season, despite injuries to his linemates Gagne and Lupul.

Jason Pomminville (Buffalo Sabres) - Someone has to make it for lousy teams and Campbell made it to the other game...

Cory Stillman (Carolina Hurricanes) - Now I had already started a right up for Jaromir Jagr, joking that I wanted to hav him on my 4th line, but then I noticed just how well Mr. Stillman has done, so Jagr gets bumped. Like teammate Whitney, Stillman seems to be drinking from the fountain of youth yet again this season, as he has been posting career numbers, so he definitely deserves a spot here. Sorry Jagr...


Michal Roszival (New York Rangers) - He has been a solid power play specialist yet again this season, sure he's a defensive liability, but that's the fun of All-Star games!!!

Wade Redden (Ottawa Senators - Recovered from a fairly sub-par season to resume his usual solid play at both ends of the ice. Sure his contract is once more up for renewal this year, but I guess we can leave the cynicism elsewhere for this game....

Mike Green (Washington Capitals) - I'm not going to lie, there are two main reasons for him to be on this list. First off, he has scored 8 points in the last 5 games, and secondly I needed a Capital, and there wasn't quite enough room for Nylander up front. But to his credit, the sophomore d-man has already doubled his totals from his rookie campaign, and has shown a tremendous upside this season.

Paul Ranger (Tampa Bay Lightning) - Freak injuries to Dan Boyle have thrust Ranger into the spotlight far earlier than was expected. However, he has played well as the main quarterback for his teams power play, despite minimal support from all but the top of the team.


Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins) - I can't help but feel bad for this guy. All he does is play his heart out and succeed, and his team constantly looks for replacements. First with Manny Fernandez, and then Alex Auld, the team seems to have no faith in this guy, no matter how well he plays. For what it's worth, I believe in you!

Martin Gerber (Ottawa Senators) - He got chased out of Carolina, and was close to getting booted from the Senators, but an injury to Emery at the start of the season forced the Sens to put their confidence into Gerber, and boy did he excel! He is near the top of the league in wins, despite splitting the duty with Emery, and has been spectacular at times this season.

So that's my team, I'd like to issue apologies to the following players for barely missing the cut: Nik Antropov, Michael Nylander, Bill Guerin, Mark Recchi, Martin Biron, Randy Jones, and Jaromir Jagr.

I hope that you enjoyed the first No-Star Team, tune back in tomorrow for the Western side of the coin!

Until next time,