A Quiet Sunday


April 13 – A quiet – so far Sunday afternoon.

Shoppers Optimum – Yesterday (and today) are “bonus” redemption days for Shoppers Optimum Points. Instead of getting $170 in value for 95,000 points you get $200 – an extra $30. What I also realized in scanning their flyer is that besides “typical” drug store stuff, you can also redeem on electronics and SDM has added some fairly broad electronics to some of their stores.

A while ago, my personal laptop/notebook had given up the ghost and given Jane has a laptop, I have a desktop, two tablets and a corporate notebook, I had not replaced it. However, shoppers had a decent (not state of the art) Toshiba in their ad for $399. Using (Jane’s) Optimum points, it knocked the retail down to $199. And a very good deal. Needless to say, we went out yesterday and snagged one (had to call several store) and I brought it home last night and fired it up (seamlessly) and so far am suitably impressed with it. There is now the whole process of software installs, transfers and updates but there is no need to rush it.

My desktop – is getting pretty long in the tooth for me (almost 6 years old) and I was looking to replace it anyway. What I may do in the short term is get a docking station / port replicator for my new Toshiba and simply use it as my primary device. It is better than my current system.

That leads to another challenge in that my web authoring software (FrontPage 2013) is now 11 year old – ancient in PC terms and essentially no longer supported. The challenge is that I am used to it, like it, and it is tough to teach an old dog new tricks. On the other hand, I need to move forward. I typically use MS Word to punch out this drivel and Word has a nice feature – a blog template – that lets you automatically load the document directly to a number of Blog engines – including WordPress – which I also use. What I may do to “wean” myself off of some of my FaceBook web site dependency for my site is to replace my “blog” page with a like to my WordPress site so that when I upload a Word doc to WordPress, it already posts to FaceBook and would then be current in my www.minorhockeyfan.com web site as well.

Not sure I will get that done today as I am getting set to fly to Montreal for three days but if I do, it will be an easy way to “blog” on the road.

Be thankful for what you have – this past week has been a bit of a downer with some disturbing news on both sides of our family. Health is a wonderful thing but can be very fickle and is not something to be taken for granted by anyone at any time. Hopefully the days ahead will bring good news – we can only hope.

Post – if all goes well, this is an automatic post from the new laptop! At least to WordPress – still need to deal with the setup for my full site.

BTW – today would not be complete without one final shot at the pathetic Leafs who closed out their dismal season with a loss to the equally moribund Senators (1 – 0 – Sorry Rick but the Senators fit the bill).The only questions now are how many get sacked, who, how soon and when does the “just wait till next year” slug get hauled out?

 

 

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Halfway Home


April 9 – Halfway home. The Leafs have obligingly self-destructed and somewhat to my surprise my Wings have chalked up a couple of wins that I figured would be problematic. As a result, I can start to gloat a la “I told you so” about who would go to the post season show and who got to golf early. Roll back the blog and let’s revisit my Carnac impression of last month.

From March 26 – “As I enjoy making predictions and did so to my Sport Oakville colleagues last night, I predict that whoever wins the Saturday night spectacular (Detroit vs Toronto in Toronto) will make the play-offs and the loser will not. Carnac has spoken.”

Toronto was ahead of Detroit and had the number 1 Wild Card spot at the time. Washington and Columbus were out. Detroit won that game and Toronto has kindly followed the script and Detroit needs one, just one lousy point in their next three games to control their own fate and extend their play-off season streak to 23, also extending their own record. I will even take one of those overtime / shoot-out tie / loss points at this stage. Of course, If Washington and New Jersey don’t run the table, then that would do it as well.

Any or all of which will reinforce Carnac’s Credentials as the foremost hockey prognosticator of our time.

Eastern

Rank

Team

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

GF

GA

Last 10

Streak

1

y-Boston

79

53

18

8

114

254

171

6-1-3

OT 1

2

x-Montreal

79

45

27

7

97

212

199

8-2-0

Won 2

3

x-Tampa Bay

79

43

27

9

95

232

211

5-3-2

Won 1

  

Rank

Team

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

GF

GA

Last 10

Streak

1

y-Pittsburgh

79

50

24

5

105

240

197

5-5-0

Won 1

2

x-NY Rangers

80

44

31

5

93

216

191

7-2-1

Won 1

3

x-Philadelphia

79

41

29

9

91

225

222

4-4-2

Won 2

  

Rank

Team

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

GF

GA

Last 10

Streak

1

Detroit

79

38

27

14

90

215

224

6-3-1

Won 1

2

Columbus

79

41

31

7

89

223

210

5-4-1

Won 2

  

3

Washington

79

36

30

13

85

226

237

4-3-3

Won 2

4

New Jersey

79

34

29

16

84

191

201

5-2-3

Lost 1

5

Toronto

80

38

34

8

84

229

251

2-8-0

Lost 2

6

Ottawa

79

34

31

14

82

230

262

6-3-1

Won 2 Bottom of Form

Pretty ugly looking for you Bud fans. At least they are currently ahead of Ottawa but that could change with their last game against Ottawa.

Hope some of the relatives are reading this as I also said Washington was the team to watch out for not Toronto – check the standings. I rest my case – watch out for the hot crazy 8 who can mess up a lot of plans.

Detroit has no gimme’s (although one would hope that Carolina’s focus is now on their golf game) as they have Pittsburgh on the road, Carolina at home and St. Louis on the road to wrap it up.

Needs to be a movie – Toronto’s political situation has got to have legs as a Hollywood property. If not as a full blown series, at least as a summer special. Adding a Trailer Park Boy and a disgraced athlete to the re-election team is an interesting ploy. Not sure of the strategic input that Robbie Boy will receive from these two, but if the idea was to simply get another PR hit, then it worked out just fine. What’s next. Is he going to call Hugh and borrow some Bunnies?

Furniture – Phase 2 – In what seems like the “Never Ending Story”, today new the chesterfield suite arrived for the Family Room. It was supposed to be for my TV room (AKA Living Room with projector), but somehow the old stuff got stuffed in “my” room and the new stuff ended up in “Jane’s” room. Wonder how that happened? I guess I should just be grateful that I have something to sit on.

Which brings up a language lesson – What do you call this stuff? Is it a couch, chesterfield, sofa, davenport, settee or all of the above? As if it is not bad enough, having to pick out and pay for this stuff and then have it swiped from under my nose, now I get caught up in the game of – “I think we should try that over there”. Given that there are three pieces, the combinations are almost endless and back numbing. A-535 run – coming up.

 

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Finally – An April Post


April 8 – Beyond the first week of April and my first appearance in the Blog-o-sphere. A lot of good reasons for that and essentially (other than too much work) all of them good.

This past weekend was a case in point with venturing off to the Blue Jays (twice), “Sibling” and Parent dinner, chaperoning the Grand Kids (Sunday) and moving furniture around.

The Jays – for the first time in a long time I went to see the Jays Home Opener. Other than the fun of a spiffy ticket, it will likely be a long time before I do it again – it was a looooong experience. Since I was meeting my out of town brother (who tends to get lost in the big city and is not a good transit guy, we made plans to meet early at what I thought was a dead bang simple location – The Tim Hortons in the middle of the GO Concourse. Not so, Not only could he not find the Tim Hortons, he could not find the Concourse and ended up roaming around the CN station somewhere, and finally gave up and found his way to the park. Meanwhile with the weather and all the activity around Union, the cell network was jammed and kept dropping calls which made it a challenge to track him down.

However, we got over it, met at the Dome and sashayed in around 5:30, an hour and a half before the ticket game time of 7:07 PM. We got our lovely Honda Crying Rally Rags Towels and silly me expected to have the pre-game opening ceremonies before the 7:07 start. Wrong. Between the intros, speeches, flags, anthems Gold gloves, and first pitch it was after 8:00 PM before someone finally said “Play Ball”. Then, just to aggravate me, each of the first three innings took a half hour to play with slow deliveries, men on base, replay challenge etc. The game was not over until after 11:00 PM so I did make the 11:43 with Jerry in tow and got home after midnight. Six hours in the park!

We went back for more on Saturday with the same seats and saw a pretty decent game that moved along pretty good so that we got out at a decent time and headed off to my sister’s for a post game family dinner.

Great seats – what I found out on Friday and again Saturday and at work on Monday from folks is that these are apparently “TV Seats”. With a left-handed batter up and the camera shot across the plate from the third base camera bay, we (I) were (was) right in the background sightlines. I was sitting there minding my own business on Friday night when I got the Facebook post “See you on TV”. Apparently I got quite of bit of TV face time. Not sure if that is a good thing or not? Fortunately I don’t think I did anything “unseemly” or at least if I did, I have not heard about it yet.

Beer Beef – A Rogers Centre post would not be complete without at least one minor Beer rant. Three of us were there early so I grabbed the first round (2 Corona, 1 bud Light) and coughed up $32.50 plus tip. I could have gone cheap and avoided the buck a beer premium on the Corona but it would still have been over $10 a beer. I think that is even higher than snooty restaurant prices and the Dome sure is not a snooty atmosphere. Needless to say with the frugal Moorehead clan there was not any heavy imbibing as part of the event.

Streaker – one poor clown Friday night apparently tried to uphold what I suspect must be a tradition. Why else do it as it is so passé. I suspect a wager and alcohol played were contributing factors as the guy seemed to run on to the field, sans plan, and never made it out of right field. Don’t know if it even rated a mention on the broadcast.

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Typical Weekend


Mar 31 – Just your typical weekend. Where do they go? And it is not even outdoor season yet.

  • Check the hockey scores
  • Fix the toilet / change the value / check the flow
  • Check the hockey scores
  • More workshop cleaning – pitch the junk / odds and sods
  • Shop the Costco Zoo (note to self – never again on a Saturday afternoon)
  • Check the hockey scores
  • Make dinner (yeah me)
  • Watch the Wings hammer a nail in the hapless Buds (and thoroughly enjoy it)
  • Check the hockey scores
  • Do draft one of income tax – curse at the amount that those S.O.B.s take, sign of relief that number shows up in the “refund” box
  • Make and imbibe large celebratory drink
  • Check the hockey scores
  • Watch some House of Cards
  • Check the hockey scores
  • Blog
  • Get spammed – fix stupid mistake
  • Get frustrated at Candy Crush
  • Check the hockey scores
  • Gloat over surprise Wings win over Tampa Bay – 4 points up on Buds with a game in hand. (keep an eye on Washington)
  • Prep for Monday
  • Bed

Such excitement, what a weekend! That’s just the high spots.

Big Week – It is a two sport week for me – that is if you can call the Leafs a sports team. Tomorrow I have a do at the Platinum Club plus tickets 6 or 8 rows up to the right of the Leaf net by the exit if you are watching from the front. I will be the one not cheering for either team, although I guess I will be cheering for the Flames (not the Hawks as erroneously reported) as that would hammer another nail into the Blue and White box and run the streak to 0 – 9!

Then Friday night “Da Boys” are off to see the Jays and Yanks in the opener with a follow-up for Saturday’s rematch. The company will be great (I have to say that they’re family) but who knows about the on-field product.

WDTVLive – have successfully got Jane hooked on this nifty little device (and created a download monster in the process). The beauty of downloads is twofold. A) there are no commercials so you can zip through an episode(s) in amazing time without annoying interruptions and b) you can stack a number of episodes and avoid the watch one, wait a week, watch one. . . syndrome. This is especially true for “older” series where you can grab a whole season or seasons and just grind through it.

There is a minor detail called bandwidth on downloads that one needs to manage and occasionally you will get a flakey episode for the quality of audio, visual or sync but on the whole it is great. My problem is I can now never get to watch my stuff as a certain individual has taken it over. My new 2Tbyte Toshiba USB self powered drive simply plugged into one of the two USB ports on the device and was ready to go.

This was of course after I consolidated all my Movies and TV shows with a 20 hour download to the new drive. 1.3 T of the 2.0 T is now full with WTFKs, since I don’t get to watch it (Unforgettable, Scandal, Major Dad, Dynasty. . . Yuch!) At least I haven’t had to put Charmed or Golden Girls on it yet

The WDTVLive device besides serving as an HDMI media device for the two USB ports also has WiFi to my home network, can stream from any computer on the network and has access applications for social networking, services like Netflix and a bunch of others. A great little (relatively inexpensive) device.

Posted in General

Bye Bye Buds!


Mar 30 – As March wraps up, so does minor Hockey, at least through the OMHA level as there are still some provincial titles up for grabs but the locals are done when house league Awards week wraps up today as the Rep side finished today as well.

Both the Minor Atom and Peewee AAA were in the OMHA championship weekend and both had to settle for participation in the Bronze game. Both lost and finish fourth with the Minor Atoms forcing the issue to OT.

For the 9 AAA contenders, the locals sent five to the big dance. Two came away with Gold, the best result since they grabbed 4 in 2011. With one silver and two fourths they ended up with a total of 3 medals.

SCTA (AAA)

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

Teams

9

9

9

9

9

Survived SCTA

5

4

8*

5

4

OMHA Tourney

5

4

8

5

4

Gold

2

1

1

4

1

Silver

1

2

2

0

1

Bronze

0

0

1

0

0

Did not Place

2

1

4

1

2

* 2012 Novice qualified as Host

     

 

Tri-County – a bit of a different story. The good news is that the Novice AA defeated Whitchurch Stouffville yesterday to claim Gold. The bad news is that of the five teams that made the final series, only the Novice AA came out on top.

At the end of the day of the 28 teams that went into post season with high hopes, only one came out smiling at the end of the tunnel.

Fifteen teams could not escape the dreaded Tri-County qualifiers. Four more got knocked off in the quarter finals, another four lost in the semis leaving five teams to go for the gold.

Congrats to the Novice AAs for going all the way.

Looking at the numbers only, as outlined below, this would not go down as a headline year for the program.

 

Tri-County

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

A

Teams

28

25

27

25

25

B

Advanced to Qrtrs

13

19

22

19

17

C

Percent

46.4%

76.0%

81.5%

76.0%

68.0%

D

Advanced to Semis

9

14

18

11

12

E

% of total A

32.1%

56.0%

66.7%

44.0%

48.0%

F

% of Advanced B

69.2%

73.7%

81.8%

57.9%

70.6%

G

Advanced to Finals

5

11

13

11

8

H

% of total A

17.9%

44.0%

48.1%

44.0%

32.0%

I

% of Advanced B

38.5%

57.9%

59.1%

57.9%

47.1%

J

% of Advanced D

55.6%

78.6%

72.2%

100.0%

66.7%

K

Gold Medals

1

6

7

8

7

H

% of total A

3.6%

24.0%

25.9%

32.0%

28.0%

L

% of Advanced B

7.7%

31.6%

31.8%

42.1%

41.2%

M

% of Advanced D

11.1%

42.9%

38.9%

72.7%

58.3%

N

% of Advanced G

20.0%

54.5%

53.8%

72.7%

87.5%

Having said that, this was also the year of the sacrificial lambs, the teams that were “bumped up” a level which added some additional teams and an enhanced opportunity for some players to move up to a “Travel Team” experience. Check the Playdown results in detail and draw your own conclusions.

Regardless, I hope all the players had a positive experience at all levels and want to come back next year to play “our game”.

Leafs – Watched the game last night which looked like an exhibition game between a split NHL/AHL Detroit team and the so called NHL Leafs. Home game, after their tough losses, I really figured that the Leafs would win against a beat up Detroit squad – but fortunately they did not. To me the Game breaker was the short-handed goal Detroit got to tie the game when even after the first breakaway save, the Leafs could not marshal a defense on the great follow-up effort by Detroit for the goal.

Interesting that the media has the Leafs dead and buried and the post mortem fire / trade / dump / break-up debates are in full swing. I know I said whoever wins last night makes the play-offs and the other guys don’t but this is hockey. Being politically incorrect, it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. While she may be warming up and the Leafs looked pretty dejected as they left the ice last night it is not over. There are still four teams in a battle for two spots and if someone gets hot and someone not, there are definitely enough games left to shuffle the playoff deck. Washington is the team that is not getting too much attention but they are more of a threat to move up than Toronto.

I will be at the Leaf – Black Hawks game Tuesday night so we will see who comes to play. Chicago has already clinched a play-off spot so it will not be a life and death game for them – it is for Toronto. They have to deal with having two fewer games to play than all three teams ahead of them.

Eastern

Rank

Team

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

Last 10

Streak

1

y-Boston

75

52

17

6

110

9-0-1

Won 3

2

Montreal

76

43

26

7

93

8-2-0

Won 5

3

Tampa Bay

74

41

24

9

91

7-0-3

Won 2

  

Rank

Team

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

Last 10

Streak

1

x-Pittsburgh

74

47

22

5

99

4-5-1

Won 1

2

Philadelphia

74

39

27

8

86

6-3-1

OT 1

3

NY Rangers

75

41

30

4

86

6-4-0

Lost 1

  

Rank

Team

GP

W

L

OT

PTS

Last 10

Streak

1

Columbus

74

38

30

6

82

5-4-1

Won 1

2

Detroit

74

34

26

14

82

5-4-1

Won 1

  

3

Washington

74

34

28

12

80

5-3-2

Lost 1

4

Toronto

76

36

32

8

80

1-9-0

Lost 8Bottom of Form

 

Posted in General

Check the Schedule!


Mar 27 – Check the schedule Wayne! You cannot take anything on faith. You have to check it yourself. My source said Toronto was playing Boston next – NOT! They are playing Philly Friday and then back home for Detroit Saturday. In the best interests of my Wings playoff chances I hope the Leafs have a really tough game in Philly, lose and have a late return to Toronto. I am looking for any advantage I can find for my guys on Saturday night since I am not optimistic about their chances against Montreal tonight.

Four teams, all with 80 points and each with 10 games or less to go and all fighting for two play-off spots. At least that brings some drama to “seasonal” NHL play.

In the Short Snapper department

Toronto Mayoral debate – didn’t watch it, don’t care, too much of a gong show.

Flight 370 – Find it already! I find it hard to fathom (no pun intended) that in this day and age of technology that you can “lose” a modern airliner for over two weeks. Does someone’s defense forces who “know all” know where it is and are not telling?

NCAA – Excitement – madness – don’t care – move on!

? Alarm fire – As the mattress factory burns ?I have to understand the “alarm” rating system. I always thought a “5 Alarm Fire” was the big one but this one is a 6! What’s up with that?

Conscious Uncoupling – WTF? Other than all the snide and smirky comments from those with their alleged minds in the gutter, what is this – a new term for separated, divorcing, friends with benefits, a tax dodge? Trust the movie world and its glorified inhabitants to come up with this one.

Quebec election – Is there one – what’s the key issue? Corruption management?

Brophy – “Leafs’ Carlyle goes back to drawing board”. Whatever that means – someone may want to suggest too little too late and that you have to have something on the drawing board to go back to!

Skidmore College – offers a Miley Cyrus course? At least the school is named properly.

1 Gb Internet – blazing fast is the description, over 50 times faster than what is available today (20 Mb if you are lucky). Only problem – “only in Muskoka” from Lakeland Networks. They cite an interesting analogy to depict the speed differential using a car as the avatar. “An average Internet speed ‘car’ trip from Halifax to Vancouver would take over 12 days (non-stop). A Lakeland Networks fibre Internet Gig ‘car’ would be able to do the same trip in just over 3 hours.” Think how quickly “someone” could download their TV shows and movies!

Meanwhile back at the OMHAs – The last two AAA Championships will be on the go this weekend and the good news is that the Rangers will be there for both.

The Minor Atom AAAs are being hosted by Niagara North and the Peewee AAAs are off to Whitby. Yes Whitby – Again. Did you notice that Whitby is hosting or hosted three of the nine events this year. For the newbies, this means that they won three of the nine last season to get to host them. York Simcoe had two as did Niagara North. Oakville had one. The good news is that heading into this weekend Oakville has won two Golds this year so who knows what we can talk about after the weekend.

Playdowns – as part of the final wrap through the OMHA championships, in the Playdown world, Oakville is still involved in one final series – the little guys – the Novice AA are heading into game 5 of their series with Whitchurch – Stouffville holding a 2 – 1 – 1 advantage. Good luck guys – go for the gold.

Awards Week – as noted, it is this weekend at SMSC and will hopefully be lots of fun for all – win or lose. If you get a chance – go see ‘em, go support ‘em!

Posted in General

Last Team Standing


Mar 26 – I would say the NHL play-off run is on, or the battle is heating up – but it’s not. It is too bad that the team(s) that finally make the two Eastern wild cards spots can be characterized as the ones that lost the least, not won the most. The hapless Buds lost again last night (make that 6 in a row) and should easily post a “seven” as they take on Boston who are smarting from a streak breaking loss to Montreal. While the Leafs lost, so did my Wings to the mighty Blue Jackets, thereby squandering a great chance to move up by two while maintaining their two games in hand advantage. Their immediate prospects don’t look that great as they face the aforementioned Habs in Detroit tomorrow night.

At least both teams lost in regulation last night so neither one picked up one of those cheesy “overtime loss” points.

As I enjoy making predictions and did so to my Sport Oakville colleagues last night, I predict that whoever wins the Saturday night spectacular (Detroit vs Toronto in Toronto) will make the play-offs and the loser will not. Carnac has spoken.

Oops – The latest MOHA play-off fiasco seems to have flown relatively quietly under the radar. While not understanding the long hiatus between the end of the play-offs and Championship week (now week-end) games, it did allow some folks time to let one team believe they were in the big game for a couple of weeks, then tell them they were out for a couple of days while they told another team they were in and then a couple of days later tell the new team that thought they were now in (and had a practice) that no, they were now out again and the team that was in and then told they were out was back in again! Did you follow all that? That can’t have been too upsetting to anyone could it – especially the 32 ten year olds, their team volunteers and parents! I always advocate that minor sports, especially team sports is a great way to learn many life lessons, but this is not what I had in mind.

Funny, but not, is that this is not the first time this has happened (Bantam White approximately 15 years ago) and coincidentally, the same individual was involved as a key decision maker both times. Since I have mellowed over the years, I will pass on the opportunity to say what I really think and move on. Wonder if any death threats came out of this one like the last time?

Championship Weekend – formerly known as Championship Week, formerly known as Awards Week, formerly known as “MOMS” Week is finally set to hit the ice this weekend with the top two (we hope) playoff survivors from every house league division meeting in a one game championship. Some of my best, and unfortunately a couple of my worst, memories of my time with the House League program are rooted in these games. I was fortunate enough that I got to coach several, won a couple and was the Grand Poobah over them all for eight seasons.

Especially for the younger age groups, the rink was usually packed with wildly cheering parents, friends and relatives. We were often favoured with absolutely stellar games. As one who hates shoot-outs, I was often challenged by the number of games that went to overtime, played hell with my schedule but had me wanting the kids to decide it on the ice, not with a gimmicky spectacle of one on one challenges. Watching those games by the benches or in the box and seeing the intensity and fervor on the coaches faces (and yes the kids too) was and is as the ad says “priceless”. Especially in a second overtime, pressure mounting, the clock against me and “someone” scores a good goal to end it. A good great story and memory.

Contrast that with ultimately having to go to a shoot-out, working through several rounds to a conclusion and have a mother accost me in the hallway, screaming at me about how terrible a person I was, had I no feelings or respect for the kids, how unfair I was, how could I traumatize her son that way, didn’t I care about the kids . . . . (the “losing” goalies’ mom and yes it did happen and it was not pretty).

Hopefully the positive side of that atmosphere is still there for the parents, friends, relatives, volunteers and most of all the kids.

What people have to realize is that this (unfortunately) may be the only “championship” sports experience some of these kids ever have and we (all of us) should feel an obligation to make sure they enjoy it and get full value from it.

Anecdotally, in one of my last years as VP, an unnamed Juvenile White player was talking with me when we were handing out the championship awards. This young man was 18 years old, had been playing in MOHA since he was a Paperweight (Timbit program precursor), was involved in other Town sports and this was his first ever championship game appearance. His team had won, he had played a good game and he was absolutely thrilled (whether that was “cool” or not). It was not the Stanley Cup. It was not an OMHA Gold medal but it was a championship that they had won that day and it meant a lot to him.

Sixteen Mile Sports Complex. This Weekend. Schedule is on the MOHA site. Get out and watch if you can.

Posted in General