At last, now let the real season begin

Posted April 12, 2015 on 3:20 pm | In the category Canada, Sports, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

It’s been a long dry spell for sports – a Marx Borthers so-called Super Bowl, a good Grey Cup after a Marx Brothers season, overhyped US semi-pro (i.e.)  college football and basketball tournaments, and now the US tv moguls  are trying to add semi-pro hockey of all things, of zero interest in real hockeyland, no soccer of note except when the Faroe Islands beat Greece in the European Championship prelims, baseball struggling almost pitifully  with  drug abuse, and with  a potential  summer race of interest a long way off,  And all the while an overly long regular season NH L hockey agenda , half to it played in southern or near southern US cities with little or no interest in ice, and then – poof – suddenly the premier playoff schedule blazes forth  in today’s papers.  The real season of hockey begins – and finally a playoff scenario for the next 6 weeks is in store  that will be terrific..  This time lady luck played its hand beautifully in forming the schedule.

Some of the usual suspects are present:New York Rangers have won the President’s Cup as the league champions, and their former world’s best goalie is just coming back from a lengthy injury (watch out!), the Detroit Red Wings, after a scare, are right in the middle of things, where they always show up at a  minimum, and they are always welcome.  They may be a bit old, but they have tons of skill and some young studs are working there way in nicely with the big boys (watch out!).  Ditto for Chicago.  The Pittsburgh Penguins, should by all rights be out of the playoffs, after a complete collapse,  but just managed to stagger in  as the last team on the last day, despite the fact that they think they have the best star players in existence – they’re wrong and will make a quick exit.  The untalented but ruffian Boston Bruins are out and deservedly so – too old, too tired, too unskilled.   And the incomprehensibly incompetent Toronto Maple Leafs outdid even their own seemingly endless disappointing seasons with  a total turkey.  Their supposed big scorer scored one goal after new year. Most of the rest of the country began  to feel sorry for them.  But not very.  What is with that city?  Maybe the endless snow got to them.

But look who is in and how they got there.  Mordecai Richler can look down from above with delight on  his beloved hometown Montréal Canadiéns .  With the current best goalie on earth, an inherently modest  First Nations chap from the splendid wilds of the Chilcotin plateau of  British Columbia, and with  plenty of help from a sassy Torontonian, of all things, this team has brought real excitement to the wonderful city where hockey really  counts (watch out!!).   And  Vancouver, destroyed last year by self-destructive coaching, replied this year with a minor-league coach with major league talent, and a return to game-changing form by their superlative Swedish twins (watch out!!!). And this time no less than five Canadian teams are in the playoffs who will  all be chomping at the bit, the last three after breathtaking final runs – none more than the Ottawa Senators who thumped Boston  out of contention behind a supposedly mediocre minor-league  has-been (or never was) goalie who was an injury call-up and  then won 19 of the last 22 games.  No matter what now happens, this team will be the sentimental favourite, but they shouldn’t be able to get past Montreal in the first round this year, though the do have the best defenceman in existence and home team support will be tremendous, but it also will be down the road.  It is in any case easy to predict that this will be a great opening round series.  Winnipeg hasn’t played a playoff game since 1996, so their new  arena  will be hopping, and their bigness and toughness may give Anaheim more trouble than they should expect from the eighth place team.  And Calgary was picked for last by most pre-season experts, and came through in the end in  hair-raising fashion game after game with a bunch of young guys who will make them a real contender in the future. The start against arch -rival Vancouver, and that too will be a sizzling series.  Prediction, Vancouver vs Montreal in the final.  Anybody’s series then, but the weather will be nicer in Vancouver.    Bring it on!!!


Politics and water

Posted April 8, 2015 on 11:51 pm | In the category Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

Anyone who has visited the great state of California in the last couple of years could not fail to notice dramatic signs of a rapidly approaching potentially disastrous  problem.  When you drive down from the north the reservoirs that used to be filled are shockingly low, even close  to  empty everywhere and in the east there is virtually no snow in the great Sierra Nevada Mountains, no sign of a snowpack  that is crucial for almost all the water that has traditionally been pumped  wastefully south to fill the golf courses and pools of southern California.  It seems pretty obvious – California may be the seventh leading industrial power among the “states”  of the world, but without water they cannot come close to maintaining that position.  Ans now many experts feel that the aquatic demands of the great central valley which  provides a significant percentage of the entire agricultural production of the US  is in imminent danger of permanent serious damage as wells are dug ever deeper into the underground water supply.

Governor Jerry Brown has now ordered a 25% cut in water usage in most areas of the state.  For those of you who who missed it, yes that is the same Jerry Brown who was called Moonbeam when he governed  the state 40 years ago  and who has done an excellent job of stabilizing the California economy now at 76, but this kind of drought  may be unmanageable.  Palm Springs – refuge of the very rich and famous – will lose its golf courses and swimming pools, Los Angeles its lawns and the glass of water in restaurants, not to mention anything but short  showers.  Wildfires will be a real threat all over the state.  Agricultural  production will  drop like a rock.There is no doubt about it. This is the real thing, and only prolonged heavy rain and colder weather can  bring things back to where they were not long ago.  Much of California is a beautiful place and the rest of us can only hope that this is somewhere  on the horizon.  But the truth is that there is no sign of it.

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