The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing, so let’s take a moment to look at some of the funny moments:
1- The unintentional bird. This may go down in history as one of the funniest moments of all time in sports with Andrew Ference claiming that he didn’t intend to flip the bird at the Montreal faithful in game 5 after scoring a great goal. Adding to the general hilarity of this moment are the reactions of teammate Shawn Thornton and Montreal goaltender Carey Price. Shawn Thornton helpfully told the media that he thought that Ference’s finger may have gotten ‘stuck’ and Carey Price’s “come on,” upon hearing the rationale. An unforgettable montage for the 2011 first round which will be funny for years.
2- Goaltender irony. A day after two horrible losses to the Chicago Blackhawks, Roberto Luongo is nominated for the Vezina trophy alongside Tim Thomas and Pekka Rinne. It’s like the hockey gods have some strange sense of humour. Laughing it up big time? Vince Vaughan, with a sarcastic thumbs up for Luongo after being pulled in Chicago. It’s ok, Lou. Just watch the Break Up and you’ll feel better.
3- Goaltender controversy in Philly. This has actually resulted in a great duel between Peter Laviolette and the media, with his latest response inciting laughter all around, saying that he’ll sleep on it and tell them nothing later. The 3 goaltenders for the Flyers is becoming problematic. It was thought that Brian Boucher was the natural number one pick for Philly considering that he’s a veteran with mental toughness. But his eyes showed anything but mental toughness at the post-game media scrum where he took responsibility for the team’s loss. He looks more fragile than he sounds, which is bad news for Michael Leighton or Sergei Bobrovsky, wherever the latter may be.
Leighton has had playoff success in the past, but he hasn’t played much this season at all and spent some time in the AHL affiliate team. He may have more mental stamina for what is quickly becoming a war of attrition between Philly and Buffalo, with neither team wanting to back down in what could stretch to 7 games. Leighton may be the best bet since he’s been to the big dance before. Bobrovsky may be too young and too untested to venture into this match up and Boucher isn’t looking tough enough. What does Laviolette have to lose by giving his former netminder a chance?
4- Hair Power. The variations of the playoff beard tradition continue, with hair power stemming now from mustaches or just more hair on one’s head. Dubinsky and the New York Rangers are trying out stache power to positive effect, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks appears to be starting his playoff mullet in all its raunchy glory and Carey Price’s locks make him look like an 80s daytime soap star. I keep expecting him to suddenly make eyes at the camera during a press scrum and ask all the ladies to join him in the hot tub. If he does that, he will easily take over Ference’s currently number one ranked unintentional bird comment as the funniest moment of this playoffs.
5- The Battle of the Broadcasters. The tight schedule for the first round has pitted TSN vs. the CBC for coverage and it’s pretty clear that TSN wins this fight. TSN started winning this war over Hockey Night in Canada the minute that it bought the theme song- the moment that CBC crowned that new song with the awful bagpipes that doesn’t actually sound like anything was the minute that they lost me as a lifetime fan. The theme music is one we all know and love and any true hockey fan will tell you that it can never be replaced. Period.
But the CBC is losing serious points over its boring platform. All of the broadcasters just seem so buttoned down and serious and Ron McLean is always quoting some rock song or epic poem leading up to the game which does nothing to rouse the spectator. The worst offenders are the two metrosexual iDesk blondes who look like they could be reading the stock market numbers- does either one of these guys have a pulse? Would it kill them to crack a smile? Honest to God, I would never act like some half asleep desk jockey if I worked in sports broadcasting.
By comparison, the TSN panel actually has energy- imagine that. Who would have thought that sports could incite excitement in people? They’re dynamic, they’re funny, they’re critical and they don’t take themselves too seriously. They’re not afraid to have a little fun and take some pot shots at each other. They’re broadcasters who are sportsfans, rather than broadcasters that work for the CBC. Yawn. The only person who actually looks awake during HNIC is PJ Stock with his wild hair, big eyes and upbeat voice. He’s the only one who looks like he should be with TSN instead.
The HNIC format is old, but the whole thing is beginning to feel old. The Hot Stove is like the View for Men- it wanders into so much nattering that you just eventually tune out. The analysis feels like you’ve been asked to attend a powerpoint presentation. There is a lot of life missing in the CBC’s coverage and getting a Twitter account doesn’t make you current and doesn’t make you cool if you have zero energy to give to your audience. The HNIC crew has simply lost their edge and their passion.
The only funny thing about watching CBC’s coverage is putting it on mute. Then it actually looks like the iDesk is about the TSX and PJ Stock’s hair looks like a party.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.