Habs Fans Boo Stutzle in Ottawa

Habs fans

I’m wondering why Habs fans felt the need to be so disrespectful and tacky when playing the Senators in Ottawa last night.

The loud booing by the considerable number of Habs fans every time Senator’s superstar Tim Stutzle touched the puck was annoying and disrespectful. The booing was a result of Habs’ Brendan Gallagher’s comments after the last time the two teams met. Basically, Gallagher alleged that Stutzle fakes injuries to draw penalties. Ironically, I saw a statistic today that showed Gallagher and Stutzle have the same number of diving/embellishment penalties, meaning Gallagher’s criticism is the pot calling the kettle black, so to speak.

The penalty in question was a dirty, potentially career-ending knee-on-knee hit delivered by Nick Suzuki. Stutzle did lie on the ice after the hit but recovered sufficiently to continue his shift. He did miss two subsequent games due to the injury though. Who remembers way back at the beginning of Sidney Crosby’s illustrious NHL career when Don Cherry ragged on Crosby for his “turtle” reaction that drew penalties? I do, I bet Crosby does too. He appeared to learn from that criticism; perhaps Stutzle will learn something from Gallagher’s comment and the booing fans. Stutzle’s obvious talent will draw enough hits from frustrated opposing players, he does not want to encourage more.

Ottawa began last night’s game with a touching (and yes, respectful) tribute to the late Guy Lafleur, a hockey legend that led Montreal to most of their Stanley cups. Lafleur never played for the Ottawa Senators, the gesture was to show respect for a Habs hero. To top it off, Senators goalie Anton Forsberg stopped 44 shots on net last night to lead his team to a (nother) win against Montreal.

Habs fans tacky and disrespectful in loss to Senators

Back to the previous game…Suzuki apologized for the hit the next time he met Stutzle in the faceoff circle. Well before Gallagher’s rant and the Senator’s victory.

Now that’s classy on Suzuki’s part.

Habs fans could learn something from both examples of respect and sportsmanship. And lose the tackiness.

Sadio Mané: Sustainable Human

Sadio Mané, Sustainable Human

I recently read this inspirational, heart-warming story on Facebook. It’s a feel-good breath of fresh air on social media. Typically social media is full of negativity with trolls quick to judge and criticize others. Case in point, this story was in response to trolls commenting on the fact that his cell phone is cracked.

Sadio Mané, Sustainable Human
Sadio Mané

Sadio Mané, a Senegalese Soccer Star that plays for the British team in Liverpool, earns approximately 10.2 million dollars a year and has given the world a lesson in modesty after fans spotted him carrying a cracked iPhone.

His response is legendary: “Why would I want 10 Ferraris, 20 diamond watches and two jet planes? What would that do for the world? I starved, I worked in the fields, I played barefoot, and I didn’t go to school. Now I can help people. I prefer to build schools and give poor people food or clothing.

I have built schools [and] a stadium; we provide clothes, shoes, and food for people in extreme poverty. In addition, I give 70 euros per month to all people from a very poor Senegalese region in order to contribute to their family economy.

I do not need to display luxury cars, luxury homes, trips, and even planes. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me,” Mané said.

Who is Sadio Mané?

After reading the story, I researched Mané to see who he is and if the story was true. After all, it is difficult to believe much of the stuff you read on Facebook and other social media accounts.

I am happy to report that indeed he is a very philanthropic athlete, keen on supporting his hometown of Bambali in Senegal that he left behind to become a professional athlete. CNN has this story about a few of his generous projects within his hometown.

It appears that although Mané has physically moved from Senegal, his heart is still very much there with its less fortunate.

The world needs more (humble, modest, grateful, generous) people like Sadio Mané.

Locked in with the Ladies

Alyssa Lyons, Michelle Knezovic, and Lindsay Eastwood are the ladies locked in to discussions on anything sports related, with Chiann Nobrega as the editor and producer. I became aware of this YouTube series because Lindsey Eastwood is a fantastic local hockey player.

I say local because she grew up here in Ottawa playing minor hockey, but spent the most recent years playing for Syracuse University in New York state. As their team captain I should add.

Lindsey’s dedication and enthusiasm for hockey is (and has been for years) evident to anyone that knows her or of her; her success is so well deserved. Lindsey’s parents are the quintessential hockey parents so prevalent here in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa, known for its tightly knit hockey community. When one of our kids succeed, we are all thrilled and proud. Thanks to Facebook and other methods of social media, we can all stay updated on their progress.

I do not know much about the other women involved, but if they are anywhere near as inspirational and knowledgeable as Lindsey is, this adventure should be awesome. Find out for yourself. Lock in with the ladies to check out their weekly episodes and subscribe to their success.

locked in with the ladies

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Many of my blog posts here are inspired by things that happen in my daily life.  For example, yesterday I was reminded, by my 21 month old granddaughter no less, how actions speak louder than words.

She loves to sit at my desk where I keep track of the paper part of my gardening business.  You know, a computer, files, pens, receipts, articles for new ideas, and elastics, lots of elastics.  You see elastics are perfect for organizing the receipts from the plants I purchased for clients.  These receipts are important for warranty and income tax purposes.

Back to the elastics and how they apply to the actions speak louder than words theory.  You may remember from pictures of my son’s wedding that my daughter-in-law has the most beautiful, long, thick and wavy hair.  Well, she often wears this glorious hair tied up in a pony tail, bun, or braids.  What she may not realize is that when she does wear it down, she often gathers it up and twists or knots it.  Sometimes she secures the tie up, sometimes she just lets it fall back down.  She always seems to have an emergency elastic on her wrist for this tie up purpose.  Well, guess who picked up on that habit?  You got it, my granddaughter, the elastics she found on my desk immediately went around her wrist.  Then she pulled one off her wrist and tried to put it in her hair.  The cutest part was she does not (yet) have the volume of hair her mother does, so the elastic just wouldn’t stay put.  A fact that I just couldn’t explain (to her) with words.

Another, not so cute, example of how actions speak louder than words is the fiasco with Don Cherry and Hockey Night in Canada.  Everyone (well apparently there are a few people that are not aware) knows that Don Cherry’s actions over the years prove that he is a caring, kind and compassionate man both in and out of hockey arenas.  Yet, a few unscripted words were his downfall last week.  His life time of actions should have spoken louder than his ill-fated words.  In no way should he be labelled as a racist.  Maybe an old man, incapable of getting his point across in the (overly) politically correct environment we find ourselves in these days, but not a racist.

Many people, believing Cherry’s comments to be inappropriate and racist, were quick however to defend and forgive our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his inappropriate and racist actions over the years.  Why is that?  Because Trudeau has apologized profusely for every and any action he has offended anyone with and then some, just in case he missed anyone.  The problem (in my opinion) is that one can only apologize so many times before the apologies become hollow and insincere.  Words can be cheap, glossed over, forgotten; actions are much more lasting.

Actions speak louder than words, good and bad!

Don Cherry, Racism, and Freedom of speech

don cherry

Anyone in Canada and hockey lovers elsewhere in the world know who Don Cherry is.  By now you have probably heard that he was fired from his Coaches’ Corner role in Hockey Night in Canada by Sportsnet for his comments during last Saturday night’s NHL game.

The Rant

The rant went like this…“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

don cherry

Many people found the comments discriminatory, divisive, racist, and over the top.  Even though he never said the word “immigrants” that’s who it was assumed he was referring to.  To me, the people offended by the so-called racist remarks are the worst racists.  If Cherry had backtracked, confessing to merely defending veterans and what they stand for, his rant might have been swallowed more smoothly.  Instead, he stuck by his words.

Defending Veterans

Others (those with thicker skin who are harder to offend) feel that he was indeed just defending veterans and voicing his opinion.  We do live in a nation where freedom of speech is accepted don’t we? Don Cherry has always been (on and off the show) supportive of veterans, even visiting them overseas.  Although his cohort Ron McLean gave a thumbs up at the end of Cherry’s rant, McLean was quick to apologize when the complaints started piling in, some say throwing Cherry under the bus.

We should remember too that Don Cherry is 85 years old.  It is not unfathomable that Canadians (and others around the world) of that era might be more sensitive to the sacrifices veterans made (and current soldiers continue to make) for their country.

I was not directly affected by war. I do have vague memories of older relatives and heard stories of ancestors that were though.  My children and grandchildren don’t have these memories though.  We try to explain the horrific times, especially around Remembrance Day, but I have to admit the memories are just not there and so hard to envision. That doesn’t mean we don’t wear a poppy every November or don’t respect those that have “paid the price” as Don Cherry said.  My parents taught me otherwise. Like Don Cherry, they had the memories.  Some people never had that respect instilled into them.

Freedom of Speech

Although speaking his mind is Cherry’s claim to fame, especially in the hockey world, it appears that these days (especially in some media, CBC in particular) you have to choose your words very carefully.  Reprimanded for his choice of words many times recently, some claim that was his charm on Coach’s Corner.  Once again I think that goes with advanced age.  The older we get the less we care what others think of us and our opinions. Unless we need the paycheck. In that case, we turn the thumbs up to thumbs down and apologize to those we (possibly may have) offended.

No Apologies

The fact that he never apologized for the wording of this rant was his (final) downfall. After all, one politician, in particular, often makes insensitive, foolish, politically incorrect errors in judgment. But he gets away with it because he apologizes (charmingly and sheepishly) when called on his actions, regardless of how he really feels. Don Cherry does not have the acting skills necessary to do that. Nor does he care to or should he have to!

So much for freedom of speech!

Shame on the Haters so Quick to Judge Others

shame on the haters

Shame on the haters that are so quick to judge others.  It is disgustingly common on social media these days. Anyone commenting or posting is quickly pounced on by these haters who respond with scathing comments of their own.  It’s called trolling for a reason; these haters are ugly as trolls, and I’m not talking about their outward appearance.

Bianca Andreescu’s Mom

The latest example I encountered was all the nasty comments surrounding the appearance and demeanor of Bianca Andreescu’s mom during the recent US Open.  At a restaurant watching the final, I heard firsthand things like “oh my god, that must be a wig” “what’s with the sunglasses?” and “doesn’t she ever smile?”

shame on the haters
Maria and Nicu Andreescu supporting their daughter Bianca at the US Open

This Twitter conversation started with a tweet from Chrissy Teigen, answered by other examples of nastiness:

Bianca’s mom looks like someone is pretending to be Bianca’s mom. Someone check on Bianca’s mom!!  — christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) September 7, 2019

That’s what I thought, too! Hahaha! I was like Is that a wig? Sunglasses? Is the in the Witness Protection Program?

Was she trying to disguise herself or is she just Unattractive 🤷🏽‍♀️

Bianca’s response? “My mom’s a straight G. I will never be that cool”

Bianca’s Comeback

I chuckled when I later heard an interview with Bianca, knowing some of these haters might be (should be) pretty embarrassed about their comments.  When asked how she maintains her composure and concentration during such stressful times (US Open against Serena Williams), Andreescu was quick to credit her mom.  Apparently, her mom has been teaching her talented daughter yoga and mindfulness for several years.  When stressed on the tennis courts, all she has to do is look up and focus on her mother’s calmness to settle her nerves. She can then block out the external issues (like the noisy crowd cheering for Williams) and return to concentrating on the game at hand.

“I don’t only work on my physical aspect. I also work on the mental, because that’s also very, very important,” Bianca added. “It’s definitely showing through my matches where I’m staying in the present moment a lot of the time. I don’t like to focus on what just happened or in the future.”

Shame on the haters! As Taylor Swift advised, “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate, shake it off!”  Good for you Bianca for shaking it off, putting these haters in their place, refusing to let their judgments ruin such an awesome achievement.  Your parents are obviously very proud of you and you of them.  Your appreciation for the sacrifices your parents made for their family is very mature and touching.

On a more comical note, after thrilling us with her tennis prowess, trophy in her arms, Bianca addressed the Williams’ fans displaying her sense of humour too:

“I know you guys really wanted Serena to win, I am so sorry about that”

How typically Canadian!

Bianca Andreescu has Canadians Cheering

Arthur Ashe Stadium in NYC may have been filled with fans cheering every point American tennis powerhouse Serena Williams won this weekend, but proud Canadians were cheering just as loudly from their homes north of the border.  Not for Williams of course, but for their new sweetheart, tennis upstart Bianca Andreescu.  This teenager first captured our attention last January when she defeated some big talent in New Zealand’s ASB Challenge and then qualified for the Australian Open a few days later.

Yesterday, we proud Canadians were riveted to our TVs as Bianca Andreescu dethroned Williams with an incredible show of steely determination, perseverance, and youthful charm.  What a matchup; David and Goliath revisited.  Andreescu is the inexperienced underdog, playing in her very first (but I’m betting not her last) US Open, against the seasoned veteran Williams playing in her 24th.

Andreescu’s composure was incredible with the fans roaring their approval of Williams’ every move.  When it appeared that Williams was mounting a comeback in the second set, Andreescu dug deep, rebounding from a change in momentum with fierce and impressive passion, winning two straight sets for the victory.

After winning the Canadian open just last month, Andreescu moved up to a ranking of 14th, from 152nd at the beginning of the year.  By the way, she was the first Canadian woman to win that title since 1969, gathering fans across our country.  With her remarkable win in the US Open yesterday, at just 19 years of age, she became the first Canadian to win a grand slam event.  Not to mention, the first woman ever to win the US Open in her first attempt.

What a year!  35 million proud Canadians are very impressed!

Bianca Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu
Andreescu dethrones Williams

Buzzer beaters create Raptors’ bandwagon

I realize buzzer beaters are a common occurrence in basketball, but boy, do they ever cause a rise in my blood pressure when the outcome of the game rides on one.

The buzzer beater that Kawhi Leonard bounced (four times) off the rim and in, as all of Canada held their breath, sending the Toronto Raptors to the NBA finals, was mesmerizing. I’m sure it has been watched around the world by seasoned basketball lovers as well as those new to the sport, now perched on the Raptors’ bandwagon.

The strategy of waiting until the buzzer is about to sound before shooting for the winning basket is nerve wracking to say the least. As long as the ball is released before the buzzer sounds, the score counts. Only if the shot is successful of course. The strategy is that the opposing team does not get a chance to respond to a score. The game is over, while the ball is still in the air, the final score yet to be determined. Until the ball goes in or misses the net.

In game five of the NBA finals between the Raptors and The Golden State Warriors, the Raptors found themselves behind by one measly point with mere seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, this particular buzzer beater by Raptors’ super star Kyle Lowry failed to hit the basket. Instead of jubilant elation, the crowds in the Toronto stadium and pop-up Jurassic Parks across Canada were stunned quiet and sat dejected, as TVs in homes across the country were clicked off to escape the misery.

What a difference in emotion! The first of these buzzer beaters I could of watched over and over again, as many fans did. The joy and disbelief on the fans’ faces and the ensuing celebrations were heartwarming to watch. Especially in these times of political division within our country. From coast to coast, Canada was united in their joy and pride for their team. We still are; it’s not over yet!

The series will resume Thursday night in California where game six will unfold. The Toronto Raptors have a 3-2 lead in this final series, and hope to wrap it up as the NBA champs, the first time ever for a Canadian franchise.

I just hope we don’t have to wait for a buzzer beater to seal the deal! My heart can’t take it!

buzzer beaters
Toronto Raptors logo

Owner’s Commitment to Winning

The owner’s commitment to winning (or lack of) says it all. Another top player is leaving the Ottawa Senators; it was just announced minutes ago that Mark Stone was traded to the Las Vegas Knights. Stone is the third player within the last week to announce they are leaving, with Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel the two other Senator stars we would have preferred to hold onto. After all, these three players rack up the majority of the team’s points.

The (most telling) reason for Stone’s decision was the “owner’s commitment to winning” in Vegas. Without mentioning Ottawa Senator’s owner Eugene Melynk by name, Stone implied that personal relationships (or lack thereof) make the difference in the locker room and on the ice.

As well as the top three performers on the ice this season, the Senators traded Erik Karlson and Mike Hoffman recently as well. All Sens fans suspected that the Senators owner’s commitment to winning was obviously absent. These last few trades made it painfully obvious. If the owner is not willing or not able to finance these top players, why not sell the team?

I cannot wrap my head around trading an excellent player for a possible draft pick. Take Erik Karlsson for example. Opinion within the hockey world is that Karlsson is the best defenceman in the league. So, trade him to get a draft pick for someone that may be as good, someday? Sounds counterproductive to me, even for a team in “rebuild” mode. Giving away your top five players leaves your team pretty depleted.

Senator fans are quickly losing faith in their team. And what about the (predominantly) rookies and few veterans left as the dust settles? They must be absolutely deflated and discouraged with the changes.

I can picture the Senators players currently left in the dressing room, all wondering if they are back in the minor league.

Tennis Upsets Feature Bianca Andreescu

After (painfully) witnessing the upset of our men’s junior hockey team in the quarter-finals we Canadians have moved on to a thrilling and unexpected (maybe not to her) surprise in world tennis action. Eighteen-year-old Bianca Andreescu has been on the pro tennis circuit since 2017, but suddenly bounced into focus last weekend when she defeated Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in New Zealand’s ASB classic.

Despite the fact that she was defeated in the final of that event, Andreescu went on to qualify for the Australian Open a few days later. Young, talented, ambitious, and resilient, Bianca is earning respect on the tennis courts as well as pride and admiration from Canadians.

With a shining future ahead, all of our eyes and hearts are on and with her. We are hoping for more.

tennis star Bianca Andreescu
Bianca Andreescu photo by Rogers Media