How I was Brainwashed into Being a Leafs Fan

I’d like to say it started as all my interest in hockey started, with Mason Raymond. However, that would be a lie. The Leafs caught my attention last year during the playoffs against Boston. How could they not? I’ve always been a fan of the underdog and that series… it was something else. Additionally, I had a friend at the time that was a Leafs fan and, like most of my teams I follow, I paid attention so that we could discuss the games.

The first appearance of a “Go Leafs Go” on my Twitter timeline appeared on May 1, 2013, to be exact. In case anyone wanted to know.

The series ended and I back-burnered them. Completely forgot about them, according to this tweet in July. I drifted apart from my Leafs fan friend and the Leafs fell off my radar… For a little while. Not for long. Because then… Then they signed Mason Raymond to a PTO (Let me remind you of my processing this), and it was all down hill from there.

At first, it was subtle. “Oh, there’s no other teams playing that I care about and Mason Raymond is on the team, I guess I’ll watch them.” I caught a couple of his interviews, saw some pretty adorable gifs of him on the bench with his teammates. Like this one:

Source: I have no idea, sorry.

Some celebrating, like this:

Source: kane

And like this:

Source: cassylee

By September, I was actively searching out Leafs’ blogs and reporters, adding them on Twitter. One of my favorite Canucks’ bloggers just so happened to also cover the Leafs! So that brought me to reading even more.

When MayRay wasn’t on the ice, I went back to not caring about the Leafs… for awhile. That changed as they wooed me to their ways throughout the course of the next several months. 24/7 provided me with a snapshot into them and I fell in love. By November, I was actively calling myself a Leafs fan.

Soon after that, the Canucks started… whatever we want to call that horrific month of January. It was bad. Nearly everyone was negative about the team as they continued to downslide and be broken. I took comfort in that the Leafs were gonna be the Leafs and I didn’t have the high expectations for them that I had for the Canucks.

This eventually turned into listening to the Steve Dangle podcast and learning even more about the Leafs and following all the Leafs bloggers on Twitter and loudly cheering for them and taking solace when they didn’t utterly and completely break my heart (see: Canucks & Luongo, Canucks & Schneider, Canucks & Kesler, Canucks & Raymond… are you sensing a pattern here?)

So. That’s it. That’s how in less than a year, I was brainwashed into being a Leafs fan. They’re a fun young group, really and I’m excited to see where they go in the next few years. They have some amazing talent, a few bromances, and never fail to give me #hockeyplayerfeels.

An Open Letter to Canucks Mgmt.

John Tortorella, Mike Gillis, Rollie Melanson, and company.

How does it feel to go from having the fanbase support you – to having #FreeTorts everywhere – to being loathed, questioned, and losing the fanbase’s trust that you’ll make the right decision?

Because congratulations. You did it. You managed to accomplish what Alain Vigneault never did throughout the entire Schneider/Luongo debacle. You managed to completely screw up.

Don’t get me wrong, Eddie Lack is an amazing goaltender and I feel he still has the fanbase’s support. The Heritage Classic debacle isn’t his fault. What was he suppose to say, when he was told to start? No? Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

You had a chance to fix the mistakes you made with Robert Luongo and you failed. You created drama where there didn’t need to be any. Furthermore, you went out and blasted the person who should be your starting goaltender – calling him inconsistent on the air.  Yes, the guy who had a shutout in the Olympics is inconsistent. Sure.

Way to destroy both of your goaltenders in one game, Canucks.  Kudos on that. I seriously hope you have learned after this, but from the post-game comments and the fact that this is the second time you’ve had two amazing goaltenders in the organization and have completely mismanaged them is pretty amazing. Does management thrive on having controversy and Roberto Luongo’s sad face?

Those boos – and Luuuus – from the Heritage Classic weren’t for Eddie Lack, and I hope he recognizes that. They were for management. The ones that put Eddie and Lu in that position. The ones that I hope are soon fired.

There needs to be a serious house-cleaning, from top to bottom, in the Canucks’ staff. Too many things have gone off the rails and it’s definitely not the players’ faults. The blame needs to fall squarely on the decision-maker’s shoulders.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to support the players – while hoping that they’re all traded elsewhere so as not to have to deal with these shenanigans.

Sincerely,

Ashley

30 in 30: Day 30!!!: Nashville Predators & Vancouver Canucks

First, I have to apologize for slacking the last two teams. I’ve had the head cold from hell – or maybe from Winnipeg, that appears to be hell. Plus, really, my top two teams are pretty interchangeable. I would be here all day if I had to choose just one favorite between the two. Or hell, choose between just the Preds: Colin Wilson or Roman Josi or Carter Hutton or Marek Mazanec or Seth Jones or Filip Forsberg or Rich Clune ororor, so many choices. Or just the Canucks: Eddie Lack or Jordan Schroeder or Kevin Bieksa or Chris Tanev or Mason Raymond or Ryan Kesler or… you get the picture, I’m sure.

Starting with Nashville, the guy that seduced me over to the Preds last year should probably take the first position. While not my absolute favorite hockey player ever (please see Mason Raymond), he’s definitely up high on he list (I will never do a list because too many options. But so

Nashville Predators: Colin Wilson

CWilson. Let me objectify you on a daily basis. [Source: the-destroia]

That stare. [Source: courtneydagger50]

TONGUE. [Source: the-destroia]

MOAR TONGUE. [Source: rocktheredblueandgold]

Vancouver Canucks: Jordan Schroeder

He is a brat and I adore him dearly for it. [Source: jordanschroeders]

He’s also kind of okay at hockey. [Source: jordanschroeders]

I am not totally distracted by this. [Source: jordanschroeders]

But back to that whole being a brat thing… Also the internet is forever and you cannot delete things before I screencap them, child. Good try though. [Source: my twitter]

Nashville Predators: Carter Hutton

Carter Hutton Amazing Save Dot Gif is a thing. He pulls out these highlight reel saves about every other game, but in between those saves are these crazy MISSES that he should have made, but I love him any ways. [Source: buzzfeedsports]

He fits really, really well in Nashville. When Pekka comes back, it’s going to be an amazing duo to watch. [Source: uptheboards]

Also, he’s friend with Eddie Lack which makes him a good guy in my book! [Source: nhlhcky]

Vancouver Canucks: Kevin Bieksa

He looks like he gives really good celebratory hugs. [Source: jordanschroeders]

HE CAN WIN FACEOFFS LIKE WHOA. [Source: textsfromlastperiod]

I don’t even know, I just needed to include this picture. [Source: sedintwins]

Sometimes he eats tape? He was hungry during the game. IDK here either. [Source: s-piznarski]

Nashville Predators: Roman Josi

Roman Josi: Real Male Model. [Source: queenofthesmalltownrumor]

Shorts and flip flops and a backwards hat, but I’m still paying attention. [Source: ladernierefille]

His eyeeeeeeeees. I could look into them forever. [Source: nhlhotties]

Go Preds! [Source: orpikjam44]

Last, but certainly not least

Vancouver Canucks: Eddie Lack

Your argument is invalid. [Source: glovehand]

I love his smiiiiiile. Omg. [Source: flawlessswedes]

Eddie Lack victory dance is adorable. [Source: bieksler]

His eyes are lovely. And his hair. And just yes. [Source: gauncer]

And so concludes our journey. I hope you’ve had just as much fun a I have. You can find me on Twitter @ashonice or here, as always.

Images from tumblr and credited accordingly.

Quick Opinion: 2-1, Nashville over Vancouver

Wherein I apparently defend Carter Hutton and the Nashville Predators in general.

Hutton is not a bad goaltender. His stats may say otherwise, but he’s pretty dang good under the right circumstances. And even under the not-right circumstance he’s been known to make some amazing saves (please see Carter Hutton Amazing Save Dot Gif from the Philly game. And it’s brother Carter Hutton Amazing Save2 Dot Gif from the Dallas game.)

Hutton’s won his last 4 starts. He had 2 games on, 1 game where Dubnyk played and then 2 more games. Previous to these 5 games, Hutton’s last start was back on January 5, a 2-1 loss to the Hurricanes. He’s not just some random backup, he’s a legit NHL goaltender who has experienced some growing pains that were to be expected given the situation he was in.

The Nashville Predators are not a bad team. Are they Cup contenders? Probably not. They’re not necessarily an excellent team. However, they’re pretty good at pulling off wins when you least expect it. (See: wins over the Sharks and Kings in November, December, & January and the 7-2 trouncing they gave the Blackhawks in November.)

So, the Canucks should feel no shame in not scoring a million goals on this team (like they have in the past). The Canucks were out played and out hustled, especially in the third period. They looked a mess, and I now more than ever believe that there’s more than one person playing hurt (Richardson, I’m looking at you.)

Kesler never really got going – I’m not sure if it’s because of linemates or something else. I made the statement on twitter that the Canucks looked discombobulated and it seems to fit as much as ever. It was a good start for the Canucks and a not-great start for the Predators but as they game went on, the Preds got tighter while the Canucks loosened up and started making mistakes.

Stanton came back with a bang and continued to impress me. Never, ever leave us again, please. He definitely settles Bieksa down and I know at one point it felt like there was a ‘ah, you’re back, Imma go play forward now’ moment from Bieksa. Bieksa and Stanton mesh very well together.

But, as always, I was most impressed with Tanev. I don’t know if anyone realized it, but the Tanev-Hamhuis pairing quietly shutdown the offensive force of Weber-Josi, who are known for jumping into play and scoring goals. So there’s that. Or maybe it was just Tanev blocking everything that looked like it had might have a chance to go through (boys, please don’t step in front of Weber or Josi slapshots. You may die.)

As I expected, Del Zotto didn’t end up with Ellis, but with Jones. I… didn’t hate it? There were a couple good plays, especially in the third period, where I went “This could work.” Small sample size, I need to see more before I make a full judgement. I still wouldn’t mind seeing a Weber-Jones, Josi-Del Zotto configuration.

All in all, I expected the Canucks to come out with two points from this and they didn’t. However, it wan’t the goonery of the last few games, we seem to have settled back down. If we can just regain our jump and hustle, get a few more people back from IR (come on JSchroeds. Do good with the Comets!), I’ll be much more satisfied.

Edited: Quick Opinion: Preds & Canucks: In Vancouver: Pre-Game

If you know me at all, you know I’m dreading this game after the calamity that’s been the last few. The Canucks new found “thug” (thank you, Richard Sherman, for that) status makes me wince.

However, the Preds traded one of their more feisty pieces away yesterday when they sent Klein to New York for Del Zotto. Daily Faceoff has Del Zotto skating with Ellis as the third pairing, but I think it’s more likely we’ll see Weber-Jones, Josi-Del Zotto, Ekholm-Ellis. Or Weber-Josi, Del Zotto-Jones. We’ll see. Any way you cut it, Nashville’s defense is a force to be reckoned with.

Compare and Contrast:

Back in December, the Canucks beat the Predators 3-1 at Bridgestone arena. However, the Predators were without Weber and the Canucks were full steam ahead. Now, it’s just the opposite. The Canucks are without Henrik Sedin still (I believe – have we had an update on that? Edit: Confirmed by @VanCanucks, Henrik is out still) and the Predators are full steam ahead, winning three of their last four games.

Keep Your Eyes On (Nashville)

Roman Josi. 6 pts in his last 4 games, including a goal in each of the last 2. Plus, he’s just fun to watch. I’m curious to see if there’s new defense pairings and if they’re are, what they do to his game.

Colin Wilson. He only has 7 goals on the season, but he’s quietly picked up 16 assists.

Keep Your Eyes On (Canucks)

Ryan Kesler. He always seems to do well against the Predators… I credit this:

He doesn’t want to see that happening. (credit: @booknerdguru)

Edit: Ryan Stanton is back. Keep your eye on him.

My Prediction:

Canucks win, Ryan Kesler picks up at least 1 goal, and Sestito and Clune fight. Edit: Stanton does amazing things that make me love him even more. Book it.

30 in 30: Day 20: Toronto Maple Leafs

Soooo, I could go on for hours about my favorite player here. Mostly because he’s also my favorite player in the entire NHL.

Let’s bring this back to a couple of years ago, before I even understood the full game of hockey. A friend told me this story of a guy who had been severely injured in a hockey game and was fighting to come back into the game. I was intrigued because broken backs = D: So, I read up on him. And then I started watching hockey games, much to the delight of my best friend.

I fell in love twice over. Once with the sport itself and once with…

Mason Raymond (Vancouver Canucks, GDI, I hate you all)

2013-04-15_18-39-07_916

Story behind this picture. It’s from Nashville in April 2013. Taken by me. There was waving directly after. I miss him on the Canucks.

He’s a pretty damn good hockey player too. Underrated. Also, we probably could have used him Saturday night against the Flames, don’t you think? Hattricks for MayRay. [Source: ??? I had this saved in my favorites, if it’s yours, let me know]

Bromances. He had such good chemistry and friendships on the team. UGH MY HEART YOU GUYS. [Source: bieksas]

Mason Raymond. Good Dad. [Source: kane]

No, those aren’t tears. My contact just dried out. #brokenbromances [Source: deschneid]

He’s a lover, not a fighter. [Source: howthemoonshines]

Just break my heart all over again, MayRay. It’s okay, I’ll be fine. *sniff* [Source: markusnaslund]

It’s okay, I didn’t need my ovaries. Or my heart. [Source: officialblackhawks]

We have a lot of fond memories of you too, Mase. [Source: markusnaslund]

Even Dale Weise is embarrassed by whatever they’re saying. “Guys, I’m just trying to drink my drink, Jason Garrison, put your tongue back in your mouth.” [Source: juicepls]

You dance divinely. [Source: codyhodgson-9]

Nope. Nothing to see here. [Source: burrayeska]

I have like a million more but my heart is being torn to pieces looking at them. I’m sure you get the picture. Mason Raymond is my favorite ever and I’m unapologetic about it. xoxo

All images from tumblr. Please let me know if I have credited accordingly and/or you would like your image removed.

Quick Opinion: Flames @ Canucks

I have better things to concentrate on today tomorrow’s 30 in 30 post and SEAHAWKS. but I need to get this out here.

In my opinion, fighting does have its place in hockey. I can see where Torts was going with last night, “we’re not going to be pushed around” type attitude, protect the stars, etc. I appreciate that. HOWEVER. I think I would have been much more satisfied if he had chosen to reunite the American Express line (Higgins, Kesler, Booth) with Garrison and Bieksa. Win the faceoff and score, you idiots. A 9-1 a la Anaheim would have been a much better taste this morning, wouldn’t it?

I’ve seen in more than one place on Twitter this morning ‘the Canucks are  bad hockey team.’ No. No they’re not. We are however still experiencing some growing pains under Torts. We also were without a few key pieces – and still are now.

I love that our boys were sticking up for each other. I hate that Lain only saw 2 seconds of his first NHL game and Torts, you better play him against Edmonton to make up for that.

But I don’t want the team I saw last night. The team is better than that. I still have faith in them and I hope you all do too.