The Canucks of 94 and the riot that was

on 2:59 am

Trevor Lindon, Pavel Bure, Greg Adams, Jiyrki Lumme, Kirk McLean and the list goes on... All under the coaching leadship of Pat Quinn. These were the unsung heros of the 1994 Vancouver Canucks that again, similar to the 82 team, made a surprising run for the Stanley Cup, but this time, came as close as they could have possibly gotten.

The first round series itself, against the Calgary Flames, ended up producing some of the most memorable moments in Canucks history. After being down 3 games to 1, the Canucks advanced with a game 7 breakaway overtime goal from the Russian Rocket, Pavel Bure (below).

After dispatching Calgary, the Dallas Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs were easier tasks, both eliminated in 5 games. Back in the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in their history, again another New York team stood in their way (after being beaten by the NY Islanders 12 years earlier) - this time it was the potent Mark Messier-lead New York Rangers and this time around one of the greatest finals of all times would be witnessed.

At first glance nobody really gave the Canucks a chance, and after the first 4 games, it was beginning to look like the pundits would be right. The Rangers took a 3-1 game lead but Vancouver would not give up easily, coming back to win the next two and tieing up the series at 3 game a piece.

Game 7 would be a heartbreaker for all Canuck fans. Down 3-2 in the third period, Nathan Lafayette's shot off the post with just under 3 minutes to go will forever be remembered (below). That was as close as Vancouver would come as the Rangers would take the Cup.

Meanwhile, back in Vancouver, the end result would bring an unpleasant end to what was a fantastic playoff run. After game 7 was concluded, somewhere between 50,000 to 70,000 individuals converged upon Downtown Vancouver and at the intersection of Robson and Thurlow Street, a riot would ensue leading to nearly 200 hospitalisations and one rioter ending up with permanent brain damage after getting shot in the head with a plastic bullet by police.

Thus, what should have been a night of celebration in honour of a great playoff run, in the end, turned ugly on the streets of Vancouver. What has remained, however, are those moments, again, provided by a great generation of players not expected to go as far as they went. One image in particular would leave its mark: Trevor Lindon and Kirk McLean, two standouts that left it all on the ice on that June 14th of 1994.

Tribute to the White Towels and the Canucks of 82

on 1:38 pm

In the next few days, leading up to the start of the Stanley Cup Finals in which we will see the Vancouver Canucks trying to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup for the first time ever, I am going to write a little something about the two very memorable Stanley Cup runs previously put together by the Canucks, the first in 1982 and the second in 1994.

If any sports team is worthy of the label 'Cinderela team', undoubtedly it's the 1982 Vancouver Canucks. The 82 Canucks, not exactly a team full of talent and skill, where a hard working bunch which included some colourful characters, none of which more colourful then Dave 'Tiger' Williams and defencemen Harold Snepsts. What the 82 Canucks did have in their favour, however, was goaltender 'King' Richard Brodeur (below) who in many of the games leading them to the Stanley Cup final that year, carried the team on his back.

After finishing the regular season with more loses then wins (or in other words, a below .500 record), the Canucks started their Stanley Cup campaign by eliminating, first, the Calgary Flames and, second, the Los Angeles Kings. The Conference final matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks, however, would bring about an episode that would forever leave it's mark in ice hockey. In game 2 of that series, Vancouver coach Roger Neilson, fed up with the performance of the officials in the game, placed a white towel on the end of a hockey stick and held it up like a white flag, in a mock surrender (see below). A few Canuck players followed suit and Neilson was ejected from the game.

In the game to follow, back in Vancouver, in tribute to Neilson's actions one game earlier, fans brought white towels to the game and began waving them above their heads. On that day in Vancouver a tradition was born - Towel Power - today pretty much a play-off tradition in hockey rinks everywhere.

Vancouver would go on to eliminate Chicago only to be dispatched in 4 games straight by the powerful New York Islanders. By then a whole industry had commenced based on Towel Power. Below is an example of the towels produced for the Canucks-Islanders series with the Canuck battle cry.

As far as Neilson, while he spent 25 years in the NHL, taking on various coaching duties, he will forever be remembered for the white towel act. In fact, in Vancouver, outside Roger's Centre, the home of the Vancouver Canucks, now sits a statue of Neilson as a rememberance of that day in Chicago.

The Evolution of Alcohol Sales in Canada

on 10:23 pm

Today's entry is exclusively for those over the age of 18 if from Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec, and over 19 from the rest of Canada.

Ok now that I got that out of the way, today I'm going to rant about how alcohol sales in Canada have come a long ways. Once upon a time, not to long ago, I recall alcohol sales being completely government controlled (well except for those who produced at home for their own consumption, or in other words, any Portuguese home). The government-ran liquor stores all had the same store fronts (and still do) and that's where you would go to get your booze under the watchful eye of 'the man' and on his time.

Then, slowly but surely, privatisation started creeping in, primarily in the case of wine and beer sales, and all of the sudden cold beer and wine stores started popping up everywhere. Those of course were convenient and had longer hours.

Now if these liquor selling establishments weren't convenient enough, retailers started to think of other ways of making them even more convenient. What was the next natural step then? Well if MacDonalds have them as do Tim Hortons and Starbucks, why not these liquor stores? Thus the birth of the drive thru liquor store.

Everyone knows how a drive thru works - you drive up, place your order, they give you the merchandise and you drive off. Sure it permits laziness, yet some would say that the liquor store visiting thrill is completely lost. What to do? The liquor store drive-in! Yes the latest craze! You drive into the liquor store, you're surrounded by the liquor, you pick out what you want and you still get to pay while sitting in the confort of your car! Exactly as you see below.

Ok now the Portuguese angle on this 'strange and funny world' of 1. preoccupation with underage drinking, 2. the love affair with the automobile, and 3. complete laziness. Here in Portugal the closest you get to parking your car right next to a case of beer is by parking right up on the curb in front of your local Pingo Doce (believe me, you wouldn't be the first and certainly not the last). Leaves you to wonder if scenes like this one below will soon be an ancient thing to do for those on the 'new' continent - what, standing in front of a selection of alcoholic beverages and then walking to the till to pay? Crazy!

Newfies and Alentejanos - What do they have in common?

on 12:52 pm

Well the answer is actually pretty simple: they are both the butt end of jokes in Canada and in Portugal, respectively. The reasons why the peoples from these geographical regions of the two countries are constantly moked, however, are very different.

In Canada everyone knows of Newfie jokes. They often go something like this:

How did the first Newfie get to Toronto? Some were playing hockey on the frozen-over Gulf of St. Lawrence and one of them got a breakaway.

How many Newfies does it take to go ice fishing? Four. One to cut a hole in the ice and three to put the boat through.

Also, here's a pictorial example:

Newfie Paramedics

Now here in Portugal, Alentejano jokes are a little different. They often go something like this:

Why do Alentejanos open their windows before reading their newspapers? So that the draft will turn the pages for them.

How many Alentejanos does it take to make a baby? Six. One woman, one man and four to shake the bed.

Also, yet another pictorial example:

An Alentejano committing suicide

So while in the case of Newfie jokes the significance is often one of not being very bright (as the Newfie revolver below to the left demontrates), in the case of Alentejanos it's a case of laziness, as if shirtless Christ told them "Don't do anything until I get back" (as the image below to the right shows).

So funny or not; degrading or not - I'm sure every country has Newfies or Alentejanos the rest of the country often has a poke at, be it because they're seen as slow, or not very smart, or because they're a backwards folk, etc.

By the way, have you heard the news about the airplane crush in Newfoundland?

Canadian Films at IndieLisboa Film Fest. 2011

on 10:55 pm

This years IndieLisboa Film Festival gets underway this Thursday, May 5th, running through Sunday, the 15th. With over 240 films to be shown this year, from all over the globe, Canada, of course, is represented through a series of long and short films. These include:

Curling (98' 35 min.) - Denis Coté
Exhibitions: 8 May, 15:00, Cinema São Jorge, Sala 1 / 12 May, 21:30, Cinema São Jorge, Sala

Les Amours Imaginaires (95' 35 min.) - Xavier Dolan
Exhibitions: 5 May, 21:30, Cinema São Jorge, Sala 1 / 7 May, 24:00, Cinema São Jorge, Sala 3

Neil Young Trunk Show (83' min.) - Jonathan Demme
Exhibitions: 7 May, 21:45, Cinema São Jorge, Sala 1 / 14 May, 24:00, Cinema São Jorge, Sala 3

This Movie is Broken (88' 35 min.) - Bruce McDonald
8 May, 24:00, Cinema São Jorge, Sala 3 / 14 May, 19:15, Cinema São Jorge, Sala 1

All Flowers in Time (12' min.) - Jonathan Caouette
Exhibitions: 8 May, 17:15, Teatro do Bairro / 12 May, 16:30, Teatro do Bairro

Lesser Apes (18' min.) - Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke
Exhibitions: 11 May, 14:30, Culturgest / 13 May, 14:30, Culturgest

On the Way to the Sea (20' min.) - Tao Gu
8 May, 21:30, Teatro do Bairro / 13 May, 19:00, Teatro do Bairro

Postface (7' min.) - Fréderic Moffet
Exhibitions: 6 May, 19:00, Culturgest / 15 May, 21:45, Culturgest

Woman Waiting (15' 35 min.) - Antoine Bourges
Exhibitions: 7 May, 17:00, Culturgest / 11 May, 21:45, Culturgest

For more on these films check out the IndieLisboa site by clicking here:

As a fan of the Canadian classic rock n'roll road movie, Hardcore Logo, I'm personally looking forward to the film This Movie is Broken, directed by the same individual who made Hardcore Logo: Bruce MacDonald.

So get on out and enjoy the movies!