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Bruce Dowbiggin

Can’t Catch This: The Avs Take The Pace Higher And Higher

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After watching this year’s turbo-charged NHL playoffs perhaps it’s time to amend the old cliché to now say “lack of speed kills”. If there’s one takeaway from the Colorado Avalanche’s Top Gun performance en route to a Stanley Cup it’s that you can’t win in today’s NHL without blazing speed.

Led by their superstar burner Nathan MacKinnon and freewheeling defenceman Cale Maker the Avs have blitzed opponents. The Avs quickly shellacked Nashville 4-0, averaging over 5 goals a game. St. Louis proved a tougher nut to crack, pushing Colorado to 6 games, including two OTs before succumbing. The dazed Edmonton Oilers— with generational star Connor McDavid— fell in four, surrendering over 5 goals per game to the Avs’ whirlwind.

And now two-time defending champions Tampa Bay are holding onto the ropes after getting swept in Games 1 & 2, the second a humiliating 7-0 thrashing of the Lightning and their star goalie Andrei Vasilevsky. The Bolts had been 9-2 in the second game of a series dating back to 2020, but it did them no good.

How are they doing it? Blitzing, unrelenting speed and pressure from McKinnon, Makar, captain Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rahntenen, Arturi Lekhonen, Andre Burakovsky, Valeri Nichushkin  and Devon Toews. So confident are the Avs that they’ve been able to hide their very average goaltending duo of Darcy Kuemper and backup Pavel Francouz. Their puck possession in Gm. 2 was daunting, keeping the Lightning to just 16 SOG.

Also impressive is the Avs’ use of the 180-foot game to escape their own zone carrying speed into the opponent’s end. This stretch passing is a revelation seen more and more— Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto employed it this season— but Colorado’s use— keyed by MacKinnon— has been devastating to opponents.

We postulated in February that goaltending might sink the Oilers and Maple Leafs And while Mike Smith tried his damndest to torpedo the Oilers it was Edmonton’s inability to keep up with Colorado’s blitz that doomed them. Toronto’s Jack Campbell held on gamely against the Lightning, but Toronto’s offensive firepower was blunted by Tampa’s grit and experience.

It is clearly a new day in the NHL when grizzled coaches like Darryl Sutter, a longtime proponent of clutch-and-grab, concede to speed. The Flames thrived on breakout passing and using the 180-foot game. Unfortunately Sutter couldn’t replicate the regular-season firepower of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk against McDavid’s brilliance.

So if track-meet hockey is the future what does it say for the Canadian NHL franchises who went a 29th season without a Stanley Cup? Are any of them prepared to unleash the whirlwind next fall? You can probably eliminate Montreal , Ottawa and Winnipeg from the equation. Their time is a ways off.

Toronto: The Leafs were the biggest failure of the season, failing to win their conference or division despite a star-studded lineup. As such they drew Tampa in Rd.1 and it was Peggy Lee time. “Is that all there is?” The Leafs have elite players, but they also have a fanatical fan base that wants to win yesterday.

But the Avs should serve as an example of the patience you need. McKinnon was drafted in 2013, Makar in 2017. Other parts— including coach Jared Bednar— came slowly. There were painstaking losses in early rounds of the playoffs. But now, nine years after MacKinnon, they seem ready.

Yes, moves need to be made in Toronto. The question is can coach Sheldon Keefe assemble the elements, convince his team he’s got the plan and use his weapons to blitz slew-footed opponents?

Edmonton: No doubt the Oilers have impressive parts. MacDavid was transcendent against L.A. and Calgary. Zak Hyman bolstered the second line scoring. But with elite sniper Leon Draisaitl hobbled the Oil were boat raced by the Avs. With their top-heavy payroll and wobbly goaltending, can they find speed in the bottom two lines to break through? Can young coach Jay Woodcroft get a system that emphasized the speed we saw on occasion against Calgary?

Calgary: As mentioned, the Flames looked to be disciples of dashing hockey till the Oilers exposed their second and third lines, and Jacob Markstrom fell apart in nets. Worse for the Flames is the free-agent status of their marquee star Johnny Gaudreau, who has yet to announce if he’s gong to stay or go home to the U.S. Northeast.

Gaudreau’s high-speed dexterity pushed players like Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm to great years. It’s hard to see them spreading the rink without the dynamic Gaudreau engineering the offence. The Flames are also not a young team after adding veterans down the stretch who failed to move the needle. They could push for a Cup with Gaudreau or start to re-tool without him.

Vancouver: The Canucks missed the playoffs and it’s hard to see this roster finding a MacKinnon or McDavid gear next year with no premium draft picks available. Quinn Hughes looks poised to be as Makar-style D man in the future, but the forward group is a hot mess beyond Elias Petterson and Bo Horvat. It’s a long way from 2011 fior Vancouver fans and this won’t help the recovery much either.

So for Canadians looking at a likely candidate for a Cup in the near future, put your money on the Leafs and hate yourself for doing so.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Find This Beautiful? It Probably Depends On How You Vote

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Sign up today for Not The Public Broadcaster newsletters. Hot takes/ cool slants on sports and current affairs. Have the latest columns delivered to your mail box. Tell your friends to join, too. Always provocative, always independent. 

Today’s children are 30% less aerobically fit than their parents were at their age, a new study (has) found. The study points to climate change and rising temperatures adversely affecting childhood obesity, as children spend less time exercising outdoors.— CBS News

Nice that CBS cares about obesity. Predicably, they tie it to their pet obsession of climate change. Just another indication that even when something deserves attention it must be tortured beyond all logic by the credentialed cliques.

For proof how far this can go look only to Friday’s release by the U.S. Center For Disease Control that announced— Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!—non-vaccinated people should have the same protocols as vaccinated people. Kids can stay in classes after being exposed to the virus. And screening is no longer necessary for this without symptoms.

The admission that non-vaxxed are not the scourge of society or students not a vector for infection would have had you fired from your job by Justin Trudeau or banned from social media giants just a year ago. Today? Meh. Those waiting for apologies or getting their job back had better get a chair. Could be a while.

But social stigmatizing of the unclean has become routine in the age of 21 genders and travel bans. Debunking centuries of Judea-Christian learning and tradition is a party game for the Stephen Colbert set. (Remember when comedians made jokes, not lists of those to be cast into hell?)

Which brings us back to obesity. In May we noted that, far from it being a problem, it was now body affirming when practiced by the correct people. Even if obese people constituted the largest risk group for Covid-19.

“The notion of what constitutes a beautiful body is in the news again as Sports Illustrated featured plus-sized model Yumi Nu on the cover of its annual swimsuit edition. The swimsuit edition is the annual display of beautiful female bodies that traditionally sent nuns and librarians into a censorship fury worthy of Twitter. (And found its way between the mattresses of teenaged boys.)

In what is clearly Woke symbolism, Time Warner’s magazine is attempting to placate  another stigmatized group— plus-sized women— by displaying Nu in all her rounded beauty. “See, it’s normal to be wearing XXX-sized clothing” is the message.

Canadian author/ psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson spoke for those not amused by SI’s project: “Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that. It’s a conscious progressive attempt to manipulate & retool the notion of beauty, reliant on the idiot philosophy that such preferences are learned & properly changed by those who know better.”

But there was a cascade of approval for SI’s choice, recognizing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many found Nu stunning and sexy. Feminists applauded her acceptance of bodaciousness.  Fair enough.

Two quibbles. One small and the other massive. First— this will be lost on feminists— the SI Swimsuit edition was created in the 1960s to defeat a stereotype that fit sportswomen were tomboys, unattractive and vaguely butch. In their own way, the early SI models destroyed those stereotypes. They convinced women that muscles aren’t a bringdown.

The more significant point— lost on SI and Time Warner— is that the time of Covid, with its choked hospitals and healthcare system, is hardly the moment to celebrate people who exceed their body-fat index. In fact it might be described as a reckless message that allows people with hereditary or cultural vulnerability to diabetes, stroke and heart attacks to put off weight reduction. 

As we wrote last October, obesity is the silent killer of millions infected with the virus. But one buried by governments, media and health authorities who decided to make vaccine-resisters the real villain of the piece.

“Friends and neighbours we have thought otherwise sane are now seriously demanding that unvaccinated people be sent to the back of the line for health care till all the vaccinated people are satisfied. This triage is equal measures of fear, spite and blithering ignorance of the facts of single-payer health. 

Take this example: one of the factors established very early in the pandemic was the vulnerability of obese and morbidly obese— especially in the elderly. The AMA reports, “The vast majority—78%—of U.S. patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or had obesity. The numbers for intensive care, invasive mechanical ventilation and death were nearly the same.”

According to the CDC, 42.4 percent of U.S. adults have obesity.  While some are obese for genetic or disease-related reasons, the vast proportion of the obesity is lifestyle induced. The World Obesity Federation has shown that death rates from COVID-19 have been 10 times higher in countries where more than half of the population is overweight.

Yet there is no call from the media and its acolytes to punish the obese for clogging the healthcare system. No demand they be put to the back of the line. Why? Because it doesn’t suit the narrative of right-wing extremism the way that non-vaxxers do. Too many allies of Woke land— in and out of politics— would be shoved down the line if fat were targeted.

University of Oxford researchers found, ”Excess weight is a modifiable risk factor, and investment in the treatment of overweight and obesity and long-term preventive strategies could help reduce the severity of COVID-19 disease.” 

Yet when was the last time you heard Justin Trudeau or president Joe Biden suggest dropping weight to lessen the burden on healthcare? The last time would be the first time, as they have been mute on lifestyle adaptions to clear the ICUs. 

It goes the same for smokers, drinkers, drug abusers and more who— under Canada’s healthcare rules— receive the same treatment in emergency rooms as do those who live clean. According to the howler monkeys of vaccine enforcement only non-vaxxers should be culled from the herd for flooding ICUs.”

It’s not the first time that Wokedom has stifled information contrary to their  societal control. It won’t be the last. In the battle of the bulge it’s not a fashion statement. It’s a matter of life and death. It’s also a matter of saving the healthcare system.”

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft YearsIn NHL History, , his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book of by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

 

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Presumed Authority: Would We Say Something That Wasn’t True?

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“The journalistic priesthood that’s spent the last 6-7 years denouncing these people and their voters has done the opposite, proudly aligning itself with the hated inside, celebrating credentialism, and worst of all, cheering a censorship movement that’s now proven to be an abject failure.”— Matt Taibbi, taibbi.substack.com

Were the American Revolution fought today, not in 1776, it’s likely that the current American establishment that raids the homes of former presidents would side with Mad King George III, not with the hot-blooded pursuers of freedom and independence in the Constitution. The Media Party’s love of power, elitism and entitlement— from Stephen Colbert to SNL’s appointed fools— would make even the 18th century British snobs seem like everyday folk.

Canadians (under the United Empire Loyalists tag) were still content to be ruled at long distance by an autocratic monarch incapacitated with porphyria. (Unless Joe Biden were available in Washington DC, in which case they might accept the zombie at close range.)  Deference to authority has been Canada’s abiding trait the past 235 years for those who skedaddled from Jefferson, Washington and Adams. In whatever guise— nutty Mackenzie King, huffy Pierre Trudeau or foppish Justin Trudeau— prime ministers have been able to count on the obsequious support of everyone from the original Confederation four-pack— and its media— if the alternative was being American.

Being American meaning a propensity for noisy debate, showy display and siccing the FBI on enemies. This sniffy condescension to all things American— while lapping up their charity— solidified the Family Compact’s presumed superiority over those it governed.

Americans now have snobs, too. Whether sequestered at Hyannis Port, Hollywood, Aspen or Napa the special people thrive on punching-down elitism. But even before the Mar-A-Lago raid there was a sense the Media Party’s noblesse oblige might have hit its expiry date. The vox populi is restless. Substack writer Matt Taibbi has seen it coming. “Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both surged in 2016 when they described a country divided into a small corrupt establishment and everyone else, and declared themselves on the side of everyone else.”

The Trump election by “everyone else” in 2016 signalled the shift. Gatekeepers accustomed to choosing the elected on Sunday morning talk shows became irrelevancies. They thought they’d dust Trump faster than you could say “raid Mar-A-Lago”. Bad assumption. Somehow they failed to see how reviled they’ve become as they thrust Hillary Clinton or Al Gore at a totally disinterested world.

Taibbi chronicles the reason for the rapid 2016 decline of the self-appointed. “The mechanism that launched (Trump) from small plurality to victory in the general was a coverage avalanche that conferred elite disapproval in massive doses. The more times outlets like fivethirtyeight.com incorrectly insisted Trump couldn’t be nominated because “voters are paying more attention,” or the Washington Post ran headlines like, The three times Donald Trump demonstrated he was unfit for the presidency in last night’s debate, the more he gained.” Ending in stunning election.

Rather than amend their loathed status Team Obama continued to conjure up ciphers like Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Liz Cheney as the next great thing, unaware how repellent the governing class has become to regular America. When that failed they launched a censorship campaign.

This backwards strategy kept Trump populism alive. Example: The Trump era seemed over when he was removed from Twitter and Facebook shortly after Jan. 6. Instead, “Silenced Trump has only improved his electoral viability since”. Orange Man Bad is now tracking in the 42-45 percent approval band— above anything during his presidency. His polling with blacks and latinos is at an all-time high.

Media Party attempts to use Florida governor Ron DeSantis to quell the Trump revival have been hampered by DeSantis refusing to play Topo Gigio to PBS/CNN/ MSNBC and the printed press. After the fraudulent Russiagate narrative it marks an end of their presumed privilege. Daffy King George would be proud.

In Canada the irrelevance of the Trudeau-bought media is still a buried story. To those paying attention the Trucker Convoy was the watershed. The anointed CBC/ CTV/ Global shills in the 416/613 praised Trudeau’s abrogation of civil rights against mainstream Canada and cheered the jailing of Convoy leaders. (One CBC host, who suggested the Convoy was a Putin plot, was promoted.) A withering international barrage of criticism from even the Bill Mahers of U.S. media failed to sober them to their corrupt irrelevance.

The current attempt to tame populist fires is the left-leaning media’s swooning for played-out 1990s man Jean Charest as the answer to Conservative electoral dreams. Charest is what a liberal thinks a Conservative should be. Namely, defeated. But CBC panels and G&M editorials caution against rejecting Charest’s sober experience in favour of fiery Pierre Poilievre.

“Canada is different” says the Ottawa consultant class when faced with the Trump menace. Not if you’ve paid attention since social media freed up voices banned from “proper” journalistic society. Trudeau’s plunging polls and Liberal collapse are written off as a cycle that will disappear. Don’t count on it. Just ask Doug Ford.

Taibbi sums up the wilful denial. “This new press that forgives its own mistakes but cheers lifetime bans for others needs to realize it’s achieving negative influence in the process. Failure to stare that dynamic in the face means they’re sure to repeat the error over and over, remaining in their beloved roles as gatekeepers, only in reverse.”

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft YearsIn NHL History, , his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book of by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

 

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