Citizen Kane http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/ Fri, 18 May 2012 16:19:00 GMT Dreaming of Olympics http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3a4c86dc18-3b8e-4024-a141-a493c23aaa93&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Fri, 18 May 2012 16:19:00 GMT <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/3/7/c35aa7e9-185e-4ca2-b7df-f3ef29c2a2c4.Full.jpg?0" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/3/7/c35aa7e9-185e-4ca2-b7df-f3ef29c2a2c4.Large.jpg?0" /></a></p> <p> One of the things that is always in the back of our minds as hockey players after you are asked to play for Team Canada is the Olympics.</p> <p> Obviously nobody is getting ahead of themselves and want to stay in the moment in this tournament. But you can’t help but think that your performance here and during the NHL season contribute to the possibility of getting an invitation to play on the Olympic stage sometime in the future.</p> <p> As I have mentioned it truly is an honour to play for your country and everyone really wants to be putting on that sweater at an Olympics. Being from Vancouver as well, and watching how the entire country pulled together for the 2010 Games is something I hope to be able to experience sometime down the road.</p> <p> Being on the road, and this is really one big cool road trip to the Worlds, I do like to bring some of the comforts of home.</p> <p> Before leaving Vancouver I did stock up on Purdy’s chocolate and pudding, that along with fresh bread and ice cream are keeping me going.</p> <p> Been shying away from the local delicacies, although I did hear the other night the reindeer was delicious.</p> <p> Yes that’s right, the reindeer was delicious, or at least I am told, I did not partake.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:4c86dc18-3b8e-4024-a141-a493c23aaa93 Not all work and no play in Finland http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3a2751270c-1470-47e8-aa58-4d3ec827a296&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Thu, 17 May 2012 16:19:00 GMT <p> <em>This blog post was submitted before the game against Slovakia.</em></p> <p> Playing over here in Finland it’s nice to get into a different culture and a different environment, see some sites and enjoy the people, and Team Canada does its best to make us feel not too out or our element.</p> <p> They set up a lounge here at the hotel, with internet access of course but also with big screens on and we get our daily TSN Sportscentre telecast to keep in touch with what’s happening in North American sports.</p> <p> Very impressed by what I’ve seen of the LA Kings, a big, heavy team that has really come together at that right time. I was in Vancouver when they swept out the Canucks and was very impressed by their game. On the other side, the Rangers seem to find a way to keep squeaking out wins, we’ll see how long they can keep that going.</p> <p> A lot of the players over hear have had family, wives and girlfriends come over once we got settled in Helsinki and it’s been great to have my girlfriend in town. We get some time to see the sites and do a little bit of shopping in Helsinki. Lots of Canadian fans are here and they recognize the players of course and are very friendly and are having a great time as well. Lots of the Finnish fans know us as well as they follow the NHL game closely too, but don’t get a chance to see us much. When we did play the host team in the round robin, the building was packed, it’s a little smaller than the MTS Centre, but it was loud like I’m used to, although they were cheering for the other side.</p> <p> Other games you may see on television you do see some empty seats but I don’t think it’s because of the fans’ lack of interest, the tickets are actually quite expensive, with an average price of around 190 Euros, (about $250) it’s not cheap to take in these games.</p> <p> One of the fun things about international tournaments is there are guys you play with all year and then in a matter of days you are lining up against them. Our only loss in the round robin was to the Americans and Jim Slater was on the other side. Of course Slats played the way he always does, and Jets fans know of what I speak, and laid on some bragging rights by scoring the first goal of the game just a minute in.</p> <p> However I can tell you those bragging rights were slightly diminished when I managed to pry a few dollars off of Slats with a bet on the Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto fight later that night. I am a big Floyd Mayweather fan and maybe Slats was being nice by taking Cotto, but it was no match, my guy Mayweather pretty much had his way with him.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:2751270c-1470-47e8-aa58-4d3ec827a296 Honoured to play for Canada http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3a367805d2-a2f7-460a-8146-4784ce628ea5&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Wed, 16 May 2012 13:35:00 GMT <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/0/7/f041fd3e-fa1e-4429-87a7-161213ec0774.Full.jpg?1" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/0/7/f041fd3e-fa1e-4429-87a7-161213ec0774.Large.jpg?1" /></a></p> <p> Tervehdys ..... Greetings.... from Helsinki. Been awhile since I was on the blog but it was a busy time through March as we stayed in the playoff picture and concentrated on what we were doing on the ice.</p> <p> After a small break to recharge between the April 7 final home game, I was honoured to be picked for Team Canada for the IIHF World Championships. This is the third time I have had the chance to come over to Europe for this tournament and while I can assure all the fans in Winnipeg we are going to do our best in years to come to avoid it, it is a great way to cap a season and it’s always an honour to be asked to pull on that red and white jersey.</p> <p> We had two good warm ups, both in Switzerland against the Swiss National team which, as people who watch the international game know, is one of the teams that has really stepped up their game in the last few  years and always bring it when they play Canada.</p> <p> In fact at this tournament there are no easy games any more despite what the scores sometimes look like. All the guys can skate, they play it tough, because for a lot of international players this is their Stanley Cup and they want it bad.</p> <p> The team we have this year is coming together nicely, a lot of younger guys like myself, I believe I am the fourth youngest after Jeff Skinner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Murray out of the Western league, and the guys that are a bit older like John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, and Luke Schenn, combined with a bunch of veteran guys like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith, who have been great to play with.</p> <p> Keith in particular is a guy of course we see all the time in Chicago but when you are playing with him you really appreciate his skills, the way he never panics, skates and moves the puck so well, very impressive.</p> <p> I have also been having a great time playing on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, two guys that have played together for a long time, great skaters, both of whom like to pass the puck which has been playing to my strength as a goal scorer.</p> <p> Combined with the extra room on the big ice, so far it has been fun and we look forward to good things coming in the next couple of days. Have Slovakia up next and they of course are lead by Chara and have a number of really good players on that squad and we have to be ready to go.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:367805d2-a2f7-460a-8146-4784ce628ea5 Finding chemistry key http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3ab3ecc236-d31b-40c3-b4ee-a44e535d0f5a&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Mon, 26 Mar 2012 13:18:00 GMT <p> Chemistry is a huge part of the team’s success. Mixing and matching the lines and trying to find the right mix is really important.</p> <p> Recently I have been playing on a line with Alexander Burmistrov and Kyle Wellwood and right now we seem to be clicking pretty good. Burmi is a great young player with tons of talent and a great attitude. Plays way bigger than he is. And Welly is a really talented veteran player.</p> <p> In terms of patience with the puck and soft hands, head on a swivel kind of player, I would say he’s in the top five guys in the league.</p> <p> Changing linemates is all part of the evolution of the season and the coaches will try a bunch of different things to try to make things click. As a player you do whatever you do best, don’t change your game so much as trust the coaches to make the right combos.</p> <p> It is fun though to settle in a play with guys who are so good with the puck and make that tape-to-tape pass all the time.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size:14px;">Off the schneid on shootouts! </span></strong></p> <p> I was not having a lot of success with the shoot-outs, had not scored this year, I think I was 0 for 4 going into that game a while back in Minny. (Which I had scored twice in regulation and no it does not count for a hat trick).</p> <p> I got a chance to get into the shootout with the game on the line which is kind of fun and picked the top right corner on Nic Backstrom.</p> <p> When I get a chance in the shootout I like to pick the move I am going to make before and focus on it. I think some players will go into to it thinking they will wait and see what the goalie is going to give them and haven’t made up their mind what they are going to do.</p> <p> You see some of that coming out when they lose the puck or stop skating. It’s not that we are not scouting the goalie during the game or the shootout, we do that and we watch closely to see what their tendencies are.</p> <p> It’s also nice if there are couple guys in front of you in the shootout and you can see if the goalie is giving anything up in advance. Is he quick to go to the stick check or does he slide back in the net, giving up anything on the corners.</p> <p> But once I am on the ice in a shootout I will make my decision what I am going to do and go for it, no changing my mind halfway down the ice.</p> <p> Nailed it that night and hope to have more opportunities to add points going down the stretch.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:b3ecc236-d31b-40c3-b4ee-a44e535d0f5a New commercial a kick http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3ac255aa48-5719-4761-9843-932da126be74&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Wed, 14 Mar 2012 19:53:00 GMT <p> Had to post Evander's new commercial for the <em>Free Press</em>.</p> <p> <object data="http://www.youtube.com/v/w6HGPSfTgyk" height="350" id="ltVideoYouTube" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/w6HGPSfTgyk" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="450"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/w6HGPSfTgyk" /><param name="quality" value="best" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashvars" value="playerMode=embedded" /></object></p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:c255aa48-5719-4761-9843-932da126be74 Fourth stick was the charm http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3a0226eef9-5101-4029-8b14-9c88dc71f74d&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Tue, 06 Mar 2012 19:31:00 GMT <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/4/10/b4124926-cab0-432d-aacc-9f9a485ae3e9.Full.jpg?0" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/4/10/b4124926-cab0-432d-aacc-9f9a485ae3e9.Large.jpg?0" /></a></p> <p> This one is for all the hockey moms and dads who watch their kids play and see dollar signs fly whenever a composite stick gets broken.</p> <p> A while back, in a game against Philly, you would have wanted to avert your eyes. I had a rough first period, or should I say my equipment had a rough first period.</p> <p> I went through three sticks in basically three shifts.</p> <p> Sometimes when you get a batch of sticks you will get a couple with flaws and it happens. But this was not one of those times, there was a couple of chops and a big hit, all ended with a broken stick. I was trying to remember if it had ever happened before and I don’t think it has.</p> <p> Generally I would have four or five on the rack just off the bench for any game and since it was at home another few prepped and ready to go not far away. But it is a rare event to have to go the rack that many times in a period.</p> <p> In that Philly game one stick did hold together nicely later in the game. It was on a power play in the third period. I got the puck on the off wing and came across the middle looked to the point where Buff was winding up and then took a quick shot that beat Bryzgalov.</p> <p> And then I knew what was coming: The Buff face wash. He’s a fun guy and he likes to dish it out a lot of good natured abuse.</p> <p> As soon as I scored he was like “I was open." So I did a pre-emptive strike and got my glove up in his face at the same time.</p> <p> Buff is a great guy and teammate, ton of fun to be around. We were part of the “all-black” team in Atlanta, which was pretty rare, at one point we had five players of African heritage and sometimes we managed to get on the ice at the same time and it was kind of unique.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:0226eef9-5101-4029-8b14-9c88dc71f74d Boxing background shapes fitness regime http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3ad2cec76b-00ba-4d1f-b2a0-2c2a89f9953d&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Wed, 15 Feb 2012 14:57:00 GMT <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/14/3/8e558628-8e63-4c1b-935a-90ac9aa5ae43.Full.jpg?0" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/14/3/8e558628-8e63-4c1b-935a-90ac9aa5ae43.Large.jpg?0" /></a></p> <p> The NHL season is an incredible physical grind, no news there… 82 games, playing almost every second night, practicing virtually every day is tough on the body.</p> <p> During the season, my training regimen is really maintenance and prevention, designed to keep your body at such a level of fitness that you can maintain the pace and prevent or bounce back from injury.</p> <p> Generally if you do get a day off, you take it and you rest.</p> <p> During the season we work out after games. Some guys do the bike, which I will admit I am not a big fan of the bike, or push weights, which is what I tend to do.</p> <p> In the off-season is where I really concentrate on getting my body up to the level it needs to be to go through a long season.</p> <p> This is where my dad, Perry, comes in. He’s been my coach, trainer and mentor since I put on skates at three years old.</p> <p> He’s a former amateur boxer and university hockey player so he knows what he’s talking about.</p> <p> In the off season I will start off the first month skating three times a week early in the morning and move to a boxing workout every other day.</p> <p> As the season gets closer I will be on the ice five times a week at six in the morning and keep up the boxing workouts. As anyone out there who has done the boxing regimen knows it is the absolute best workout you can do.</p> <p> I sometimes get in the ring and spar, but the cardio and discipline required to box has been great for me and I highly recommend it.</p> <p> And yes I was named after former World Heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, so I guess I come to boxing naturally.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:d2cec76b-00ba-4d1f-b2a0-2c2a89f9953d Sakic and the Avs were my inspiration growing up http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3a9596fc5e-baf4-47f2-b812-d08a64f0731f&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Mon, 30 Jan 2012 17:14:00 GMT <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/6/4/06d81db8-7e66-4c2d-94f0-214fb313710c.Full.jpg?0" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/6/4/06d81db8-7e66-4c2d-94f0-214fb313710c.Large.jpg?0" /></a></p> <p> Growing up in Vancouver you would think I was a big Canucks fan, and I did follow the Canucks closely, but from the earliest days I was big Colorado Avalanche fan.</p> <p> I will admit that it started because I thought they had the best-looking jerseys, but I became a big fan of those great teams they had in Colorado led by Joe Sakic, Rob Blake and Peter Forsberg.</p> <p> So, while my friends and teammates in Vancouver were pretending to be a Canuck star, I was Joe Sakic, making the same moves and trying to do the things he and Peter Forsberg were doing on the ice. I was also a big Jarome Iginla fan, which is someone I have been compared to.</p> <p> I am flattered by the comparison but I really think we are different players, no one will be Jarome Iginla and I will keep trying to be my own player.</p> <p> I do have one vivid memory with the Canucks however. Back on my Pee Wee team, one of our goaltenders was the son of Mark Crawford who was coaching the Canucks at the time (and a great guy by the way) and we were invited to come to the rink for the team’s skills competition and we got to go into the dressing room and get ready with the team.</p> <p> I remember sitting in the locker room and looking up and on one side was Markus Naslund and the other was Trevor Linden. I remember being in awe of those guys and am reminded that those are the moments the kids remember and that inspire them to do better.</p> <p> Hockey is great that way, kids trying to emulate their heroes, sports in general is such a positive influence on kids at that age.  </p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:9596fc5e-baf4-47f2-b812-d08a64f0731f All-Star draft makes for dramatic viewing http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3a84685e25-7fb6-4520-98a6-cdc81b8b633d&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Tue, 24 Jan 2012 22:01:00 GMT <p> I was asked the other day about the All Star Game coming up and the format being used this year for the second time.</p> <p> I have to say, growing up watching the All Star game and the conference vs. conference format was something I got used to.</p> <p> Yes there was some tinkering over the years, with the North American vs. the World format (1999), but generally you would watch the lead up to the game knowing who was lining up on either side to play, so when the draft format was launched last year I didn’t know what to make of it.</p> <p> But I will admit that while I did not watch the whole game last year, I did watch the entire draft.</p> <p> Watching those guys sitting there waiting for their name to be called was weird, getting drafted by guys you play against, because even if it’s the best 30 or 40 players in the league, nobody wants to be last.</p> <p> I know if I was in that position and it got down to the final three and I was still sitting there, I would be “don’t pick me, don’t pick me.”</p> <p> At that point I would be going for last and take the car.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:84685e25-7fb6-4520-98a6-cdc81b8b633d Kicking things off http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/citizen-kane/?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4&plckPostId=Blog%3a70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post%3ab6f4957b-1ec3-42b8-911f-9021346b2392&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Thu, 19 Jan 2012 21:00:00 GMT <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/11/3/cba2b5cb-2ad9-4745-b38a-0944b3deaabf.Full.jpg?1" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/11/3/cba2b5cb-2ad9-4745-b38a-0944b3deaabf.Large.jpg?1" style="height:315px;width:500px;" /></a></p> <p> Welcome to my blog and thank you for the welcome to Winnipeg.</p> <p> The last six months have been something of a blur being inside what has to be the biggest hockey story of the first half of the season. I know for the fans and the people of Winnipeg, this has been quite a whirlwind year, getting the franchise in the late spring and then the naming, logos, jerseys, training camp and then the season opener, there has been a lot going on.</p> <p> From my perspective moving to a Canadian market and performing in front of this fan base has been an amazing experience. Playing in front of a full house every night automatically raises expectations. The fact that the fans are so loud and so into every play absolutely puts an extra jump in your step as a player.</p> <p> I have played in front of big, rowdy homer crowds before, the Giants (Vancouver Giants of the WHL) drew good sized crowds on a regular basis of 8,000 to 10,000 and we did play and win a Memorial Cup in front of the home town crowd. Then there was the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa which was a crazy-loud crowd. That same atmosphere is there every night at MTS Centre which is awesome as a player.</p> <p> That is not say I did not enjoy my time in Atlanta, in fact I would like to say from my time there I think Atlanta is one of the most underrated cities in the United States.  I would say it’s in the top five among cities in the U.S., great weather and always something to do and the fans of our team were great, but there is nothing like the hockey culture that exists in Canadian cities. I do hope that the game continues to grow in the US and especially in the south.</p> <p> It has been an adjustment to Winnipeg: remember this time last year I was sitting on my rooftop catching some sun, but being in this hockey market has been fantastic.</p> <p> Coming here for training camp was actually the first time I had been to Winnipeg. I had been in Manitoba before, playing in Brandon for the Giants but never actually been to the city.</p> <p> I did some research, talking to former Giant teammates James Henry who is from here and Kevin Connaughton, who played a full season with the Moose. Both were great and gave me some valuable insight into what to expect. But it’s still amazing to see the intensity of the fans towards the Jets. </p> <p> Before Christmas I had a chance to visit Niakwa Elementary in St. Vital. They had organized an assembly of the entire school for the visit and I was overwhelmed by the reception when they all started a GO JETS GO chant. But what really surprised me was how much the kids were paying attention to everything we do.</p> <p> A couple of days before the visit I was on radio and was asked what is the one thing that is always in my fridge (a question that says a lot about how intense the fan interest is here in Winnipeg, but more on that later). My response was Barq’s Root Beer. So here comes this little girl up to me to get an autograph and she holds out a can of Barq’s she had brought from home for me to have.</p> <p> Little things like that remind me of how we have an impact on the younger fans and we can make a positive contribution.</p> Blog:70dd0194-b343-4eff-a2f7-b84cc89df8f4Post:b6f4957b-1ec3-42b8-911f-9021346b2392