Experience Regina: The Third Part

Regina has been an absolutely great experience.  If I don’t get a job, I feel very confident that I have several reference letters to lean on to get one.

It’s kind of a bummer to be writing about how it is coming to an end… I really don’t want to leave.  It is so refreshing to be around people who have the same interests as you and the same passion towards news and work.

I will be having a discussion with my News and Program Directors this week to see if there is space for me somewhere in the company if it can’t be here.  I’ve gotten addicted to news, it’s absolutely a thrill every day.  You have a real mix of talking to some people on the best days of their lives and others the worst.  This keeps me going, I’m glued to everything going on here in Regina and it feels so nice.

I really am sad that it will be coming to an end.  I’ve made some friends here and hopefully I’ve worked hard enough to be considered as a valuable employee.

 

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Experience Regina: Part Deux

First off, I know this isn’t posted in the second week but I will write two this week.

Second off, practicum is amazing.  I love Regina and I love 620 CKRM.

My second week consisted of a lot of news coverage.  Scrums at City Hall, attending council meetings, going to Mayor Michael Fouguere’s State of the City address and getting primed for the Scotties this week, which I went to yesterday and will be attending again on Friday.

At the Scotties I put together a few packs and a streeter on pin collection, met Jennifer Jones and interviewed Saskatchewan Skip Stefanie Lawton after her evening draw victory over Nova Scotia (good game, by the way!) which I will be coming back to post here later.  Expect a blog post tonight or tomorrow with a collection of my stuff.

Also, before I forget… a story I did got picked up by CP for the the wire for the first time!  Who says practicums aren’t paid.

I really do wish I could write more, but honestly I am loaded up with work here (including weekends, but it’s fine I LOVE IT SO MUCH) and will write a more in depth one in the coming days.

I miss Calgary and my friends but easing that is how much I love it here and all the new friends I have already made.

Practicum is amazing in the sense that I now KNOW I can work in a radio news room, I am ready for work.

Experience Regina: Part 1

I’m from Calgary.

I was born there in 1989, raised in the communities of Huntington Hills and Beddington Heights, and have always called it home.  I went to high school at John G. Diefenbaker, graduated form the University of Calgary and all my friends live there.  I’ve been to other places, sure, but I always had roots in Alberta’s largest city.

This meant a few things, by default:

1.  You hate Vancouver, and everything about it.

2.  You hate Edmonton, and everything about it.

3.  You hate Saskatchewan, and everything about it.

3B.  Seriously.  Especially the Riders.

When it came to find a place to go on my practicum, I was willing to go anywhere.  Seriously.  Anywhere.  I just wanted to learn, contribute and hopefully impress.  My instructor Richard Stroobant, who I now consider more of a friend and mentor than a teacher, pointed me towards some contacts in Regina.

Now, I had never been to Regina.  I had never even been to Saskatchewan.  The only thing I knew about it was it was the capital city, the Roughriders and Pats play there and that it was evil.

After a week of interning at 620 CKRM, Regina may be one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to.  The people here are happy, always smiling and have passion for their sports.  A lot of them hate the Flames too so that is an added bonus.

The people here make this city.  Everyone I work with are good people and I have already been afforded opportunities.  I have recorded voicers for an air news, conducted many interviews- from a contestant on Masterchef Canada to the provincial Trade Minister to a new member of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission- and have been on air with the legendary Rod Pedersen.  I’ve been to media scrums for Saskatchewan’s new photo radar and Ben Heenan’s NFL contract announcement, and met Seattle Seahawk Jon Ryan and NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque.

I must make special mention to Rod Pedersen, who has been nothing but a generous class act.  I can’t believe he let me onto his show as some greenhorn from Calgary, I can’t believe he let me ask questions to Arash Madani and Ray Bourque and I am indebted to him.

I can’t believe how much I am enjoying Saskatchewan.

Friends in Calgary- relax on the hate of Saskatchewan and Regina.  It’s a great place and I already don’t want to leave it.

Vancouver and Edmonton still suck, though.

2014 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview

It’s hard to describe the feeling that overwhelms me during spring.  If there is a majesty associated with sport, the Stanley Cup playoffs is the royalty.  The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy in the world to win and is the oldest trophy in North American professional sports.  It creates legends annually and players play through unimaginable pain.  It’s just… there are no words.

This will be Part 1 of my playoff preview, and I’ll look at the Eastern Conference today and the Western Conference tomorrow.  Let the best damn event in all of sports begin.

 

ATLANTIC DIVISION

#1 Boston Bruins vs #4 Detroit Red Wings

  • Season Series: Red Wings 3-1
Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins should slide past the Red Wings.

Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins should slide past the Red Wings.

The Red Wings made the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive season and in their first season in the Eastern Conference.  It wasn’t without question marks, though.  The Red Wings set a franchise record for man-games lost to injury, including a significant chunk of time without both captain Henrik Zetterberg and superstar Pavel Datsyuk. It looked very doubtful that they would continue the longest playoff streak in the NHL.

The doubt will continue as they draw the best team of the regular season and last season’s Stanley Cup runners up, the Boston Bruins.  Detroit showed masterful depth to overcome their injuries but the Bruins are that much deeper.  The Bruins ran away with the season after the Olympic break and Jarome Iginla, considered to be past his prime, is playing excellent hockey along side pivot David Krejci and winger Milan Lucic.

Backing up a strong, two-way Bruins powerhouse is Finnish netminder Tuukka Rask- arguably the best goaltender in the world right now.  With Zetterberg already a question for the Red Wings, old reliables like Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson will be expected to carry a bulk of the load.

I just don’t see it happening.  The Wings are dotted with players of a championship pedigree, but so are the Bruins, and their’s way more youth in the B’s legs.

Boston in 5

#2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #3 Montreal Canadiens

  • Season Series: Lightning 3-0-1

It’s been a weird season for Tampa Bay.  They returned to playoff form with some surprise performances and a new head coach, but

David Desharnais, Vanek and Pacioretty will be too much for Lindback.

David Desharnais, Vanek and Pacioretty will be too much for Lindback.

a post Olympic break saga saw captain and leading scorer Martin St. Louis shipped to the New York Rangers for their captain, Ryan Callahan.  Steven Stamkos, elite goal scorer, was still rehabbing his broken leg and when he finally returned he was without the set up man he had been with his whole career.

Despite this very public rift, last years acquisition of goaltender Ben Bishop from Ottawa was worth every bit of Cory Conacher as the mammoth American goalie amassed 37 wins in 63 games… before he got hurt.

The Lightning’s loss in net is certainly Montreal’s gain.  Not only do Habs snipers have Anders Lindback to shoot at for the foreseeable, their own masked man Carey Price is raring to go after an injury shortened second half.  Montreal is playing excellent hockey right now and in a match up of aggressive offences the more stingy defense undoubtedly belongs to the pride of Quebec.  Montreal led the entire league in blocked shots, meaning a lot of Stamkos bruises but not a lot of goals in this series.

Not only that, Max Pacioeretty and Tomas Vanek are more threatening than Steven Stamkos right now.  No St. Louis, no Bishop- no second round for the Bolts.

Montreal in 6

METROPOLITAN DIVISION

#1 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #4 Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Season Series: Penguins 5-0

The Penguins dominated the Blue Jackets all year.  The Blue Jackets are making their second playoff appearance in franchise history.  Nathan Horton, a proven playoff performer signed by Columbus last summer, is not available.  Pittsburgh is offensively led by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Chris Kunitz.  Columbus has first time 30-goal man Ryan Johansen.

Sergei Bobrovsky has the chops to carry Columbus to their first series victory.

Sergei Bobrovsky has the chops to carry Columbus to their first series victory.

It’s really amazing… that Columbus is going to win this series.  The Penguins last tasted Cup glory in 2009 and made the Conference Finals last year before being man handled by the Bruins.  That word right there is one of two reasons that I think Columbus will win.  They’re tougher than the Penguins.  By. A. Mile.  At season’s end, they are (alongside the Los Angeles Kings) one of the NHL’s highest hitting teams.  They have big bodies that are skilled like Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky as well as skill guys like Artem Anisimov.  It will be hard for Columbus to play up to Pittsburgh level but far too easy to bring the Penguins down to theirs.  They will smother Crosby and Malkin like syrup on cheap Denny’s pancakes- leaving the birds flightless.

Reason #2 that the Jackets will upset the Pens: the crease matchup.  Sergei Bobrovsky proved his Vezina season during the lockout year last year was not a fluke and continued his high level of play.  He remains the root of any Columbus blossoms.  Marc Andre Fleury had an excellent season himself in black and Vegas gold, but his playoff history deserves heavy consideration.

Since backstopping the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2009, his following four playoff campaigns have yielded the following save percentages: .891, .899, .834, and .883.  In 31 playoff games since the his cup win, Fleury has an average save percentage of .864.  That is just terrible and, even worse, consistent.  Now, Fleury could turn around this reputation and mop up the Blue Jackets like most people expect… but I don’t see it happening.  Congratulations on your first series victory in franchise history, Columbus.

Blue Jackets in 6

#2 New York Rangers vs #3 Philadelphia Flyers

  • Season Series: Tied 2-2

This looks to be one of the closest series of the opening round.  The Rangers have shifted their style under new head coach Alain

Giroux and first-year Flyer Steve Mason will be in tough against the Rangers.

Giroux and first-year Flyer Steve Mason will be in tough against the Rangers.

Vigneault and the Flyers have a roster dotted with seven 20 goal scorers.  The two squads split the season series at two games a piece.  This series may be chalked up to various X-Factors.

I believe that this series hinges on the performance of 3 players: Rangers Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist and Flyer captain Claude Giroux.  If Lundqvist can be the rock and Nash can elevate his level of play to the levels seen in Olympics and World Championships, the Rangers will win.  If Claude Giroux can return to being the temporary best player in the world, as coined by former Flyer coach Peter Laviolette, the Flyers will win.

How do I see this series going?  The Flyers prove to be too much for the Broadway Blueshirts.

Flyers in 7.

Western Preview tomorrow.  Until then, enjoy a great playoff video.

Cool Canucks: Norman Bethune

I’m debuting a new series, kind of like my Film Favourites, this week.  Welcome to Cool Canucks, where I will write a mini-bio of a Canadian that is relatively lesser known but still accomplished some pretty spectacular feats.  This will also be a way to utilize my Bachelor of Arts in Canadian History that doesn’t involve me helping you pick out cool books at Chapters or asking if you’d like to make your meal a combo.

I’m going to kick things off with one of my favourite Canadians, Dr. Norman Bethune.

Norman Bethune’s Tale of the Tape

  • Born: March 4th, 1890 in Gravenhurst, Ontario
  • Died: November 12th, 1939 in China
  • What makes this Canadian Unique: A vocal communist and a medical doctor, Bethune is considered a national hero in China.

 

Mini-Bio

Norman Bethune was born in 1890 in Gravenhurst, Ontario. He was educated in medicine at King’s College and enrolled in the University of Toronto in 1909. When Canada went to war in 1914, he left his education to serve in the ambulance corps and treated battlefield wounded. A shrapnel wound would result in 3 months recovery and a return home to finish his degree in medicine. He returned to England in 1917 to work in a Children’s Hospital.

It was during this time that he developed tuberculosis, likely due to his close contact with the sick, and spent time recovering in a sanatorium in New York. Upon his recovery, he moved to Montreal. He took a special interest in the socioeconomic effects of disease, offering free medical care to the destitute of the city.  Becoming a proponent of socialized health care, he traveled to the Soviet Union in 1935 to study their system of government.

Bethune, right, at a mobile medic unit during the Spanish Civil War.

Bethune, right, at a mobile medic unit during the Spanish Civil War.

His stay in the USSR sparked his interest in communism and as a result he joined the Communist Party of Canada upon his return.  This was pretty radical for the time, as Canada was suffering from the Great Depression and the communist movement was probably at it’s strongest here.   In 1936, he joined a committee for Spanish Aid due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and departed with a Canadian Battalion composed of Canadian communists and leftists sympathetic to the communist Republican Spanish.

During this conflict, Bethune realized that a common cause of death on the battlefield was shock brought on by blood loss. To remedy this, he decided to offer blood transfusions in the field- essentially the worlds first mobile medical unit. He carried enough materials for 100 operations and 500 wounds, and this idea would later develop into  the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals- MASH.

After a brief return to Canada in which he spoke to raise anti-fascist awareness, Bethune embarked to China in 1938 where he joined

Chinese art depicting Bethune tending to an injured soldier.

Chinese art depicting Bethune tending to an injured soldier.

Mao Zedong’s communist forces in their fight against the invading Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War. He trained doctors and nurses while simultaneously operating on battlefield casualties for both sides of the conflict. Sadly, due to a blood transfer during an operation, Bethune contracted blood poisoning which would eventually claim his life. He died November 12th, 1939.

His short time in China had been very influential.  Mao Zedong would write an essay documenting the final months of Bethune’s life and it was made mandatory reading in Chinese elementary schools, where it is still read today. There are numerous statutes of Bethune throughout China, and the Norman Bethune University of Medical Sciences is a department within the University of Jilin, China.

An ardent believer in socialized health care and a critic of war, Bethune certainly is a pretty cool Canuck.

“Medicine, as we are practicing it, is a luxury trade. We are selling bread at the price of jewels. … Let us take the profit, the private economic profit, out of medicine, and purify our profession of rapacious individualism … Let us say to the people not ‘ How much have you got?’ but ‘ How best can we serve you?’ “- Norman Bethune

The “I Told You So” Post

If you’ve ever met me, you know that I don’t like to say “I told you so.”

I love it.

With a big 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks this weekend, the Colorado Avalanche clinched their first playoff birth since 2010.  I’ve been singing the praises of the team all year, sometimes biased, but in all honestly also with some conviction.  Oh, how my friends laughed and laughed when I was excited about the hiring of Patrick Roy as head coach, the trade with Calgary to bring Alex Tanguay back to Denver (you guys still loving David Jones, by the way?), my firm belief that Semyon Varlamov could have a big year and my “outrageous claim” that Matt Duchene would make the Canadian Olympic team.

And yet, here we find ourselves staring down at the beginning of a Stanley Cup playoff that involves the Colorado Avalanche… who may have home ice advantage in the first round over the defending champion Blackhawks.

Now, as I said before, I don’t like saying I told you so… so I’ll shout it through cupped hands.

 

 

Varlamov has been a revelation and if he isn’t in the Vezina Trophy conversation he should be.  At the time of this writing, this is his stat line:

58 games played, 37 wins, 14 losses, 5 overtime losses, 138 goals against, 1,715 saves, .926 save percentage and a 2.49 goals against average.

His 37 wins rank FIRST in the NHL, as do his 1,715 saves.  His save percentage is 6th in the NHL.  These are impressive numbers, considering he has seen the second most shots in the NHL.  Varlamov is simply a stud this year and is big part of putting Colorado back in the NHL’s elite.  Yeah, elite. As in, one of the league’s top 10 teams.

Fun Fact: after getting the gold medal around his neck, Matt Duchene looked into the camera and winked at me.  He knows.

Fun Fact: after getting the gold medal around his neck, Matt Duchene looked into the camera and winked at me. He knows.

And hey, what about that Matt Duchene.  He’s impossible to bump off the puck.  He won a gold medal with Canada in Sochi.  He’s having a career year.  Unfortunately, he went down in the Sharks game and his knee is going to need an MRI.  This could prove to be catastrophic in the playoffs, but fortunately the Avalanche are so deep at forward even absences like Duchene can be replaced.  The Avs have dealt with injuries to top 6 forwards all year, with Tanguay and P.A. Parenteau both missing significant chunks of the season.  But, like a Soviet regiment in World War II, there’s just another able body right behind to pick up the rifle and keep fighting.

Guys like Paul Stastny, Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and rookie sensation Nathan MacKinnon.  I mean, all MacKinnon has done this year is BREAK WAYNE GRETZKY’S RECORD for a points streak by an 18 year old.  By the way: outside of Stastny, all of those forwards are under 25 years old.

And how about Patrick Roy?  “He can’t coach in the NHL,” they said.  “He’s too much of a hot head. The players will hate him.”

All Patrick Roy has done is take a team who finished 29th in the NHL last season to being one of the best teams in the league and he’s done it without alienating his talent.  Ryan O’Reilly, who just over a year ago was embroiled in a bitter contract holdout before Colorado matched a misguided/erroneous/unfathomably stupid offer sheet by the Flames, has gone from wanting to get out as soon as possible to talking a contract extension.  Paul Stastny, whose bloated contract finally comes up this summer, is in talks to return to Colorado at a DISCOUNT.

Why?  They both love playing for Roy.  Roy is a new breed of a coach.  Who better to understand the needs of admittedly high maintenance players than one of the most demanding and superstitious superstars the NHL has even seen?  The guy is a guru.  I want his poster on my wall, which is something I’ve never said about a coach outside of Pete Carroll.  I want a snap shot of him exploding into the glass on opening night against Bruce Boudreau after they finished whipping the Ducks.  Yeah, that’d be sweet.

Well, I just had to get that off my chest.

See you in the playoffs.  I told you so.

Also, when you win as much as you do, I can forgive things like this.

Being in Love

I’ve been happier than I’ve ever been ever since this blog started and that is due to starting broadcasting school.  I love all these new experiences and challenges.  I’ve realized what a rare thing it is to wake up every morning loving what you do, even when it stresses you out.

That is all well and good, but I’ve been thinking about why I couldn’t have been this happy before.  I tried to come up with many reasons… being stuck in university for what seemed like forever, always being broke and/or in debt, car troubles, the split of my parents… the list is embarrassingly long.

Then, just the other day, I realized this was pathetically stupid.  I’ve had a reason to be happy all along and her name is Dominique.

In one month I will be celebrating six years of being together with an absolutely lovely person.  Dominique has been there for me and it pains me to say the majority of our six years haven’t been without their clunks- because of me.  Dom always has had her ducks in a row and is level headed whereas I tend to stress the little things or let stuff out of my control bog me down.  I like pretending otherwise, though.

She’s always been there, through everything.  Absolutely everything. And there is no imaginable way I could ever repay the debt that I owe her.

We began living together this Christmas and I was lucky enough to fall in love all over again.  They say that you really get to know someone when you start living with them, and I thought this wouldn’t apply to me since we have been together for so long.  I was wrong.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned about my soul mate since she moved in:

  • She’s funnier than me.
  • She’s more considerate than me.
  • She’s always happy. Always.
  • She’s a WAY better cook than me.  Ask her to make you Eggs Benedict. Or a Stuffed Red Pepper.  It will change you.
  • She’s more reliable than me.
  • She’s cleaner than me.  But that was kind of going to be a runaway contest.
  • She’s more caring than me.
  • She’s the most supportive person I’ve ever, ever met.

For me, being in love with Dominique is kind of like being in debt.  I know can’t ever pay her fully back… at least not right now… but she makes living an absolute adventure.

Her love is bottomless and I promise that I will one day pay it back.  With interest.