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Russia invades Ukraine? Yup, going to happen…

.. it’s now not “if” but when.

As reported here, Russian troops are massing at key points along Ukraine’s border. There will be a swift attack, territory will be secured and lives will be lost. Another human tragedy caused by greed. Then Putin will turn to the West and say: “so, what are ya gonna do about it?”


Sadly, the West is pretty much at a loss here. Financial weakness, military adventures recently ended and a general distaste at home for yet another foreign war have nicely handcuffed most Western leaders. Even Harper, despite his photo-op-driven bravado can do little more than spew and hiss.

Or, can he do more?

The curious thing about Canada is that we are home to the largest single employer of Russian athletes abroad – the NHL (yes, yes, I know that the HQ is in NYC… but we’re still the “spiritual home, no?). The following are the Russian players now in the league:

No. Player Position Team Date of birth Place of birth
25 Mikhail Grigorenko C Buffalo Sabres 05/16/1994 Khabarovsk, RUS
61 Nikita Zadorov* D Buffalo Sabres 04/16/1995 Moscow, RUS
28 Alexander Semin RW Carolina Hurricanes 03/03/1984 Krasnoyarsk, RUS
31 Anton Khudobin G Carolina Hurricanes 05/07/1986 Ust-Kamenogorsk, KAZ
39 Nikolai Khabibulin G Chicago Blackhawks 01/14/1973 Ekaterinburg, RUS
1 Semyon Varlamov G Colorado Avalanche 04/27/1988 Samara, RUS
6 Nikita Nikitin D Columbus Blue Jackets 06/16/1986 Omsk, RUS
42 Artem Anisimov C Columbus Blue Jackets 05/24/1988 Yaroslavl, RUS
51 Fedor Tyutin D Columbus Blue Jackets 07/19/1983 Izhevsk, RUS
72 Sergei Bobrovsky G Columbus Blue Jackets 09/20/1988 Novokuznetsk, RUS
43 Valeri Nichushkin* RW Dallas Stars 03/04/1995 Chelyabinsk, RUS
55 Sergei Gonchar D Dallas Stars 04/13/1974 Chelyabinsk, RUS
13 Pavel Datsyuk C Detroit Red Wings 07/20/1978 Ekaterinburg, RUS
47 Alexei Marchenko* D Detroit Red Wings 01/02/1992 Moscow, RUS
37 Denis Grebeshkov D Edmonton Oilers 10/11/1983 Yaroslavl, RUS
64 Nail Yakupov RW Edmonton Oilers 10/06/1993 Nizhnekamsk, RUS
77 Anton Belov* D Edmonton Oilers 07/29/1986 Ryazan, RUS
80 Ilya Bryzgalov G Edmonton Oilers 06/22/1980 Togliatti, RUS
7 Dmitry Kulikov D Florida Panthers 10/29/1990 Lipetsk, RUS
26 Vyacheslav Voynov D Los Angeles Kings 01/15/1990 Chelyabinsk, RUS
74 Alexei Emelin D Montreal Canadiens 04/25/1986 Togliatti, RUS
79 Andrei Markov D Montreal Canadiens 12/20/1978 Voskresensk, RUS
21 Andrei Loktionov C New Jersey Devils 05/30/1990 Voskresensk, RUS
28 Anton Volchenkov D New Jersey Devils 02/25/1982 Moscow, RUS
20 Evgeni Nabokov G New York Islanders 07/25/1975 Ust-Kamenogorsk, KAZ
71 Evgeni Malkin C Pittsburgh Penguins 07/31/1986 Magnitogorsk, RUS
91 Vladimir Tarasenko RW St. Louis Blues 12/13/1991 Yaroslavl, RUS
56 Nikita Kucherov* RW Tampa Bay Lightning 06/17/1993 Moscow, RUS
41 Nikolai Kulemin LW Toronto Maple Leafs 07/14/1986 Magnitogorsk, RUS
8 Alexander Ovechkin LW Washington Capitals 09/17/1985 Moscow, RUS
81 Dmitry Orlov D Washington Capitals 07/23/1991 Novokuznetsk,

That’s quite a talent pool. And these cats make lots of good ol’ $US (I believe they are all paid in greenbacks).

What if the US and Canada revoked their work permits? Sent them home? I know it wouldn’t stop Putin, but it might give him a taste of the economic and cultural isolation that would be waiting for him if he carried aloing his jingoist path. This would be more a symbolic act than anything else, but we really don’t have many other tools at our disposal, do we?

Man, the Oilers and Columbus would NOT be pleased!

But I would love to see Ovechkin’s sorry butt escorted to the airport!



B-Bye, Alfie….

… hope Sen fans give you an honourable reception when you return to the Scotiabank Place, er, Corel Centre, errrr, Canadian Tire Centre… or whatever they are calling that place out in the boonies these days!



My team

I am part of Leaf Nation, and proud.


So the billionaires and millionaires…

…at the NHL and NHLPA have figured out how to the split the billions and millions.

And it took these bozos months to come to an agreement. Months of no work for thousands of people who don’t make billions or millions and who relied on their minimum or slightly more than minimum wage to support their families.

Months of disappointing fans of the game… especially hurt in this way were the kids.

One labour disruption – I could forgive.

But hey you greedy SOBs, for me its two strikes and you’re out. I sure as hell won’t be watching any games this season and that might just carry on into the 13/14 campaign.

You’ve lost me. NHL hockey now ranks down around mixed martial arts for me in my ranked list of preferred sports… and that’s pretty low.

Adios, suckahs!




The NHL?

Call the code.


Things that I won’t bitch about again…

… until I’m 50. Really.

  1. From the Ontario government website:
    Whether on a city street, highway or county road, and regardless of the speed limit and the number of lanes, motorists travelling in both directions must stop when approaching a stopped school bus with its upper red lights flashing. A flashing stop arm will swing out while passengers are boarding or leaving the bus. (The only exception: on highways separated by a median, traffic coming from the opposite direction is not required to stop).

    Coming back from dropping the kids off at daycare this morning and driving south along St. Laurent. A school bus with lights flashing is stopped in the northbound lane. No median.

    And of course cars travelling in both directions stopped, right?


    And not only that, 5 cars sped by me straddling the centre line and honked at me as if I was doing something wrong! Only one driver stopped behind me! Man, the cops should put an unmarked car behind a school bus just to catch these creeps!!!!

  2. The CPC culture of evasiveness.

    Yeah, yeah, Trashy is off on another anti Harper rant… blah, blah, blah…

    Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt was noticeably absent from Sunday’s Calgary Centre byelection debate.

    Mayor Naheed Nenshi appeared unimpressed, calling it “the elephant not in the room.”

    He quoted a tweet he received from Crockatt confirming she would not attend.

    “I hope tomorrow you remind the crowd about all the good things the Conservatives have done for cities.”

    And they have, Nenshi said.

    “But as I said to her, ‘Gee, you could come and tell them yourself,'” he said. “I don’t think it’s the mayor’s job to do the candidate’s job for her.”

    So CPC candidates are SO proud of themselves for having been anointed by the Chief Robot to stand as a candidate that they feel no need to present their platform in an open forum? All-candidate debates don’t really mean “all”. They mean only “some”.

    The arrogance of this government is astounding, isn’t it?

  3. Air Canada sux. It really does.

    Get this – My spouse trying to book flights for our trip to Cuba in March. I have Aeroplan points I want to use against it plus I have a $500 flight credit given to me for a past bad flight experience. Tried to book said flights using the credit and was informed that because it was Air Canada who issued the credit and not Air Canada Vacations – who handle all trips to Cuba – that the credit couldn’t be used…. didn’t even get to discussing the Aeroplan miles.

    Needless to say I will be following up on this and if not pleased with the outcome with unleash the full fury of this blog, Facebook, Twitter, ya-da-ya-da-ya-da.

  4. Finally, a big fat “who gives a shit” goes out to the NHLPA and the owners. You’ve lost me and will be hard-pressed to get me back. Both groups are little more than a bunch of greedy and selfish bastards!

And that’s it! No more bitching until I’m 50.

Tomorrow: bitching about turning 50.




Definition of greed

….On both sides of the hockey dispute…
Here ya go! A picture is worth a thousand words.



What to do during the lockout…

Thanks to CBC sports for this…

See the bottom middle? That will be me.


There would be no talk of…

… an NHL lock-out if the egotistic bonehead Bettman didn’t insist on keeping teams in non-viable markets – (the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes and crippled New York Islanders come to mind)


He is scum.

And both the owners and players are scum for letting this happen. Again.

There will be fans who, this time, won’t return.

Thanks, Gary.


Friday miscellany…

Dead explorer and #ihategarybettman edition!


Every now and then – though rarely – The Head Robot of this fair land does something that I actually agree with.  It hurts to admit it, but yes. It is true.

Such is the case with Stevie’s announcement that he is throwing oodles of cash at an expedition to find the Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin’s ships, the Terror and the Erebus

Sure, it is as much a political decision as a historical quest for knowledge one. The CPC wouldn’t sneeze if there wasn’t a political advantage to be gained by it. But in this instance, so what?

The Franklin expedition and its fate has fascinated me from a very young age and I welcome the possibility that we may finally learn of the fate of the journey.

Additionally, this is a symbolic “stamp” on the Arctic to signal to the Russians and the U.S. that Canada is serious about its claim to the territory and its waters. This will be important in the coming years as counter claims over parts of the Arctic pick up in intensity.

So there you have it. I agree with the CPC on this one item.

That hurts.


Looks like there may be yet another lock-out of NHL players and that the season is again in jeopardy.

The main issue that divides them is far from complex.

“We believe we’re paying out more than we should be,” said commissioner Gary Bettman. “It’s as simple as that.”

Of course, the NHL Players’ Association doesn’t quite see it that way.

Rich owners and rich players. Bad combination. And we the fans may well be left out in the cold once more.

Remind me why there is an American in charge of the NHL?


There is a right way and a wrong way to use a beach towel.

You think your beach towel is just some colorful barrier between your ass and the sand? Wrong. That water-wicking blanket is actually an intricately designed instrument, fine-tuned to provide you with the best possible poolside experience. And here’s the thing: It’s entirely possible that you’ve been using it wrong all along.

The beach towel is not just an oversized, elaborately patterned bathroom towel, used to dry you off any which way. It has two distinct sides, designed for two very different purposes—and one side has absolutely no business in the bathroom.

The things that one learns through Facebook.


Lance Armstrong. Sad story. Blows up his integrity for sure.

But given his past contributions to cancer research, I refuse to condemn him. I know that this isn’t about cancer, it is about cheating (maybe). But being that this is my ‘hood and I make the rules, I can freely declare how I see it.

And I really and truly believe that he may be innocent of all charges and that his refusal to appeal to the next step of the process may simply be that he is tired of fighting this fight. I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Others, perhaps justifiably, will do no such thing.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said. He called the USADA investigation an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”

“I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” he said. “The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today — finished with this nonsense.”

USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong’s decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation’s support for cancer research.

Go ahead. Flame away.



And will be downloading it as soon as I get home tonight.


Wanna check out an interesting and well-written blog? Check out The Winding Path. It’s always an interesting read.


Finally, some comments from an expat living in Missouri on Todd Akin’s absurd “rape” statement.

It’s hard to compare the political scene here in the U.S. or even Missouri with either Canada or Saskatchewan. Here, I consider myself a Democrat, but in Canada, I would lean somewhat left of the NDP.

I never felt threatened, however, from either Liberals or Conservatives. I had friends encompassing all parties, and we’d often talk politics with many common threads.

A common element often was our care and concern for others…our neighbours as well as those who are vulnerable. I find as Canadians we have much more tolerance, and are more open to diversity between parties, and my experience was that religion did not play a part in those politics.

I can honestly say that in Canada, I didn’t know whether a school board member was from a certain political party, or what church they belonged to. It certainly didn’t matter. But this is something that is all encompassing in American politics.

Maybe it is a good idea that Mr. Akin doesn’t step aside. He’s now given a huge boost to his Democrat rival Claire McCaskill for the Senate seat. If Mr. Akin loses, he’ll not be able to go back to representing his district in Congress. It could be goodbye for Todd Akin. Actually – maybe his comments were a good thing!

I have been told by friends and colleagues before about the role that religion plays in the States – be it in politics, education, or who you invite over to a BBQ. And that is simply not the case here in Canada. I imagine there are communities in rural western Canada where it plays a role… but certainly not to the degree it does in backwaters like Missouri.

I am outspoken in my criticism of Ontario’s Catholic school system and I do not at al hide the reality that I am an atheist; though one who does respect the right of others to believe what they will. Respect, yes, but understand? Never. Yet if I were to again run for some level of political office, I cannot envision these views costing me an election. A few votes? Of course. Even here there are some who would judge me solely on my views of religion and it attendant institutions, and they would vote accordingly.

However, I have the feeling that in some parts of the States, I would not only have little chance of success campaigning for any public position whatsoever, but once my views were to become public, I would be branded as a pariah.

Yet another reason for being thankful for the biological happenstance that saw me born in Canada and not the U S of A!


One last note. After re-reading this post, I realized that it could be interpreted as a bit of an anti-American rant! Please believe me when I say that this was not intentional. I don’t usually plan the contents of my Friday Miscellany entries. They are pretty much free form and reflect whatever is on my mind on that day or what I have read or have discussed with others.

So. Yeah. No anti-Americanism intended, OK?