Vancan Outta The Blue

A Day Off & On To The Playoffs…Hopefully
August 29, 2011, 13:44
Filed under: Archived: Sports | Tags: , ,

By Josh Hall

A day off today means the Vancouver Canadians can rest easy on a 12 hour bus trip to Boise, Idaho. That is where they close out the regular season with five games against the Hawks, whom they are 4-1 against so far this season.

The C’s are coming off a big loss yesterday, which should have been a win. Leading the Tri-City Dust-Devils going into the 7th, the game seemed to be locked up. Up until yesterday, the Devils were 0-28 when trailing after six innings. Vancouver up 4-3, Drew Permison comes in for the save in the top of the 8th, and on one pitch and one swing it was 4-4 and then it was 5-4 Tri-City. Permison, who has been stellar this season to say the least, and leads the NWL in saves, blew only his second save of the entire season. It was not his day.

Nonetheless, the Canadians playoff hopes were boosted when Eugene defeated Spokane 1-0. Here’s a breakdown of the C’s playoff chances:

Yesterday the C’s lost which officially eliminates them from winning the 2ndhalf, now 6 games back with 5 games remaining. The Eugene Emeralds won the first half, and since Vancouver is eliminated in the 2nd half, that means they need Eugene to win the 2nd half as well.

When the same team wins both halves, the 2nd team to make the playoffs is the team with the next best overall record. With five games to go for each team, Vancouver sits 3 games up on Everett and 5 up on Salem-Keizer in the overall standings.

The key for the C’s in securing that 2nd place overall spot is to just keep winning. Five games to go against a team they owned in the first half, the task is tall, but not gigantic.

We could have some playoff baseball at the Nat next week folks!

Original Post on VSP

C’s Game Of The Season
August 21, 2011, 13:38
Filed under: Archived: Sports | Tags: , ,

By Josh Hall

Simply put, last night’s Northwest League game between the Vancouver Canadians and Everett Aquasox was the game of the season. The fact it was fireworks night turned out to be an incredible complimentary bonus.

It was something out of a storybook. Included were a storybook beginning, a storybook dilemma and a storybook ending. No sporting event that I have been to live has ever been as exciting, even a Canucks game.

Before the C’s even had an opportunity to swing a bat, it was 3-0 Everett. The game was over and there was no hope of coming back. Those three runs were scored on four hits allowed by RHP Zack Breault.

Alas, the Canadians finally secured three outs, stepped up to the plate, and 1B Kevin Patterson slugged the first of three homers on the night for the C’s. That cut the lead to 3-2.

Breault stayed in, it was 4-3 after two innings and it was clear to everyone in the sold out crowd that this game was going to be a long one. Ultimately, it lasted just under 4 hours.

The C’s never led and it was the bottom of the 9th when that fact looked like it may stay that way. Down 9-6, a smattering of great play which involved singles, bunts and eventually runs, saw the Canadians go through the whole order. This also included some clutch pinch running from 1B Yeico Aponte who came in for the worn out Kevin Patterson. With two outs and runners in scoring position, it looked like the hometown boys may be able to pull off the comeback in the B9, but it wasn’t meant to be as the Aquasox pitcher Krakowiak locked down the final out of regulation.

For the second time this week, the C’s were headed for extras and the crowd was abuzz. The stage was set for an amazing comeback to be completed, that storybook ending to take place.

Top of the 10th, the Aquasox hardly threatened on some great relief pitching from RHP Philip Brua. Bottom of 10, on the power of a couple walks and singles, the bases were juiced. Cinderella was ready for the ball. All due respect, last night’s Cinderella was Nick Baligod, who up until his final at bat, was 0-3. The summer air filled Nat Bailey, the pitch came down and Baligod crushed the offering over the right field wall like it was pack of rotten eggs. Ecstasy is one way to put it. The walk-off Grand Slam meant a 13-9 victory and the highest run total of the season for the C’s.

It also meant the C’s moved to within 7 games of the 2nd half lead, which they are more pulling for Eugene to win, only 3 games back.

Twas a storybook ending…and cue the fireworks!

Original Post

Remembering Rypien
August 19, 2011, 22:55
Filed under: Archived: Hockey | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By Josh Hall

Regardless of what really happened to Rick “The Ryper” Rypien this tragic summer night, one thing is for certain; he ultimately never got a fair shake in life.

The class with which the Canucks organization approached the Rypien situation the last couple seasons has been top notch and to myself, was somewhat stunning. It wasn’t stunning because I was proud of my favourite hockey team for showing it. It was stunning to me because I never really gave Rypien a fair shake.

Each time the Canucks issued a media release regarding Rypien, I had to send out one tweet or write at least one status about how I was sick of Rypien’s absence from the team continuing to go unexplained for entire seasons. Standing by one’s words is paramount to one’s credibility and by no means by writing this am I saying that I suddenly realise I was one of Rypien’s biggest fans all along, but when something as tragic as this happens, it’s hard to not see the light, at least a little bit.

There have always been rumours about why Rick was absent from the team. If it was bad, it was a rumour; drugs, alcohol, depression, suicidal thoughts and so on and so forth. It was sickening. Not once did I speculate but just the idea of an absence being unexplained for so long; well let’s face it, it’s unprecedented. When else does a player miss a whole season and fans don’t know why, whether it’s an injury or something else. The Canucks always cited personal and family issues and to this day, I really don’t think that’s enough.

That being said, looking back on Rypien’s career which spanned 119 regular season NHL games, one can respect the guy for being a fighter, in every sense of the word. Perhaps I never gave him enough credit for not announcing retirement throughout his whole personal leave. It would be so easy for a guy in his position to just up and quit the game, while he’s got enough money to live on and to support his family. He could have just left the game behind, said he needed to take care of whatever it was that has ailed him and no one would’ve questioned him. Retrospectively, I respect him immensely for that.

He was loved by his teammates, hated by opponents and yet respected on the ice as well for a skill that not many NHL players can brag about. Rypien almost always fought at least two weight classes above his own and almost always pounded his foe into oblivion. The most memorable would have to be Zach Stortini seen here:

Ryper Pounds Stortini

He even had a scoring touch, way back there on the fourth line. Two goals come to mind immediately. The Canucks opened up the season a couple years ago with two games against Calgary and Ryper scored not once, but twice, including an incredible breakaway deke roof job seen here:

Ryper Roofs It

Looking forward, Rypien was set to become a Winnipeg Jet, and sadly will not make that debut. Once again, the Canucks and even the Jets have shown class with issuing statements regarding Rick’s passing. The Canucks had this to say on, “It is with tremendous sadness that the Vancouver Canucks confirm the passing of Rick Rypien. Rick has been a beloved member of the Canucks family for the past six years. Rick was a great teammate and friend to our players, coaches and staff. We send our deepest condolences to the Rypien family at this most difficult time.” What more could you ask for from an organization such as the Canucks? They never fail to amaze me.

Upon reading the tweet from @vancanucks this evening regarding the media release, I was filled with a sickening feeling, because whether I loved the guy or not, hockey is a family. The Canucks as a club are a family and I believe with every ounce of my being that fans are also part of that family. It was not long ago this city lost another young Canuck and this time, it feels like it really rings close to home, all of us having gone through what happened to Luc only a few short years ago. I’ve been having chills all night thinking about Luc and now Rick.

I regret not realising my respect for Rick Rypien sooner, but I am glad I have seen it now. As already said, the man was a fighter, both on and clearly, off the ice. Lessons can and I believe will be learned from whatever is deemed to be the cause of death, but this time, I’m content with the information we have already being enough.  RIP Ryper. Forever a Canuck!

Rick Rypien was 27 years old.

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