Archive for the ‘Football’ Tag

Back to hockey

Ok, after all, this is still a hockey bog, so let’s talk hockey again! It’s not going to be an easy weekend. I’m sorry for stating the obvious, but playing Washington and Detroit in back to back games isn’t exactly going to be a pleasure for the habs, given all their recent issues. But let’s start with tonight’s game:

Game 22

Stewie is back to the Bulldogs for two weeks, and it’s lines juggling time in Montreal. It’s not exactly the sign of a confident team and coach. During the last game, Metro played on the first line. Now, according to Habs Inside/Out (yeah, I kinda have to rely on them, I can’t really go to see the practices myself…) Metro is back to the fourth line, with Pyatt and Laraque. The third line features Lats, Lapierre and White. Plekanec, Kostitsyn and Pacioretty are on the second line. So, that means it’s Travis Moen’s turn to play along Gomez and Cammalleri on the first line.

Habs fourth liners line up to play on the first line, in front of a pre-crisis habs billboard ad.

It’s really a bad sign when you have to use your 4th liners to play on the first line. No offense to Metro or Moen, who are playing well this year (especially Metro), but I don’t think it’s their role to play along guys like Cammie. Even worse, I think it sends the message that you’re really desperate to find solutions. I have a lot of confidence in Martin’s coaching abilities, but this kind of moves is disturbingly reminiscent of Carbonneau.

With Gionta out for an indefinite time, I think it could be time to send someone down and call up Desharnais or Sergei K. (I’m sorry for the Bulldogs, really, but I’m still a habs fan first… and that’s unfortunately the way things work for affiliate franchises: they’re bound to lose their best players during the season…)

The good news for the habs is the return of O’Byrne. Like the rest of habs fans, I’m really hoping his injury didn’t completely turned him back to 2008-09 O’Byrne. Otherwise, we’re screwed.

About the Caps, they’re also missing important players (Semin, Knuble), but Ovie is back. With him and Backstrom, they’re still pretty scary.

I’m sorry, that’s pretty much all I have to say about this game. I’m not very confident about the habs right now, but if they can somehow win this one, or at least get a point (this will probably necessitate another good game from Carey), it would definitely be a welcome confidence boost.

~~~

Just an update about the French soccer team: there were petitions in France to have the game played again. Now it’s getting really funny, because everyone is making fun of Henry. In the news, on tv, on the radio, in the streets, really everywhere. I have yet to see someone seriously defending him. It’s getting to the point where politicians are asked their opinion about it. Which causes them all sorts of embarrassment, because they can’t defend cheating, but they don’t want to look unpatriotic if they criticize les Bleus. So they’re really beating around the bush (I’ve just learnt this expression, I hope it makes sense)

Henry himself admitted that he thought the game should be replayed. But the FIFA confirmed the result, and it’s very unlikely there will be a rematch. If things stay that way, I think we should just have fun with this: let’s embrace our cheaters status, and let’s have the French fans come to South Africa with big foam hands. Humor is the only way out of this embarrassment!

I would LOVE to see something like this catching on.

La honte

Yesterday, France met Ireland for a crucial game to determine who would take part in the FIFA soccer world cup in South Africa, next summer. Last week, in the first leg, France had beaten Ireland 1-0 in Dublin. Yesterday, the French only needed a tie in Paris to be qualified. After regulation the score was 1-0 Ireland, and the game went to overtime. Then, Thierry Henry, the French captain, blatantly used his left hand to control the ball just before he made a pass to Gallas, who scored. The referee somehow missed it, and the goal was allowed. The game eventually ended in a 1-1 tie, and France got his ticket to the world cup.

I just want to say I’m really ashamed today. Yes, I was rooting for France, but winning like this is not winning. Henry should be ashamed of himself. This is pathetic.

I think it’s understandable that he controlled the ball that way and made the pass. It happens so fast, it’s a matter of reflexes, and when the ball hits your hand so close to the goal line, you just can’t stop playing right away But then, after the goal was scored, he ran around celebrating wildly, as the Irish were storming the referee to signal him what just happened. Of course, after the game, Henry admitted he touched the ball with his hand. I’m sorry but that’s too late.

I’m happy that the French will be in South Africa for the World Cup. But I’m ashamed of the way it happened.

(On a sidenote, bravo to Algeria. They beat Egypt and will take part in the World Cup for the first time since 1986. There is a strong Algerian community around where I live, and it was pretty crazy yesterday night. Congrats!)

Posted November 19, 2009 by Grrrreg in Uncategorized

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Sad day

I know this is a hockey blog, but I won’t talk about hockey today, because I don’t really care right now. Today, it’s all about football. The first sport I was interested in as a child. The first sport I seriously watched on tv. The first sport I attended in person in a stadium with my dad. Of course, with football immediately came the first team I became a fan of.  The FC Nantes. The first team I witnessed winning championships and cups. The first team that regularly broke my heart too.

nantes1995FC Nantes 1994-95. The team that made me love football forever.

Hockey won me over a few years ago, and I now often find myself a little more interested in the nhl than in football. Especially since the FCN has betrayed its fans and its history for the last 8 seasons. But I just can’t feel completely indifferent to this club. Yesterday, it lost yet another crucial game, and the team is now certain to be relegated, for the second time in 3 seasons (after having spent 44 consecutive seasons without being relegated, a record in France). This hurts badly. Relegation is a pain that has no equivalent in the nhl.

In the nhl, when your team sucks, at least you know it will get good draft picks, and you know it could get really exciting in a few years. Of course, there’s always the lingering fear that the team could move, if the owners are really really awful. But this is pretty impossible for the historical franchises. No one can seriously imagine the Leafs, the Habs or the Bruins will disappear, even if they suck for a few seasons in a row. In football, if your team really sucks, it can totally disappear from the elite scene for a decade. With relegation comes huge budget cuts. All your best players are immediately traded, because you can’t afford them anymore. The big sponsors leave. The tv revenues drop. A demotion also often means turmoil with an alienated fanbase, and the most passionate fans calling for change in the ownership or at least the direction of the team. And when I say calling for, I mean in a public and very vocal way. Like hostile chants and signs at every game (home and away), demonstrations, campaigns in the local media to discourage people to renew their seasons tickets,  and unfortunately sometimes, violent actions too. That’s a lot of uncertainty, in a competitive environment like football. Under those circumstances, it’s pretty tough to get promoted again.

This is a really sad day for the FC Nantes. And the saddest thing is that the club deserves it. The owner, Waldemar Kita, has made terrible decisions since he took over two seasons ago. He seems largely more preoccupied by his ego than by the well being of the club. His policy of systematically erasing references to the traditions and the identity of the club have sickened the fanbase. This policy also deepened an identity crisis that had begun a few seasons before. The 8 last seasons have been awful for the fans of this once proud club. And with this new relegation, it certainly doesn’t look like we’re headed in right direction.

To me, the worst part is that I don’t recognize my team anymore. I don’t care for most of the players, I hate the owner, I don’t particularly like the coach, and I hate the way they play. This is probably what hurts the most. This club was once famous for its exciting offensive and fast-paced style of play, nicknamed “le jeu à la nantaise”. Those days are long gone. Had I not followed them for so long, this team would be dead to me.

man_weeps

I declare 3 days of mourning on this blog.

Posted May 24, 2009 by Grrrreg in Uncategorized

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Football is cool too

Tonight I watched Chelsea/Liverpool, and this game reminded me why I love football. That was awesome.

I was rooting fo Liverpool, and it didn’t end well for them, as they were eventually ousted of the Champions League. But whatever, that was still amazing. Chelsea had won the first leg 3-1 at Liverpool. So tonight, Liverpool needed to score at least 3 goals at Chelsea, and win by a two or more goals margin. Normally, that’s pretty much impossible. But that game was special.

Two teams that hate each other, two rabid fanbases singing all game long. And the feeling that anything was somehow possible.

Liverpool scored twice in a very exciting first half. Then, Chelsea woke up and scored 3 unanswered goals. At this point, things were pretty much over, as Liverpool needed 3 more goas to stay alive. But once again, that game was indeed special. Liverpool scored two more goals in a few minutes. With 5 minutes left to play, they were leading 4-3, needing just one goal to do the impossible. In the end, Chelsea tied the game and will play in the semifinals, but at this point, I’m not even disappointed, I have a huge grin.

Awesome I tell you.

Goosebumps

What? This is a hockey blog? Well I know! Oh I see, you’re expecting me to do some sort of playoffs preview or something? Well, I’ll try to do it tomorrow night. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post it before the actual start of the games.

If you haven’t done so yet (and not many of you have…), it’s still time to register to the Soft European Playoffs Prediction Contest, aka SEPPC.

See you soon!

Posted April 15, 2009 by Grrrreg in Uncategorized

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