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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Conference Final Predictions

Round 1 and 2 Results
Dave: 6/12 and 0/12 right on
Joe: 5/12 and 1/12 right on
Barrelmaster: 6/12 and 1/12 right on

(2) Carolina Hurricanes vs (4) Buffalo Sabres

Dave: Buffalo didn't make it to the final four because of talent, they made it here with luck. There offense has overperformed due to weak goaltending from Esche/Nittymaki and Emery. The Carolina Hurricanes like the Tampa Bay Lightning have been under the radar all year because they play in the part of the world where nobody cares about hockey. Carolina has a strong offense led by Staal and verterans Doug Weight and Mark Recchi. They have a few key holdovers from their 2002 cup finalist season; Hedican and Wesley. Also, they have the edge in goaltending with Cam Ward who just crushed Martin Brodeur in 5 games. The one positive Buffalo has is Thomas Vanek. He's there most promising forward but he's been a healthy scratch or on the fourth line. If scoring dries up- Vanek will get more icetime. Carolina in 5 games.

Joe: Buffalo, I am a believer now. Buffalo in 6.

Barrelmaster: Buffalo in 7.

(6) Anaheim Ducks vs (8) Edmonton Oilers

Dave: This will be another tough series for the Oilers. They don't have a superstar centreman to worry about Datsyuk/Thornton, but have this playoffs best goalie. That lessens the role of Chris Pronger and will force Oilers scorers Samsonov, Smyth, and Hemsky to solve Bryzgalov. Anaheim also has a nice defense in front of Bryzgalov- Niedermayer and Beauchemin. Edmonton in 7 games.

Joe: The ducks have done horrible against the Oilers the past few years, they one every game this year, and Peca and Pronger love playing them. I think the Oilers will win Game one cause the ducks have been sitting for over a week. Edmonton in 5.

Barrelmaster: Anaheim in 7.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Next Liberal Leader shouldn't be a tourist

Canadians are consistenly recognized as the kindest most accepting people on the planet. We strive to have a good international image so we are treated with respect abroad and also be seen as warm friendly people living in one of the coldest climates on Earth. But the latest Liberal Leadership race has really illustrated just how extreme our openness is.

The Liberal Party has strived to become so inclusive that it's not looking for one of its own to lead them. Instead the Liberals are working hard this campaign for new Liberals. Some of these Liberals were NDP or Conservatives politicians a short time ago. Others aren't even federal politicans. (The last time the Liberals have chosen someone with no federal cabinet experience as their leader was the first Liberal Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier) And one has just moved back to Canada after a 30 year hiatus.

Canada is a country based on immigration and accepting people from every part of the globe but surely more than a commitment of a few months is needed to lead the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal brand was tarnished badly in Quebec where the Liberals dropped to the third party there and all there support retreated to Montreal. But outside Quebec the Liberals maintained most of their support and only suffered slight losses. That is why they elected over 100 MPs and are in a stronger position than the conservative party has ever been in opposition in the last 13 years.

If the Liberals are to recover they must embrace their strengths and not hide their failures. The liberal party had many strong ministers who fought hard for Canada and helped the Liberals win four straight governments. Programs such as the sponsorship program, the gun registry, and flip-flopping on scrapping the GST tarnished the Liberal party. But other key decisions such as not invading Iraq, supporting Kyoto, introducing the Clarity Act, altering how political parties are funded, the creation of a national childcare plan, and lastly balancing the budget are supporting by the majority of Canadians.

When the Progressive Conservative party collapsed they went through similar turmoil. Some wanted to radically transform the party and others wanted to highlight their sucesses. Nationalists like David Orchard attempted to seize the leadership of PC party but failed and Joe Clark even referred to Orchard as a tourist in the party. The PC Party before it merged with the alliance did rebuild their party by re-establishing themselves in Atlantic Canada and proudly advertising some of their strengths such as NAFTA. It is time for the Liberals to stop running for their record and embrace the positives.

The Liberals need to elect a leader that enthusiastically supports the charter. The next Liberal Leader must support human rights domestically and internationally. That means the next leader must support the past Liberal record. Canadians a Liberals want a leader who supported the government's decision to oppose the Iraq war, and also opposed an offensive missile defense shield. Canada must also recognize our southern neighbour has become increasingly hostile to regions that threathen its dominance and it appears its abadoning international institutions (UN) that it helped create and is even willing to violate international law. (torture) The next leader must not be a John Kerry who the Conservatives can exploit as being a flip-flopper. In this area the next Liberal Leader must be uncompromising and should not be intimiated by any country violates international law.

This campaign will be fought and won on domestic issues. All of the candidates are trying to persude Canadians why they are the best candidate to beat Stephen Harper and lead Canada. For this position I want a Canadian firmly committed to Canada. I want my next Prime Minister to maintain a strong federation by resisting provincial pressures to decentralize power and recognize Canada's uniqueness and not try to mould it after another country. A strong leader who wants Canada to be a strong country, can unite the Liberals, unite the provinces, and squash the separtists.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Second Round NHL Predictions

First Round Results
Dave: 4/8 and 0/8 right on.
Joe: 4/8 and 1/8 right on.
Barrelmaster: 4/8 and 1/8 right on.

(1) Ottawa Senators vs (4) Buffalo Sabres

Dave: The senators are still without Hasek but Emery has been playing well. But will he be able to win another playoff series for the Senators? The Sabres don't have any glaring weaknesses but don't have any area where they have the edge over the Senators. With Havlat back the senators scoring is too lethal for the inexperienced Buffalo Sabres. Ottawa in 7 games.

Joe:
Buffalo in seven

Barrelmaster: Ottawa in 6.

(2) Carolina Hurricans vs (3) New Jersey Devils

Dave: New Jersey destroyed the New York Rangers with brilliant goaltending from Brodeur and a strong offensive game led by Elias. The Hurricanes came back to beat Montreal with surprising strong goaltending from their backup Cam Ward but can he maintain his game against a strong offensive team than Montreal. The Hurricans defense is too weak and I think it will be another short series for the devils. New Jersey in 5 games.

Joe:
New Jersey in five

Barrelmaster: Carolina in 7.

(5) San Jose Sharks vs (8) Edmonton Oilers

Dave: A very unlikely second round matchup. The 5th place team playing the 8th place shows just how much the NHL has changed in the Western Conference especially. The Oilers had a tougher time than the Sharks in the first round. San Jose played a Nashville Predators team without Tomas Vokoun and coasted by the Predators with little help from Thornton and Cheechoo. In the last playoffs Thornton was pointless and Joe Thornton seems to have dissapeared from the scoreboard once the playoffs started. The Oilers will be a tough opponent to beat. All 6 of their defenseman are experienced and led by former MVP Chris Pronger. Not to mention Roloson in net, the Oilers should have the edge because the sharks haven't played high tempo playoff hockey yet. Edmonton in 7 games.

Joe:
San Jose in seven

Barrelmaster: San Jose in 7.

(6) Anaheim Ducks vs (7) Colorado Avalanche

Dave: Very interesting series between two teams that crawled into the playoffs and now might win the conference. The Avalanche improved their goaltending with Theodore and Sakic is still going strong. But the ducks (like the sharks) were red hot entering the playoffs and just knocked off last season's Stanley Cup Finalist- the Calgary Flames. Anaheim is lead by Bryzgalov in goal, Selanne on offense, and Three time Stanley Cup Winner Scott Niedermayer. Anaheim in 7 games.

Joe:
Colorado in six

Barrelmaster: Anaheim in 7.