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  1. Does anyone have thoughts on the resurgence of the lab leak theory? I'm not one of these people banging the drum for it--either is possible and we'll probably never know--but it does matter. Combined with new reporting on this virology research and the U.S. conflicts of interest with it, Fauci's dismissiveness of it and immediate insistence on the bat theory in his emails seem wreckless and generally odd of a scientist you kind of expect to be curious and open to theories. If the lab leak theory picks up any more steam, imo this is going to become a really ugly scandal. Probably July. We know the holdup is on our end. The Canadian government hasn't announced a date yet, but Trudeau has set a specific vaccination targets he wants Canada to meet before it re-opens the border. We will probably hit those targets by the time the current border agreement expires on June 21. They could start announcing phases at that point. For this summer, you'll probably need to at least tell a border agent you're fully vaccinated.
  2. Sucks to see the Avalanche go down. They'll be a force for years, but this was as good of a team as they'll have for the next few years. Dougie Hamilton has sort of walked this back, but the NHL should close this loophole. It doesn't feel fair that you can stash all-stars on LTIR all season to be cap-compliant and then add them for the playoffs. They're not breaking any rules, but I bet a lot of teams complain if Tampa wins the cup.
  3. I got Pfizer as the 1st too, a few weeks ago. Sore arm after the shot, exhausted the day after. Good as new after that.
  4. Luckily for them, there is no series for Sheifele to come back to now. Montreal had a hot start this year, trended down pretty much all season, fired their coach, and still barely made the playoffs. I guess they picked the right time to win seven straight. It's pretty funny that this team is going to have to go up against Vegas or Colorado. They're not going to carry the play 5-on-5 against them like they did the Jets. Only thing is the Habs will be well rested, and whoever wins that series will be banged up. Vegas has really turned the dial and so far Colorado hasn't been able to adjust. Vegas has dominated the last seven or eight periods. I am not really watching the Bruins/Islanders series but I'm not surprised to hear how it's going. I don't think it's possible to just beat the Bruins in the playoffs without help from the refs. That's the only way they can lose. As always with them--hook, clutch, grab as much as possible, assume the refs will call it 50/50, and if they don't--just complain. If the league is fining the Bruins' players for plays the refs aren't calling, you're not getting a bad whistle.
  5. It does vary for everyone, but generally, of the people I know, the ones who've gotten the virus later on in the pandemic seem to have gotten it a lot worse than the ones who got it earlier. Only knew a few people who got it in 2020, and they were mostly mild cases. This winter and spring, my region had lots of the variants from the UK and Brazil, and I know a bunch of younger people who've gotten really sick from them, especially the P.1.
  6. Imo it is a wreckless hit and in an ideal world, four games would feel like a healthy punishment. But it is harsh in that decades prior, those hits were allowed on the basis that it would have been on Evans to keep his head up in that situation (he was trying to score), and a lot of players instinctively still think like that. I don't buy Scheifele's explanation and think he was just reacting emotionally to Evans scoring to put the game away, but Scheifele doesn't have a record and had never taken a charging penalty, so I thought he might get two. It's impossible for me to imagine the Department of Player Safety doing four games in the playoffs if it's Tom Wilson. Part of me wonders if DOPS wanted a lighter suspension, or even none, and Bettman stepped in to prevent bad optics on a head injury. We know that's happened in the past.
  7. btw... the Canucks had the 9th-best odds of winning the lottery and will draft 9th. This marks the first time since the NHL switched to a multi-draw lottery that the Canucks' draft position has not fallen back from their lottery position.
  8. Vegas-Colorado really is fun to watch. Constant chances at both ends. Way better effort from Vegas, but the Avs take Game 2 in OT. Hard to see them losing 4/5. It's a shame to see Buffalo win the draft lottery again. This is the eighth straight year they'll pick top 9: two of those have been second overall and two will have been 1st overalls. The NHL needs to adjust the rules to prevent dysfunctional organizations from hoarding elite talent. Because Bettman refuses to ever reverse rule changes, I think we're stuck with this format until the next commissioner comes in in 2066. What can you say about the Leafs other than LOL. That Marner contract just looks awful now that we have comparables, and now that we see him be the primary reason the Leafs lost to a team they finished 23 points ahead of in a shortened season. They are lying to themselves if they think they can address the reasons for this collapse without touching any of their big contracts. The Leafs were really smartly run for a bit and now they're a team that signs Simmonds 41-yo Joe Thornton and trades 1st-round picks for an injured Nick Foligno. Where things first went awry for them imo was the Tavares signing. It did not address a need and the roster changes required to accomodate the player's cap hit have made the addition not worth it. The only way that signing would have made sense is if they'd won cups by now. He's on the wrong side of 30 now and the contract is untradable. It's not that I thought the Leafs were incapable of blowing a 3-1 series lead, but I didn't think they would to this Montreal team. I feel bad for their fans, but it is fun watching the smarmy reporters that cover that team explain this one away. It has been nice to see the spectators back in Canadian rinks, even if it is just a few hundred vaccinated healthcare workers. I'm probably not going to a Canucks game next year, but it's nice to know that the reason is that I'm fed up with how horribly they are run and not the virus.
  9. There's something that's never been right with the Leafs. They have all the pressure on the world on them yet are never ready to go in these big games. Marner and Matthews have vanished as usual. This is why people are hesitant to put them in the top tier contender group despite the level of skill. Credit to the Habs, who are emptying the tank, but they probably wouldn't have been a playoff team in a normal year. If the Leafs blow this one tomorrow it will take the take for their worst playoff disaster yet.
  10. I don't in general care for that 90s/early 200s era of NHL hockey, the scoring was so low, but you are right about the Detroit/Colorado rivalry. That was big boy hockey. Those Red Wings teams had a ton of skill but they also had those dirty guys like Holmstrom. The powerhouse team from that era I don't like is New Jersey. They just trapped the life out of the game. I most liked the NHL from after the lockout in 2004 until around the 2013 lockout. The playoffs kind of got taken over by bigger slower teams for a few years after that but I'd say the last 4-5 years the league has generally become faster and more exciting, even though there are still problems with the game. Tanev is such a warrior. I don't like that he plays for Calgary now. After everything, the Oilers' season ends up lasting five days longer than the Canucks' and Flames'. McDavid is 24 now, we haven't gotten to see him in the playoffs too much yet. lol @ Ron Maclean. Tbh the reason I'd probably cut him some slack on this one is that he is often says does weird comparisons that make no sense to anyone but hm, and has a way of rambling off at the end of his sentences, so he's capable of accidentally making a bad joke on air. I am slowly starting to begin watching hockey more now after ignoring it a lot of the year. Vegas-Colorado will be fun I think. So will Carolina-Tampa.
  11. I think it was on my mind because the Canucks make me think of a Russian novel where everything is weird and chaotic and out of control. Unfortunately for you, you don't get Jim Benning. Not yet at least. It sounds like he came very close to being fired this time. The extra years remaining on his contract may have saved him. He really does have nine lives. The rumors about him being fired have flipped back and forth for months, and were back on again this week. It could change again, but he is probably going to appear in a press conference with Travis Green tomorrow, and that should stop the wheel, ensuring he will remain the GM through at least the start of next season. Will he survive the first 5-game losing streak, with fans back in the building to chant things? That's another question. It sounds like they've agreed to an extension with Travis Green. That's very surprising, if it is announced. The way the Canucks treated him this season was disgraceful. Supposedly, Jim Benning wanted to give him a contract. Ownership or money was the problem. A lame duck head coach is a bad idea for a number of reasons, but it's also a poor way to treat people you supposedly value. That's just how the organization does things now I guess. I find Green a bit overrated, but the coaching is still more competent than the general managing or ownershipping. Treliving's future isn't certain yet either it sounds like. I am sort of jealous of Calgary's ability to not turn the situation into a completely ridiculous media circus. I felt embarrassed for the players in the Calgary/Vancouver games while the playoffs were going on. I don't get why the NHL made them do it. Their MackInnon line is incredible but they are also ridiculously deep. They will be a tough out. Would be fun to see them go up against Vegas and Tampa. Not a good start to the playoffs for Toronto. That Paul Byron goal was devastating. That was scary what happened to Tavares. Happy to see Edmonton lose too.
  12. Really smart gambit by Liz Cheney. From what I can gather, she's now got about a fifth of the 5% of Republican voters who want an anti-Trump candidate.
  13. It's sunny and hot here. I like it at this time of the year before the now annual wildfire smoke starts. I feel kind of bad for him, but Jim Benning is a big boy. GMs go into these jobs knowing they'll probably just have them for 3-5 years unless they win a Stanley Cup. Canuck world is peak crazy right now. There was a week in February when Friedman and some local insiders heard that ownership was moving on Benning, and then something changed and he was expected to be back next year. Now there are reports that ownership realizes how damaged the brand has become and Benning is back on the hot seat. The changes could even go beyond Travis Green and Jim Benning. The Canucks are owned by the Aquilini familiy, but the youngest son, Francesco, is the person the people who run the team report to and often referred to as "the owner." The are rumors that the family patriarch, Luigi, might take it away from Francesco and give it to Roberto or Paolo, who are supposedly thought to be the more competent brothers. Ottawa fans bought a billboard to try to shoo away Eugene Melnyk, who by the way has a hilarious new lawsuit. Ottawa Senators owner took Caribbean superyacht vacation during pandemic — and it went horribly, lawsuits say The jist of it seems to be that they are suing the yacht company because the ocean was rough. It is sort of amusing to think of Melnyk and his billionaire friends being thrashed around the cabin. Like the classic novel The Double. I actually think Dostoyevsky wrote it about the horror of two Eric Francises. Based on the Vancouver to Calgary hockey pipeline, you have to think Brad Treliving will be fired, Jim Benning will be fired, the Flames will hire Jim Bening, and then they will sign Alex Edler. Hartley was a guest on 31 Thoughts last week, btw. He said he found Russia scary but one day Ilya Kovalchuk called him and ordered him to accept the job of head coach of Avangard Omsk so he said ok. Also, Kovalchuk wasn't on the team most of this year, he just decided to join at the end and led the team to a championship. The KHL rules. Hartley told a very emotional story about Dan Snyder's death and how he and Kovalchuk have remained very close because of it. It's a good interview actually. https://podcast.sportsnet.ca/31-thoughts/bob-hartley-a-khl-champion That game knocked the Flames and Canucks out at the same time, lol. The playoffs start tomorrow, but also the Canucks play a completely meaningless game against the Oilers and then three even more pointless ones against the Flames. It's very dreary.
  14. The most important takeaway is that these vaccinated people testing postive are reportedly all asymptomatic. (In the Yankees' case, there are over 50 people travelling with the team between the roster and staff, so it feels notable that there are only eight positives.) If people want to wait for more data on transmission between vaccinated people or long-term effects of an asymptomic case before taking off their masks, I think that's fine. Obviously, if you're fully vaccinated and don't want to wear a mask anymore and experts say that's ok, then you shouldn't have to wear one anymore.
  15. I was listening to the Sportsnet station, and they have a late-morning show that airs in both Vancouver and Calgary, and they kind of jump back and forth between the two teams. It's funny hearing them be like, "going to be 20 and blue skies again in Vancouver this weekend... Calgary, the snow is supposed to stop tomorrow." Seriously, I can't ever remember spring weather as good as the last two weeks. That sucks it recently snowed in Calgary (and Toronto). It should be illegal to snow in April. My first thought was, wouldn't a billboard on the highway be both cheaper and more visible? The banner flew over the city the other day. Most people found it funny and some people were mad. I guess the Vancouver fanbase's Jim Benning discourse is kind of mean-spirited. At the same time, he's been the GM a long time and done a pretty poor job. He does take criticism well. I'll give him that. Brian Burke would have filed a lawsuit against the organizers. My guess would be that Markstrom volunteered or insisted on it. I've said the playoff race is over, and it probably is. But Montreal is doing everything in its power to make it interesting. The Canucks' playoff odds tripled from about 6 to 18 percent while they were out with Covid because Montreal and Calgary did nothing but lose during that time. Technically, the Canucks would bump Montreal out of a playoff spot if they won all their games in hand on them, but it's still an extremely tall order. Canucks shockingly won their first two games back against Toronto, 3-2 and 6-3. The first one was all Holtby. They did play hard in the second one. I have to applaud the effort. It's still awkward to watch. They all look and sound awful in their post-game sessions. They lost the next one to Ottawa, because of course. Calgary had a testing scare, but like with Vancouver, the NHL has blown through the stop sign of a single positive test. So the Flames played against another team Friday, aware that one of their players in practice on Thursday had Covid and practised with it. Hopefully time proves this wrong and there are no further positives, but they are really holding their breath here. Is Derek Francis Eric's evil brother? That's super convenient for them that every deal they agree to with everyone is subject to them being allowed to ask for more money later. Ryan Lambert has made the point that the Flames are responsible for nearly half of the bought-out contracts in the NHL since Brad Treliving has been their GM. (Some of the contracts bought out during this time were Feaster's.) So blank cheques for their GM to flush bad contracts down the toilet to free up cap space, but they go to the mat for every last taxpayer dollar they can get.
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