Tag Archives: NHL

The Edmonton Oilers Are Going to the Playoffs!

This may be a bit off topic for this blog, but I just have to mention this. After 11 years of missing the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers have finally clinched a playoff spot!

The last time they were in the playoffs, they went all the way to the seventh game in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. After that, not a single playoff game. That’s changing this season, though. Thanks to great play from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Patrick Maroon, Cam Talbot, Andrej Sekera, and Adam Larsson, the Oilers are a playoff team. They went from one of the worst teams to possibly taking first in the division in only a year. Amazing turnaround.

I have to mention that both McDavid and Draisaitl are among the top 10 players in the league in points, McDavid leading with 89, and Draisaitl having the highest point total with 71 for a German-born player in NHL history. Still 6 games to go! Will McDavid make 30 goals or 100 points? Who knows?

Sorry about the diversion from the usual, but this is a big thing for me, being an Oilers fan. Can’t wait for the playoffs!

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I’m an Edmonton Oilers Fan

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an Edmonton Oilers fan. For those who don’t know, it’s one of the teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). Back in the 1980s, the team had one of the greatest dynasties, led by the legendary Wayne Gretzky. He was eventually traded away to the Los Angeles Kings, and at the end of the decade, the Oilers won their last Stanley Cup.

Fast forward to last year, the Oilers had missed the playoffs since they went to the Finals in 2006, narrowly losing the Stanley Cup in seven games. They’ve been going through a ten year rebuild, rebooted a couple times. The most recent rebuild has been incredibly successful. The Oilers are back, and so is Wayne Gretzky. He rejoined the Oilers, but as partner and vice-chairman.

In 2015, the Oilers drafted Connor McDavid, who is now the league’s leading assist and point scorer in only his second season. He’s a Gretzky or Crosby-like player, and is likely to be the top scorer in the NHL for several years. Other standouts this season are Leon Draisaitl, who’s turned out to be a very good offensive player, Patrick Maroon, who has had an incredible breakout year in the middle of his career, and Cam Talbot, who is now third in the league in wins by a goaltender.

I spent eleven years in Japan, and most of that time, the Oilers were out of the playoffs. Now that I’m back in Canada, I’m really enjoying watching them win. They just beat the San Jose Sharks tonight, tying them for first in the division. It seems so weird saying that now.

So, who else is a sports fan?

My Memories of Northlands Coliseum

The Edmonton Oilers had their final game at Rexall Place, formerly known as Northlands Coliseum, tonight. I was fortunate enough to watch it. It was a great game, the Oilers defeating the Vancouver Canucks 6-2. Top players scored goals in a high scoring game in front of the very talented alumni of the past forty-two years.

My personal memories of the arena are varied and span nearly twenty years. Other than watching the games on TV, I have attended several games, including one season around 1990 when we had a package of around fifteen games or so.  Our seats were up pretty high, and there was a woman sitting next to us who was incredibly loud and foul-mouthed. We had the misfortune of sitting next to her at an Edmonton Trappers baseball game once, too. What luck. But it was great to watch the Oilers several times in person that season. Another year, I went with my dad and grandfather, and our seats were right behind the Oilers’ bench. Our view of the game wasn’t very good. All I could see was Glen Sather’s back. And then the last game I saw was at the end of the Edmonton Roadrunners’ 2004-05 season, just before I went to Japan. The NHL was on strike then, so we had to watch an AHL game.

I have also been to the Coliseum to see some other events, such as a circus, Klondike Days, and even a Billy Joel concert. However, my biggest highlight was actually playing a game in the Coliseum. To see the stands from the ice surface was amazing. There were very few people in the stands (family members of players), but the place just seemed massive. As a kid of around ten or eleven years old, it made me really want to play there as a pro. That obviously didn’t happen. But still, I played on the ice that the Edmonton Oilers played on. Amazing!

Do you have any memories like this? Let me know in the comments below.

Are You Into Sports?

I don’t think people have the image of writers, bloggers, frequent Internet users, and readers as people who enjoy doing sports. Well, as a person who is all of the above, let me tell you about my sports history.

As for playing sports, I took one swimming lesson when I was little and didn’t like it. I quit. But I later started playing hockey.

I actually played on one of these. A real one, not an image file.
I actually played on one of these. A real one, not an image file.

I’d been skating since I was very little, and when I was eight years old, I joined a team and started playing as a defenseman. The next year, I switched to right wing, and played at that position until I was twelve. That’s when I quit.

Around that time, when I was eleven or twelve, I started golfing. My dad worked on a golf course, and I could play for free. I continued golfing until I was eighteen, then moved away to go to university. I haven’t played since, but I want to get back into it.

In junior high school, I did a little intramural volleyball at lunch time, then in grade 9, joined the ski club. I’d already been skiing for about three years, so I had the basics down very well, but we still had to take lessons, which I didn’t need.

I haven’t played any sports since high school, but I do want to golf, swim, and I also enjoy badminton.

As for watching sports, I’ve always loved hockey, and my favourite team has always been the Edmonton Oilers, even through the difficult years. I also enjoy watching the Olympics, sometimes golf, and I have been known to watch Wimbledon. That’s about the only time I watch tennis. I’ve been to some baseball and Canadian football games, too.

How about you? What do you play or watch? Let me know in the comments below.

Life in Japan: What Japan Needs from Canada

Having lived in Japan for ten years, there are quite a few things from Canada I don’t have access to at all.  Occasionally, I’ll be able to eat a real hot dog in Costco, find Marmite in Union, and A&W Root Beer in Carnival, but there are some things that are impossible to find here. This week’s question comes from stomperdad.

Besides family, what do you miss about Canada that you wish Japan had?

Most of things I miss are food.  There are a lot of similar fast food restaurants here, such as McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King, but what I really want isn’t available here.

Harvey's burger and fries.
Harvey’s burger and fries.

I always loved going to Harvey’s. The ability to customise your burger is missing from fast food places in Japan.  And eating a Harvey’s hamburger was so satisfying.

I’m not a big fan of pizza, since I don’t like pizza sauce or tomatoes, but I loved getting pizza from Panago. Again, you can customise the entire pizza. It’s just absolutely wonderful.

Although you can get KFC here in Japan, the fries are totally different. I miss the fries and gravy from Canada.

And speaking of fries, I really want New York Fries and gravy, and maybe even poutine.

Moving away from the restaurants and into general food, I miss pepperoni (what we get here in Japan is incredibly hard and it’s called spicy salami), affordable cheese, Cheez Whiz, dill pickle potato chips, salt and vinegar potato chips other than Pringles, raspberries, saskatoon berries, and bacon. You can get bacon in Japan, but what’s here is thick and never crispy. I really want crispy bacon! I also miss Canadian Chinese food. What’s here is good, but I think it’s better in Canada.

Other things include using a debit card (Japan is cash-based), efficient banks, 24 hour ATMs (they close for the night in Japan), and roads that are easy to drive on. I also miss being able to watch NHL games on TV. Can’t get them here at all.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I can think of at the moment.

If you have any questions about living in Japan, please see the original post and leave your questions in the comments.