Saturday, 28 February 2009

Playoff Update

After losing the first game of the best of 3 series in Chamonix, last night as we were facing elimination, we came out with an 8-5 win! The game went back and forth the entire way though, with our largest lead 2-0. Every time we scored a goal, Chamonix would respond with a goal to tie it, mostly on our defensive mistakes.

I am just about to take my pregame nap, but thought it would be nice to write a little update here. Back to back games for the first time this season, winner goes on to play Rouen in the 2nd round, while the loser will be dealing with exit meetings with their staff and a few pints of beer at the bar to say goodbye to teammates.

I don't plan on saying my goodbyes for another few weeks!


Monday, 23 February 2009

Coupe de France Trip

Yesterday was the Coupe de France final in Paris-Bercy with Grenoble winning 6-1 over Dijon. At the game there were about 13,000 fans and a real treat for the players to have the opportunity to play in front of so many people. This was my second trip the Bercy for the final, both unfortunately as a spectator and not as a player. I made the trip again this year with the Mauffreys, and thanks to Sophie, we were VIPs. So in between periods were had the luxury of entering the VIP section, where they had many desserts, chocolate fondue, crepes, champagne etc... Typical (really good) french stuff.

On a personal note, there was something special that took place before the game. That was the announcement of the two All Star teams. Every year a Team of best French players is chosen from the league as well as a Team of the best Imports. I was lucky enough to see my picture on the big screen before the game as being selected First Team All Star for Team Etrangers (Imports) which had a large content of Canadian players. Last year they played the All Star game in Chamonix, but this year for some reason there will be no game, just the two team rosters. In any case, I am very honored to have been selected to the All Star team by the Ligue Magnus and Team France Coaches. I also have to congratulate Jan Plch our captain here in Epinal, for being selected 2nd Line right wing for Team Etrangers, and our other teammate Guillaume Chassard for being selected as 3rd line right wing on Team France. This marks the first time 3 players from Epinal have been chosen for the All Star Teams. This is a credit to our entire team and coaching staff, as we have put together a great season and our success as a team, has a direct correlation on these 3 selections.

Below is the link to the two teams.

Tomorrow we will start our journey into what we hope to be a long playoff run, as we travel to Chamonix for Game 1 in the best of 3 series. Game 2 will be Friday in Epinal, and Game 3 (if necessary) will be played Saturday in Epinal.

The winner of the series has the privilege of playing Rouen in the 2nd round, best of 5 series.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Regular Season Finale

Right now I am sitting at the table in my house having my pasta and getting ready to head out to our final regular season game. We are playing at home against Angers, one of the top teams in the league and a team that just over a month ago, eliminated us from La Coupe de France play. Our final game of the regular season was originally scheduled for this Saturday in Dijon, but since they are playing in the Coupe de France Final against Genoble, that game was played last week, as we skated to a 7-3 victory.

I team has been playing pretty well all year, as we try to go 14-12 tonight, and finish with a winning record for the first time in the club's history. We could have made it easier on ourselves had we won last Saturday in Tours, but we ended up losing in overtime. After being down 2-0 and 3-1, we showed the "never quit" attitude and kept battling, tying the game up with less than 3 minutes to play. A breakdown in overtime cost our team, as 2 Tour players skated in 2 on 0 and a nifty pass across the crease gave them an open net and an overtime win.

This was my second time playing in Tours and from what I remembered from last year, they have blue ice. I was pretty amazed by it last time so this year I brought my camera to take a few pictures. Good thing we only play there once a year because it does get a bit confusing out there when you are not used to the blue ice, as it is very hard to find the blue line and many of our defensmen, including myself were backing in too far, not knowing we had crossed the blue line already.

Nice rink here in Tours, notice the blue ice and the white circles and goal crease. This rink was modeled after the blue ice from SEGA Genesis' NHL '94 rinks video game.

You must be wondering how I could have a problem knowing where the blue line was, since it is so clearly outlined in white paint.

On a side note, since I had my camera with my, I decided to bring this topic to the forefront. Why are there no toilet seats in public washrooms in France? If someone could please answer this for me it would be greatly appreciated. We have seen this over and over again, and when I saw a Tour player being interviewed after the game, and he was holding a toilet seat in his hand, I thought enough is enough.

Typical "Non-Toilet Seated Toilet" in Tours. Why???

Friday, 6 February 2009

Home and Home

After spending a week in Canada with my family in Windsor, Ontario, I am right back into the rhythm here in Epinal. Since I could not make it home at Christmas time, it had been since last May since I saw my whole family and most importantly my dog Coco. My time home was spent mostly just hanging out with my 2 brothers and my 3 nephews and niece. My mother and I had a successful trip to the Hugo Boss outlet where I was able to find a sweater regularly marked at $400 on sale for $50! Anyways, not really the highlight of the trip but noteworthy nevertheless.

On Saturday, I took the ice with the Tecumseh Eagles "Team White." Coached by my older brother Andre, this is his 5 year old son Julien's hockey team. As Team White had been recently plagued with injuries (or just kids not showing up) they were forced to look to their farm team for players. On December 7th, 3 year old Sebastien Gervais was activated from "Team Parent and Tot" and was called up to Team White, skating along side his brother Julien, 2 years his senior. Now a regular member of the team, wearing #14, Sebastien equaled his brother's output with a 2 goal performance in Sunday's game versus Team Yellow. Speculation has the 3 year old remaining with the club until the end of the season, though he remains active in the Parent and Tot skates, as his future is still uncertain.

Some of the motivation for the young Gervais brothers could have been the presence of their cousin Calder Johnson, who resides in Hamilton with parents Andrew and Elise (my sister). Calder, the 5 year old boy genius whose expertise is in the Solar System and Dinosaurs, was happy to see his cousins perform so well in the game but couldn't help to notice the elder Gervais spending the majority of his time on the attack and conserving his energy while his team was defending. One of the youngest fans in the rink, but maybe the biggest was Calder's 2 year old sister Cisely, who was pretty focused for the majority of the game, with only a few lapses when she was more concerned with kicking my seat than watching the game, but other than that, she is a die hard hockey fan with a student of the game.

Alright enough about that stuff, back here in France, we have an exhibition game scheduled for Saturday night in Strasbourg then we travel to Dijon on Tuesday night. I hate mustard!!!