Author Archives: jaimelgray

About jaimelgray

Vegetarian with a voice like sophisticated molasses. Whisky connoisseur. Bibliophile. Wordsmith. Nerd.

2015 Stanley Cup Final Preview

Welcome Sports Fans!! It’s time for my annual Stanley Cup Final Preview.

It’s original six powerhouse Blackhawks – MY BOYS – versus that little yappy terrier you can’t stand, but can’t help but love Tampa Bay Lightning, in what should be a cracking showdown in the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

How They Got Here

My Blackhawks have had an up and down journey to the Final. Finishing third in the Central division, they went on to face Nashville in the first round, defeating them in six games without home ice advantage. They swept Minnesota in the second round, before meeting Anaheim Ducks (basically not a real team) in the third round, eventually beating them in seven games and A LOT of overtime. Seriously, my heart.

The Tampa Bay Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division meeting Detroit in the first round and beating them in seven. Props for that, I still have an irrational fear of that team. The second round was another tough battle for the Lightening, though they went on to eliminate Montreal in six games, sending them to a Conference Final against King Lundqvist and his New York Rangers who would have home Ice advantage. Against the odds, Tampa Bay took care of NYR at The Garden in Game 7, sending them to a Finals match up that totally ruined my Bracket and made my mate Maree all sad, which made me sad. Thanks, Rangers.

Who To Watch For

My boy, Duncan Keith has shown some type of crazy ass superhuman strength and endurance, averaging over 31 minutes of ice time per-game. A lot of which have been racked up after Michael Rozsvial’s horrific injury in game four against The Wild. And, Keithy has made amazing use of his time, racking up 18 points throughout the 17 games the Blackhawks have played this post season, sparking talk of Duncan Keith’s name on The Conn Smyth Trophy should the Hawks take win the Final. The First D-Man since 2007.

For the Lightning, Captain Steven Stamkos is touted as one of the best goal scorers of his generation, winning the Rocket Richard Trophy, for the League’s top goal scorer twice. Already, he has 7 goals and 10 assists in the Lightning’s finals run, and he is only getting better as the games go on. Keep an eye out for the Captain playing from the second line and will be pivotal if the Lightning want to hoist the Cup.

The Triplets. Hands up if you are sick of hearing this term to describe three guys that are obviously not related *raises hand*. Ugh. It’s annoying. That said, the Blackhawks will need to find a way to shut down the line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, if they have any chance of taking the series. Their moniker may be fucking irritating, but they are bloody good players.

The Goalies. This is a problem. Both Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Lightening are great Goal Tenders. But, when the Net Minders have a bad day, it tends to be a meltdown of epic proportions that sees them pulled from the game. There is no in between for these blokes.

Toews and Kane, Sharp, Hossa and Seabrook. Enough said. Dynasty right there. I’m expecting Brandon Saad to continue his wonderful form along with other fringe players like Vermette, Shaw and Teravainen.

So, Who Ya Got?

Have you even read this?? It’s so one sided. I obviously have the Blackhawks winning the Cup. But I’m not expecting the wins to come easily.

Chicago in seven.

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Weighing in on #Deflategate

If you don’t know what I’m talking about by the above title you are either:

a. Not a fan of sports (in which case, what are you doing here?) or;

b. Living under a rock. Seriously, this made the news in Australia and we don’t even have that sport. Everyone is talking about it, and everyone really needs to calm down.

I haven’t commented on Deflategate thus far due to the fact that I don’t really care. The Patriots were always going to beat the Colts. Frankly, Tom Brady could have taken off his shoe and used it instead of the under inflated football for the entire game and still beaten the Colts. They stunk that badly. I’m only commenting today because the whole thing has turned bloody funny. We had Mark Brunell crying (!) on ESPN because he just didn’t believe Tom Brady, Bill Belichick actually appearing honest (!), and Tom Brady saying ‘balls‘ A LOT in his presser causing the internet to explode with memes, and I love memes.

EMOTIONS.

So, as the story goes, 11 out of the Patriots’ 12 footballs brought by them to the AFC Championship Game last Sunday were found not to be inflated to levels required by the NFL rules, making them easier to throw and catch. The alleged deliberate deflation had apparently occurred sometime between the when the balls were checked prior to the game, and when they were checked again at halftime.

You may recall a little event back in 2007 called ‘Spygate’ where the Patriots and Bill Belichick were collectively fined $750,000 for violating league rules by videotaping NY Jets defensive coaches’ signals. Cheaters.

Now, hang on while I jump to conclusions here. Since they have cheated before, obviously Tom Brady and/or the Patriots cheated again. That is the general consensus.  As such, they should be penalised as far as the NFL can penalise a team for shenanigans – which, as I understand is $25,000 fine.

Pfft. Tom Brady has worn crap sweaters worth more than that.

Should every single game the Patriots’ played this year be reconsidered in light of Deflategate? No. That is stupid. And speculative. And wasting my time.

Should Bill Belichick be fired? Belichick actually seemed sincere when he said he “had no knowledge, whatsoever” of ball tampering. Also, I love the guy. Total jerk. Has no emotions.

Should the Patriots be denied their place in the Superbowl because they cheated? Hell no. I’d actually like to see a team compete against the Seahawks – not have a repeat of last years’ nonevent.

Should the NFL be supplying all game balls instead of leaving it to the teams? Absolutely! I can’t even believe they don’t!

Should Tom Brady should be fined for comparing something as trivial as under inflated footballs to an extremist group who routinely behead people? Oh, God. Yes. Idiot.

College Football Playoffs – Did ‘The Thirteen’ get it right?

Ultimately, yeah. I think they did.

Earlier in the week, it was revealed that the four teams to play in the inaugural College Football Playoff are; No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Florida State and No. 4 Ohio State.

As I said, I think they did get it right. How they got there however, has left me gobsmacked.

As recently as last week, TCU held the No. 3 ranking and Baylor held the No. 4 spot. This week Baylor fell to No. 6 after beating Iowa State 55 – 3. WUT?! Now, in my opinion (and surely that of any sane CFB enthusiast), TCU should have never been ranked ahead of Baylor since Baylor beat TCU, and head to heads matter don’t they? DON’T THEY? Nope. Total mind fuck. Such a liar, Condy.

I have a sneaking suspicion that ‘The Thirteen’ may have tried at the last moment to rectify that situation with a ‘Oh, you thought we didn’t get it right, how fucking fascinating?’ type decision. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Either way, both Big 12 contenders Baylor and TCU did not make the Playoff.

Ohio State fielded a third string Quarter Back and won 59-0 over a ranked opponent to win the Big Ten Championship, so I’m okay with them joining the three other Conference Champions in the College Football Playoff, cos, you know. Baylor and TCU didn’t win their championship game.

The Big 12 has no championship game.

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Hmmmmmmm.

The one where I lament the loss of Phillip Hughes.

Yesterday, Australia and the cricketing world were rocked by news that young Aussie opening batsman Phillip Hughes had succumbed to a catastrophic head injury after being hit by a bouncer at the SCG on Tuesday.

I would have written this post yesterday, but truthfully, I was too emotional. To say that I am heartbroken over the loss of a man I have never met seems to sell the feeling short.

After news broke yesterday afternoon, myself and two of my colleagues gathered in my office to discuss the tragedy, all three of us were teary and surprised by the level by which we were affected – my two colleagues in particular who freely admit that they have no interest in cricket had difficulty reconciling their responses since they were not invested in the sport in any way.

So, why had it hit us so hard? I think the truth of it was that none of us really knew how seriously Phil was injured. Because it’s cricket – a beautiful game, a gentleman’s game. People don’t die playing cricket, Phillip Hughes wouldn’t die. But they do, and he did.

The death of a young man in any situation is a tragedy, but when talking about it further, we came to realise that the reason this death felt so wrong was because of how unprecedented it was given the nature of the sport.

Take a race car driver, or a rugby player for example. If an athlete of that type had been killed or injured whilst competing, I would be shocked and saddened, but it’s something that happens sometimes, and despite how horrible those occurrences are, the athletes are aware of the associated risks. They will have weighed up those risks with their desire to compete and decided that the risks are acceptable. I don’t believe Phillip Hughes would have ever had that opportunity since I can’t imagine a situation where a cricketer would step up to the crease and wonder if they would survive the next over.

And there’s the rub, and it’s infinitely sad.

A little legend, and by all accounts a super nice guy who paid a very steep price for playing the game he loved. Vale Phillip Hughes. Forever 63, not out.

And to you Sean Abbott, I believe I can speak for the entire country, if not the entire world when I say; mate, it’s not your fault. I wish the young paceman all the best and hope he gets what he needs to move past this tragedy, no young man should have to carry such a burden.

Today in things that are fucked up… #MelbourneCup

One horse is dead and another has a broken cannon bone following the running of Australia’s premiere Thoroughbred race, the Melbourne Cup.

Shortly after the race, it was reported that race favourite and Caulfield Cup winner, Admire Ratki collapsed and died at the stalls, likely of a massive heart attack.

As if that wasn’t disturbing enough, stayer Araldo shied after some idiot child waved a flag in his face. The spooked horse kicked out at a steel fence and shattered his cannon bone. Now, if you don’t know anything about horses, the cannon bone is the long, fine bone of the lower leg, and if shattered, the horse will probably be euthanised since recovery for the horse would mean time in a sling waiting for the bone to knit. Even if possible, it would be unlikely the bone would ever be strong enough for the horse to race again. So you know they aren’t trying to save Araldo. Sorry guys.

There has been talk for years now comparing horse racing to animal cruelty, and truly, I’m inclined to agree. Now, I like to get drunk and dressed up with the best of them, but making a beast run until its heart explodes for our entertainment is not okay. Enough.

RIP Admire Ratki

*UPDATE: Araldo was euthanised after scans showed that the fracture was inoperable.

RIP Araldo.

The one where I rate the @NHLBlackhawks suit game.

Oh look! It’s another one of those posts that is less about sport and more about the objectification of male athletes…..AND YOU LOVE IT!

Truly though, this post comes at the request of Mama Gray, who some years ago joined me in my love of the Chicago Blackhawks, even going so far as to (at my request) wear our lucky 88 Patty Kane jersey for every single Blackhawk game this last post season like the legend that she is, only complaining once that it was somewhat limiting her wardrobe. I myself wore the lucky 88 Paddy Kane jersey UNDER my work clothes, for Game 7 v Detroit the year before because I was convinced the Blackhawks would lose if I didn’t – and I work in an office…. have you ever tried to wear a hockey jersey under a pencil skirt and blouse?? Awkward. As. Fuck.

Anyway, this past week the Blackhawks had a red carpet event prior to their game v Buffalo, and I’m a Judgemental Judy, so this was the perfect opportunity to appreciate/throw shade at my Blackhawk boys.

Here we go…..

AndrewShaw

Andrew Shaw

First up we have Andrew Shaw. Andrew Shaw has a girlfriend. A girlfriend who let him leave the house with ill fitting trousers, that have failed in an attempt to reach his shoes. I will give him a point for at least wearing dress socks – but then I’m taking it away for wearing what appears to be a Burberry tie. I like Burberry – but wearing a Burberry tie is the most pedestrian “I’m trying to look flash and have no idea how since I’m really a bogan” move ever. On the other hand, if it isn’t a Burberry tie, it’s definitely an attempt at a knock off, in which case, Andrew Shaw is cheap. Or ignorant.

He also appears to be wearing button cuffs. Ugh.

Suit Game = WEAK

AnttiRaanta

Antti Raanta

You’ll note via the coming pictures that brown shoes are apparently a ‘thing’ with the Blackhawks. I don’t mind this look overall, but I’m undecided about the tan shoes and belt, I really feel like the suit may be a little too dark and the tan a little light. Good overall fit. Excellent cuff length.

Suit Game = FAIR

BenSmith

Ben Smith

Not sure if this is Harvey Spectre or Ben Smith. Either way he looks very nice. I’m going to overlook the tie length and approve of the pocket square addition. Points off for button cuffs.

Suit Game = FAIR

BradRichards

Brad Richards

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t you totally should – @graysfanatomy) may remember in January I was at the United Centre watching the Blackhawks play the Rangers. I also lost a bet to my best heckler buddy, and Rangers fan, Maree (shout out) when the Blackhawks lost. Said loss resulted in me having to wear Maree’s Rangers jersey in NYC for 5 days and to 2 Rangers games – which turned out to be fun. True Rangers fans were on to me though, and I ended up being heckled when a group of guys around me decided I wasn’t excited enough, this realisation was followed with a “Wait – you’re not even a Rangers fan are you?” and me dropping my head and muttering “I lost a bet”. Good natured banter and free beers ensued, and by all accounts a grand time was had by all. Anyway, as usual I digress (it was just so fun!). The point I was getting to was that said Rangers jersey was in fact a Brad Richards Jersey – and now Brad Richards is a Blackhawk. TAKE THAT MAREE!

Brad Richards scrubs up very nicely indeed.

Suit Game = STRONG

BrandonSaad

Brandon Saad

Manchild nearly had it right…….then he wore pants that are too short. HOW DID YOU NOT NOTICE THIS?

Suit Game = WEAK

BrentSeabrook

Brent Seabrook

Not sure if Brent Seabrook was trying to look like he doesn’t really care to be there, but he certainly pulls it off. You know what else he pulls off? Slob. Bad hair, take away coffee, the suit doesn’t fit well, nor does his shirt – where are your cuffs?? Half an inch – that’s the minimum amount of cuff you should be showing MINIMUM. The tie is too long (a pet peeve of mine) although it is quite a nice knot. Also, why is there a puck in your pocket??

Gentleman! I beg you, close your jackets!

Suit Game = SO WEAK

CoreyCrawford

Corey Crawford

Hello Wall Street. Corey looks bang. No further comment.

Suit Game = STRONG

DanielCarcillo

Daniel Carcillo

I don’t like Daniel Carcillo. Therefore I don’t like his outfit. Next.

Suit Game = WEAK

DavidRundblad

David Rundblad

Well, hello handsome. Lovely hair, neat pocket square. I’m generally not keen on skinny ties, but this one werks.

Suit game = STRONG

DuncanKeith

Duncan Keith

Duncan Keith is adorable. His wife is one of the 2 luckiest women on the planet. I’m thinking though, that perhaps Dunc was hanging with his bash brother Brent Seabrook prior to this event since they both look like shit (SORRY DUNCAN!). Even Duncan’s hair looks unwashed. The suit itself is not horrible, could even be nice if tailored correctly, which it isn’t. craptie.com.

Suit Game = WEAK

JeremyMorin

Jeremy Morin

Yes! Faith in humanity restored. Look at those lovely cuffs. LOVELY. I’m choosing to ignore your Burberry tie since it is purple and not obviously Burberry. Close your jacket and you are perfect Jeremy Morin.

Suit Game = PADAWAN

JohnnyOduya

Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya is my birthday twin and on occasion my fantasy husband – but not in that suit. So, I’m not going to be too hard on him. But WTF is going on here? No, just no. Each piece is probably lovely on its own, but a godawful mess together.

Suit Game: WEAK

JonathanToews

Jonathan Toews

Here is Captain Serious, looking, well, serious – and like he is about to pull out an arabesque right there on the red carpet which would be sure to entertain the woman on the right there who looks way too happy to be in Tazer’s presence. I like what he has done here, the jacket is quite nice, though long in the sleeve.

Suite Game = STRONG

MarcusKruger

Marcus Kruger

Marcus Kruger could have walked straight from the pages of GQ magazine. Marry me.

Suit Game = THE STRONGEST

MarianHossa

Marian Hossa

Mama Gray’s favourite, both on the ice and in a suit – so I’ll need to be very careful with how I proceed. JK he is fabs – good enough to leave my father for Mum.

Suit Game = STRONG

NiklasHjalmarsson

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Niklas wins. This look is just lovely on him, although it is a little late in the year for a suit of that colour, and his trousers could really do with a belt. Still, two thumbs up.

Suit Game = JEDI MASTER

PatrickSharp

Patrick Sharp

Ah, the husband of the other luckiest woman on the planet. He’s a bit older than the other lads, hence the more classically styled suit, which works very nicely indeed on Mr. Sharp. I’m only going to pick at sleeve length cos ugh.

Suit Game = STRONG

PattyKane

Patrick Kane

My boy Paddy Kane. I can see cuff, of a very nice rose coloured shirt. Pant length is good, jacket is closed, what appears to be a very nice double windsor knot and shoes that don’t say “Look at me, I’m wearing shoes!”. Aye, he’s bonnie.

Suit Game = YODA

*

*

Okay, so if I have taught you people anything today let it be these things:

1. Always wear shirts with French Cuffs. ALWAYS.

2. A minimum of 2cm of cuff should be showing from your jacket.

3.  You will always look better with your jacket closed. You can unbutton it when you sit, but not before.

4. Your tie should reach your waistband or your belt buckle. If it is longer than that START AGAIN. DON’T BE LAZY.

5. For the love of all that is holy, have your suit properly tailored.