Friday, June 17, 2011

The most lopsided 7 game series in NHL finals History

Usually there is silver lining to be found in 7 game series lose, but not this time. The Canucks were badly outplayed and badly out coached. The Canucks were miserable at even strength and abysmal on the power play. As for the penalty killing, the Canucks managed to do something no one else has done, viz., make a Bruins power play that was poor during the regular season and terrible during the first 3 rounds look pretty good.
The Canucks forwards and defense played equally badly and Luongo melted down yet again. It was 7 game series that felt like a 4 game sweep.

Statistically this was the most one sided 7 game series in NHL history by a large margin. The Canucks scored the fewest goals in a 7 game NHL
final and the -15 goal differential was worst mark for any series in NHL history. I am also willing to bet that this is the first time
that a team has surrendered more shorthanded goals in a 7 game final (3) than they scored power play goals (2).

The 2011 Canucks an lost an amazing 6 games by 3 or more goals. Only once did they beat a team by more than 3 goals. By comparison, the 1994 team was only beaten by more than 3 goals once and won by 3 or more goals 5 times. 1994 team scored 15 more goals than they allowed. The 2011 allowed an incredible 13 more goals than they scored. Since the NHL went to 4 rounds, no team making the finals had allowed more goals than they had scored. The Canucks are the first. That said, the 1975 Buffalo Sabers (3 rounds) allowed -5 more goals than they scored and the 1968 Blues (3 rounds) allowed 8 more goals than they scored, and needless to say lots of finalists in pre 1967 era had allowed more goals than the scored. However, -13 mark is the worst in NHL playoff history.

All that being said, had the Canucks won game 7, they would not have been the least deserving champion of all of sport. That title goes to the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees outscored the Pirates 55-27, but Pirates won the series on the final at bat.

The Yankees won game two 16-3, game three 10-0 and game six 12-0.

I would not have minded in the least being in such company, but alas it was not to be. The Canucks were as pathetic in game 7 as they were in games 3,4 and 6.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Liberals need to differentiate themselves philosophically

Liberals can not win by trying to be all things to all people and certainly have no hope of raising money that way. Moreover, in an ironic twist of fate the Liberals have to present themselves as an alternative to both the NDP and Conservatives. The Liberals have long maintained that there was only ever two real choices. It is increasingly looking like the Canadian public agrees; either one votes NDP or one votes Conservative. In large chucks of the country the Liberals are fighting it out with the Greens for 4th spot.

The Liberals need to first differentiate themselves from the other parties philosophically and then develop policies that flow from those principles. In so doing, they need to aim to sow divisions between their opponents. With regard to the Conservatives, the Liberals need to drive a wedge between libertarians and theo cons by championing social liberalism in way that the Liberal party has not done since Trudeau introduced his omnibus bill. Doing so is also the only hope the Liberals have of making inroads into Quebec. With regard to the NDP, the Liberals need to sow divisions between NDP's Quebec base and its base outside of Quebec by firmly rejecting asymmetrical federalism. There seems to be some agreement among bloggers and pundits alike that the Liberals should do so. However, the Liberals need to go further -- much further. Asymmetrical federalism is only one reason why the Liberal party has unraveled and became philosophically untenable. The other reasons is the failed generation's support for collective rights and equity. Of course, the Liberal party was not the only party hurt by the adoption of such principles. The NDP's support for these principles have long rankled many traditional working class voters. Most moved to the Reform party in 1990s and stayed on with the Conservatives, but others have slowly started to migrate back to the NDP. The Liberals need to rip open those scabs. Support for equity sows division and if successful succeeds only in shuffling the deck. The Liberals could greatly improve and simplify their messaging by promising to improve the lot of all by promising board based social programs built around the principle of universality.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Harper's support for Israeli hardliners is stupid.

I have said before I will say it again. Conservatives support for Israeli hardliners is stupid.

Israel is an anachronism. It is a country based on the antiquated notion of "blood" and a democracy of 7 and half million who lords over a population of 4 million. For these reasons alone it is odd that Harper would place Israel at the center of Canadian foreign policy. However, the strangeness does not stop there. The US's strong support for Israel makes sense in the context of its larger regional policy viz., insuring the continued flow of oil out of Gulf. The US has helped build Israel into the dominate military power in the region so as to prevent an Arab country or Iran from threatening the flow of oil out of the Gulf. The US has forged alliances between Israel and its neighbours, most notably Jordan and Egypt least conflict between Israel and its neighbors hamper the flow of oil out of the region. Remember it was the Yom Kippur War that led to the creation of OPEC. Of course, the US also made sure that the oil producing countries are dependent on the US for protection from external threats and indeed from their own resistive populations least the flow of oil out of the Gulf be hampered. Saudi Arabia being the prime example.

The Harper government has no larger regional strategy. Indeed, Harper's spat with UAE speaks volumes about Canada's compete lack of back channels in the region.

Now what has happened in Egypt forms the backdrop to Obama's speech. The ability of the Israel to hem in Gaza was dependent on Egyptian cooperation and that is no longer forthcoming. Egypt will no longer close its borders with Gaza and with elections coming soon it will soon be politically impossible for the Egyptian government to remain on friendly terms with Israel so long as the Palestine issue goes unresolved. This threatens stability in the region and instability threatens the flow of oil out of the Gulf.