Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One Last Chance

The Regina portion of the 2010 World Juniors comes to an end today. Sweden will play Finland while the Czech Republic will take on Russia to wrap up Pool B and the Regina portion of the event. It has been great hockey. If you haven't been to the BC yet, find a way to get there tomorrow and if you can watch both games. You will see many, many players who will be in the NHL and you will see many players who will be draft picks this year. Guys like Sweden's Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson along with Finland's Mikhail Grandlund and Sami Vatanen. Add to that players like Russia's Nikita Filatov and Igor Bobkov and the Czechs Vladimir Roth and Andrej Nestasil. These guys are all destined to be NHL'ers one day. With nothing decided in Pool B yet as far as who finishes first, expect two very good hockey games to be played.
Greg Harder of the Leader-Post has a nice story on the Austrians who wrapped play up in Regina Wednesday afternoon with a discouraging 10-1 loss to Finland. To say the Finns dominated the game would be an understatement. They led 5-0 after one and had outshot Austria 25-0. That's right 25-0! When the Austrians got their first shot on goal, there was quite the hearty cheer at the Brandt Centre. The Regina fans really got behind the Austrians and they thanked those fans with a symbolic lap around the ice to salute everyone when yesterday's game was over. I don't know what happened to the Austrians in the last two games of the tournament. They played Russia and Sweden so well in the first two games and actually had some thinking they could pull an upset off against the Swedes when they tied their game at 3 late in the 2nd period. However, they were disappointing against the Czechs and the Finns. Regardless of their results, the Austrians learned some things in Regina and hopefully for them they can stay alive in the relegation round and be in Buffalo next year.
Have you caught Liam Maguire doing his thing at Worldfest. Maguire is a walking, talking hockey trivia machine. You name him a player and he will start rattling off trivia about that player. He is to hockey what Vanstone is to the Riders. He is a walking, talking encyclopedia. The question I have when it comes to Maguire is this. He walks around wearing a green Canada jersey. On the one shoulder of that jersey is the Riders 100th anniversary logo. Wasn't that logo supposed to adorn the jerseys the Canadian players wore once each in Regina and Saskatoon? That logo wasn't there when they had the jerseys on. Was the negative backlash about the jerseys and the Riders enough for Hockey Canada to pull that logo from the shoulder. It would appear so. What makes it funny is a high ranking member of the Regina committee told me at no time were the green jerseys meant to symbolize the Riders. Uhhhhhh OK! I guess Maguire went out and put that logo on himself.
What are your New Years Eve plans? Is it just me or are fewer and fewer people going out for New Years deciding instead to go to a house party or just do something by themselves. I know a lot of people who are going to a friends or to a house party or just staying by themselves and enjoying a nice dinner and a movie instead of going out. Is that just a sign of our age creeping up on us or is it a sign of the times where people can have just as good a time for 75 bucks instead of shelling out that for a ticket to go somewhere? I think its a little of both. I've had some memorable New Years Eves. If my good buddy Chop is reading this(which he probably isn't because I don't think he can read...KIDDING CHOP!!)he knows of one New Years Eve that I'm speaking of. Stories can't be told to protect the innocent. Lets just say it brings a smile to the faces of those that took part.
Patrice Bergeron and Brendan Morrow seem to be the guys getting the most attention when it comes to the Canadian Olympic hockey team roster. A lot are wondering how Bergeron gets there and guys like Lecavalier and St. Louis don't. Many want to know why Morrow is there period. Its simple. The guy brings that grit and hard-nosed work ethic that you need to be successful. Have some faith in Stevie Y. I wonder if their defencemen are old enough, but if guys like Yzerman, Lowe and Babcock think they are, I'll go with that.
And it looks like our days on this Earth are numbered. Check this story out.......

The head of Russia's space agency called on Wednesday for a massive planetary effort to deflect a massive asteroid as it skips by the Earth in 2029.
"People's lives are at stake," Anatoly Perminov told Voice of Russia radio. "We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people."
Perminov said that Russia will consider building a spacecraft designed to nudge the Apophis asteroid away from the Earth, and invited NASA, the European Space Agency and the Chinese space agency to join him.
The Apophis asteroid, the size of just under three football fields, was first spotted heading towards Earth five years ago. At that time, it was suggested that there was a 2.7 per cent chance it would strike our planet in 2029. That alarming initial estimate has been seriously downgraded since, but continues to hold the attention of expert observers.
Apophis will first pass us at close range in just under twenty years. It may graze the Earth, missing us by only 30,000 km, less than the distance between the earth and the moon. But, at this point, astronomers have ruled out the possibility that it will hit us.
However, there is a very small chance that it will pass through a 600 metre-wide "gravitational keyhole" as it swings by. That would alter the course of the rock and cause it to slingshot back and hit the Earth in 2036. New NASA calculations released in October put the chances of impact during the second pass at 1-in-250,000.
That doesn't sound too terribly alarming, but as Dr. William Ailor, of California's Aerospace Corporation said Wednesday, "That's a pretty high probability if you're betting the planet."
In April, Ailor chaired the bi-annual Planetary Defense Conference that brings together the world's leading asteroid experts.
"There are still issues around how great does the risk have to be before you start planning a mission like this. But ultimately, everyone agrees that we will have to do this sooner or later," Ailor said.
Prof. Donald K. Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, says the time to make a decision on Apophis is in late 2012 and early 2013, when it makes another close approach, within about nine million miles of Earth.
"The additional optical and radar data taken then will almost certainly remove any possibility of an Earth collision in April 2036. To my mind it would make sense to wait until 2013, refine the orbit and in the very unlikely event that the impact probability increases, then begin planning possible deflection options.
"While Apophis is almost certainly not a problem, I am encouraged that the Russian science community is willing to study the various deflection options that would be available in the event of a future Earth threatening encounter by an asteroid. We haven't found one yet but it does make sense to study deflection options in advance."
A variety of deflection methods have been suggested in past: gravitational tractors, landing a manned mission on Apophis, knocking it off target by ramming it or striking it with nuclear weapons. There is no broad consensus on what might work best.
"There's also the question of how you design the 'campaign' to attack the asteroid. You'd probably have to launch multiple vehicles, in case some failed," Ailor said.
Five years ago, Ailor said, the Aerospace Corp. ballparked the cost of such a mission at $80 billion (U.S.). NASA's current annual budget is a little over $17 billion. Perminov, sounding less than expert on the whole subject, got the year of impact wrong (2032), couldn't cite the latest estimates accurately and seriously underestimated the potential cost. But he's right about the risk.
Ailor points out that the asteroid which exploded over Tunguska, Russia in 1908 was only 30 metres across. It devastated more than 2,000 square kilometres of forest. Apophis is 270 metres in diameter.
What if it hit the Earth directly?
"That'd be a very bad day," Ailor said. "Probably not the end of all life as we know it. But a bad day."
GULP!! I guess I should start making that list of things to do right away. We've only got 20-30 years left to enjoy ourselves.


Anonymous said...

I've really been impressed with the play of the Finns. If it hadn't been for that Russian goalie stoning them, this would be the game for first place. I wouldn't be surprised to see Finland beat Sweden today. Its been a good week of hockey if you don't count the last two games from Austria, but you hve to realize that is going to happen in events like this.


Anonymous said...

It will be interesting watching the first round of this year's draft and seeing where guys like Larsson and Granlund go. I think there are a couple of Russian players who are undrafted too and the Austrians didn't have any draft picks on their team. You have to think Anaheim is smiling knowing Bobkov and Vatanen are in their system.

The one question I have after seeing the last week is how are we supposed to get excited about the Pats? We are going to go from fast top-notch hockey the way the game is to be played to the Pats stumbling and bumbling. Its like going from eating steak for a week and then going back to canned ham!

Anonymous said...

I think you are right on the New Years Eve thing. People don't want to plunk down big wads of cash for a night out when they can throw a party at home for friends or whatever. My 20 year old daughter lived for NYE the past couple of years, but now her and her boyfriend are going to a friends too so I think young people are starting to realize NYE isn't what it used to be.

I've been at the games in Saskatoon. They have been yawners. Canada is just too good for these other countries. I haven't seen Sweden or Russia (I will today), but I don't see them carrying a candle to the Canadians. Here's hoping we get at least one entertaining Canadian game before its over.

I'm guessing the Cubs will be on the verge of winning their first World Series when this asteroid hits wiping us out. That's the way it would work right!

Happy New Years Mitch