October 1 – Slapshot

Hockey Tough

It’s not even debatable… hockey players are the toughest athletes in the world. While baseball players miss time with blisters and soccer stars writhe on the pitch and clutch their legs on phantom touches, NHL’ers play through devastating injuries on a regular basis. As the league returns to action tonight for their 2013-14 season, these hombres must be saluted as the toughest of the sporting bunch!

players-hockey

Steve Yzerman (2002)

Steve Yzerman is known as one of the greatest leaders in sports history. In 2002, Yzerman suffered a serious knee injury, but refused to let it keep him down. Yzerman had good reason to continue playing, though. His Detroit Red Wings lifted the 2002 Stanley Cup, mere months after he was an integral member Canada’s 2002 gold medal triumph at the Winter Olympics. Following that glorious year of events, Yzerman had to have his knee completely realigned, but still returned to hockey that season.

Patrice Bergeron (2013)

Continuing to play at a professional level with broken ribs is one thing, but imagine that same injury resulted in a punctured lung. Most normal people can’t even laugh with broken ribs, let alone play a highly physical and demanding sport. Patrice Bergeron played through Stanley Cup Final games with a punctured lung, among other injuries. It’s not like Bergeron didn’t already have a Stanley Cup on his resume, as the Bruins had won the grand prize just two years earlier, but Bergeron continued to play so as not to let down his team.

Jacques Plante (1959)

You’re already pretty tough in my books if you’re willing to stand in front of the net and have shots fired at you, as well as players crashing your crease… you’re even tougher if you did it back in the days of limited padding and no face masks. In a 1959 game, Jacques Plante took a slapshot to face, breaking his nose and cutting him open. Plante simply got stitched up, put on a mask and returned to ice. The occurrence ushered in the goalie mask as a regular protective device in the NHL.

Jacques Plante Putting on Mask

Mario Lemieux (1993)

In January 1993, following repeat Stanley Cup championships and amid another wildly successful season, Mario Lemieux announced that he would be taking some time away from hockey to treat his Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer diagnosis. Not ever cancer could stop Super Mario, though. He returned to hockey two months later and on the same day as radiation treatment to score a goal and add an assist. He was even given a standing ovation from the opponent Philadelphia Flyers fans, some of the toughest supporters in all of sports.

Gregory Campbell (2013)

There’s something about the current crop of Boston Bruins that is admirable. On top of Patrice Bergeron’s struggles from the Stanley Cup Finals, there is also the case of Gregory Campbell, who stayed on the ice to kill the rest of a penalty after blocking a shot which broke his leg. Campbell struggled to stay in the play and break up whatever he could before hobbling to the bench and leaving the game.

Gregory Campbell Leg Break

Bobby Baun (1964)

During the Toronto Maple Leafs 1964 Stanley Cup finals series with the Detroit Red Wings, defenseman Bobby Baun broke his leg blocking a Gordie Howe shot. He was taken from the ice on a stretcher, but reemerged on the bench for the overtime period. Although he wasn’t known for his offensive abilities, the hockey gods looked down kindly upon Baun that night and he notched the overtime winner, forcing a game seven. The Leafs would hoist the cup days later with Baun still in the lineup.

Paul Kariya (2003)

Before concussions were such a hot button topic, a player could “get his bell rung” and be back on the ice in no time. But imagine taking one of the hardest open ice body checks in hockey history, from one of hockey’s all-time thunderous hitters and returning to the ice minutes later to score a huge goal, extending your team’s playoff life and championship bid. That’s exactly what Paul Kariya did when Scott Stevens flattened him in game six of their Stanley Cup Final Series.

Drink #274: Slapshot

Slapshot Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Pop Rocks
  • 2 oz Tequila (I used Sauza Gold)
  • Top with half Brisk Strawberry-Melon and half Club Soda
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

There are people out there who don’t go to work when they twist their ankle or have a cold… not the noble hockey player, however. Much respect to the brotherhood of hockey players out there. Let the games begin!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This was an impressive drink. The Brisk Strawberry-Melon, which had found itself tucked away in the fridge for far too long, came out and had a career-making appearance. No more riding the pine for this mixer… it earned itself a brand spanking new contract with this gutsy performance!

July 1 – Red Maple Sunset

Welcome to Canada

To celebrate Canada Day (my home and native land) I decided to take a look at the pros and cons of this country’s make-up. Why bother looking at what needs improvement, you ask? Well, I feel we should all be always striving to better ourselves and I expect no less from my country. That, and I’m a massive jerk, who likes to rant about things that displease me. On with the ranting!

Pro: Hockey

If you are ever in need of defining what an athlete should be, look no further than a hockey player, preferably of the Canadian variety. There, you will see true glimpses of sportsmanship, humbleness, work ethic, ruggedness, and manliocity. Think of icons like Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Gordie Howe, and ‘The Great One’ Wayne Gretzky.

Hockey Players

Con: Expensive Alcohol

Do you know how much easier this 365-day liquor challenge would be if I lived in almost any other country, rather than Canada. Even Canadian manufactured products are ridiculously priced. Whenever Mrs. Sip and I travel south of the border, we make sure to grab a ton of booze because it is just so much more reasonably priced. Sadly, we have limits on what we can bring back and as a law-abiding citizen, I actually follow these allotments… for the most part!

Pro: Good People

Canada has a reputation for its citizens being overly nice and helpful population. This standing is well-earned and as a fictional leader of this great land, I must say that I’m proud of our people and the work we all do to not only make our home a better place, but to welcome strangers from foreign lands.

Con: No Dill Pickle Round Slices

There are a lot of products that I can’t find in Canada, that are available south of the border (in fact, I wrote an entire article about this phenomenon). But one that absolutely flummoxes me is the absence of dill pickles in round slices. If it can be done for sweet pickles, why not dill? Clearly dill pickles can be sliced, but all I ever see is the elongated variety. It has driven me to become an ex-pat of this great nation and must be rectified.

Pro: Beautiful Women

I can say with full conviction that Canada has to have the most beautiful women in the universe. A long walk on a glorious summer day – with dark shades fully ensconced on my noggin’ – is an absolute treat with all the eye candy available to every red-blooded male. Sadly, that beauty gets hidden away during the cold winter months, when everyone is bundling up in toques, scarfs, and jackets, but it’s all worth it again on that first patio-suitable day of spring.

Canada Women

Con: Inclement Weather

As mentioned above, it can get cold and nasty during the winter, up here in the Great White North. Even here in Vancouver, where we have much more mild temperatures, we live in an urban rainforest where we get drenched by buckets of cold  rain every year. I know we’re not alone in the not-so-nice weather department, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bitch about it. On the bright side, if you like to ski (or just enjoy watching snow bunnies), we’ve got you covered!

Pro: Strip Clubs with Alcohol

Imagine my shock when my crew saddled up to a strip club in Seattle, Washington for my stag last year and were told that we had a choice: either see naked ladies or keep drinking. Before my friends could answer, I’d already left the lobby, en route to the next liquor establishment. Truth be told, I’m not a strip club regular, but if I do go, I want to be able to have an overpriced brew or cocktail while a young lady makes love to a pole!

Con: No Singles ($1 bills)

How are you supposed to get your money’s worth at the strip club!? The smallest denomination you can tuck into a dancer’s G-string is a fiver. That means you can go through a lot of money in very little time. And don’t even think about making it rain. A small wad of fives, tens, and twenties will pale in comparison to a massive wad of American ones. I guess you could take a jar full of loonies and toonies and toss it into the air and do some serious damage!

Drink #182: Red Maple Sunset

Red Maple Sunset Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Maple Syrup
  • Top with Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Egg Whites
  • Garnish with Canadian Flag

So, happy birthday Canada! I hope you get all the gifts you’ve wanted and that your next year is as fabulous as the last!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was my first opportunity to play around with not only Campari, but also Maple Syrup. The drink was a nice mix of sweet and bitter, as the Campari has a fruity taste, with a bitter finish. The Maple Syrup actually worked well with the cocktail, which was a pleasant surprise given it’s a bit of an odd ingredient.