Thursday, June 20, 2013

Here are Aerial Photographs of Winnipeg's Trailer Parks, and Gillam, at the End of the 1960s (Warning: Image Heavy)

"The cure for boredom is curiosity," Dorothy Parker once wrote. "There is no cure for curiosity."

All of the images that you are about to see in this post have been scanned from a publication that I rescued, out of curiosity, from the discard table at the NDC Red River College Library:

"Mobile Homes in Metropolitan Winnipeg and the Additional Zone", released by the Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg Planning Division in February of 1970. (With old-style thick plastic coil-binding, so you can imagine the fun I had scanning it.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The 2013 Stanley Cup Finals Begin Tonight

Hey, long time no see! I've been quietly scratching away at some longer-term projects since the last post, but this subject material has its own particular time frame, so let's get right to it. (There's hockey to be watched, after all.)

(1W) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (4E) Boston Bruins

This really does feel like it could be a once-in-a-lifetime clash-of-the-titans affair, which is why I fear it could turn out to be disappointingly anticlimactic. (There've been some real dogs of series thoughout the history of the Finals, and it does look like we're about due.)

On paper, of course, it's fascinating; both groups feature absurdly deep forward corps, twenty-to-thirty-minute hallmark shutdown pairs on defence, a whole bunch of big dudes who will punch you if you try anything, and wildly successful if probably overperforming goaltenders. (Granting that Quick had been the best goaltender going into the last round, and, uh, yeah.)

Both teams are also as healthy and well-rested as could be considered realistically possible this late in the year; both Conference Finals went quickly, Boston's had kind of an easy ride in the last series and a half or so, and (as I'd mentioned last time) Chicago didn't actually seem to start applying themselves until game ten or eleven of the campaign.

One would normally be tempted to take special teams into consideration, but it'll be amazing if there's one god damn power play goal this whole series (however long the series lasts). Both teams have been phenomenal at penalty killing and astonishingly lousy with the man advantage, and we've hit the point in the year when you can only reliably draw a non-offset minor through procedural malarkey. Like, one team would have to specifically put too many men on the ice, and then that extra guy would have to get the puck in his own zone and shoot it out over the boards. That'd be the only way that someone on the extra team doesn't mysteriously also collect a penalty on the play, the way one does this time of year by getting punched at the side of the net or tied up along the boards on a line change.

Also: this time two years ago Boston entered the Stanley Cup Finals with a playoff power-play success rate of one in ten, just barely squeaking the eleven-per-cent mark, and then won the Stanley Cup anyway. So enough about special teams.

The Bruins have just finished dismantling what could have been considered the ideal offence, and the Blackhawks have just finished dismantling what could be considered the ideal defence and goaltending. It's a fun contrast.

Alas, while my loyalties have historically been pretty obvious -- RAY EMERY FOREVER -- I fear that this may indeed come true and bring Boston its second Cup in two years.

It'll be harder to beat the Blackhawks than the Penguins, unquestionably; it couldn't be easier, surely, at any rate. The Penguins' offensive strategy was to stand still, leave Crosby to skate into quadruple coverage, and then go collect the puck out from behind Vokoun or Fleury depending on how badly the game was going; the Pens' top scorers were Brandon Sutter and Chris Kunitz, because the Penguins' only scorers were Brandon Sutter and Chris Kunitz. So Chicago is far better poised to crack the Bruins' blue line, being able to activate defensive rushes and all, but that can only catch a team unawares so many times in a row.

Note that Detroit did as well as they did against the Blackhawks because they were able to shut down Chicago's top forwards, as Boston will surely aim to do (and did with the consensus best forward roster in the world), and because they consistently kept the puck away from Chicago, as Boston's infuriatingly strong faceoff percentage may ensure.

Shutting down forwards bears further mention because, if the previous three rounds are any indication, it's not an option against the Bruins. The top line of Lucic, Krejci and Horton -- and surely any opponent will do its best to shut down the other team's top line at all time -- the top line of Lucic, Krejci and Horton are +13, +14 and +21 through sixteen playoff games, with thirteen, fourteen and twenty-one points respectively. No no, read that again: Nathan Horton is +21 across sixteen playoff games. Which, I mean, excuse me. I beg your pardon. How is that a thing.

I could be wrong -- I hope I'm wrong! -- I wish I were wrong more often -- but I'm going with:

What I'd Want: Chicago in seven, including at least one line brawl.
What I'll Guess: Boston in six, including at least one shutout.

Hockey, everybody! I'll see you back here in a day or two, with some... unique... Winnipeg content. Until then, true believers!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The NHL Stanley Cup Conference Finals Begin Tonight

Well, hello there, everyone! I've just returned home from the closing ceremonies of the Canadian Library Association 2013 National Conference and Trade Show (henceforth "CLA Conference", because I'm not typing that out again); if you've been wondering about my almost total disappearance for the last four days, that's what I've been up to. Learning all day! Socializing all night! Rising and shining bright and early the next day for more learning! SLEEP IS FOR WORK WEEKS.

I'll be watching the official website for the eventual arrival of the conference slides and other related materials, and then -- hopefully, if things don't get too busy around here -- sharing some photos and impressions and whatnot.

Ah, but there I go, carrying on about unrelated matters when there is pressing business to tackle. Playoff predictions! I've been two-thirds right on them so far this year -- which is sort of an overperformance against previous years, actually -- and it's probably all downhill from here, but I intend to try nonetheless!

Eastern Conference

(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (4) Boston Bruins

You know, I think I've finally learned a valuable lesson out of all of this: stop pretending that the Rangers are ever a legitimate contender. (It made for a pretty impressive playoff-time magic trick, though, what with roughly a gazillion dollars suddenly becoming invisible and all.)

Somewhat amazingly, the forward advantage for Pittsburgh isn't as dramatic as you'd initially expect; Boston is as big and nasty as ever, has enough breakout speed reserved to catch the Penguins' defence off-guard, and can put up a whole pile of points in a hurry. (Would you believe that the leading playoff scorer so far this year is David Krejci?) If they were hanging three to five goals a night on Lundqvist, what's to stop them lighting up Vokoun like a Christmas tree? And if the Bruins, who have the goaltending advantage to begin with, manage to chase Vokoun, the Penguins will feel obligated to give franchise goalie Fleury a try, and... yeah, no. That'd end exactly the way you think that'd end.

I can't speak for America, the Boston Marathon bombing still fresh in everyone's minds, but the Penguins are markedly the sentimental favourites up here in the North, and it's certainly plausible that they can advance to the Cup Final if their goaltending holds. Having said that, the consensus among people I've talked to is that A) most everyone in Canada wants Iginla to win a Cup, B) nobody anywhere likes Jeremy Jacobs, and C) the universe is cold and unfair. SO:

What I'd Want: Pittsburgh in seven.
What I'll Guess: Boston in six, and at least one Penguins star is sidelined by a dubious hit sometime during the series.

Western Conference

(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings

(Yes, I realize that this game has started before I could get home. DON'T TELL ME WHAT'S HAPPENING YET)

Be honest: the way that Game Seven unfolded, you thought the Joel Quenneville Curse was kicking back in, didn't you? I totally did. Those last five or ten minutes of gametime, especially... that one call, had me mentally preparing to watch a man unravel like a yanked sweater thread at the merciless cruelty of the fates that torment him.

What finally did pull Chicago through, despite an excellent shutdown series from Detroit, is their abundance of available firepower; the Hawks' defence core can manufacture additional offence with ease whenever they like, and their forward depth is just gross. So gross. The grossest.

(That said, full credit to Quenneville for adjusting as wisely as he did; that recomposition of the Toews-Kane-Sharp top line and Keith-Seabrook defensive pair for Game 5 turned the series around and saved his season. Probably also his job, too, the way the year's gone for coaches.)

They'll be up against arguably the best defence, and certainly the best goaltending, in the Playoffs to date; that said, however, I don't believe the Kings have enough left in 'em to hold Chicago off. If they'd closed out the Sharks earlier and had the extra few days of rest, it'd be a different story -- but with Chicago no less rested (who haven't even really seemed to start exerting themselves until a week ago, remember) and proving scarily capable of busting defensive schemes open, I think Quick will only be able to hold them off for so long.

What I'd Want: Chicago in seven.
What I'll Guess: Chicago in... ahh, what the heck, let's give 'em seven.