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Thought Bubble: A Formal Introduction To My New ''Series''

Hey everyone! You may have noticed that the last couple of stories I wrote were titled ''Thought Bubble''. If you haven't noticed, it means you're not logging onto HW often enough! Don't make us sic Bryan on you! Seriously though, hockey season's just around the corner and we'll be right here entertaining the masses. Today, I'm going to take my idea ''Thought Bubble'' to the next level. The idea came to me while reading comic strips. The thought bubbles are thoughts the characters in the comics have, kinda like Garfield the cat always has (It feels silly to have to explain it, but the friends who read my stuff didn't get why I called it Thought Bubble) and well my nickname is Bubble, so it fits. Every once in a while, I plan to write my thoughts about the Wild or hockey in general in these Thought Bubble and from now on, I divide my ideas into ''panels'' like in the comic strips. I will finish with a ''punchline'' or a final thought.

Keep in mind, this is pretty much just me talking and ranting about random stuff, but bear with me, you're pretty much the only ones I can share this with and I love talking about this stuff. Feel free to skip to some more interesting posts on HW if you wish to, I just need to share, I need an outlet.

Today, I'll talk about NHL11, James Sheppard, and why I feel Minnesota is the most Canadian state in the U.S.A.

Make the jump with me if all this intrigues you!


Opening panel: Minnesota, Canada?

I only realized quite recently how close Minnesota is to Canada on the globe. Right under Manitoba and Ontario as a matter of fact. My US geography isn't good because I never saw it in class, and I never really needed it. That means I'm much closer to Minny than I thought I was. Permit me to be bold and say that I believe Minnesota's the most Canadian state in the U.S.

Let me explain: Minnesota is the State of Hockey. While other sports are also very popular thanks in large part to the success of the Twins and Vikings, hockey's the way of life in Minnesota. All the best hockey programs are in Minnesotan schools and colleges, outdoor hockey's also pretty big, and while the Wild hasn't had as much success as we would like them, they're the only team that can claim 100% of their games were sold out and to me, that says Minny loves hockey. In Canada, there's pretty much no other sport that comes even close to hockey. Football has grown, yes, but for every football player, there are about 4-5, for every baseball player, 6-7 hockey players, and so on and so forth, and the same goes for fans. Also, from what I've heard, Canadians and Minnesotans have some other things in common (although they may be nothing more than stereotypes): They love beer, and they're mostly calm and polite (Habs fans excluded). Maybe that's why I relate to Wild fans so much, we're very much alike. 


Middle panel: James Sheppard out for 3-4 months

Yes, we talked about this yesterday, but I have something to add: While reading the comments on Russo's blog, I came across some... rather mean comments. Sure we've been saying Fuck James Sheppard for about 8 months, but we're not supposed to be happy he's hurt. We're also not supposed to find it funny. Shep may have had a rough year to say the least, but he's a human being. Put yourself in his gigantic shoes, or in the shoes of his friends or family. Imagine yourself in his situation: he basically had one last chance to prove he wasn't a flop, and an unlucky event will hinder any progress he may have been able to muster this year. When he is cleared to play, odds are he won't be setting the league on fire. A lot of people were pissed the Wild re-signed him, but it was a low risk, potential reward situation, it would have been dumb to give up on him. Now however, Shep may have to settle for an AHL career or even retirement if his knee never fully recovers. Some think he shouldn't have been on an ATV so close to training camp, but you can't really expect you're going to have an accident all the time, this was exactly it: an ACCIDENT, stuff happens. He could've had an accident driving to the hockey rink in his car and suffer a simliar injury, so I think him being on an ATV before training camp isn't really an issue. It's a damn shame and to anyone thinking this was good news hockey-wise, maybe it was, but it probably wasn't. To anyone thinking it was good news just because you don't like him, you disgust me. 


Final panel: NHL11...AMAZING

My friend bought NHL11 yesterday, and he, myself and another buddy played it last night on PS3 until 2 A.M. We played a battle for the cup, which, to those not familiar with the series, is just playing a best-of-seven series for the Stanley Cup. I, of course, picked the Wild and my friends picked the Habs (yes, 2-on-1). What's fun about this features is that it keeps track of all the stats during the series and fans will boo anyone who injured a home player during the entire series and whatnot. It's really an amazing feature and was introduced in NHL10. NHL11 is very realistic compared to the other games in the series, which makes it even more fun to me, but my friends didn't care much for realism because they didn't even care to update their roster. The series was a pretty rough one, but each team only suffered one injury: Mine was to Pierre-Marc Bouchard, surprise, surprise, and I was pissed because I had scored 2 goals with him in the game my friends injured him in. I took P.K. Subban away from them via injury. I won the first game 2-0, but I had outshot them 39-11. We were all just getting used to all the game changes EA Sports made. I won the second game 2-1 in OT, they took the third 4-3 in OT and I took the fourth 5-4 in OT. That's how tight the series was: 3 straight OTs, but they responded with a 6-1 thumping in game 5. They started taunting me, laughing because they scored 4 goals in a row from the exact same spot. I was pissed, but I kept my composure. They kept trying to start fights in-game so that I could ''let off some steam'' but I always refused because they kept targeting my star players. I simply responded that I would let the steam off on the scoreboard next game. With the series leaning towards me 3 games to 2, I did just that by winning the SC in game 6 by the score of 5-2! :D YAYYYY... Something we all thought was weird was the winner of the Conn Smythe trophy. Benoit Pouliot of all people lead the series in scoring, 6 games, 4-4 for 8 points (sorry guys!). Scott Gomez followed with 7 points. My leader was G-Lat with 6 points, Havlat, Cullen and Koivu each with 5 points. You would think any of these guys would've been awarded the Conn Smythe, but it was awarded to..... Chuck Kobasew! He had 3 points, but he did lead all players with +5. We're lucky NHL11 was released on the first day of University, because if it were released later when we have homework and tests and whatnot, we couldn't play much.

Another thing that's great about NHL11 is the inclusion of the OHL, QMJHL and WHL, a first in the series, and I know he won't be reading this, but Drummondville Voltigeurs d-man Remi Blanchard in the QMJHL is from Bas-Caraquet, 20 minutes from my hometown. He was my sisters' classmate and he's featured in the game. It's awesome for him and it's damn weird to see him in the game! I believe the only other player from my region of Northeast New-Brunswick to be featured in NHL games was Luc Bourdon (R.I.P.). Anyhoo, congrats to Remi!

The inclusion of the CHL teams also means some more Wild prospects are playable now, such as Tyler Cuma, Marco Scandella, Matt Hackett, Kris Foucault and many more.


Punchline: Hope you enjoyed the first official Thought Bubble! :) Get well soon Shep!