Leafs and Skills? Yes indeed!

A couple Sundays ago (Nov. 14.2010), the girlfriend and I went down to the Air Canada Centre to watch the Leafs Skills Competition. I received a couple snarky comments on Facebook and Twitter when I mentioned “Leafs” and “Skills” in the same sentence, but I have to say it was definitely skill-filled, and entertaining. Of course the main point of the whole day was to raise money for charity, and they ended up raising $90,000 that will benefit the MLSE Team Up Foundation and the NHLPA Goals And Dreams Fund.

Sitting in the lower bowl, which is a rarity for me at the ACC, we got to watch eight skill testing events + other entertainment, which included crazy guys dressed up in old school goalie outfits skating around the rink, body-checking each other to victory; a kids hockey match which was exciting and hilarious to watch as they couldn’t stay on their feet; and the best of all was the human bowling event, featuring the blue crew (aka hockey cheerleaders) – check out the video (shot on my iPhone 4):

In terms of the actual competition, a couple highlights were Kris Versteeg’s goal in the freestyle shootout challenge. He lifted the puck, hit it up twice, then reversed his stick and batted it in the net, past the goalie (a minor hockey goalie); I wish I caught that one on video! My other favourite highlight was from the hardest shot challenge where (I believe) Nik Kulemin’s shot registered about 139 km/h, which if possible, would’ve rocketed him into first place all time for any competition.

I can’t wait for next year! Did you go? If so, let me know what you thought of the event and do you plan on going again? If didn’t go, here are a few of the random pictures I took:

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10 of my must have apps for the iPhone

Apps are what make iPhones, iPads or iPod Touches worth owning. With my iPod Touch I had quite a few, and I’ve been able to add some others that only make sense to have on the iPhone. Here’s my list of apps that I can’t do without:

1. Twitter for iPhone – When this app was first brought to my attention I was skeptical. I use Tweetdeck on my Macbook and I did use it in my iPod Touch, however there was a glitch that prevented horizontal typing, which is my preference. After looking at a few apps I decided on Twitter. I like it because it actually works for me, for starters. It’s simple and I’ve gotten used to the one column, compared to the many on Tweetdeck.

2. Foursquare – Putting a smart phone in my hands means I’ll check-in everywhere. I have no clue why I’m such a fan of Foursquare, and I’m sure many others feel the same. I guess it boils down to it being a fun app. It’s fun to compete with others for mayorships. It’s also fun to get deals at participating retailers from time to time too.

3. TTC Mobile – A simple app that takes the arrival times listed on TTC.ca and allows transit-dependent people like myself to quickly find out when the next bus is coming. I use this one often and now I can check wherever I am.

4. Tim Hortons – I haven’t had to use the locator yet, but if I’m ever in a need when I’m jonesin’ for a Timmies coffee, then I’ll know what app to bust out.

5. Facebook – Even though it’s not the best app, in terms of design, it’d be a lie to say it wasn’t a must to keep Facebook on the list.

6. The Edge – Each morning I like to listen to the Dean Blundell Show, but having the window pop up on my computer screen at work is distracting, especially when I have many others on the go. This app is perfect because now I can listen to the radio from my iPhone 4 without clogging up my workspace.

7. Yelp – The monocle feature makes this app worth downloading on its own. You can turnĀ  in all directions and see where restaurants are, click through, and read/write reviews. So far it’s been a bit more effective in higher density areas like downtown.

8. Maple Leafs – Here I can find the latest on my favourite hockey team, along with other hockey scores.

9. Rogers My Account – From what I’ve been able to see with this app, it looks pretty sleek and it’s definitely something I’ll keep coming back to to check my data usage (though with my 6GB plan I likely won’t come near it.)

10. TD – I hopped on this app as soon as it came out because I really like the chance to find out my account balance and pay bills with the click of a button, should I need to.

I’ll always be picking up newer, fancier apps as they’re released so be sure to watch out for my future recommendations. Also games are something I can also make a list for..

What are some of your favourite apps out there? Paid/Free – doesn’t matter.

Stanley Cup finals: My time for redemption

I’m not even going to discuss my record in the previous rounds of the NHL playoffs; it’s too depressing. I’ll instead focus on the here and now. After a ridiculous break the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers finally get the final round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs started, and it looks to be one exciting series to watch.

The two teams both have unproven playoff goalies in Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton, though both have been playing as if they were the league’s elite goalies. Niemi is in his first full season with the big club and he helped guide the team to a 2nd place finish in the Western Conference. Leighton is a career journeyman who was mostly a backup this season. He ended up replacing starter Brian Boucher who left the playoffs early on with an injury. He’s since been brilliant in helping the Flyers get past the Bruins and of course those wretched Montreal Canadiens.

The Blackhawks and Flyers are also physical teams and the big matchup everyone is looking forward to is going to happen in front of Michael Leighton. Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien (prounced Bufflin) and Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger are sure to have some battles for position which will in all likeliness lead to some bad blood between the two (one can hope).

Since my picks have been lacking in accuracy you can take it for what it is, but I’m going to say the Chicago Blackhawks are going to take it in 7 games. It’s a hard decision, mostly because it means the Maple Leafs will then hold the longest Stanley Cup drought.

What’s your take on the series? Are you looking forward to it?

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