2012 NHL Entry Draft - Round One

Opinion
By James Pavel

Unforced errors, lackluster back checking, and the ability to go invisible for an entire 60 minutes are traits that have come to define no. 64 in Oil City.

The 2014-2015 season has vividly demonstrated that Edmonton Oiler forward Nail Yakupov is the most over-rated and grandest bust of the first overall decisions made over the past ten years.

The Oilers organization have managed to sink to the bottom of the West once again, a stat almost as incredible as Detroit’s ability to make the playoffs for 23 straight seasons. The Oilers seem poised to tank for rumoured super-kid Connor McDavid especially since it is painfully obvious that their first overall selection in 2012 was a dreadful error.

Yakupov currently has 10 points this season but the number may as well be in the negatives. He has been a glorified Soviet pylon all season and has only made an impact when he commits a defensive blunder to the benefit of the opposition, which seems to happen on a bi-nightly basis.

When compared with the other first overall choices of the past decade, one begins to quickly recognize just how underwhelming this Russian ghost has been.

Since 2005, the first overall selections have been: Crosby, Johnson, Kane, Stamkos, Tavaras, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, MacKinnon, and Aaron Ekblad.  While Ekblad has not had sufficient time to prove himself,the only player that comes close to the anti-climatic performance of Yak is Erik Johnson of the Colorado Avalanche. That said, Johnson plays an important role on the Avs blue line and with top tier back-end players at an all-time premium, he is certainly fulfilling a vital requirement.

Where does Yak fit? He has yet to gel with the Nuge and Taylor Hall and placing him on a line with David Perron has resulted in sub-zero chemistry.

Yak isn’t just stagnant, he appears to actually be digressing as a player. While rookies can often undergo a sophomore slump, the third season is where future stars begin to glisten.

But Nail has not glistened – No, he has rusted like an old pick-up truck. When he is not completely absent, he is missing the net by 20 miles or begin caught horribly out of position. He has unwillingly surrendered the skills he demonstrated in his junior career and seems destined for Alexandre Daigle status.

Current rookies and second-year first overall picks have already rocketed past him in terms of value. Yak has performed so poorly that he is currently untradable. What could the Oilers possibly get for him? Another draft pick? That would be borderline insanity. Of course the way the Oiler management has operated over the past seven years, madness may be the only solution.

sam roberts band

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. No Sleep

His rustic gruff saves Sammy from going full indie, but even if he did, even just for this track, we would still adore him. It shows off his ability to romanticize tragedy, as he mournfully swoons about the realities of growing old despite feeling like a young chic. The addition of French to the second verse is gorgeous, a trick borrowed by Arcade Fire frequently throughout their own respective career.

4. Canadian Dream

No other track of Sam’s does he bluntly reveal exactly where he stands on the political spectrum. He doesn’t hint or mince with metaphors – he literally spells it out for you:  Socialism. Sam represents what a modern-liberal is, or perhaps what a modern socialist should represent – a tri-lingual, artistically-driven musician who contributes music that speaks to the social conscience and not to personal gains, unlike the way the majority of current pop music deems fit to behave.

3. Never Enough

After navigating through the crunchy, bluesy raucous that defined the album ‘Collider,’ his latest endeavour steers back to heart-melting, sun-hailing guitar riffs. “Never Enough” is not a complaint, but a revelation. The wonders of Roberts’ life never quench his desire to explore more in depth and to love more intensely. Roberts’ practically pinches himself mid-song at his great fortune, but it is the fans that have gained the greatest from the spoils of Roberts’ superb musical collection.

2. Brother Down

It’s the track that would come to define not only his overall sound but also his coherent, progressive ideas for a utopian Canada. He is not a blinded hipster but an awakened and evolved force of pacifism, preaching the importance of seizing the moment without infringing on the lives of others. “Brother Down” captured the campfire sing-a-long harmonies that were in full force at this moment, essentially the Jack Johnson era, and as easy as it would have been to remain in this cavalier position, he would use this track as a catapult to grimier and yet more polished sounds in the years to come.

1.Uprising Down Under

If you have ever been to Australia, which is every third, red-blood celled westerner between the ages of 20-35, you can appreciate a song dedicated to the wonders of down under.  Roberts paints a vivid and flush fusion of love and Australia, the waves of Byron Bay moving in synchronicity with his unwavering patience for pure harmony.

fit in picture

Opinion
By James Pavel

“Fit in or fuck off” is a miss-led and uneducated slogan ordering anyone not subscribing to the white man’s world to find the nearest exit.

It is also a fear-induced reaction from a small number of Canadians resulting from the shootings in Ottawa, Ontario this past week.

The murderer identified with the Islamic religion, which is the most contentious spiritual group in western culture for over a decade.

But “fit in or fuck off”? Fit in to what exactly? This is Canada, a country that has proven to be the greatest multi-cultural experiment in history. There is no “fitting in.” You are who you desire to be in the great white north.  We ask that you respect Canadian traditions and conduct yourself in a harmonious and peaceful fashion, while respecting the beliefs and cultures of others. Clearly, the criminal involved in this week’s shooting broke these vows. But we shall not suddenly wipe our hands clean of middle-eastern religions and cultures because the violence of war briefly infiltrated our nation’s capital.

“Fit in or fuck off” can only exist as the mantra of a scared individual, a person who is willing to surrender the Canadian cultural landscape that we have cultivated for two centuries because of the actions of violent lunatics.

Events such as the shooting should bring us closer. Not provoke the solicitation of bigoted stickers that suddenly call for foreigners to immediately remove themselves.  We have become a tremendous example of how embracing our differences can make a nation stronger not weaker. This should serve as a test on how devout we as Canadians are to the near-utopian society we have developed. This is not Ferguson, Missouri. This is a country that judges one by their character and not by their religion, skin, or potential turban on their head.

Canada is engaged in yet another controversial war, and we have managed to avoid any violence on our soil. This week proved that we are susceptible to these dangers. What will transpire over the next few months will give us a clearer idea of how severe any incoming threats are and if this was indeed, a singular act.

The Islam religion is witnessing radicals use their religion as a misguided cape to flaunt during sprees of violence. But it is not all those who practice this religion that are suddenly to blame. It’s a complex and maturing scenario, and one that requires the patience and respect that Canadians are endowed with.

If you’re really a Canadian, then you know that “fit in or fuck off” does not follow the national mandate.

why-so-sad

Opinion
By James Pavel

-This is rare, but the author (Jason Porter) looks exactly the way I pictured the narrator. I found this somehow comforting (p.s. I am not sad).

-Do you wonder if people find you attractive? “Stop staring in the mirror and do some pushups,” was one of my favourite answers.

-What does it feel like to get out of bed in the morning? I can’t imagine how gloomy some of the responses could be to this. I generally feel like I could continue sleeping for about another 10 hours. But the guilt of a potential sleep-in rapidly seeps in and I come to life. It’s amazing how difficult getting up seems until you are up. Then that’s it. The idea of jumping back into bed doesn’t even arise. The second I am on my feet, is the second my day turns productive.

-I admired the following idea: The tines of the rake are the different paths available to us in the future.” This satisfies the two predominant theories about the future. Yes, our future is pre-determined (by the direction of the tines) yet we have the ability to determine what tine we follow. Essentially, destiny is calling you, but destiny has finite options.

-The following is one of the most hilariously cynical answers I’ve read: Is today worse than yesterday? Yes, because one of those two I still have to live through.  I might be the kind of guy that laughs at a funeral.

-Although I enjoyed this book, mostly for placing a much needed refreshing spin on a dreary subject, but I partially disagree with one of the central themes of the book. One of the overall thesis’s is that we have never been worse off as a society because nobody bothers to ask or understand how they themselves or anyone else is doing. We live in a world where we have almost everything we ever dreamed of as a society. And yet here we are sulking in the corner like we haven’t gotten our way. Are we the depressed generation? Or are we the spoiled-rotten generation that are inept at sacrifice and are nothing more than professional pity-party throwers?

-Do you think people will remember you after you die? I think I’ll die after people remember me. The perfect rebuttal. Do you believe in God? I think God is a placeholder for the anxiety created by unsatisfying answers to unanswerable questions. Is this the first commandment of atheism? What an incredible response.

justin-timberlake-2013_2014_istanbul_diamond_tour_best_songs

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Not such a Bad Thing

Leave it to JT to recognize that instead of saturating the radio with a lethargic EDM fist-pumper, he releases a throwback to the N Sync*/BSB domination days, where falling in love to pop songs happened every music video. He hasn’t forgotten his roots, except maybe the macaroni curls and full-piece denim suits. He is a mainstay on late night television and sometimes stars in the year’s biggest films but this hasn’t stopped him from writing songs about everyday implications that Not Such a Bad Thing discusses.

4. Love Stoned/I Think That She Knows

LoveStoned served as space-age lust for millennials and generation-Xers. The opening four minutes is future-fabulous, but it’s the final two minutes that unwind into something as revealing as a sudden black hole. “I think that she knows,” is always supposed to be bad, but really it is marvelous news, as it allows the chance for something to happen that wasn’t previously possible.

3. Mirrors

Audiences have listened for decades about what he desired, what he craved, and what he lusted over. Mirrors is a parade dedicated solely to Jessica Biel with Justin clinking his glass to make his grandest toast to his most precious feat. The chorus is less a poppy hook and more modern-day wedding vowels, which would be a tiring ordeal for fans if it wasn’t anybody besides JT. Timberlake is simply one of the most likable entertainers in history. He can act, he can dance, he can obviously sing, and he can marry women that look like Jessica Biel.

2. Sexy Back

It didn’t sound like Timberlake. We initially refused to believe he could conceive something so radical sounding. And yet, the radio host did not lie. Timberlake had brought back what we didn’t know had gone missing, and if you didn’t like him before, you did the moment you walked into the club Friday night. It was aggressive and naughty, but not soulless or exploitive. JT made a song that no one has dared to make before or after and it remains a staple of modern-day dance-club mayhem.

1. Cry me a River

To make a villain likable, you must find a way for the audience to empathize. Men were reluctant to accept Timberlake had talent, even despite their girlfriends and crushes relentless claims that a new King of Pop was performing right before us. His first solo single, The Way I love You, was swanky, but it still didn’t exactly force dudes to allow room for a new king on the throne of Michael Jackson. But when he sat us down through a rain storm and told us how Britney Spears, our collective love interest, had cheated him, we began to finally listen. The hypnotic Timbaland beat-box beat paired with Justin’s cryptic accusations, made the old-idiom, cry me a river, a revived chant for those cheating lovers spewing crocodile tears.

Usher laid claim to the throne early on, but couldn’t help be seduced by the easy money that dance music offered. JT always refused. He has always seemed to search for a way to push music to previous unknown realms, while maintaining a chokehold on pop culture’s pulse.

hoffman 4

Popcorn Banter10 thoughts on A Most Wanted Man

Opinion
By James Pavel

1. A Most Wanted Man is basically about an elongated, potentially corrupt, charity donation.

2.The final, audible word that Philip Seymour-Hoffman utters is a booming F-bomb in the conclusion of A Most Wanted Man, which turns out, is his last word ever recorded of him playing a starring role. If only we could all ask for such a memorable, everlasting quotable.

3. Unfortunately, this movie will be rapidly forgotten. What will not however is that Hoffman coined the brilliant term “sharted.” For full definition, please see Along Came Polly.

4. The lines and wrinkles on the face of Willem Dafoe should be studied by engineering and art students for their exquisite symmetry and pronounced depth.

5. It appears Hoffman agreed to do this movie on two terms a) He was permitted to relentlessly chain smoke throughout the entire movie and b) he could inhale a quarter glass of scotch every second scene.

6. The final development of A Most Wanted Man is Hoffman in a state of sour hopelessness. He is beat-purple from screaming and he is walking aimlessly with a defeated stare under grey and hazy skies. It’s awful to think, but it may be possible that he dwelled in a similar cast of clouds shortly before his death.

7. I completely believed Rachel McAdams as a German social worker.

8. Hoffman is one of the greatest actors of the past decade and it is a remarkable feat. He isn’t a dashing, leading man, or a box-office king. He was an unattractive, overweight man with a ghostly, unmemorable face. He has starred in uneventful and terribly overrated movies, such as his final project (A Wanted Man,) and definitely, The Master. And yet every performance was shockingly great. Every role felt like his defining role. He could characterize a movie with a single scene.

9. He was what the majority of us men will eventually look like. He was wonderfully average, dangerously talented, and beautifully ugly.

10. Hoffman looked like a man who enjoyed a good laugh and an even better drink. RIP.

sin city

Opinion
By James Pavel

1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has temporarily taken over from Ryan Gosling as the most badass actor of the moment.

2. Eva Green is naked the entire movie and I refuse to pretend that this isn’t awesome.

3. This film does what other superhero movies are afraid of attempting, which is transforming a movie into a comic book instead of a comic book into a movie. It is why Sin City is so ascetically pleasing and is a source of non-stop excitement, despite zero plot development.

4. She’s so “Eva Green.” That is exactly how to describe a woman that isn’t necessarily hot, but is astonishingly sexy.

5. If you are going to feature Bruce Willis in any capacity, give him the screen time he deserves.

6. Jessica Alba’s role is greater than the sum of her entire professional career. It isn’t that Sin City is that remarkable, it’s just that her past career choices are that unremarkable.

7. Josh Brolin might be one of the top three leading men in Hollywood.

8. An additional villain as twisted and spooky as Elijah Wood in the original film would have served this sequel well.

9. Besides Charlie Sheen and maybe George Clooney, no actor seems more enthusiastic about playing a version of themselves more than Mickey Rourke. You desire a drug-fuelled, heavy-drinking’ bruiser that loves to reminisce about the long-ago glory days? Sign him up.

10. Powers Booth, the man that plays Senator Roark, is frightening and menacing in all the right ways. He reminds me of The Jungle Book’s “Shere Con.” He is exactly the way a villain is supposed to be; Heartless and a little bit disgusting.

 

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