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by Kolby Solinsky

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If the majority of the headline above isn’t already a giveaway, I’ll tell you straight-up: I’m often late to things.

Not lazy. Not even really late to appointments. Just late to the easiest things to be on time for – like hashtags, hairstyles, and movies. So while much of Sunday’s Oscar audience was weighing which of the finalists they liked the best, I was sitting there cramming three hours of Boyhood in, pre-show. I had only seen Grand Budapest Hotel before that, because it was on a plane I sat on a few months ago. And it’s on Netflix.

So why Boyhood?

Quite simple, I chose it to be the one I saw while I still had time because it was by-far the most original of anything in the field, and the most original in some time.

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by Kolby Solinsky

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The Interview isn’t really an assault on North Korea, or Kim Jong-Un. I mean, yeah, the whole movie is about killing him. And spoilers, but they succeed. That said, in a movie like this, killing isn’t much of an insult – it sort of means you’re in on the joke. Like how they say you only roast the ones you love, you also only brutally assassinate the ones the audience are loving to hate.

Instead, The Interview is an assault, really, on everyone who takes themselves too seriously.

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A Wiserhood slow clap is in store for Joey McKenna, the hero who uploaded all of Patrick Kane’s shootout goals – over the first 7.5 years of the surefire Hall of Famer’s career – to YouTube in the fastest seven-minute montage you’ll find.

I mean, the reasons this video is so attractive are obvious. Kane’s skill, speed, and all-around style – the flash he has when he shoots, shifts, and celebrates – have stood out since before he was even drafted, back when he was obliterating the Ontario Hockey League in London. But seeing all of them back-to-back-to-back, you’re able to see it all together in one swift motion… a lot of players have style and sizzle, but Kane does it all at high speed, then shifting to low speed, then with a goalie in front of him to fool.

None of those goals above are accidents. And yeah, the reel is cherry-picked – it’s always going to look good when every clip’s a success story. But pay attention to how many different ways he scores, to how many different goalies he freezes, and to how he’s sort of been in control of the shootout since he started, from that first clip where the colour guy says, “You’re watching the future of the Chicago Blackhawks.”

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by Kolby Solinsky

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First off, best wishes to Ottawa Senators system goalie Andrew Hammond – the former Surrey Eagle and usual Binghamton Senators starter will make his NHL debut tonight, Wednesday, against the Montreal Canadiens.

Hammond has appeared in two NHL games in his career, the last one a couple nights ago when Robin Lehner left with an injury. So will the rookie be seeing some more time in Ottawa’s crease, and does he have a legitimate chance to win the No. 1 job?

Not long-term, maybe. But Craig Anderson is out indefinitely with a hand injury – and the Sens aren’t a playoff team this year – so you never know.

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by Kolby Solinsky

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Better Call Saul is probably a great show. I say that in confusion, in a good way.

Because through three episodes, it hasn’t yet sunk in. It’s not just that electroshock has been given to one of Breaking Bad‘s main characters and revived, therefore, the original show’s expanding universe of storylines. It’s not just that Saul is surprisingly terrific in its own right, perhaps a better drama than Bad ever began as – really, the first season with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman was more a black comedy than it was an Emmy winner. It evolved from an out-of-nowhere critically acclaimed soap opera to perhaps the best show since The Sopranos, although I really think Mad Men deserves its say in that conversation, too.

Back to Better Call Saul, though: It’s like we’re being given deleted scenes to some movie we’ve watched over and over again, hoping there’s something more coming after the final credits. And guess what? Of course there’s more!

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by Kolby Solinsky

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Contracts are complicated. Confusing. And it’s probably not really what it seems like, looking in through the window.

So when we talk about contracts and the negotiations that lead to both the offering and signing of them, we have to take into account that maybe it’s not as simple as something you can sum up in 500 words – perhaps, even if a player deserves the money for his skill, for example, he hasn’t yet earned it. Or maybe he wanted even more money, money he wasn’t going to get. Maybe he was just being a pain in the ass the entire time – maybe he wants to go somewhere else, and so he’s using his agent and/or team to drive his general manager up the wall, until finally the boss relents, gives up, and cuts him loose.

Maybe the GM has played hardball himself in the past, and the player’s now hell-bent on mind-gaming him into oblivion while he very eagerly looks toward free agency.

Now, it’s highly unlikely Chris Tanev’s negotiation has even scratched any of those scenarios.

But I only mention to say, if you’re thinking the Vancouver Canucks should have just given the guy a long-term, reasonable deal two full seasons ago, that maybe it’s not that easy.

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by Kolby Solinsky

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Maybe you haven’t seen Better Call Saul yet.

This would be a luxury. Because it’s great, yes. And because you get to catch up – remember when having to catch up with a television show was a chore? Now, it’s almost what you hope for… the ability to binge-watch and mellow out in bed with a laptop on your, fittingly, lap. Shows are made to be craved and consumed now, not patiently taken in over eight month segments repeatedly over a decade. And they’re better that way, too – I loved Boardwalk Empire, but I enjoyed it more the second time I’d watch each season, when I could just go from episode-to-episode instead of having to force myself to get re-excited every Sunday. The show was slow, perhaps, but watched in one motion it was exhilarating. 

If you haven’t seen either of Better Call Saul‘s first two episodes – titled ‘Uno’ and ‘Mijo’ – you can watch them now. Ahead of tonight’s third. Or you can just wait until it’s over and watch the trio together.

And no scene in these excellent opening episodes is more delicious than the series’ very first, where Saul is now named Gene and he works in a Cinnabon. The season opens in black-and-white, and every effort that goes into layering, baking, and making one of those little wonder cakes is given Vince Gilligan’s delicate, artistic attention.

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by Kolby Solinsky

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I saw The Fault in Our Stars last summer, like many. Unlike them, I hadn’t read the book – this is a considerable disadvantage when you go to a movie and you’re forcing yourself to enjoy it. You lack the connection many have before they even order their tickets; the story is just a story to you, and the characters better grab you in the first five minutes, or else you’re so very aware of how little they matter to you.

A book can take its time. A movie for better or worse, often worse, can’t. Rather, it can’t afford to.

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*Okay, so since this was written – and just before it was ‘published’ – the Winnipeg Jets traded Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres, in a deal involving six other players. I think my points below still stand, so I’m not going to change the text at all. Also, I’m lazy.

Why’s it so hard to make a trade in today’s NHL?

Because it’s never really a trade, is it?

The idea often is, a trade has to be even. But that’s impossible. Because if a trade was truly even – if it was, I give you something, and you give me an equal value in return – then there wouldn’t be a point to it. Why would you give up ‘A’ just to get ‘A’ back? Instead, a trade happens when one side wants something, and the other wants another. It’s not really just about want, though… it’s also about need.

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by Kolby Solinsky

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It’s not enough to say that Jon Stewart was a pioneer – that he completely invented a new form of comedy, of political satire behind a mock TV news desk, that he changed not only how politicians answered questions and handled the media, but how the media asked questions and handled their subjects, that his time at the head of The Daily Show is a legitimate B.C. and A.D. thing – can anyone even remember when he wasn’t on your TV, or your newsfeed, and does it feel like you were even conscious before he arrived?

He was a pioneer, of course. All the rest of that stuff above is true, too.

But there have always been snarky people. There has always been sarcasm. But it hasn’t always been quality.

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