Photo Credit: Darko Bandic of The Associated Press)

*This was originally posted April 2, 2022*

No April Fools Jokes from me here. 

Ever since the pandemic began, I’ve seen fewer and fewer April Fools Jokes on Twitter. Perhaps it’s because life has become quite stressful and depressing in the last two years. The ones I do see are pretty pathetic. 

For example, Sportsnet Tweeted that the Quebec Nordiques were coming back and it was obvious that it was a joke. There was also a bunch of people saying they aren’t Canucks fans anymore. Those were not easy to tell they were jokes because there have been so many copypastas usually under threads Tweeted by the official teams saying they are not being fans anymore. They usually start with “That seals the deal. I am no longer a _____ fan…” You might have seen them.

Anyways, let’s get into Avid Thoughts. I, unfortunately, did not have enough questions for a full mailbag but we will have a mini one at the end.

What I want to see from the Canucks for the rest of the season

With the Blues beating the Canucks 4-3 on Wednesday night, that was another big blow to the playoff hopes. The Canucks playoff odds are at 3% according to a model from Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic. So I’m saying there is a chance but a very small one.

Even with the Boudreau Bump, the playoffs were not happening anyway. This team can beat teams ahead of them and not teams behind them in the standings. Some nights they look great, other nights they look as flat as Flat Stanley. You can’t be having nights where you look lethargic if you want to make the playoffs. Turning up for the last five minutes of the game doesn’t help either.

So with the playoff hopes on life support, what do I want to see from the Canucks with 13 games to go?

I want to see this team put up a good effort every night. There have been spectacular goaltending from Thatcher Demko so we will most likely see more of that. I also want to see more production from the top-six players. Conor Garland did get an assist on Elias Pettersson’s second goal but he hasn’t scored in 16 games for example. I also want to see Brock Boeser score some more goals too.

Basically, I want the Canucks to give 100% effort down the stretch regardless if they win or not. The efforts on the recent road trip in Denver, St.Paul and Dallas are prime examples. They need to play the quick, heavy forechecking style we have seen under Boudreau and be watchable. 

The Sebastian Ahos scored at the same time?!

What are the odds of this happening? 

Both Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes and Sebastian Aho of the New York Islanders scored on Thursday. But, they both scored at the same bloody time in different games.

The goals were nearly from the same spot too!

Does this prove we are living in a simulation? Was both Ahos scoring at the same time programmed or was it a glitch in the simulation? This is some wacky stuff. 

If we do live in a simulation, I’m pretty sure the guy or girl controlling me is really bad at video games or did a poor job programming me. Where are Morpheus and the red pill? I want to learn Kung-Fu and see what was behind the Ahos scoring at the exact same time.

Anyway, it is bizarre that this happened and there are two Sebastian Ahos in the NHL. By the way, there is also another Jack Hughes who is projected to be a late first-round pick. He plays with Canucks prospect Aidan McDonough at Northeastern University. So in a few years, we will have two Jack Hugheses in the NHL. Maybe they will score at the same time in different games too because that is what the simulation programmed.

Auston Matthews scores 50 goals

Auston Matthews hit the 50 goal mark on Thursday and that is a remarkable feat. 

Matthews has become one of, if not the best goal scorer in the NHL right now. It feels inevitable for him to score in a game nowadays.

Matthews has also scored 91 goals in 114 games since the start of last season. That is insane. His shot is so lethal and he has proven to be an elite number one centre in the NHL. His defensive play is solid too, look at him on the backcheck.

We are looking at the next great American player here. Love him or hate him, Matthews is among the NHL’s best and it looks like he will be the league’s best goal scorer for years to come. If only he could score in the playoffs though.

FIFA Player Career mode frustrations

I usually like to play Manager Mode in FIFA. I like to sign players, sign youth players, manage the starting XI, create tactics and sell players. In the past, I have brought smaller English clubs to the Premier League and brought smaller European Clubs into the Champions League. Of course, I have won multiple trophies with Chelsea and turned the Premier League into a farmer’s league.

I decided to try my hand at player career mode too. I haven’t done that since FIFA 13 or 14. 

I am a striker and decided to start my career with the Vancouver Whitecaps and made myself a Canadian International. Why? It is because I won’t get a lot of minutes at a big club. Plus, I think it is a good idea to develop with my hometown club and follow in the footsteps of Alphonso Davies.

There are some problems with player career mode. 

First of all, the AI of your teammates. They keep passing backwards, letting in weird goals, giving the ball away and missing the net. The manager wants me to get assists even though my player is a striker. When I do give them great passes, my teammates either end up taking weak shots or skying them over the net especially if I make a pass that leads to breakaways. In fact, one time I passed the ball to my teammate and he got on a breakaway….but he chose to pass backwards.

Another thing is the simulation. I got sent off one time with our time being up 1-0 in stoppage time and we end up losing 2-1. I also was sent off up 3-0 in the 84th minute after scoring a hat trick, it sims the rest of the game and we draw 3-3. What in the world?

Another thing I hate is that there are no contracts in player career mode. Why can’t I leave on a free and sign with whoever I want?

If you sim a game, the manager will put you on the bench. There is no chance you can be subbed on either. So you can’t be a super sub. 

I’m still on FIFA 21 and I took the Whitecaps to the MLS Cup in my first season and scored the winner in extra time and won the Golden Boot. I also got some call-ups for Canada. Halfway through my second season, I am running away with the Golden Boot with 20 goals already and I am already getting sick of doing all the scoring since my teammates can’t finish.

I think my pro’s back is aching from carrying the Whitecaps and since my value is at 26 million dollars and will only get higher as the season progresses, I plan on asking for a transfer once the season ends and sign for a top European club, preferably Chelsea. 

We are just starting the summer transfer window in my save and the only way I will leave in the summer is if Chelsea has interest.

Alright, let’s get to the questions.

@CSWCANDY asks: Sleeper to make a run at the World Cup? What team with expectations will flame out early?

These are tough questions because there is more than one answer to both of them. Plus, the squads still haven’t been revealed yet.

For sleepers, Croatia is an obvious choice. Sure, they were the runners-up in the last World Cup but they are an aging squad on their last hurrah. Despite that, they still have Luka Modric who despite his age, is still really good. We can’t forget the likes of Mateo Kovacic and Ivan Perisic either. Sure they are an older squad but they are still a good side that can beat pretty much anyone. Other sleepers to make a run for me include The Netherlands, Spain and Uruguay are also some sleeper picks who can go further than people expect.

In terms of which teams with expectations can go out early, there are lots to choose from. France faces the most pressure as the defending champions and from their early Euro 2020 exit. In fact, since 2002, the World Cup Winners have been eliminated in the group stages the following tournament so France looks to break that curse. Other teams with expectations that can go out early include England, (For obvious reasons) Belgium, (Again, obvious reasons) Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

@SeanWarren234 asks: How do you like Canada’s chances in their World Cup group?

So Canada is in Group F with Croatia, Belgium and Morocco. That is a tough group but don’t count Canada out.

I already talked about how good Croatia is above. Belgium is among the world’s best and has so many stars such as Kevin De Bruyne, the Hazard brothers, Romelu Lukaku, and Thibaut Courtois. KDB is the best midfielder in football and his right foot is an absolute missile when it comes to shots, free kicks, passes and crosses. Despite his poor season at Chelsea, Lukaku is still a feared striker who can breach defences and he always turns up when it comes to the Belgian National Team. Plus, he is Belgium’s all-time leading scorer. Canada has their work cut out for them when facing Belgium.

Morocco doesn’t have a lot of star power except for Achraf Hakimi, who is probably the best right-back in the world right now. They probably would be a bit better if Hakim Ziyech was brought to Qatar but recently retired from the Moroccan National Team due to falling out with the manager and not being brought to AFCON a month or so ago. Even without Ziyech and despite being beatable, Morocco cannot be taken lightly.

I think Canada will finish third in the group but they have a chance to advance. John Herdman has installed this “prove the doubters” wrong mentality in the squad and they will need to put that on display in Qatar. Belgium and Croatia are two of the world’s best and Morocco is a decent side but if Canada has a mixture of veterans and young talent that can surprise people. It is a daunting but not impossible task for Canada to advance to the knockouts.

@JoshuaGriffith0 asks: Do you see Bruce Boudreau coming back next season?

Yes. In fact, it is a no-brainer to bring back Bruce Boudreau next season.

Boudreau signed a one-year deal with an option for a second year. I see no reason why he shouldn’t come back next year.

He has made this team more fun to watch with his aggressive forechecking system. He is an honest coach who wants to get the best out of every player and seems like a fun guy to be around. The players seem to like working with him and the fans love him. (Bruce, There it Is.) 

With a new era with the team looking to climb into contention status, Boudreau seems like the perfect guy to be behind the bench. 

Check back next week for more Avid Thoughts!