Silver Nuggets: The Not Pesky Edition

If there was a Nobel Prize for Hockey, Erik Karlsson would win it - Harry How

The Ottawa Senators overcame a three-goal deficit early in last night's game, pushing the game to overtime and securing themselves an unlikely point. Naturally the moniker "pesky Sens" made the rounds once again. Embraced by players and fans alike last season, I never really liked the term. I think it's great if you want to use it, but for me the term doesn't seem appropriate. The Sens are a talented team. They have the best defenseman in the world, skilled forwards, and a great goaltending tandem. It's not peskiness, that combination of pluck and heart, which keeps the Sens in games--it's the fact that Ottawa is legitimately a good team doing what all good teams do. Good teams don't quit when they go down by a few goals, good teams always think they're still in the game. The deciding game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final was won with just over a minute left in the game. The Hawks scored two quick goals to win the Stanley Cup and shock the TD Garden crowd. While the goals were scored by Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland, skill players like Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Michael Frolik contributed on the goals. The Hawks weren't pesky; they were simply an excellent team.

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Celebrated Canadian author Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature today, the first Canadian to do so (Canadian-born, American writer Saul Bellow won the same award in 1976 but since he moved to the States as a kid and is always taught as American literature and not Canadian, he doesn't count). This is such a big deal. It wasn't until the 1960s that you could actually take a Can Lit class at a Canadian university. Today, despite numerous internationally recognized Canadian authors, Can Lit classes and Canadianist scholars are still looked down on by some in English Departments. I've attended universities known for their focus on Canadian literature and even at these institutions, when Canadianist scholars retire, they aren't replaced by Canadianists. Canadianist scholars have to demonstrate their versatility in English departments, hired because of the other things they can teach and not their focus on Canadian literature. A Canadian winning the Nobel Prize for Literature should be celebrated news in those institutions. When I used to hold office hours at the University College building on the University of Western Ontario campus, I often thought about two things: that Alice Munro used to walk those same halls and that these cockroaches are gross. While Munro has long been a celebrated author, at Canadian universities we still deal with people who are "not interested in teaching books by women" in 2013. Munro's mastery of the short story form was also noted by the Nobel committee; simply put, she is one of the greatest short story writers ever. As much as Munro's win is a win for Canadian literature and the short story form, it also cements her place as one of the best writers in English of the 20th century. I remember using anthologies of English literature in high school (not just Can lit) and being surprised by Munro's appearance several hundred pages after Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth. Not only was she Canadian (an unheard of occurrence) but she was alive (also unusual).

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