Love. Beauty. And books. This is what the story set against the terrible backdrop of war is about. Zusak accomplished a difficult feat - making me ache for the children of the enemy, the children and people of Nazi Germany, because even when caught in the middle of destruction, even ending up on different sides of artificial barricades people are still people, still deserving of love, still beautiful.
This book is the ode to those who kept their humanity in the middle of war , who were so human that nothing could ever change that. Rudy Steiner , the boy with the "hair the color of lemons" , who has so much love and integrity and life (view spoiler) [that I cried myself to sleep over his fate that Death so casually and cruelly revealed to us (hide spoiler) ] , who was by Liesel's side since the beginning of their friendship - " A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship." - Rudy, who dreamed about the kiss from Liesel (view spoiler) [ until the end of his bright and too-short life.
"She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Liesel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips. He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist's suit collection. She kissed him long and soft, and when she pulled herself away, she touched his mouth with her fingers... She did not say goodbye. She was incapable, and after a few more minutes at his side, she was able to tear herself from the ground. It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on." (hide spoiler) ]
Paul Coffey was a wonderful offensive defenseman, putting up numbers from the blue line that rivalled the great Bobby Orr. He was known for great outlet passes, his manning the point on the power play, and, above all else, his skating ability on those end to end rushes he was so good at.
But one thing he was not known for was playing defense. Which is funny because the lasting image of the 1984 Canada Cup has always been a brilliant defensive play by Coffey, which he quickly turned into an offensive rush and set up the dramatic winning goal. It is the quintessential Paul Coffey play.
Ah the wonders of the ol' Canada Cup tournaments. I bet you didn't know that released two days before Christmas 2014 was the Canada Cup 1984: 5 Disc DVD Collection , featuring all games involving Team Canada. Two days before Christmas certainly doesn't allow for capitalizing on the Christmas rush, but who am I to criticize the marketing team?
The key thing is the Canada Cup '84 is now available for us to relive. Buy the DVD box set here: - Chapters - .
That's right - We can relieve the heroics of Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Raymond Bourque, Michel Goulet, Mike Bossy and all of Team Canada as the slowly come together through the round robin, win the classic semi-final against the Soviet Union and defeat the surprising Swedish team in the two game finale.
We also get a look at then-youngsters like Steve Yzerman, Dominik Hasek, Hakan Loob, Scott Stevens and Chris Chelios.
We also get semi-final game commentary by Team Canada assistant coach Tom Watt and Hockey Hall of Fame journalist Scott Morrison. In addition, we get many of the classic interviews and, yes, the always popular classic commercials from the original broadcast!
As a bonus, the final game of Canada Cup 1981 is also released on DVD. The Russians handed Canada their worst loss ever in that game, 8-1, likely ensuring we will never see a commercial release of that tournament. So the curious will want to see this game, too, and it is a great way to set up the drama of 1984.
Canada Cup DVDs already exist for 1976 and 1987 . Could 1991 be far away?
This also seems to be a great time to share this rare photo. It is of the jersey exchange after the tournament's final game, then tradition in such international friendlies. Here Montreal Canadiens teammates Mats Naslund and Larry Robinson exchange sweaters. Clearly Naslund's does not fit big Robinson very well.
THE late Bruce Tegnér, as I wrote in Manuals On Mayhem in the 1980’s, was a most unappreciated and unfortunately maligned martial arts innovator. Well ahead of his time, Tegnér sought to dispel the widely touted nonsense that so many in the martial arts were eagerly propagating. He practicalized self-defense. And although we have a few strong points of disagreement with certain aspects of Bruce Tegnér’s doctrine, he is one of the very few people in the martial arts who we never knew personally, yet wish we did have the pleasure of knowing. (You might have guessed that William Fairbairn and Pat O’Neill are two others whose contributions in the field of close combat we revere and credit with teaching us much, as well as contributing to our own System’s development, and who we wish we had met and known personally!).