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Justice Unserved

March 27, 2010 @ 11:34

It was a sad day for justice in the United States yesterday. Once again it was proved that there is a law for the rich and a law for the poor.

Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards was sentenced to a laughingly lax 30 days in a halfway house for bringing four guns into the Verizon Centre back in December.

It stemmed from a confrontation with a team mate. It was a disgusting act that was an insult to Wizards, their fans and the NBA as a whole. Yesterday's decision was an insult to every citizen of the United States.

The District of Columbia, which has one of the highest crime rates in the US has extremely tough gun laws, and after yesterdays ruling it was the general consensus of most lawyers that if Arenas had been a regular citizen, he definitely would have gone to jail.

Believe me, I'm not about to pretend this kind of thing couldn't happen in Canada, because it could, but after spending several minutes googling "Canada / athlete / gun / locker room" I couldn't come up with a similar case.

I've made it clear before, I'm not a fan of the NBA and a lot of it stems from the creeps and thugs that tend to inhabit the league. Yesterday just makes it worse. A man who makes eleven million dollars a year, a man who can afford the best in defense and man who probably had the league at this back, walked away from something and that you and I would dearly pay for.

It sucks, it blows and smells like a rat.

A very sad day.

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Habs Watch

March 25, 2010 @ 12:05

On Saturday, March 20 The Toronto Maple Leafs initiated a Montreal Canadiens tailspin that has now reached three games.
Leafs 3 Habs 2 SO
Senators 2 Habs 0
Sabres 3 Habs 2 SO
Montreal is just five points ahead of the ninth place Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Atlanta has a game in hand. I have my fingers crossed.

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No Big Deal

March 20, 2010 @ 21:46

Leafs 3 Montreal 2. It's not like the Habs are a contender. The victory over Jersey felt better.
I can't wait till the playoffs start and the real contenders start leaning on the midget Habs.

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Habs Watch

March 20, 2010 @ 10:42

I can do it; I can admit I was wrong.

Last spring just before I predicted the Montreal Canadiens would lose four straight games to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, (which happened) I also predicted that the Toronto Maple Leafs would finish ahead of the Habs for the next five seasons.

Obviously, I was wrong. That prediction went down the shitter in early January when Brian Burke decided to do what all Leaf fans have demanded for years, he decided to rip the team apart and start over.

Although the young Leafs have played better lately, they are still just a cut above an AHL team and still have a long way to go.

At this writing, the Habs are 16 points ahead of the Leafs with both clubs having eleven games to play, including tonight's matchup at the ACC.

Yes, at this point my prediction looks absolutely horrible, but there is some satisfaction in all of this. Habs are still as goofy as ever and its fun to listen to their crap regarding the current Montreal squad that in reality is still only slightly better than what we have in Toronto.

Here's the irony. Montreal fans are in the midst of precisely what has ailed the Leafs for so many years. They're mid-pack, with no chance of winning the Cup and it will perpetuate until they too make some drastic changes which doesn't include signing pip-squeak free-agents.

A Hab fan will tell you that they've won six in a row, like that's a good thing, despite having insulted Leaf fans in previous years because our team made late season rallys only to fall short.

The Habs are making the same mistake right now. They're winning a lot of hockey games and lifting themselves in the standings while having virtually no chance of winning a playoff round.

They have a small and meek team with a coach who has a horrendous playoff record.

You look at the standings and the Habs are fried. There's no potential matchup that looks good for them. They could play Washington, Pittsburgh, Buffalo or Philadelphia. Sorry Le Habitant, but in the playoffs when things get tough and close and gritty, you don't stand a chance.

The Habs will get ousted the playoffs quickly and quietly without much of fight and they'll find themselves in the same situation they've found themselves in for much of the past two decades... on a road to nowhere. Not that bad, but not that good either.

And please, spare me the Leaf comparisons. It's already been established. The Leafs haven't won the Cup for over 40 years and they've been a mismanaged pile of junk for many of those years. Given.

But look at your own team Hab fans. You're living the same nightmare the Leaf fans have lived for way too long. Mid-pack mediocrity. Mid-pack draft choices.

Don't get too excited about what's happening right now because every so often the Leafs would pop-up with a good squad and make a decent playoff run, but in the end, they never really had the horses to go the distance. That's your current problem Hab fans, and looking beyond the horizon, it doesn't look like its going to change any time soon.

And don't worry about Leaf fans. We'll be fine. We have a couple of things to look forward to. Brian Burke rebuilding Canada's team and the Habs losing in the playoffs.

It'll mark 17 years without a Stanley Cup in Montreal. Imagine that. Shouldn't there be some law against it?

Once the playoffs start, keep coming back to I'm going to have a feature called, "Habs Watch - Countdown To Disaster."

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Much Ado?

March 13, 2010 @ 16:45

My oh my, there's quite the battle taking place over at Mike took issue with a couple of white guy Hab fans who showed up at a game the other night with black shoe polish on their faces and afro wigs on their heads.

Seems they were there in support of Hab's rookie PK Subban who was sent back down to the farm club in Hamilton. Oh yea, Subban is black.

To be honest, I don't know if what these guys did was racist or not. I've lost track of what and what isn't racist anymore. The line has become terribly blurred for me. On one hand the most innocent of statements or gestures are blown out of proportion while on the other hand, more often than I'd like to, I hear black people refer to each other as "you know what."

The word racist has been been so battered, bruised and mis-used over the past several years it really has lost a lot of it's meaning.

If anything what's going on over at Mike's blog is a fine example of where politic correctness has gotten us - running around in circles over-reacting to just about everything.

It's obvious the two guys in the stands didn't mean to be racist but that doesn't seem to matter. I imagine if they went to the trouble of blackening their faces, wearing wigs and paying to have "Subbanator" jerseys made up, they weren't there because they don't like the kid.

On the contrary, Subban was a second round draft pick who's risen through the ranks and now is threatening to become a full time Canadien. He played very well during a two game call-up before the Olympics, so I can't imagine the two Mr. Dressups sat at home and thought up ways to insult the developing Hab. If I know Monteal fans the way I think I do, they probably love the guy.

Was it in bad taste? I can't even answer that question any more. Yes, there's a shameful history of minstrel shows and the stereotypes attached, but it's a leap to compare that to this.

It's common place for fanatics to paint themselves up before attending sporting events and I think that was the basis of what happened here, unfortunately for them, the guys involved didn't delve far enough back in history to consider, measure, contemplate and /or sympathize over things that happened decades ago. The silly buggers.

Was it stupid? This is one question I can answer. Yes it was. Given todays PC world, it was a no-winner. They should have thought of that even if they meant no harm.

One of the people who comments on Mike's Blog makes a great point. Isn't it amazing that that Don Cherry can go relatively unchecked for most of the past 25 years insulting European hockey players, yet a couple of guys show up in support of PK Subban at a Habs game and they're immediately labeled racist.

How screwy is that?

I've spent the better part of the past half hour googling the incident and I can't find any reaction from Subban himself. Maybe somebody should ask him. Maybe he liked it.

But to the politically correct, that probably wouldn't matter either. It would get in the way of their agenda.

Meanwhile, check this out. It's the pilot for a new show my son Danny is involved with. He's the fine young fella in the green t-shirt.

Anyway, about 2:20 into the clip, PK Subban makes an appearance, and I'm sure you'll appreciate his sense of humour.

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The Real Brian Burke

March 6, 2010 @ 09:26

Category: Sports | Video

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When Sidney Scored

March 5, 2010 @ 18:19

Vancouver harbour last Sunday afternoon. At about 1:20, Sidney scores for Canada!

And here's Toronto

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James Duthie

March 4, 2010 @ 17:00

In a posting from yesterday I mentioned the Torch Catastrophe orchestrated by CTV Globemedia.

They arranged for several of their personalities to jump the line and carry the Olympic torch ahead of deserving athletes and citizens who entered a contest in good faith.

I think it was downright shameful and if I'd been given the same advantage I wouldn't have taken it.

Unfortunately, among those CTVers who carried the torch was TSN's James Duthie who I have the utmost respect for. I still do, even though he made the tragic error of carrying that bloody torch.

To me, James Duthie represents the new breed of broadcaster who provides a great balance of knowledge, ability and humour. Yea, humour, it's important. The days of the tired old talking head is over and that was proved somewhat during Sunday's closing ceremonies.

Rather than have Brian Williams host the closing ceremonies, CTV opted for Duthie and it was a refreshing change.

Listen, I like Brian Williams. I've met him, he's a gracious gentleman and I have immense respect for his broadcasting history and what he's accomplished. He makes me look like a third year Humber student.

However by 2010 standards it's time for CTV to switch to somebody like Duthie.

Several times during the Vancouver games I found myself comparing Williams and Duthie and really, there was no comparison. Duthie brings way more to table than Williams.

The days of the authoritative fatherly type walking us through the games are gone. Television is supposed to be fun and entertaining and Duthie's wit, irreverence and easy style trump Williams old fashioned over annunciation every step of the way.

Apparently, part of the reason Williams jumped from CBC to CTV is because the latter won the rights to the 2010 and 2012 games. He wanted to host them.

Oh oh.

If the big brains at CTV are on top of their game they will make the switch sooner than later. Let Duthie host the prime time stuff and give a lesser shift to Williams.

It would seem obvious, but then again, these are the same people that insist on ramming the infuriating Ben Mulroney down our throats.

Category: Sports | Television

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Creative Thinking

March 4, 2010 @ 07:45

Make no mistake about it, what Brian Burke has done to the Toronto Maple Leafs is exactly what Leaf fans have been demanding for years.

Gut the team and start over.

Of course I could remind everyone of that old saying, "watch what you ask for it may come true" but I really don't think it applies in this situation. What Burke has done, and is doing to the Toronto Maple Leafs is the only way improve long term.

Yes, the Phil Kessel trade sticks in the craw of most Leaf fans, but hey kiddies, that's old news, water under the bridge and history we cannot change. All we can do is hope that Burke gets creative in the free-agent market over the next couple of years, or turns some of those third and fourth round draft picks into gold.

But here's another spin on the whole scenario. Why not get creative now, with what they've got?

The Leafs have 20 games remaining on the season and if they don't finish last in the over-all standings they'll be very close. They've got nothing to lose at this point, only things to gain.

How about this, for the remainder of the season why not put Tomas Kaberle at centre ice. Take his skating ability, puck handling ability and play making sense and experiment with it.

Burke maintains that the best way to build a hockey team is from the defense out, and admittedly, he's done a pretty good job of building his defensive core, to the point where Kaberle has become expendable and almost became active in yesterday's trade market.

Instead of playing out the season with Kaberle on defense, with the assumption of trading the guy in the summer, why not do some investigative shuffling. Make him Phil Kessel's centre man for rest of the season and see what happens.

There is absolutely nothing to lose. If it works, great, its one less thing to worry about and the pressure comes off to trade the current longest serving Leaf.

If it doesn't work, then trade the guy.

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Olympic Wrap-up

March 2, 2010 @ 13:13

I really don't know how to handle this without sounding like a hypocrite, but I guess when you get right down to it, there are a ton of us in this category.

I'm one of those guys who doesn't believe in the Olympics. I think they're a colossal waste of time and money and I've made that point on many occasions. I've said I don't want the Olympics to come to Toronto and besides being a burden on taxpayers, the Olympic movement is rife with corruption and very few at the top can be trusted.

Having said all that, what a great two weeks in Vancouver.

I guess its like anything else, regardless of your position, once the commitment is made the best thing to do is make the most of it and man oh man did Vancouver make the most of it.

All the events were held, all the medals were handed out and most people, other than snobby malcontents, walked away happy, impressed and full of fabulous memories.

That ultimately is part of the satisfaction for me. The British and Russians press were Vancouver's biggest detractors, but in the end they looked absolutely foolish while putting pressure directly on themselves to out-do Canada in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Great moments? There were a ton of them with the capper being Sidney Crosby's overtime goal. It was excruciatingly painful to watch the closing minutes of regulation time, but in retrospect, it couldn't have had a better finish, an overtime goal scored by Canada's latest hockey icon giving this country a record for gold medals at a Winter Olympics.

It was the final event for a wonderful event and it all went our way. With those 14 gold medals we did own the podium make no mistake about it.

I could go on and on about other poignant moments but I won't. They've been talked about and analyzed by everybody and his brother.

All that matters at this point is that the games were a success and hopefully the price tag won't be too staggering and force all of us to keep paying for decades to come. But it's too late to worry about that now.

And not to close on a downer but I have to mention this. If there was one clear-cut blemish to these Olympics it was the decision by CTV Globemedia to bully their way to the front of the line and have their announcers carry the torch.

And it has nothing to do with journalistic integrity, it has everything to do with earning the right. Kerrin Lee Gartner and Donovan Bailey didn't carry the torch, but Ben Mulroney and Michael Landsberg did. Are you kidding me?

Shameful. Shameful for CTV to think it up and even more shameful for those involved to actually do it. I can only deduce that they were forced to do it.

If any of those broadcasters had entered the Torch Lottery like everyone else and won, cool, there's no problem with that. But to do it the way they did was downright wrong.

They should have declined, I would have.

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