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Shameful Money

December 17, 2008 @ 17:31

If you read this blog often, you're aware of my declining interest in professional sports.

It's got a little bit to do with everything. I'm tired of the salaries, the attitude and the expense of professional sports, and recent baseball signings make it even less palatable.

I read today that the Philadelphia Phillies signed outfielder Raul Ibanez, (whoever he is) to a three year contract worth 31.5 million dollars.

Given the current economic climate, especially in the United States, I find it almost heartless that pro sports teams offer these contracts let alone hold big news conferences to announce them.

Yes I know, it's the free market system and every man should take what he can get but something still doesn't sit well when someone who catches a stupid baseball is handed 31 million dollars while thousands are losing jobs that barely keep a roof over their heads.

At the very least you'd think that maybe baseball, and other major league sports for that matter would take a more low key approach to announcing their mind boggling if not perverse salary offers.

Last week it was former Blue Jays pitcher AJ Burnett who signed with the Yankees.

He got 83 million dollars over five years, and he's not even that good. He's above average at best, yet his windfall becomes front page news while auto workers wonder if their world will collapse in the next few weeks.

Where's the compassion? Where's the heart?

Of course it all comes back to the fan. These salaries wouldn't be possible if fans didn't continue to support pro sports.

Salaries started to explode in the late 80's and professional teams and athletes have had a pretty good run since then, but you can't help but wonder if this gravy train is about to end as well.

The entertainment dollar is often the first affected when tough times hit, so it would only be fitting, and logical and just if fans stopped paying the freight that allows otherwise simple men to make tens of millions of dollars to play with balls and sticks and pucks.

Imagine if there was just a fifty percent correction. Instead of making 80 million over the next five years, AJ Burnett only made forty million while tickets prices were cut in half along with parking, beer and souvenirs.

It would still be outrageous to my mind but it would be a step in the right direction.

A lot of the economic woes that we're going through right now are blamed on greed, and that greed has made many things crash and burn.

Maybe pro sports in next.

I sort of hope so.


Category: Sports

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Thanks For The Memories

December 16, 2008 @ 08:05

Mats Sundin is apparently close to making a decision about what team he wants to play for this half season.

That's what it is, a half season, which makes me laugh when I think about Sundin's supposed noble stance last spring when he claimed he didn't want to be a "rent a player."

If he was going to win a Stanley Cup he wanted to be a part of the team for the long haul claiming he wasn't trying to screw the Leafs by not lifting his no-trade clause.

He was taking the high road by not becoming a "Johnny come lately" and lifting a Stanley Cup without being an established member of the "team."

Bullshit as far as I'm concerned.

For some reason Sundin had a pickle up his ass over something. Something beyond the fact the Leafs had given him close to 50 million dollars over the past dozen years, made him captain and pretty much handed him the keys to the franchise.

I'd like to know what Sundin's time-line is. A trade in early March is no good, but jumping aboard a top flight club in January is A-OK.

Sundin has taken a rest, taken a look at the landscape, and has apparently decided he'd like to win a Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers.

It doesn't matter that he hasn't been part of the plan for the first three months of the season. He's ready to play and he likes the bright lights of New York - that's all that matters.

To be honest, I'm thrilled with his decision. As long as he doesn't end up back with the Leafs I'm happy.

I've said all along it's time to move on from the Sundin era, and that's played out nicely by watching the young Leafs this year who've played with more enthusiasm and arguably more skill than they did during most of the Sundin years.

Even during the so-called successful years when Sundin was part of the Leafs, he didn't play a major role. He didn't.

He always had a way of disappearing down the stretch and during key games in the playoffs. He didn't deliver the goods.

It should be a fun time down the stretch and into the playoffs. I keep having this creepy feeling that the Eastern Conference Final will come down to a matchup between the Habs and Rangers. I wouldn't know who to support.

I can't stand the Habs, but the last thing I'd want to see is Sundin win a Stanley Cup. Without Sundin I'm a Ranger guy all the way. With him, all of a sudden the Habs don't look as distasteful.

Thank goodness the Boston Bruins are so strong this year. It doesn't look like either Rangers or Habs are a match for them. Some might argue that with Sundin, it puts the Rangers over the top, but I beg to differ.

When push comes to shove, when the Rangers really need Sundin he won't be there.

You watch.


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The Layton Way

December 4, 2008 @ 23:53

This was sent to me my CanadianThinker.com reader Joe McLean.

Canada was stunned Monday when it was announced that The Stanley Cup will be awarded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, possibly as early as December 6th.

The Cup will be stripped from 2008 playoff champions the Detroit Red Wings and be awarded to the Leafs, who didn't even make the playoffs.

How is this possible, Canadians ask?

Well, the Leafs have formed a coalition with Eastern Conference semi-finalists the Montreal Canadiens, and conference quarter finalists the Ottawa Senators, now outnumbering the Red Wings.

According to current Leaf coach Ron Wilson "the Red Wings have lost the confidence of the league and should hand the Cup over immediately to our coalition".

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is cutting short a European trip to try to resolve the unprecedented hockey crisis that could force a second playoff series, or see the Cup be awarded to Team Coalition.

Laugh, but this makes about as much sense as the bullshit we went through this week.

Category: Politics | Sports

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The Good Old NHL

December 2, 2008 @ 20:29

I've got to admit, I spent most of yesterday bummed out.

On Monday afternoon I watched as my country was being hi-jacked by three despicable men who have nothing but self-interest and undeserved power in mind. And if that wasn't bad enough, I had to read far too many comments on CanadianThinker.com from people who find nothing wrong with the country being sold out to separatists.

How fitting that the one thing that could jolt me out of my state of pissedoffedness was the game of hockey.

I can't express how proud I am of the Gary Bettman and the NHL today. Admittedly, like so many others, I've had my problems with Bettman over the years, but his quick and firm reaction to the Sean Avery situation yesterday was nothing short of beautiful.

Avery is an asshole of the first degree and most of the ridiculous things he has said and done over the past few years have gone without appropriate reaction.

Until yesterday.

Avery's comment about Elisha Cuthbert and her ties to Dion Phaneuf were uncalled for and disgusting. It was a total miscalculation by a dummy who was led to believe he could get away with just about anything. He was so far out of line, so brutally vulgar; it's obvious he must have become confused, thinking he was a member of the NFL or NBA.

That's what I love about Bettman's immediate response. He suspended Avery indefinitely almost on the spot. While the NBA deals with its thugs, and the NFL deals with its criminals the NHL came down hard on a guy for simply using his mouth.

What a contrast - on the day that the New York Giants suspended Plaxico Burris for taking a gun into a nightclub and shooting himself, the NHL suspends Sean Avery for something he said in a dressing room.

This does not excuse what Avery did, but it certainly is refreshing, especially when you consider this - Jabar Gaffney of the New England Patriots says about 90 percent of players in the league carry guns to protect themselves, while an NBA official who wishes to remain anonymous says in the NBA its closer to 100 percent.

In the NHL I'd be willing to bet it's zero percent.


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Comments We Like - Toronto Mike

November 27, 2008 @ 16:20

I rest my case. Do you think for one second that Darryl, Dougie or Wendel would do this?

Sundin Trashes Toronto: Toronto Mike Exclusive!.

Category: Sports

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Here Comes Team Canada

November 27, 2008 @ 09:04

With the arrival of Brian Burke on Saturday you can pretty well set the countdown clock for a Maple Leaf ethnic cleansing.

It's not that Brian Burke doesn't like European hockey players, he just likes North Americans a lot more, especially Canadians, so don't be surprised if he moves that way almost immediately.

Burke isn't stupid, he likes skilled hockey players regardless of where they're from, but if the skill level similar, he'll opt for the Canadian guy every time, like he did in Anaheim.

When the Ducks won the Cup, they had more Canadians on their squad than any other team in the league. Nineteen.

Burke doesn't mind a front line European or two, but when it comes to second, third and fourth round players, he wants a certain type, and judging from his past inclinations that means gritty Canucks.

It also probably means the end of Nik Antropov, Alexei Poikarovsky and several other current Leafs because none of them qualify as front line players. OK, maybe on the Leafs they do, but that serves only to identify the team's main problem, lack of talent.

Needless to say, this could open up a long and bitter debate over right and wrong and whether it's smart hockey management or bigotry.

Problem is, I don't think Brian Burke will give a shit, and I believe it's outside the jurisdiction of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Which is OK, because I think even they'd like to see a Stanley Cup In Toronto.

Category: Sports

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Stempniak?

November 24, 2008 @ 20:47

Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen will be added to an excruciatingly long list of Toronto Maple Leaf draft choices that never panned out, and the crazy thing is, like another excruciatingly long list of Maple Leaf draft picks, they could very well have great careers playing somewhere else.

But having said that, ironically, I would have much preferred the Leafs trade Coaiacovo and Steen for draft choices rather than Lee Stempniak.

Every so often, even the Leafs get lucky in the draft.

Don't ask me to analyze this trade because I have no goddamn idea what to think.

Colaiacova is always injured and Alex Steen plays like the might as well be injured. In order for the Blues to take these two guys off the Leafs hands, there must be major issues with Lee Stempniak.

Why do Owen Nolan and Mark Bell come to mind?

**I remember back to the spring of 2001. The Humble and Fred Show had just made the move to MOJO Radio and Carlo Colaicovo had just been drafted by the Leafs.

Carlo and his dad made the trek to the MOJO studios one morning for a feel good interview about being drafted by the Leafs.

Could that have been the highlight of Carlo's Maple Leaf career?**

Category: Sports

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The Wild Roys

November 24, 2008 @ 20:17

I've seen a lot of dirty plays in my day, but I think this one has to rank as the worst.

The slimy creep delivering the cross check to an opponent's mouth is Frederick Roy, son of former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy.

There's not a lot to say about this incident. Just watch it and shake your head.

Patrick Roy must be a piece of work. He's raised a couple of fine fellas. It was Roy's other son Jonathan who was charged with assault after attacking an opposing goaltender last March.

Jonathan, apparently at the urging of his old man, skated the length of the ice and beat the living piss out of another kid who wanted no part of a fight. After pulverizing his victim, Jonathan skated away while giving the crowd the finger.

Friday night it was Frederick Roy who turned into a cowardly maniac, delivering a sucker cross check to the mouth of an opposing player.

What a crew. Jonathan and Frederick play on the Quebec Remparts of the QMHL and daddio is their coach. The family definitely has some issues. Remember back to 2000 when Patrick was arrested for investigation of domestic assault while in Colorado. He and his wife split in 2006.

I hope Jonathan is found guilty of assault and sent to jail. (won't happen), I hope Frederick is thrown out of the "Q" for the remainder of this season and maybe next. (won't happen), and I hope their old man is forced to quit and sell his interest in the Remparts. (won't happen)

And to think the Habs honoured this weirdo on Saturday night.

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Comments We Like - Toronto Mike

November 24, 2008 @ 09:39

Wendel Clark: It was about heart.

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I Don't Hate Anyone

November 23, 2008 @ 17:53

I'll say it again, wow, this Leaf stuff is getting interesting, if not a little nasty.

But I have to say something in my own defense, I don't hate Mats Sundin. Hate is a strong word, and definitely not appropriate when it comes to giving an opinion on a hockey player.

From what I understand, Mats Sundin is a marvelous person and held in high regard by those who've played with him, but that doesn't change my opinion that he was over-rated as a Leaf captain or my preference that he not return to Toronto.

Little whispers suggest that when Brian Burke becomes the Leafs general manager next week, his first priority will be to get Sundin's name on a contract, and to be honest, if anything could make me become a former Leaf fan, this might be it.

Crazy isn't it. Sundin has this great reputation and apparently has about a dozen teams to choose from if he decides to return and I'm still not big on the guy. I fully endorse Brian Burke as the Leafs next general manager, he wants Sundin back, and still I don't get it.

Mats Sundin was not part of the Leafs playoff runs in the early 90's, and he disappeared during the playoff runs of 99 and 2002. He also disappeared down the stretch in 06 and 07 when the Leafs were desperately trying to make the playoffs.

Last season when it was a lost cause, he wasn't so bad down the stretch.

Mats is a marvelous hockey player, blessed with a wealth of talent but in my eyes he lacked the intangible that doesn't allow him to be compared with the great Leaf captains of all time.

Darryl, Dougie and Wendel didn't have any quit in them. Mats does, or did. He never ever delivered the memorable moments, plays or sacrifices that Darryl, Dougie or Wendel did.

The Leafs always gave the impression that as great as Sundin was, they would be just fine without him, and not only was that proved through a few playoff runs, it's being proved right now. If Sundin returns to the Leafs, it will be a huge step backwards. It will prevent them from entering a new era, and mark my words; they won't play as well as they are right now.

And before all the Irvines of the world start writing back about the Leafs losing record right now, that means nothing. This team has turned a corner and this young team although losing more than they win, is fast, enthusiastic and committed.

Sundin's presence could wreck all of it.

That's not hate that's reality.

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