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One Of Dickie's Favourites

June 20, 2008 @ 11:12

One of the great things about my father was how generous he was with his time. He was the ultimate volunteer, giving his time to the Canadian Legion in a executive position, the Stayner Horticultural Club and the Stayner Food Bank, just to name a few.

He was also heavily involved in minor hockey during the 60’s and 70’s, acting mainly as team manager within the Wexford Hockey Association that was based out of Tam O’Shanter Arena at Sheppard and Kennedy in Scarborough.

He was involved in the top level, which at that time was called the MTHL, it would be what Triple A is now.

Back then, a coaching staff would get a team at a young age and then stick with them for a few years. Changes would be made along the way of course, but the core of the team remained constant.

One of the players may dad managed through most of the 1960’s was former Maple Leaf John Anderson, and he was always one of Dickie’s favourites.

Through the years with Dickie, John Anderson was a good player, a good captain and a good kid, and that’s why my dad was so excited one June night in 1977 when he got the call that John had been drafted by the Leafs.

He and Junie got in the car and drove over to the Anderson’s house and shared in the celebration. Dickie was happy for John and proud as punch that one of “his” kids had made it the NHL, let alone being drafted by the Leafs.

Dickie followed John’s career through the NHL, and for the years following that, would often ask me “what John was up to.”

Well, “what John was up to” was becoming a very successful minor league coach, and it culminated with another Calder Cup victory with the Chicago Wolves this spring. One of their victims was the Marlies.

Anderson won two Calder Cups with the Wolves, and he captured a couple of Turner Cups in the International League.

His teams are always near the top of the standings, and a pressing question has been over the past few years, “why hasn’t John Anderson been given an NHL opportunity?”

He certainly has proved that he deserves it, and there are lots of guys who’ve been given a shot with fewer credentials, but there were never any clear answers…. until yesterday, when the Atlanta Thrashers put an end to all the questions by naming John Anderson as their head coach.

“Andy” is back in the NHL and man oh man, let me tell ya, Dickie would have loved it.

Category: Family | Sports

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You've Got To Be Kidding

June 18, 2008 @ 09:45

I’m glad I’m not among those who decide who makes it into the Hockey Hall of Fame, because if I was, I’d be part of a group of jerk offs.

This is so typical of today’s politically correct society – even goddamn sportswriters have bought into this bullshit.

Tell me how Igor Larionov could be elected to the Hall, while Dougie Gilmour could be over-looked.

I can’t see it, and I’ll start with the most basic argument. If you were starting a hockey team from scratch, and you had a choice of Doug Gilmour in his prime or Igor Larionov in his prime, who would you choose?

No brainer.

Larionov played the same position as Gilmour, and he joined the league in 1989, the same year that Gilmour was instrumental in helping the Calgary Flames win the Stanley Cup.

Granted, Larionov was 29 years old, and had put together a rather impressive career in the Russian league before finally earning his freedom on joining the Vancouver Canucks, but so bloody what. Compared to Doug Gilmour, who is just three years younger, he just doesn’t measure up.

In 88-89 Gilmour won a Cup and recorded 89 points. Larionov was in Russia.
In 89-90 Gilmour had 91 points – Larionov had 44 with Vancouver.
In 90-91 Gilmour had 81 points - Larionov had 34.
In 91-92 Gilmour had 87 points – Larionov had 65.
In 92-93 Gilmour had 127 points and almost won the Stanley Cup while carrying the Toronto Maple Leafs on his back while Larionov had 29 points with Lugano of the Swiss league.
In 93-94 Gilmour had 111 points with the Leafs – Larionov had 56 with San Jose.
In 94-95, the strike year, Gilmour had 33 points in 44 games while Larionov had 24 points in 33 games.

It wasn’t until 95-96 that Larionov actually had more points than Gilmour, but it was just one more, 72 to 73.

After that, Larionov played on a Detroit team that won consecutive Stanley Cups, but Gilmour had 82 points in 96-97 while Larionov, playing on a power-house only had 54 points.

In 1997-98 when Detroit won another Cup, Larionov had 47 points, while Gilmour had 53 with New Jersey.

I’m actually getting tired of listing these stats and to tell you the truth, there’s no use continuing because to finish out their careers, there wasn’t much to choose point wise between Gilmour and Larionov.

The only difference was that Larionov won another Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002, but I ask you, who in their right mind could allow Larionov into the Hall before Gilmour?

Some might argue that Gilmour played six more season in the NHL so that’s why his over-all stats are that much better. But head to head in the NHL there was no comparison.

I'm sure there are some of you out there claiming you don't measure a player by points alone, but who would you rather have protecting a lead, checking the opposing teams best player or standing up for a team mate?

Gilmour scored, he checked, he was a team leader and he was tough as nails. And don’t give me the bullshit that he’ll eventually get his turn, he just has to wait, because that system blows after you read all the stats I’ve just provided.

And forget about Larionov’s accomplishments in the Russian league and World Championships and the Olympics because the Russians had no competition back then.

There’s nothing to the game of hockey that Igor Larionov provided compared to Doug Gilmour. If anything, he contributed significantly less.

And you know what? I'm not necessarily saying that Doug Gilmour belongs in the Hall, but if Larionov does, then Gilmour should have a red carpet placed in front of him.

Those who vote should forget about patting themselves on the back and being progressive for inducting the Russian guy, and be ashamed of themselves for making a farce of the entire of process.

End of story.

Category: Sports

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June 12, 2008 @ 09:15

ABT doesn't spell anything, but it stands for something. Anybody but Tiger.

That's the new tune here on ever since Tiger insulted some fellow athletes by suggesting nobody watches hockey any more during a news conference to promote one of the tournaments that he plays in that features old guys and fat guys.

And lets not forget, the PGA has also allowed women to play in a few of their events.

Take nothing against women golfers, but as I look back, I can't ever recall Cassie Campbell playing in the NHL.

It's easy to fluff it off and say Tiger was only kidding, or he was misquoted or he didn't mean what he said, but that's bullshit.

Tiger broke an unwritten law. You don't insult other professionals regardless of the situation. To me, it showed a lack of class, total disregard for another sport and the growing feeling that Tiger actually thinks he's special because he can hit a little ball with a piece of iron or graphite or what ever the hell he uses.

So that's it my friends. Not that I was ever a huge fan of Tigers, I'm done with the guy, and I hope he doesn't win the US Open this weekend.

I might not even watch any of it, which is fine because it pisses me off when he gets mad at somebody for clicking a camera during his swing, or if somebody does something horrible like utter a few words while the master is trying to concentrate.

Just once I'd like to see him suit up, put the blades on and then come over the blue line with his head down with somebody like Scott Stevens waiting for him.

It would be a joy to watch.

Not that anybody watches hockey any more.

Category: Sports

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Saved But Not Heard

June 10, 2008 @ 08:39

No matter what angle you look at it, CBC botched the “hockey theme” controversy by letting it slip away.

The "theme" will still be around because CTV stepped up and bought it on behalf of TSN which has a wide range of hockey to offer next season.

However, if you’re a Leaf fan, and have always associated the "hockey theme" with your beloved blue and white, the association is over. If you’re the type of hockey fan who tends to watch Leaf games, and few others, then the hockey theme is pretty well out of your life.

The Leafs are seen almost exclusively on the CBC Saturday nights, and for the next six years, on Rogers Sportsnet. Only a handful of Leaf games will show up on TSN next season, and they’ll be mid-week games.

In other words, even though the “hockey theme” has been saved, it won’t mean much to Leaf fans; because you’re hardly gonna hear it.

Hey, I admire CTV for coming in and securing a deal with the rights holders, but once you get beyond the business end of it, it’s still going to take some getting used to.

The “theme” is a Saturday night thing and that’s how Canadians came to love it.

On Saturday nights, the average viewing audience for Hockey Night in Canada is upwards of a million Canadians. Compare that to mid-week games featuring the Leafs and it’s cut in half. Compare that to mid-week games “not” involving the Leafs and you can cut it in half again.

The hockey theme lives on, but not many people are going to hear it.

Especially Leaf fans.

Category: Sports

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Wilson Spells Burke

June 9, 2008 @ 09:57

We all the now the Toronto Maple Leafs are a bad organization, mismanaged from top to bottom, so on first swipe it’s not surprising that they’d hire a head coach before they hired a general manger.

That’s what bad organizations do.

Good organizations wait till they’ve got general manager in place, and then he goes out and hires a coach.

Granted, Cliff Fletcher is the general manager right now, but we all know he’s not the guy who’s going to lead this club out of the wilderness, it’s going to be another guy, and the hiring of Wilson tells us exactly who that other guy will be, Brian Burke.

The Leafs may be one of the worst organizations in the NHL, but in this case I believe we can cut them some slack. As ridiculous as it looks on the surface to hire Ron Wilson as coach before they’ve hired a general manager, Wilson’s hiring tells us that the Burke will be in town sooner than later.

Burke and Wilson have a long history; they were room-mates as players in college and have maintained a life long friendship. Apparently, Wilson was Burke’s choice to coach the Leafs, so it’s just a matter of time before Burke is sprung from his contract in Anaheim.

Maybe the Leafs aren’t so stupid after all.

Category: Sports

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Canada Carries The Freight

May 30, 2008 @ 08:44

Figures released by the National Hockey League shouldn't surprise Canadians. Although Canadian teams only make up only 20 percent of the league, the six Canadian teams are generating 31 percent of league revenue through ticket sales.

Regardless, Canada continues to be nothing more than an afterthought for league Commissioner Gary Bettman and this American controlled league.

While franchises belong in cities like Winnipeg and Quebec City, Bettman and the boys continue to push for expansion into hockey hotbeds like Kansas City and Las Vegas.

Bettman talks a big game. Whenever pressed, he goes on and on about the importance of the Canadian franchises, but his almost immediate rejection of Jim Balsillie told Canadians all they needed to know about this position on more Canadian franchises.

Bettman holds onto the dream of the NHL actually becoming a big player in the U.S. but it's not going to happen.

Meanwhile Canadian hockey fans flap in the wind.


Category: Sports

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Time To Go

May 29, 2008 @ 09:57

If you’ve been a frequent reader of this blog over the past couple of years, and or if you used to listen to me on the radio, you know I’ve never been a big fan of Mats Sundin’s.

I’ve never bought into his act, which to many is I’m sure is unbelievable, especially when you consider that yesterday in Pittsburgh, Sundin was given the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

I must be missing something.

I’ve never really thought that Sundin was that much of a leader, I’ve never bought into the theory that he’s never been given anyone of skill to play with, and basically, I don’t think he cares as much as people give him credit for.

Even though Sundin was within his right not to waive his no trade clause at the deadline, it’s become quite apparent it was done more to be vindictive than it was to be loyal.

Sundin was well aware of what the Leafs could have received in return for him at the deadline but he refused to move. He realized it could have been a turning point for the franchise, but he ignored it.

Mats Sundin put Mats Sundin first. Ahead of the franchise and especially ahead of the fans who have so blindly worshipped him over the years. All he was asked to do was go to a contender for a few weeks and maybe win a Stanley Cup, but he refused to do it.

Now we hear he wants to continue his playing career and he’ll probably end up with one of the teams he could have played for just a few short weeks ago.

In other words, for the sake of getting a longer summer holiday, he deprived the Leafs and their fans of acquiring a few good young prospects.

Sundin appears ready to rub the Leafs nose in it.

Where the vindictiveness comes from I don’t know. The franchise was has become a bungling joke, but they always looked after Mats Sundin. They always paid him well, and we can’t forget there were a few good years in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, years when the Leafs did well in the playoffs.

Oh but wait, I forgot. During those playoff years Sundin disappeared when the Leafs really needed him, so I guess as he looks back, the great leader doesn’t count those years.

Apparently Cliff Fletcher will meet with Sundin next week and attempt to convince him why staying in Toronto is a good idea. Sundin says he’s got to be sold.

Which brings a fine fantasy to my mind. Sell the bastard to Bitemyclankastan of the Russian League.

Category: Sports

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The Worst That Could Happen

May 22, 2008 @ 10:12

Today’s story about the 15 year old Toronto lacrosse player, who died as the result of an injury in a game, is horrifying for all parents.

Obviously, it can’t match the living nightmare that Jamieson Kuhlmann’s parents are going through, but it’s something that constantly plays on the subconscious minds of parents every time they watch their kids walk out the door.

To lose a child under any circumstances has to be the most horrific thing that could happen to a person. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s to disease or an accident.

As the father of two healthy young adults I try not to think about it, but when I see stories like the one about Jamieson Kuhlmann I shudder. I can’t imagine losing one of my kids, and for those who do, I wonder how they go on.

My father died recently, and the pain it cause is bad enough. My dad was 82 years old and lived a long and productive and mostly healthy life.

But if losing him can hurt so much, how do you measure that against losing a child. As the old saying goes, your kids are supposed to bury you, not the other way around.

When I talk to new parents I love to ask this question. Especially of those who swore at one time that they’d probably never have kids.

I ask them, could ever imagine loving something as much as you love your kids, and the answer is always the same. A resounding “no!”

Prior to Monday, I’m sure the parents of Jamieson Kuhlmann had a lot on their minds.

It could have been anything, their jobs, their finances, personal relationships, and before Monday these things may have played a big part in their lives.

Today I’m sure nothing means anything and everything else is a blur.

The Kuhlmann’s have suffered the absolute worst thing that can happen to anyone and I’m sure for the time being, their lives have lost all meaning.

Category: Sports | Stuff

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Go Pens Go

May 20, 2008 @ 10:12

I guess its only fitting that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings are meeting in the Stanley Cup finals.

They were the two best teams in the NHL during the regular season.

Some might argue that the Montreal Canadiens were the best in the east, but that's to ignore the horrendous fluke that happened down the stretch. The Canadiens proved their true worth during the playoffs and saved us from a lot of Hab fan nonsense over the past few weeks.

Next year will be a lot easier to stomach, because I still maintain Montreal will not make the playoffs.

Anyway, its time for non partisans to pick a side and to tell you the truth, it's a no brainer for me. I want Pittsburgh to win, and it's for no other reason than Sidney Crosby and Nicklas Lidstrom.

Sidney is Canadian and Lidstrom is not.

Call me crazy, but I still like the idea that no team with a European captain has ever won the Stanley Cup.

A couple of Americans have captained Stanley Cup winners, but never has a European and although its bound to happen eventually, as a guy who could care less about either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Detroit Red Wings, it gives me a focus for the Stanley Cup final.

On any given night, the Penguins and Red Wings have the same number of Canadians on their squad. About seven or eight. It all depends who dresses for a particular game.

So it comes back to the captaincy thing and I'd love to see the young Canadian guy lift the Cup above his head before the old European guy.

Is that wrong?

Category: Sports

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Hackin' Hockey

May 16, 2008 @ 09:52

Here's more content from an outside contributor.

My buddy Darren is a big fan of the Onion Daily Dispatch and every so often he sends me an article that he finds especially amusing. And if he finds it amusing, it means it probably is.

This one is a gem.

It's another shot at the NHL and the sad lack of attention it gets in the United States.

Category: Sports

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