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Hypocrite

December 23, 2007 @ 11:17

Further to the Simon incident, how much of a hypocrite is Don Cherry?

Last night on Coaches Corner he came to the defense of Chris Simon and said he "understands" why Simon stomped on Pittsburgh Penguin Jarkko Ruutu's leg during a game last weekend.

"He broke the code, you never do anything like that, but you can understand it somehow," said Cherry. "The last two incidents that he's done, he's got 55 games. You know how many games his victims missed? None. I'm not making excuses for it, but none."

I know what Cherry’s getting at because I heard a few other guys defend Simon in a sideways manner this past week.

Ruutu is considered one of the NHL’s rats. One of those weasels who’s gained a reputation for doing underhanded things on the ice, but in the Don Cherry world of masculinity and integrity how could even suggest there was anything acceptable about what Simon did.

He's stooping to Ruutu's level.

Put it this way. For stomping on Ruutu’s leg Simon got thirty games. If he had gone the route that Cherry always advocates, dropping the gloves and fighting a man face to face, fist to fist, he may have gotten no games.

Even if Simon had chased Ruutu down, cornered the rat and kicked the shit out of him in a one way fight, he still wouldn’t have gotten thirty games.

What Simon did is indefensible on every level and to “understand” it, is a bit weird.

And Cherry’s argument that Simon’s suspensions have been too long because his victims haven’t missed any games is ridiculous. The intent and Simon's history justifies everything.

Having said all that, kudos to Cherry for his stance on the tedious racism angle and then for taking a shot at the even more tedious David Suzuki.


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The Sweet Sound of Romy

December 22, 2007 @ 09:06

I made this point last year; one of the highlights of the Christmas break is the World Junior Hockey Championship that gets underway on Boxing Day.

Unfortunately, for the past several years the tournament has been missing one significant ingredient and that’s our pal Paul Romanuk.

Say what you will about Paul’s politics, when it comes to calling a hockey game there are few better. His voice became synonymous with World Juniors and then it came to an abrupt end when he made the decision to leave TSN for the doomed “Team” radio experiment.

Since then the play by play duties have been handled by Gord Miller, and although capable, he’s not nearly the equal of Romy.

Having said all that, you can still enjoy Romanuk’s over the holidays on Rogers Sportsnet. For the past few seasons Romanuk has been calling the games of the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland.

Admittedly, it’s not the World Juniors but it’s a good brand of hockey played by a bunch of guys who absolutely cherish the chance to wear the maple leaf on the front of their jerseys.

The Spengler also gets underway on Boxing Day, and at this point I’ll direct you to Romanuk’s website where he’s set up a Spengler Cup blog.

Please take the time to go over there and read some of the stuff he’s already written. It’s interesting to find out how he became involved with the tournament and the significant position he now holds.

Romy’s a good fella.

Category: Sports | Television

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Not Enough

December 19, 2007 @ 12:32

The NHL went a long way in upholding their image as the professional “Yahoo” League today by suspending Chris Simon for only 30 games.

It’s the longest suspension in the history of the NHL, but that means nothing when you consider his long history of goonery and the latest action that put him on the sidelines.

The NHL should have suspended Chris Simon for life without given it any more than a split second of consideration. If ever there was an example of assault with a deadly weapon in a professional sport, this was it.

Simon saw Pittsburgh's Jarkko Ruutu in a prone position and deliberately stomped on the side of Ruutu's foot with his skate blade.

No different than taking a knife or a machete from underneath his sweater and using it in the same manner. Simon knew what he was doing, he must have thought about it before he raised his leg with a sharp skate on the end of it and stomped down.

To my mind its worse than head butting, slew footing or stick swinging. None are excusable, but using a skate as a weapon takes things into a whole new stratosphere and the NHL responded in a feeble manner.

To be honest, over the years when on-ice action found its way into the courts I never really bought into it. I thought the league was capable of policing its own.

This incident is different. Chris Simon should have been criminally charged.

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Roger The Dodger

December 19, 2007 @ 09:31

It doesn’t matter what how much money you have or what your stature is, you can still get bad advice and I’m afraid that’s what Roger Clemens has received.

Yesterday Clemens it a pathetic bid to salvage his career denied ever having taken steroids or human growth hormone.

I don’t like to call the man a liar so I’ll call him desperate, motivated by watching his all-American squeaky clean image blown to smithereens and his stature as one of the greatest pitchers of all time now called into question.

Clemens has painted himself into an ugly corner now. Unless he can absolutely prove that he was never poked with a needle, he’ll find himself swimming with the likes of Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire.

Cheaters who are eventually exposed for what they are. Lying cheaters.

Clemens would have been much better to go into damage control and admit what he did with regrets and apologies. He could have taken the high road and pledged to turn a bad situation into a positive one by lecturing young people about the hazards of taking performance enhancing drugs.

Instead, he’s chosen to worry only about Roger Clemens and say whatever he has to say to maintain the image he had before the Mitchell Report was released.

But this way, its only going to get worse.


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The Blizzard Bowl

December 19, 2007 @ 09:30

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to attend some memorable sporting events and Sunday I got to add another one to the list.

It just so happened that I was in Cleveland for the Blizzard Bowl, and as uncomfortable as the weather conditions appeared to be, it was one of the most enjoyable sporting afternoons I can remember.

A couple of months ago my buddy Bruce was given six excellent tickets to the Bills/Browns game so we looked ahead and marked it on the calendar never dreaming it would turn into a game that would be talked about for a years to come.

On Friday we became aware of the weather forecast but we took the attitude it would probably blow over and if it didn’t we were all prepared to stay over.

When we got up Sunday morning the weather was fine, but as forecast, the snow started to blow in about an hour before game time and by the time we had bundled up and hit the street it had become a full tilt blizzard.

At times it was all we could do to walk “into” the wind and it took your breath away as ice pellets whacked against your face. But we trudged through the snow and made our way into the stadium

Lucky for us, we were sitting only seven rows from the field on the north side, which meant our backs were to Lake Erie. All things considered it was actually quite pleasant compared to what most of the fans had to deal with so we were able to endure the entire game.

I loved it. I was dressed warm enough to stand there and take it all in. It was the best 8-0 game I’ve ever seen.

This is a picture of Neighbour John walking to the game. Yes, that's a beer in his hand.

This a picture of me and Neighbour John at the game. Yes, that's a beer in his hand.

And here's a video for ya.

Category: Neighbour John | Sports

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Greedy Selfish Stupid

December 14, 2007 @ 10:44

The release of the Mitchell report yesterday revealing the wide spread use of steroids and human growth hormone in Major League Baseball was shocking to say the least.

Already there are those trying to downplay it, and after listening to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig it’s obvious not much will be done about it, but that doesn’t lesson the exposed stupidity and greed by those involved.

Ideally, Major League Baseball should have had a new drug policy in place yesterday.

Going forward they should give the impression they’re going to get serious about this problem and get it under control. From this day forward, a life time ban from baseball would be a fitting penalty for pumping junk, but it will never come to that.

The players union will continue to deny everything and fight more intensive testing while the league will hope this exposure will embarrass the players into going clean on their own and the problem will just go away.

On the surface its easy to blame Major League Baseball’s ongoing indifference for this problem, but it goes beyond that for me. Yes, the league should have cracked down long ago, but to me it all comes back to the stupid bloody players.

Take Roger Clemens for instance. When he allegedly started taking steroids in 1997, he had already made more money that he’d need in five or six lifetimes, but that wasn’t enough.

Roger wanted to uphold his reputation as the “big man” and go on to make tens of millions of dollars more. In process, he was sacrificing his health and his future with little or no regard for his family.

Think about it. Not one baseball player who ever took steroids knew for sure that they weren’t harmless; in fact it was the other way. They knew of the risks involved but chose to do it anyway, because they’re greedy and stupid.

Some might argue that they were forced into because of the competitive edge, but I don’t buy that either. The majority of players in the Major League Baseball “don’t” take steroids and that’s because somewhere along the line they made the decision not to.

They were still makings tons of money and they decided they’d put their health and their future ahead of the all-mighty dollar. They might have a few less million in the bank and maybe their careers ended long before the juiced up cheaters, but today they have nothing to be ashamed of.

Meanwhile the greed and stupidity of someone like Roger Clemens leaves you shaking your head.

This was the family guy, the clean guy, the all-American hero who was often seen at the Skydome with his children.

I wonder what his family thinks today. The shame of it all and the worry involved. His wife and kids will now have to worry about his long term health and life expectancy.

Why wouldn’t they? Steroid use never leads to anything good except a few more dollars.

Of course Clemens has alreaedy come out publicly and denied everything, but that just makes it more pathetic. On top of the greed and the stupidity, now the winner of seven Cy Young Awards is a liar.

I don’t mean to pick on Roger Clemens specifically because everything I’ve said in this column applies to all players who’ve ever used performance enhancing drugs.

Clemens just makes a good poster boy for the issue because his well constructed image would have made such allegations against him unbelievable without proof.

Well now there’s proof and the man is an idiot. Like Barry Bonds is an idiot, Andy Pettite’s an idiot and Canadian Eric Gagne is an idiot.

You can blame Major League Baseball for being slow to react, you can blame the pressure of professional sport or you can blame the little old lady who lives down the lane – but at the end of the day – it’s the athlete himself who decides to let that needle enter his body.

Greedy. Selfish. Stupid.

Category: Sports

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Bills and Browns

December 14, 2007 @ 10:41

I’m heading for Cleveland tomorrow. Me and a bunch of my trailer buddies are going to catch the Buffalo Bills against the Browns on Sunday.

I know what you’re thinking. “Are you freakin’ nuts, why would you drive all the way to Cleveland to see the Buffalo Bills?”

Please understand, the tickets were free and my good friend Donny Patterson gets us real cheap rooms at the Cleveland Clinic Hotel right downtown.

It’s a hotel right across the street from the famed Cleveland Clinic Hospital which attracts sick rich people from all over the world.

As a matter of fact, it’s big with rich Saudis. There are about 20 channels available on the hotel TV’s but more than half of them are Arabic.

It’s crazy to watch Three’s Company that language. It makes if funny all over again.

Six of us will travel to Cleveland tomorrow, have a few beers, go out for a nice dinner then get up and do the NFL thing on Sunday.

We’ll go to a tailgate party at the House of Blues and then the game, which surprisingly enough has some major playoff implications.

There’s a chance I’ll be staying over till Monday, so there’s a chance I won’t be posting again till Tuesday.

Lovin’ ya’s all, each and everyone of ya’s.

Category: Sports

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Marsh Madness

December 12, 2007 @ 10:36

The Lou Marsh Award, emblematic of Canada’s top athlete of the year really doesn’t really mean anything anymore and it’s all Steve Nash’s fault.

Not his fault directly, but his domination of the NBA as a little white guy from Canada has exposed how political the Lou Marsh has become through an obvious insistence to spread it around.

Nash won the Lou Marsh in 2005 because there was no other choice. He had just won his first NBA MVP award.

But last year when speed skater Cindy Klassen was named winner of the Lou Marsh, Nash was coming off his second consecutive NBA MVP.

Yes, Klassen won five medals at the Turin Olympics but only one was gold and one of two silvers was a team medal.

No doubt a wonderful accomplishment but still not up the standard of what Nash had accomplished in the NBA. He should have won his second in a row.

Yesterday, Sidney Crosby won the Lou Marsh and on the surface it comes as little or no surprise to any one. He’s Sidney Crosby, he’s a hockey player. He was only 19 years old and he won the NHL scoring title.

But he did not dominate the NHL like the little white Canadian guy dominated the NBA for the third year in a row. An athletic miracle.

Steve Nash didn’t win the NBA MVP award last season but he’s still regarded as the best point guard in the league.

Sorry, but that trumps what Crosby did and Steve Nash should have received his third consecutive Lou Marsh yesterday.

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Enough Of These Guys

December 10, 2007 @ 08:38

Winning streaks in sports are only good if it’s your favourite team that’s streaking.

This really hit home again yesterday as I watched the New England Patriots run their record to 13 and 0 with a 34-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had just about enough of Bill Belichick and that quarterback of his who was born without sweat glands.

In my world there are four steps to making me puke. You start out confident, then you become good, then you become great and then you become smug, and that’s what the Patriots have become.

Earlier this year Belichick was accused of cheating, so what does the son of a bitch do, he turns around and proves he doesn’t need to cheat by pounding the shit out of everything that stands in his way.

He’s become a poster boy for smug. He stands there on the sidelines with the same expression on his face. An expression of expectation, like what’s happening week after week is supposed to happen because he’s so bloody good.

And when the game ends he does that arrogant little trot across the field and barely acknowledges the opposing coach, like the other guy is come of amateur who doesn’t belong on the same field as he does.

And don’t get me going on Tom Brady. It’s not enough the guy can throw a football like nobodies business, but he’s got to be good looking and wildly successful at the same time, and he knows it.

Like his coach he’s developed an arrogant stature and smugness that becomes even more aggravating when he takes his goddamn helmet off and he hasn’t even worked up a sweat after throwing for four hundred yards and four touchdowns.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve developed a dislike for the New England Patriots but rather than have it turn me off the NFL over the final few weeks, it’s given me new interest and passion.

I want them to lose. It won’t happen next wee when they play the Jets, or the week after when they play the Dolphins and it probably won’t happen on the final weekend when they play the Giants. But that’s OK.

An undefeated regular season will make losing in the playoffs that much sweeter for all those who feel the same way I do. As a matter of fact I’d like to see them go all the way to the Super Bowl and then lose there.

I’d love to see that sense of entitlement all come crashing down in Arizona on February 2nd. During the game I’d love to see Brady get pounded into submission and then after the game I’d like to see the opposing coach snub Belichick.

Now that would be sweet.


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Shoot At

November 29, 2007 @ 09:42

Kevin McGran has an interesting piece in the Star sports section today about our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs and the shootout.

They suck at it.

They're 0 and 3 this year and 7 and 17 since it was introduced a couple of years ago.

But really, it should come as no mystery to anyone. The Maple Leafs over-riding problem is their lack of skilled players.

They have good players, some of them bordering on very good, but outside of Mats Sundin there is very little "skill."

You know how the old saying goes. You can teach a player to check but you can't teach him how to score and for some reason over the past several years the Leafs have drafted players with little or no finish.

Mat Stajan and Alex Steen are two fine examples. No hands.

Darcy Tucker's never really been a goal scorer per say, while Ponikerovsky and Antropov are hit and miss at best.

Tuesday nights shootout was another indication of the Leaf woes. They had five shots and Sundin was the only guy to score. The rest of the crew didn't come close, bordering on pathetic.

With the Leafs, when overtime ends they don't take part in a shoot-out. It's more a shoot-at.

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