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A Gift From You

April 27, 2007 @ 09:27

Tomorrow's a significant day in the sports history of Toronto.

Toronto FC of the Major Soccer League plays its first game ever at the new BMO Stadium.

A stadium financed by the people of Toronto for the benefit of MLSE, a huge conglomerate that knows how to build everything but hockey teams.

If you're going to the game tomorrow - while you're sitting there twiddling your thumbs waiting for someone to score a goal or break a sweat - look around and appreciate what you've provided MLSE.

And then don't forget you're also building them a practice facility for the Leafs in Etobicoke.

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E-mail From Buffalo

April 26, 2007 @ 08:50

My posting from Tuesday has pissed off a couple of Buffalonians.

Here's an e-mail I got from a guy who calls himself JLW.

Freddie,

"A couple of things, I know it drives hockey fans in Toronto insane that Buffalo has had a decent team for quite a few years, but to continue to use the stale "fire city" moniker?
Trust me, we're immune/bored of criticism like that, especially from an unemployed over-the-hill disc jockey.
And chokers? Excuse me?
A leafs fan calling another team a bunch of chokers? Too funny!"

And I got this e-mail from regular visitor Buffalo Mike.

Freddie,

"You know I've always extended the olive branch.
When Buffalo is out, I root for the Leafs as my second favorite team, but all you Leaf fans do is shit on my team because they were successful this year.
Trust me no one was pulling for a Buffalo/Leafs first round more than me.
But you know what, no more.....
We could have been great supportive neighbors when it comes to our hockey teams but now I"m hoping for eternal damnation of the Leafs. I'm done.
Maybe my second favorite team now will be the Habs....HA!"

Bottom Line - The Sabres have been in the league since 1970, so really the only thing a Sabres fan can latch onto is that they've gone 37 years without a cup instead of 40.

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Fan-tastic

April 25, 2007 @ 09:31

Nice bounce back by the Raptors last night which means my suggestion the Raptors may go down in four straight, goes right down the tubes.

But forget the score, how about that crowd last night. If last night proved anything, it proved what a horrible situation the Maple Leafs have got themselves into with their season ticket base.

I watched the game on television last night but I could feel the vibe blast out of my Sony and fill my rec room. It's hard to believe this is the same city that sits on its hands for hockey games.

I'll admit Leaf fans get a little more excited for playoff games but nothing to match what shook the ACC last night

It's a different crowd featuring a lot more turnover than a hockey crowd, which means there are thousands more raw, down to earth enthusiastic fans.

The Leaf crowd reeks of corporate and the result is usually an indifferent response, with most of the spectators leaving the impression they're almost embarrassed to get excited.

I've made the comparison before. Basketball in Toronto is what hockey is in most American markets, and that's why the crowd is so involved when you watch hockey games out of big American cities.

There are more game to game ticket buyers and they're of a different culture. They're fans; they're not businessmen cutting deals with a game going on in the background.

The Raptors really have revealed what a mess the Leafs are in.

Bad enough the Leafs have no future with a team full of players who can't play very well - but they're also saddled with a season ticket base that doesn't know how to cheer very well.

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ABO - ABB

April 24, 2007 @ 08:52

Now that the Stanley Cup playoffs have been reduced to eight teams it will get a lot more interesting for me because the possibility of Ottawa and Buffalo collapses increase immensely.

On paper the Senators should have no problem beating Jersey and the Sabres should have no problem dumping the Rangers, when it comes to Ottawa and Buffalo, the paper in question is usually the type you use to wipe your ass.

Both franchises have a long and impressive history of choking and heading into the next round both are more than capable of pulling paramount choke jobs, especially the Sabres.

It just so happens in the year they win the Presidents Cup, the Sabres are matched up against the Rangers who are playing better hockey right now than they have all year.

I think the Rangers are going to give the Sabres fits, and wouldn't it be delicious watching the Sabres go down just when everybody in Fire City is expecting the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The Senators pose a different problem. This disgusting franchise with its ridiculous fans would have to completely blow up in order to lose to the Devils but on the positive side there is precedent.

Even though the Senators look like a different team with a different attitude, take nothing for granted, a hot Marty Brodeur and a disciplined and extremely boring Devils team just might do the trick. We can only hope so.

As these playoffs unfold I stick to my original position. When it comes to a Stanley Cup champion I continue to pull for ABO - anybody but Ottawa.

And if Ottawa goes in the shitter, then it's ABB - anybody but Buffalo.

A lot of people say to me, "Fred, wouldn't you like to see Ottawa win the Stanley Cup if for nothing else than to have it come back to Canada for the first time in 14 years?"

And to that I say, "No, I can wait."

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Excuses

April 24, 2007 @ 08:51

An indication of the loser attitude around the Toronto Maple Leafs was displayed over the past couple of days with the news that Islanders defenseman Sean Hill was suspended for 20 games under the NHL's drug program.

It hasn't been revealed what he was "poppin" but more important to the Leafs is when was it first detected and should Hill have been playing down the stretch when the Leafs were battling the Islanders for a playoff spot.

Who cares I say. On the night the Leafs went into Long Island for that hugely important game on April 5th they crapped out big time and got drubbed 5-2.

Apparently John Ferguson Jr. is upset that Hill played in that game. Yea, like that would have made a difference.

Forget the nit pickin' Fergy ‘cause it all comes back to basics. Win baby, just win.


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Too Young

April 21, 2007 @ 19:40

I hate to say I told you so, and this might be a little early to say I told you so, but I told you so.

The Raptor's first playoff game unfolded just as I thought it would and I don't expect things to get much better.

The Raptors are much like the Pittsburgh Penguins, they're good but they're young. They need more time to mature.

The Jersey Nets meanwhile won with only 16 points from Vince Carter. Richard Jefferson led the way on this day with 28 points, while Jason Kidd played a typical Jason Kidd game. He had 15 assists.

Every time the Raptors got close, the Nets simply flicked them away and took back control.

Earlier this week I gave my prediction on the series a lot of you didn't like it. Well I've got to be honest, I was actually going to call the Nets in a four game sweep but I thought that might be too negative out of the gate.

But I'll tell ya right now, this series will not be a long one.

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You Won't Like The Outcome

April 19, 2007 @ 08:43

Talk about good news, bad news. The Toronto Raptors will take on Vince Carter and the Jersey nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

It's good news because the return of Carter will provide an added dimension to the series.

Any sports fan will readily remember Carter's turbulent days as a Raptor. He arrived in town as a nice young fella, supposedly an obedient son well raised by his mother.

Well as quickly as Vince became popular, so did his demeanor. He left town as a spoiled-brat arshole with the ego of ten men.

Yes, given Carter's history in this city having him return in a playoff situation will make for some compelling moments - and that's the good news.

Here's the bad news. Carter is still a damn good player and the Jersey Nets are much better than their record and underachieved this year.

The playoffs will provide a new start for the Nets and I think when all is said and done they will easily handle the Raptors.

Sorry folks.

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It Could Finally Happen

April 18, 2007 @ 09:27

Did you know that a team with a European captain has never won the Stanley Cup? Nope, it has never happened - but it could happen this year.

I think it's safe to say that Ottawa, Buffalo and the Rangers will advance in the east, with either Jersey or Tampa being the fourth team.

In the west, let's give the nod at this point to Vancouver, Detroit, Anaheim and either San Jose or Nashville.

In the east, if Jersey advances only one of the four teams will have a North American captain, while in the west in Nashville advances, only one of those teams will have a North American captain.

And just to clarify, I say North American because although the overwhelming majority of Stanley Cup captains have been Canadian, there have been a couple of Americans.

As you can see, the law of averages dictates that this year we could have a first in the NHL. And further to that, it could become extremely repulsive.

In a hockey pool that I'm involved in we had to choose who we thought would make it to the Stanley Cup finals, and I picked Ottawa and Vancouver who both have European captains.

I hated to pick Ottawa but as I've written recently there's something about this team this year that I like (hate). They have more grit and character and might finally have enough maturity to make it all the way.

Can you imagine that sight on the final night of the playoffs? Daniel Alfredsson hoisting the Stanley Cup as the first European captain ever and then skating around in front of hockey's creepiest fans in Ottawa.

I swear if it comes down to this, I'll do what I used to do as a kid when the Habs won the Cup.

As the final seconds ticked down I'd change the channel or leave the room - I refused to watch them celebrate.

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Argos Fan 590

April 18, 2007 @ 09:26

It was announced last week that Argo radio broadcasts would be heard on the FAN 590 this year.

As far as I'm concerned the average fan really doesn't care where they have to turn the dial to hear a game, they just care about the quality once they get there, and with that in mind the move to the Fan is welcome.

From what I understand when it comes to the Argos, the radio station doesn't buy the rights, the Argos buy the time. They buy the three hour block on the station and then hire their own crew.

This is the way it was for the past couple of years on am 640, and the presentation suffered because of who the Argos decided would do the play by play.

His name was Jaime Stein, and I'm sure he's a nice young fella, but he sure as hell wasn't a play by play man, and paired with brilliant colour man Peter Martin, he sounded even worse.

How he got the job always mystified me, but if you work in the radio business long enough you're subjected to a lot of "mystification" over the years.

Anyway, I'm happy to report the situation has been corrected.

How ever the deal got done between the Argos and the Fan doesn't matter. All that does matter is that Mike Hogan has been returned as the play-by-play man.

The Fan has held Argo rights in previous years and Hogan did the play by play, and always did a competent straight forward job. He knows the sport, but more importantly he's a seasoned broadcaster.

Paired with the incomparable Martin, the Argos will once again have what they need, a solid radio presentation.


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Hockey Heads Will Turn

April 16, 2007 @ 09:01

Over the next couple of weeks there are going to be a lot of Toronto hockey guys caught up in Raptor fever.

A hockey guy is a fella somewhat like me who goes through the winter living a dying with every move of the Maple Leafs while paying little or no attention to the Raptors.

There's no malice intended, the point is, a lot of hockey guys just don't care for B-ball because it doesn't turn their crank. When compared to hockey it just doesn't deliver the goods. But when the playoffs arrive things can change, because there's nothing like rooting for the home team.

The Raptors deserve a lot of credit this year, especially Raptors management which had enough brains to hire general manager Bryan Colangelo and then back-off and let him run the show. Too bad they won't do the same thing with their hockey team.

With last nights victory over the New York Knicks, the Raptors secured home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs while equaling a franchise record with 47 victories.

The turnaround this year has been dramatic and it will surely be enough to make some hockey heads turn. The NHL playoffs are fun to watch, but again, there's nothing like pulling for the home team and the Raptors could actually make some post-season noise this year.

And it could get good quick. As it stands, the Raptors will meet either the Washington Wizards or Jersey Nets in the first round of the playoffs. If it's New Jersey, the Vince Carter angle will be fascinating.

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