Friday, December 31, 2010

Sid The Kid Streak Snapped

I was sad to see Sidney Crosby's point streak snapped by the New York Islanders ahead of the Winter Classic. That would have been a nice side story to the most viewed televised event in the NHL regular season. My 3 year old nephew loves Sid the Kid, so I had been cheering for his point streak to continue. The Islanders are one of the worst teams in the league, so it is unfortunate to have a bottom feeder snap the streak.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Favre Forever!

They said he should have stopped playing weeks ago but continued for his own personal consecutive games streak vanity; well now those pundits can finally shut up because a week after snapping his streak, Brett Favre was back doing what he loves, playing football. It wasn't 299, it was 1 of 1. He could easily have started 298, handed the ball off to Adrian Peterson three times and left the game within reach of 300, but he did not play last week. Streak gone and everyone saying there is now no reason for him to play, and what does he do? He played in one of the coldest games in NFL history, again took a beating, not to keep a streak alive but because he loves football.

Somebody should put together a highlight reel of all the biggest hits Favre has taken since he left Green Bay. For all those sports pundits who said that Brett prolonging his career was just a vanity project, do they appreciate how much punishment an NFL QB sustains in a season?

Go Brett Go!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bill Simmons

As a fledgling sports blogger I should declare that my single favourite pundit in the sports business is Bill Simmons. In the past two years he has overtaken Jim Rome as my go to analyst. I read his columns on and I download all his podcasts on I-Tunes. Personally my favourite time is when Bill gets together with Adam Carolla to talk about anything and everything. I don't care for basketball, but I listen for the football, baseball, and pop culture. I just wish that he would get over his beef with hockey. Also the 30 for 30 series was outstanding.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vancouver Canucks

As a resident of Vancouver, I get to watch a whole lot of Canucks hockey. In my opinion, the Vancouver Canucks have a great hockey team this season. I have been a Ryan Kesler fan since his rookie season, and he is a monster. When Philly made the big contract offer, I said match it. I have been a Sedin fan for many years, and ironically I have not heard anyone call them "the sisters" for some time. I have the Vancouver Canucks as one of my top teams in the Western Conference, behind of course, the Detroit Red Wings.

Friday, December 17, 2010

There's Something About Joey

It was recently announced that Joey Votto from the Cincinnati Reds won the Lou Marsh award for the top Canadian athlete of the year. He beat out Sidney Crosby who scored a golden goal and Jon Toews who won a gold a Stanley Cup. The last player I remember to win a gold for Canada and a Stanley Cup in the same year was Steve Yzerman in 2002, my all-time favourite professional athlete. I would personally have voted for Crosby, who is lighting the NHL on fire for the first 3 months of the 2010/11 season. He scored the gold medal winning goal and is hands down the best player in the league this year.

That being said, Joey Votto is some kind of wonderful. I am a fantasy baseball nerd, and statistically what he did this year was unbelievable, and he did that over 162 games. Votto is a top 5 pick in every fantasy baseball league next season.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh Golf, Where Art Thou?

I have not played a round of golf in over a month, and have played only 3 rounds since September. I am "jonesing" to play golf in a serious way but the weather this winter has made it challenging. One of the benefits to living in Vancouver is that it is the one part of Canada that doesn't really get much of a winter. Some courses stay open year round, though most courses have closed until 2011. There aren't a lot of options right now. I pray to the great groundhog in the sky for a warm January. Where have you gone global warming, my golf game turns its lonely eyes to you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brett Favre: 297 The Magic Number

The magical run of consecutive games has finally ended at 297, three games shy of 300. Some might call this an unbreakable record, but Peyton Manning is at 205 consecutive starts and only needs to play six more years to pass the golden Brett. Despite some people who have soured on Brett in recent years demanding he retire, I have been cheering for his prolonged career. I respect his accomplishments as an athlete, and the incredible punishment that his body endured over those 297 games. As I get a little bit older myself, I find stories of athletes succeeding past their prime to be inspirational. I hope Brett has the energy and ability to play another season after this one, so that all the pundits crying that Brett only came back to milk his streak can shove it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Aaron Rodgers Neighbourhood

I would like to take a moment to offer good luck wishes to my favourite football team, Aaron Rodgers Neighbourhood, heading into the fantasy football playoffs. May the force be with Aaron Rodgers, Rashard Mendenhall, Matt Forte, Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Santonio Holmes, Michael Crabtree, Kevin Boss, and the Atlanta Falcons defense. And let's not forget my favourite kicker in the NFL Neil Rackers.

Fantasy football really changes how you watch football. You don't really cheer for teams, but rather specific individual accomplishment. I love it!

Kevin Martin Takes On Cheryl Bernard

Coming soon to a curling rink near you, Kevin Martin will be competing against female curler Cheryl Bernard. Both represented Canada in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This Battle of the Sexes will take place in early 2011. Kevin Martin is taking the biggest risk, because if he wins he's expected to win, and if he losses it will be a big deal. I know that I will be watching, and I will likely be cheering for the lady.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sweet Carl

The Boston Red Sox have acquired Carl Crawford. The fans at Fenway should stop singing Sweet Caroline in the 7th inning and go instead with a newer version of Sweet Carl. As an avid fantasy baseball competitor, I can say with confidence that Crawford is a statistical monster and one of the best athletes in the game. The fans of the New York Yankees have to be concerned. With the addition of him and Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox suddenly have a better batting order than their interstate rivals and they already had a better pitching staff. I am never a big fan of cheering for Goliath, but I just might become a Boston Red Sox supporter this year. I'm not buying any hats or t-shirts, but I like when they beat the Yankees.

I don't know if this will cost the Blue Jays wins, because they play as many games against Tampa who lost Crawford as they play against Boston who signed him. Tampa will be weaker, Boston will be stronger.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Taylor Hall

It would seem that last year's first overall pick in the NHL draft Taylor Hall is adjusting quite quickly to the NHL game. The youngster has started to catch fire and is playing some great hockey. For a kid who was a trade and a ping pong ball away from playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he is making great strides in Edmonton. Toronto traded two first round picks for Phil Kessel (on pace for 48 points), and one of those picks very nearly became Taylor Hall. I'm certain that if Burke offered Edmonton Kessel for Hall straight up, he'd get laughed at; emphasizing the value of high first round picks. Toronto is having another bad season, and they still don't have a first pick this year. I don't think Leaf fans were imagining 2 top 5 picks when they acquired Kessel.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Patriot Games

I just finished watching the New England Patroits smash the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. I need to give a shout out to my favourite fantasy football waiver wire addition Benjarvus Green-Ellis. The Law Firm has been a very solid and consistent producer. Deion Branch is unbelievable, which I did not see coming because he was so plain in Seattle. If Aaron Rodgers is not the best QB in the league right now, then it has to be Tom Brady. They unloaded Randy Moss and their offense is still demolishing the opposition. Peyton Manning has started to suck, making poor decisions.

I think in the AFC the teams to beat are Pittsburgh and New England. In the NFC, it is Green Bay and Atlanta. If I had to pick a Super Bowl winner, I'm probably going with the Patriots.

Tiger's Magnificent Defeat

I am almost ashamed to admit that I was cheering for Tiger Woods this weekend to get his first (and only) win of the 2010 season. He was in a position to win on the 18th hole when his opponent sunk a really long putt for birdie. Then lightning struck twice on the first playoff hole and Tiger was defeated by another improbable putt. As an avid golfer I'll say that nothing is more exciting than sinking one of those really long putts, except of course a hole in one and I have one of those. So Tiger lost, is not number one, and went a whole season without winning a tournament. He's not going to catch Jack at that pace. Now that he's divorced, perhaps he should go back to hostesses and strippers? That seemed to be when he was at his best as a professional athlete. Divorced sex rehab Tiger is okay, but not the best in the world.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Who's Hot, Who's Not

Having reviewed performance data over the past two weeks, I would like to do a list of who is hot and who it not.


Hot: Sidney Crosby; the kid is on a goal scoring tear, Malkin was scratched Saturday.

*Martin Havlat; quietly collected 9 points in the last two weeks.

*Jarome Iginla; also scored 9 points in the last two weeks

*Niklas Backstrom; slow start, but he is back on pace

Not: Ilya Kovalchuck; easily the biggest dissapointment of the year thus far.

* Jason Spezza; not currently putting up points. He must miss Danny.

*Daniel Alfredsson; on pace for the worst season of his career.

*Phil Kessel; production has dried up, on pace for 48 points.


Hot: Dustin Byfuglien; sounds crazy, but he is the early favourite for the Norris.

*Kris Letang; Crosby is heating up, and Letang is a beneficiary.

*Kevin Shattenkirk; he plays in Colorado, collecting 9 points in the last two weeks.

Not: Mike Green; on pace for 28 fewer points than last season.

*Drew Doughty; on pace for 27 fewer points than last season.

*Tyler Myers; on pace for 23 fewer points than last season

*Duncan Keith; on pace for 22 fewer points than last season.


Hot: Tim Thomas; easily the best highlight reel of the season thus far.

*Andrej Pavelec; the guy who fainted on openning day has been outstanding since his return.

*Marc-Andre Fleury; bad start, currently on a 9 game winning streak.

*Carey Price; having a better year than Halak, it is a great redemption story.

*Simyon Varlamov; has been standing on his head since return from injury.

Not: Mikka Kiprusoff; no longer an elite goaltender.

*Jonas Hillier; he has been regressing both of the last two seasons.

*Marty Turco; not a top 25 goaltender, even on a strong team.

A Few Good Defencemen

I sent a text to one my friends tonight asking "if a coach goes so far as to play 5 defencemen on the power play to make a statement, how long until he gets fired?" My friend is on a work assignment in the middle of nowhere without Internet or television. He texted me back "he should get fired after the game, who did it?"

One of the Sutter brothers in Calgary put 5 D on his Power Play, and as it happens his brother is his boss and a former coach of the team. It is an original idea. I had never heard of or even thought of that idea before. There is no practical advantage to putting 5 D on the ice with a man advantage. Does that motivate your team, or is it a desperate move to fix something that is fundamentally broken? If you are a coach and your team can't produce enough offense to win, so you get desperate and pull a stunt to get attention, does that fix problem? Or if it got so bad that you had to do this, you should be fired for not doing your job in the first place...

Blame God

You will often hear an athlete thanking God when they succeed, but you seldom hear them blame God when they fail. Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnston is a very faithful person who dropped a game winning catch in the end zone. He went on Twitter and lashed out at God; “I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...”

You don't see that every day. Did God not want Steve Johnston to catch that touchdown pass?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Larry Murphy Syndrome

On Thursday night, the 2nd of December 2010, the Edmonton Oilers throttled the Toronto Maple Leafs. Something started happening that has been strangely absent at this point in Brian Burke's tenure as General Manager...the fans were booing very loudly. Losing patience with the rebuilding process, teased by a winning streak to start the season, the fans are starting to get upset that the team sucks. We've seen this happen before. I believe that the fast start convinced a significant number of Leaf fans that the rebuilding process would be as Brian Burke said it would be, fast. Why else give up two 1st round draft picks for Kessel? Now that they are who we thought they were, Leaf fans are angry and if history has taught us anything, they will collectively choose a lightning rod for their rage.

I should perhaps explain what it is that makes me allergic to Leafs Fans. Generally, they are excellent “fair weather” fans, who act proud and passionate. Perhaps a little too mouthy for the lack of hardware the Leafs have collected in recent memory, but that is generally accepted, often encouraged fan behavior. And no, they do not pass out rings to the team that eliminates Ottawa from the playoffs.

The nuisance of Leafs Fans comes when the weather turns foul. When the team starts losing, Leaf Nation becomes afflicted with a pandemic that I like to call “Larry Murphy Syndrome” after a great player chased out of town. Rewind to 1997, when the Leafs finished second to last in the Conference. That season, I had the privilege of attending a Leafs vs. Red Wings game at Maple Leaf Gardens. Larry Murphy, then the top scoring defenseman for the Leafs had been condemned by Leafs fans, and each time he stepped on the ice or touched the puck, the fans erupted with booing and jeering. Leafs fans blamed him for their futility, forcing the GM to unload him on the Detroit Red Wings for future considerations. Mr. Murphy laughed all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, drinking from Lord Stanley’s Cup while the rest of the Leafs were hard at work on the golf course. He was the missing link for the Red Wings, collecting 11 pts that year in the post-season.

You see, in Leaf Country, nobody will say “we simply got beat by a better team.” Somebody is always to blame. I define Larry Murphy Syndrome as “a concurrent characteristic combination of opinions and emotions of a large group of fans that believe they are qualified to run the hockey team.” When a fan base becomes afflicted with Larry Murphy Syndrome, more often than not it forces the General Manager to make bad business decisions to appease the fans who believe that they are smarter than the qualified manager. This Syndrome is spread through over-exposure to a media machine that also believes itself to be of superior intelligence to team management. Having grown up in Ontario, I am painfully aware of the “media bubble” that has engulfed the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto has not made the playoffs since 2004 and the amount of negative energy and anger simmering through the collective consciousness of “Leaf Nation” is on the verge of going Super Nova. Wikipedia defines the most common type of Super Nova as “the core of an aging massive star ceases to generate energy from nuclear fusion, it may undergo sudden gravitational collapse into a neutron star or black hole…” Sound familiar? If the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t turn things around soon, this is going to get ugly.

Just ask Larry Murphy about his last season in Toronto. Bryan McCabe is a non-Cup winning example of the same syndrome. He was chased out of town, and it did not make the team any better. I can see Tomas Kaberle becoming a villain very quickly. Just imagine if they had Jeff Carter to center the Kessel line? Phil Kessel will not get booed. He's the only exciting player on the team right now. The best thing for the team would be to start winning again when Phanoof comes back.

If you can't stand the Heatley...

...then get out of the kitchen. Congrats to Danny Heatley for playing a great game on his return to Ottawa. I was not a fan of how he handled his departure. I support the right of players to demand trades, but to then veto the trade they made and give Edmonton the finger, that was not classy. If I were a GM in the NHL, I would not sign players who demand no trade clauses. It may diminish the list of players willing to sign, but that flexibility as a General Manager is an absolute need. Frankly the fact that Heatley had the right to choose his destination cost the Ottawa Senators a great trade with Edmonton. I suppose Heatley has a fragile ego and can't stand media or fan scrutiny. Hey, maybe if I were driving dangerously and killed my best friend, I'd have a fragile psyche too...

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I must confess that in my first fantasy draft, I selected Evgeni Malkin 3rd overall. I am a malcontent with my selection of Malkin (aka Malkintent). I took a moment to think about Nicklas Backstrom, but hindsight being 50-50 I am upset that I didn't draft Stamkos. Anyone who drafted Malkin over Stamkos made a mistake. I'm still going to call Sidney Crosby as my early favourite for the Heart Trophy, but anyone who owns Stamkos in a hockey pool should be doing well.

Tim Thomas

Boston Bruin goaltender Tim Thomas has been unquestionably the best goalie in the league this season. His numbers are unbelievable. His highlight real from this year alone has been nothing short of spectacular. He has to be the early favourite for the Vezina, and award he has won before. I feel sorry for anyone who drafted Tuuka Rask in their fantasy leagues. His numbers are so insane that they are impossible to sustain, so he has to regress to a mean. I'm in two really deep leagues and I own Fleury and Bobrovsky in one, Howard and Pavelec in the other.