Monday, May 31, 2010

The Phantom of the United Center

Don Cherry brings weirdness to new heights

Seeing Michael Leighton battle Antti Niemi in the Stanley Cup Finals and not weirded out enough? What about Ben Eager scoring game winning goals? Still not weirded out? Okay, how about Ron MacLean headed under the bleachers at the United Center to see Don Cherry playing the organ while dressed as the Phantom of the Opera?

To be quite honest, I have never seen a single adaptation of the original play, so maybe I didn't get the joke. The brief wikipedia summary didn't mention how any of the scenes in the play could possibly tie into Philadelphia's lack of discipline with Dan Carcillo on the ice or the lack of production from Chicago's big line.

The other thing I had noticed is how good Cherry's organ rendition of Stranglehold by Ted Nugent. In fact, it's like there wasn't even an organ in the song as the Blackhawks were skating out onto the ice. The man is a man of many talents.

It was terrific foreshadowing by CBC. Ben Eager, who scored Game 2's winning goal, played for the Philadelphia Phantoms during the lockout.

Required reading

The ironies of Roy Halladay's perfect game

Neate Sager put together a strong piece on Roy Halladay, which can be found here.

This comes just a day after Joe Sheehan pointed out that this wasn't even Roy Halladay's best outing of the year.

How bad is it now that Doc won't be able to start in Toronto thanks to the G-8 summit that's happening this month? How bad is it that a generation of young baseball fans will see replays of Doc in a Phillies jersey?

Monday, May 31st - Morning Briefing

Jays, Twins sweep. Dirk to Phoenix?

-Current ESPN know-it-all and future Vancouver Pacers General Manager Bill Simmons destroyed the internet in Arizona today with this tweet that suggested the possibility of a Steve Nash/Dirk Nowitzki reunion in Phoenix. Rumours have apparently been floating around for a while now. To me the situation is pretty far-fetched, seeing as both Nash and Nowitzki would be migrant workers taking the jobs of hard-working Americans, something that Arizona was supposed to run out of the state.

-In more basketball news, it was pretty much confirmed yesterday that Hedo Turkgolu wanted out of Toronto. The only team he'd be able to get a starting job at is one that rewarded poor shooting with playing time, lack of rebounding prowess, and quitting midway through the third quarter. May I suggest trading him to the Raptors?

-Justin Morneau went 1-for-4 as the Twins doubled up on the Rangers 6-3, completing the sweep. The game's highlight came as Dernard Span caught the final out running in from centre (that's right, it's a Canadian blog) field and Orlando Hudson, apparantly not hearing Span call for the ball, clipped his shin. Hudson, the former gold glover with the Jays, stayed down for a while as the fans cheered the Twins win. I haven't seen a second baseman get up that slowly since the morning after Stubby Klapp earned his name.

-It was funny hat day at Skydome Rogers Centre:

That didn't seem to faze the Jays, who easily completed the sweep of the Orioles with a 6-1 win. Ricky Romero pitched a complete game, giving up the only run in the first inning and was just six hits and two walks shy of the second perfect game on as many days.

-Gibson, British Columbia's Ryan Dempster threw 6.2 innings before being chased by the Cardinals. He gave up nine hits and six earned runs with three walks to seven strikeouts and he drops to 3-5 on the year. St. Louis won 9-1, off of two homeruns by Albert Pujols. I can only imagine how many fruit flies were attracted by the Dempster/Pujols pitcher-to-batter combination in this game.

-Toronto's Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimo... Zimongi... Zinmoji... Zimonjic made it to the men's quarter finals at the French Open in Doubles, defeating the host French pairing of Guillaume Ruffin and Alexandre Sidorenko 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-3. They will play in the semifinals on Tuesday (Mardi in France) against two guys you've never heard of.

-The lead story on both Sportscentre and Sportsnet Connected was that a goalie who is 6-1 in the playoffs with a 1.96 GAA and a .930 save percentage will start in Game 2. Although considering Philly's revolving door of goalies ever since Ron Hextall left, perhaps it is headline news that the Flyers are starting the same goaltender on consecutive nights. Hell, Ray Emery never made it to the rink sober in consecutive weeks.


Today is going to be busy. Stanley Cup Finals, maybe some tennis action, and a couple of baseball games later. Toronto has a pretty important three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. For those in Sportsnet's Pacific Region (or have the channel) you can watch Justin Morneau play against the Seattle Mariners for the nightcap.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday May 30: Morning Briefing

Halladay perfect, Nash out

-Roy Halladay... remember when he used to pitch for Toronto? Well, it turns out he's doing well in Philadelphia too. He was 6-3 and third in ERA in the National League coming into last night's game against Florida.

Oh. Hm. I guess that's pretty damn good. What could have been, eh Jays fans?

-What do you think will be on the front page of the Philadelphia Bugle Sports Section this morning? The story of some guy the Phillies got in a trade with a team from far up north? Of course not! Philadelphia lost Game 1 to the Blackhawks 6-5 in a game described to me as one "with terrible goaltending and even worse defense." Not without controversy! CBC showed footage of a puck hitting Tomas Kopecky on the bench, and minutes later, he jumped onto the ice and scored!

Okay, it's not quite up there with the non-call on the Gretzky high-stick, partly because Kopecky being hit by the puck had nothing to do with the fact that Brian Boucher refused to move his right leg, instead flailing at it with his stick à la Goldberg the Goalie from the first scene of The Mighty Ducks (when the team wasn't good).

-NBA playoffs. The Suns found themselves down 14 at the half and didn't have another miracle comeback in them (only to be sabotaged by Ron Artest. DRAAAGOOOOO!) and lost to the Lakers 111-103, meaning that the Lakers and Celtics will meet in the NBA finals for the 437th time. Steve Nash's ceremonious exit (21 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds) means that we can finally go back to concentrating on hockey. The fact that the two most destestable teams in the NBA meet in the finals have nothing to do with the fact that hockey will take precedence over basketball for the rest of the year.

Charles Barkley did say that Steve Nash represents all that is good about basketball. That has to count for something. It's also worth noting Nash is pretty much Barkley's exact opposite on the court.

-Did you know that the upcoming A-Team movie had some scenes filmed in Kamloops, British Columbia? Probably not. But B.A. Baracus, also known as Quentin "Rampage" Jackson, also fights people for a living. Foreshadowing the upcoming film's critical reception, he lost to Rashad Evans in a unanimous decision, the teammate of Montreal's Georges St. Pierre, who 'guest-Tweeted' the fight @ufc.

Considering GSP can't speak in English for 140 characters, I'm amazed he got two words in in all four tweets.

No Canadians were on the card, but the next UFC card, two weeks from now, is in Vancouver!

-The Blue Jays took the second game of the three game set with the Orioles, thanks in part to eight strong innings by Brett Cecil (5-3) and two dingers by Lyle Overbay. The Jays have won the second most games in the American League but are tied for third in the AL East. Justin Morneau went 1-for-3 with an RBI in a Minnesota 8-3 win over the Rangers, and Jason Bay went 2-for-5 in a losing cause against the Brewers. Bay left 4 runners on base.

-And, right at the bottom of the page, is your Major League Soccer update! Dwayne De Rosario scored two goals to lead Toronto FC over the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1. The Reds hold onto second place in the Eastern Division, and play next January 5th against Kansas City at BMO Field. I don't think I even need to STRESS how important that early season, inter-conference game is for the Canadian Nutri-Lite Champions.


It's Sunday, and unless you like baseball or cars driving around a circle, chances are you won't be watching sports. My afternoon project will consist of trying to kill that damn fly that's been buzzing around my kitchen screen window for the past two days.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday May 29th - Morning Briefing

Suns host Lakers in Game 6, Bettman sounds off

-Phoenix fights for for their playoff lives against the Lakers in Game 6 of the series, tonight at 8:30 PM on TSN. The way Nash has played these playoffs, if you miss this game, it's probably because you have to work. In other basketball news, Nate Robinson dominated the 2nd quarter with 13 points in the frame to put the game out of reach as the Celtics won 96-84 over the Magic. Fitting a small black guy would play that well on the day that Gary Coleman died.

-Meanwhile, at 8 PM, Chicago and Philly start their series. Refer to my previous post to decide who you want to cheer for. Both teams riding long Cup droughts, and both teams have horizontal stripes. Hard to cheer against either, unless you have a long standing personal vendetta against a player. And boy, oh boy, does my hatred for Blair Betts go far. (kidding)

-This is Gary Bettman finally being annoying on our side.

-UFC 114 plays tonight in Las Vegas. No Canadians on the card, but that won't stop us from watching. Rashad Evans and Quentin Jackson are the main event, with a feud dating back to last year's filming of 'The Ultimate Fighter' TV series. Jackson quit the UFC for his acting career, so he may have some ring-rust. Evans is coming off a controversial win over Thiago Silva, in which he won a boring fight but may have been knocked out briefly in the third round. The winner of this one gets to take on Shogun Rua, who recently took the light heavyweight belt from Lyoto Machida in Montreal.

-At the French Open, Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, QC, lost to Elena Dementieva in three sets. One of these days, Wozniak will have an opponent who's name I can pronounce.

-Toronto FC play the San Jose Earthquakes tonight, in what will assuredly be not in the top three most-watched sporting events in Canada. Just a heads-up.

-Taylor Hall didn't work out at the NHL draft combine. Tyler Seguin was above average on all the workouts (no shit). Taylor Hall will still go first, proving that the combine is pretty well meaningless and pretty much just an excuse for TSN to promote the World Juniors a little bit more.

-Finally, in baseball, the Blue Jays shut out the Orioles 5-0 thanks to a strong performance from Ricky Romero who went 6 strong, striking out 7 and not allowing a run. Aaron Hill went 2-4 with a homer to raise his average to .164 (still somehow below the Mendoza Line). Jason Bay was 1-4 as the Mets got shutout 2-0 by Milwaukee, and Justin Morneau was 0-2 but walked twice in a 2-0 win by the Twins over the Rangers. In other major league news, it turns out that a girl we hang out with is the cousin of Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster. Crazy.


It's Saturday, and there is lots going on. Some of you will be stuck at work all day, like me. For those that aren't, don't hang out at the beach. Do what I'd do. Sit inside and watch people bounce balls, play with sticks and beat each other up.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The lesser of two evils

Or, who should you cheer for in the Stanley Cup Finals?

If you're Canadian, chances are, you're a fan of hockey. If you're a fan of hockey, chances are you'll watch the Stanley Cup Finals. If you're watching the Stanley Cup Finals, chances are you'll want to cheer for somebody. We're here to help.

The case for Chicago:

If the Blackhawks win the Cup, chances are Jonathan Toews will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP. Toews also won the Top Forward award at the Olympics. Any 'True Canadian™' like Toews is easy to like, and we love to see kids from small towns across Canada recognized in the United States as sporting heroes.

Also in that column, Duncan Keith could potentially win Olympic Gold, the Norris Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same year. He wasn't as prominent in junior as his teammate Brent Seabrook, so since his early accomplishments are blasted in our precious ears every single time we watch a game on TSN, it's good to appreciate his play as one of the best two-way defensemen in the game rather than meaningless accomplishments he had as a 12-year old.

Chelsea Dagger: The catchiest goal song in hockey has lyrics about a British prostitute, one classy enough to be too expensive for former realtor Ken Jowdy.

The case against Chicago:

As easy as it is to like the Canadian trio on that team, its two Americans piss us off to no end. Dustin Byfuglien constantly screws our fantasy teams by playing like a defenseman on years where he's listed as a forward and playing like a real bad defenseman on years where he's listed as a defenseman.

The case for Philadelphia:

One of the few things as annoying as Philadelphia sports fans are Boston sports fans, so it was fun to see that 3-0 series comeback in the second round. It's also worth noting the Flyers probably spared the beautiful city of Montreal from rioters by ensuring that they didn't get further than the third round.

If Philadelphia wins, the chances that Peter Laviolette ever returns to the TSN panel is pretty well slim-to-none.

Michael Leighton's rise to prominence is awesome. This is a journeyman goaltender, one of the best Cinderella stories of the playoffs, who proves that you should continue doing what you love and never give up, a perfect embodiment of the transcendence of sports. Also, it means that if you're a Leafs fan, there's always hope in whoever Brian Burke/Ron Wilson choose to go with next year.

The case against Philadelphia

Daniel Carcillo:

The stupid shootout. The way the Flyers made the playoffs. The stupid, stupid shootout that everybody hates decided the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chris Pronger. Seeing him win one Cup was sickening enough.

When Kate Smith was alive, she sang a song called 'That's Why Darkies Were Born.' To see her more than once singing pre-game on the video board goes beyond gimmicky.

Deal breakers:

For Calgary fans... If Chicago shell Leighton, then his free agency value diminishes to the point where the Flames might be able to sign him as a backup goalie. He could be the next Roman Turek. Verdict: Chicago.

For Edmonton fans... Chris Pronger. Verdict: Chicago.

For Montreal fans... Usually it's wrong to cheer for an Original 6 rival, but these are special circumstances. Philly eliminated the Habs, and a Blackhawk win means that rival Toronto will have the longest Cup drought. Verdict: Chicago.

For Ottawa fans... Have we forgotten this one yet? Verdict: Chicago.

For Toronto fans... See Montreal. Verdict: Philadelphia.

For Vancouver fans... Chicago has knocked the Canucks out in the last two playoffs. About the only thing less popular in downtown Vancouver than Dustin Byfuglien right now is Roberto Luongo. Verdict: Philadelphia.

Morning Briefing: Friday May 27th

Suns drop heartbreaker, Twins avoid Yankee sweep

-The Suns loss has settled in, full TSN highlights can be found here. Sweet redemption for Ron Artest, who had two big misses in the waning minutes. Victoria's Steve Nash had a team-high 29 points and 11 assists and was 12-of-20 from the field. This was one of the greatest basketball games I've ever seen, which is saying something because I used to take in about 30 Vancouver Grizzlies games a year.

-New Westminster's Justin Morneau went 2-for-2 and the Minnesota Twins beat the Yankees 8-2 to avoid a sweep, and maintain a game-and-a-half lead in the American League Central. The idle Blue Jays are mired in the middle of a statistical anamoly. Their 27 wins is tied for 5th in all of baseball, yet somehow they lie in 4th place in the American League East. That will change, with a three-game set coming up against the Baltimore Orioles. Check your local listings. The scheduled pitchers for the Orioles are Kevin Millwood, Chris Tillman and Jeremy Guthrie, who have combined for three wins this year.

-The City of Ottawa has introduced plans to renovate Landsdowne Park with a new stadium. This is an artists rendering of the new building, complete with Renegades fans packing the house:

-In junior hockey news, Travis Hamonic of the Brandon Wheat Kings, and former Canadian Junior Team member, has signed with the New York Islanders to an entry-level deal. Just for kicks, let's watch that video of him knocking the piss out of Taylor Hall:

Hamonic will qualify as an overager next season, so there's a possibility to see him on NHL ice next year, although with the condition of Nassau Coliseum these days, that will only happen during away games.

-Twitter and Live Blogging didn't exist back in 1993, but that doesn't mean that we can't pretend Game 6 of the '93 Western Conference Finals between Toronto and Los Angeles wasn't extensively covered. Brilliance from Down Goes Brown.

-Finally, Blainville's Aleksandra Wozniak advanced to the third round of the French Open with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Kateryna Bondarenko. Why do Eastern European countries have women's tennis players with hotter names?


It's Friday. That means the start of my weekend shift at work. Don't miss the Celtics/Magic game tonight, if only because there's a chance that Boston sports teams could potentially choke away two 3-0 series leads in the same season.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ron Artest breaks Steve Nash's heart

That's not how these games are supposed to end. A terrific basketball game with an equally terrific comeback by the Suns. At one point in the second quarter, they were down by as many as 18, before chipping away, behind Steve Nash, and then Jason Richardson tied it up with a three-ball with 3.5 seconds to go.

Done. Kobe covered, forced into taking a bad shot, we're going to go to overtime. With the Suns recent luck in the playoffs, this was going to be the year that it all turned around.

Then Ron Artest outmuscles Jason Richardson for the rebound, and stomps on the heart of Canada by hitting a layup high off the glass as the horn goes. This is just minutes after he put up a shot attempt with 21 seconds on the shot clock and his team up by 3.

What makes this loss so depressing was that the Suns had no business being in that game. In the second quarter they shot like the Irish infantry and had more turnovers than a bakery that was giving out free basketballs. Hell, back in the second quarter TNT showed a replay of Suns coach Alvin Gentry vomiting into a fucking garbage can. But somehow they clawed back. Nash had 29 with 11 assists. Stoudemire had 14. Even Channing Frye hit the odd three every now and then and had a double-double.

Goddamnit, that wasn't supposed to end that way. The series should be 3-2 in Steve Nash's favour going back to Phoenix to close. Here we all are, laughing at Ron Artest's stupid shot and wishing TNT would stop showing replays of Kobe Bryant's winning shots through the ages. So then Kobe has to throw up an airball and Artest make a miraculous play.

Damnit. Damnit, damnit, damnit.

Canadian outdoor NHL game for mid-February

Bob McKenzie has tweeted that the NHL will announce two outdoor games next year, one being a Canadian version.

As good of an idea it is to include Canadian teams in the Winter Classic, I'm surprised that we can't turn this into a doubleheader somehow, with the games going on the same day. Washington and Pittsburgh will play at Heinz Field on New Year's Day, with Calgary and Montreal going in mid-February.

The pick of Montreal is a strange one. Montreal has already played in an outdoor game, and they aren't exactly huge rivals of the Flames. Unless the NHL and the host broadcaster (presumably CBC, but let's not rule CTV out) want to feature one Eastern and one Western team per year.

From what we've seen with vintage jerseys, let's pray that Montreal retires those damn barber poles before the start of this one.

Briefing - Thursday May 27

-The CFL has announced that a deal has been made between the CFL and the CFLPA. The deal has not been ratified so explicit terms were not announced, but the CFL presser confirms that there will be a drug testing policy as part of the new agreement, as well as a clause that sends Jason Armstead to remedial math classes on the league's dime.

-Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that his team is not having a problem adjusting to the Suns' 2-3 zone. He's probably right, and if Phoenix's bench plays for the remainder of the series as it did in Game 4, Los Angeles is proper fucked. Particularly when Derek Fisher and Ron Artest are undressed by Slovenian backup point guards while Kobe watches:

-So, uh... I did some quick calculations, and it seems that 84 per cent of the 38 players who played in the last game for Chicago and Philadelphia are Canadian. Not only that, but there's a certainty that at least two players will win both a gold medal and a Stanley Cup in the same year. Mike Richards and Chris Pronger on Philly, and Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith on Chicago. Only three players have ever done that before, being Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan in 2002, and Ken Morrow in 1980 with the New York Islanders. Also, to bring up old stereotypes, not a single Russian or Swede are in the Stanley Cup Final (UPDATE: Not name Hjalmarsson). Compare that to both team's failure to make the semifinals at the Olympics, it looks like Canada is pretty much the best country for hockey on the planet. Neener, neener, neener.

-Without playing, Toronto F.C. won the Voyageurs Cup as the Canadian Nutri-Lite Soccer Champions. Vancouver Whitecaps F.C. drew 1-1 in Montreal against the Impact, clinching the title for the Reds with still one fixture left between the Whitecaps and TFC. When asked about how it was to win such a prestigious championship, Preki said "huh?"

-The Arcade Fire have two new songs out. This one is called The Suburbs, and it's leak this morning pretty much broke the Internet:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Steve Yzerman hired as Lightning GM

As you have no doubt heard, Steve Yzerman has been hired by the Tampa Bay Lightning, after a couple of months of speculation.

As great as a player Yzerman is, and for all his accomplishments, to me it doesn't seem like the right thing to do to thrust an inexperienced GM into the organization of considerable fuckuppery that is the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Keep in mind that Yzerman left Vincent Lecavalier off the Canadian Olympic Team. Since the Habs' season is over, if Bob Gainey wakes up and sees his shadow, then we have 6 more months of a possible Lecavalier trade to Montreal.

Weekend update

Well, the long weekend had me busier than I expected, so I didn't write anything, but I can tell you what happened.

-TSN showed way too many highlights of Taylor Hall throughout the entire Memorial Cup. I noticed that they upped their coverage of the event considerably this year, possibly as a means of promoting Hall. Now TSN is actually showing the NHL draft combine Friday in Primetime. This begs the question...

1) Who the fuck wants to watch a draft combine?

2) When the fuck is TSN's amping up of young prospects going to catch up with us? The World Juniors are almost unbearable to watch on 'The Network' now that every single Canadian player is talked about to the point of delusion. I can understand being interested in prospects, but now TSN is using events such as the World Juniors and the draft to promote their own programming. Ever notice how Pierre McGuire always seems to slide in the NHL team of a player at the WJHC at every possible moment? The Network is more prevalent in the playoffs this year, they have more games on per week, they have two national networks and they want fans of teams that stink to watch for the young players they've hyped. Brilliant cross-marketing, but it's making half the country hate Team Canada at the Juniors.

-Ron MacLean sat in a rocking chair and taped up a stick as Philly took to the ice in Game 5 against Montreal. It figures that the Eastern Conference Champions are a team that made the playoffs on the final day of the year by beating New York in a frigging shootout. Elsewhere, Rangers fans are kicking their own shins with their heels and devising ways to jump off a skybridge.

-Chicago... this is hard to admit as a Canucks fan, but the fact that the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup finals makes me upset that the Fratellis broke up:

I can't get enough of that goal song.

This Stanley Cup Finals series has all kinds of implications for a Canadian team. For one, as has been pointed out by everybody, everywhere, a Chicago win means that Toronto would become the only franchise to not win a Stanley Cup since the Original Six era, and also give them the longest Cup drought.

- There are many, many Montreal fans who are happy at what Jaroslav Halak accomplished this season, but his biggest fan is agent Allan Walsh and his family. A restricted free agent after a playoff run that saw Halak single-handedly beat arguably four of the top five forwards in the game, Halak (and by extension, Walsh) are going to see a fat paycheque likely before July 1st. For some reason, the Philadelphia series won't apply.

-Steve Nash broke his nose and had it surgically repaired after practice during an off-day. This comes a day after he dropped 17 points and 15 dimes (behind Amare Stoudemire's 42) in a 118-109 Game 3 win. Game 4 is tonight. Set your TiVo's accordingly, because this series has a lot of potential to go the distance.

-In other basketball news, the Celtics, up 3-0 in their series against Orlando, lost in overtime 96-92 and are now up 3-1. It's the curse of Milan Lucic.

-The man who owns 25% of the Canadian Football League is headed to the Senate. David Braley, who owns the BC Lions and the Toronto Argonauts, forced writers across the country to use stupid football terms to describe politics. This is a good fit for Braley, since the relevance of the Canadian Senate is about as relevant as the Toronto Argonauts, and both are not really well-liked West of Ontario.

-Argentina beat Canada 5-0 in soccer. The Canadian Press recap sounds like something that your local university's sports information officer would write:

El Monumental was a sea of noise an hour before kickoff. As the Canadian players came out for warm-ups, the host crowd whistled loudly and that was just a taste of what was to come.


Injuries and club commitments forced Canada to field a mix of youth and experience, with the main goal to get some experience as a group against one of the top sides in the world.


This week, hopefully we'll have some fall-out from Montreal, including riot videos, and full recaps of this week's Suns and Canadian Soccer Cup series.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday, May 20 - Morning briefing

-Calgary defeats Brandon 5-1 in an utterly meaningless game in the final round robin game of the Memorial Cup. Fun fact: Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, who gave his name to the Hitmen, visited the team after they won the WHL championship. No word as to whether or not brother Owen's path is mimicking the Calgary Flames most recent season.

-The Blue Jays defeated Seattle 3-2 at Safeco Field, in a game that was televised, only on a delay. Except in the Pacific and West regions. Kevin Gregg pitched himself in-and-out of a 2-out, 2-runners on jam in the bottom of the 9th, and now leads the American League in saves. The losing pitcher in this game for Seattle was Doug Fister. (Fister? I barely know her!)

-Steve Nash and the Suns now find themselves down 2-0 to the Lakers after a miserable fourth quarter. Coming back in the third to have the game tied at 90 after 36 minutes, Pau Gasol pumped through 14 of the Lakers' 34 fourth quarter points and they won handedly 124-112. Nash had 11 points and 15 assists.

-Breaking tonight, Floyd Landis reportedly admitted to his blood doping use at the Tour de France. The PED-crazed media can now finally look away from Toronto.

-It's Thursday. The Canadiens are in action at 7 Eastern on CBC, Steve Nash is down in his series so the basketball playoffs are pretty much over (seriously, off-day until Saturday, oddly enough) there's an off-day at the Memorial Cup so that means we'll see Ricky Romero pitch against Jason Vargas in a matinee on Sportsnet, unless that's pre-empted for reality show repeats like last night's game was. Also, Gibson's Ryan Dempster is on the hill against the Phillies for the Cubs.

-Oh right, and Canada is playing Russia at the World Championship. Catch the inevitable loss on a repeat on TSN2 during primetime hours, followed by some mock shame from the TSN panel. Then we'll be over it in time to ignore the Spengler Cup come December.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday May 19th - Morning Briefing

-Even though two of Philadelphia's goals were scored by Daniel Briere, of Gatineau and Simon Gagne, of Sainte-Foy, Flyer fans at Wachovia chanted 'Frenchies suck' in the waning minutes of their 3-0 Game 2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Meanwhile, it appears that Michael Leighton and Jaroslav Halak accidently switched jerseys sometime before the start of Game 1.

-Basketball: Here's a video that Raptors fans will love, of Vince Carter missing two important free throws late in Game 2 against the Celtics. The audio is slightly off, but it's nonetheless amusing.

-In Brandon, Eric Wellwood scored on a rebound from 15-feet out 12:22 into the overtime period and the Windsor Spitfires finish the round robin 3-0, eliminating the Moncton Wildcats. Moncton's Gabriel Bourque had a wide open net with 30 seconds to play and hit the crossbar. The Wildcat loss means that the final round robin game between Brandon and Calgary is entirely meaningless, as the two will meet again on Friday for the semifinal.

-If you're lucky enough to have Sportsnet's alternate channel, you'd have maybe seen the Blue Jays destroy Minnesota 11-2 at Skydome in the second game of that series. Hill, Wells, Encarnacion and Overbay all homered for the Jays, who gain a game on the Yankees who lost to the Red Sox 7-6, but stay five back of the division-leading Rays, who beat the Tigers 6-2. Marcum went 7-strong to pick up his third win on the year, allowing five hits, two walks and striking out three. New Westminster's Justin Morneau, who was strong in Monday's game, went 0-for-3 with a strike out.

-With a goal and an assist, Jonathan Toews continued to secure his spot atop the NHL playoff points race in a 4-2 win over San Jose in Game 2. San Jose is now 0-5 in home conference finals games in their history and look overmatched in this series.

-Steve Nash and the Suns appear to have shaken off Game 1 as just one game in a long series. Bright Side of the Sun has the compilation of clichés dropped at their Tuesday practice.

-Stay classy, Olympic protesters. An anarchist group firebombed an RBC branch in Ottawa, protesting RBC as a sponsor for the Vancouver games. The fire caused $300K in damage, thankfully, nobody was hurt. A video and message from the group can be found here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breaking: Corey Perry somewhat of a dick

Down 3-1 to the Czechs, Corey Perry ran Tomas Vokoun behind the Czech net, knocking him out of the play and allowing Matt Duchene to score. No call was made on the play due to Vokoun actually trying to get up, rather than flop around as Roy or Luongo would.

[Skip to 0:27 in, unless you want to endure the Czech Dave Randorf in slow motion]

At the end of the game, one heroic fan captured a video of a mix-up. Guess who's at the bottom of the pile restrained by both linesman?

At his best, Corey Perry is one of the best players in the world. He's one of only two players to win a Memorial Cup, World Junior Championship, Olympic Gold and Stanley Cup Championship. At his worst, Perry is a man who can act like a dick, begging for trouble and giving fat Czech fans [end of the second video] a chance to act like Philadelphia fans.

As for his team in Germany at the World Championships, Canada is forced to play another game against Russia, who seem to be the only team that sent a complete roster. A Russian win ensures that they take over the top spot in the official IIHF rankings.

It's raining outside, and now Coronation Street is over. What will I do with myself tonight?

Tuesday May 18th - Morning Briefing

-Even though Sportsnet had the television rights to the Blue Jays and Twins game last night, they decided to use all four of their regional stations to play the Calgary/Windsor Memorial Cup game. Considering the interest in the hockey game would lie in the prairies and Southern Ontario, and considering many Canadians have digital cable with all regional networks, wouldn’t it make sense to use the East feed to show the baseball game? Or even the Pacific feed, so British Columbians could see their own Justin Morneau go 3-for-4 with two jacks. The Twins walked all over the Jays and won 8-3.

-Meanwhile, in a game that was televised, Taylor Hall scored twice and his Spitfires got some stellar goaltending from Philipp Grubauer on their way to a 6-2 shelling over the Calgary Hitmen. Martin Jones, the WHL goaltender of the year, has looked obnoxiously average so far this tournament, being bailed out Monday night by his defensemen and the post several times. The Spitfires qualify for Sunday’s final with a chance to defend their title.

-Down in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant put up 40 including 21 in the 3rd, Lamar Odom had 19 points and 19 boards and the Lakers thoroughly dismantled Victoria’s Steve Nash and his Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals 128-107. Nash had 13 points and 13 assists, but the Suns couldn’t shoot, going .494 from the floor and .227 from beyond the arc.

-Darren Dreger has tweeted that Ian Laperriere will not play Game 2. Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren has pretty much told us to wait for Laperriere to play before Jeff Carter does. No word on whether or not Peter Laviolette is going to give Daniel Carcillo the role of blocking a P.K. Subban shot with his face.

-Dave Staples of The Cult of Hockey has an excellent piece on Taylor Hall’s penchant for getting hit hard, and often. The post contains a video of Hall getting stapled by Travis Hamonic in his first game at the Memorial Cup. Solid stuff.

-Welcome to The ‘Eh’ Factor. Bear with us while we sort this beast out. Canada and the Czech Republic are playing live on TSN2 right now. Canada is losing 3-1 at the end of the second period. If you were planning on catching the replay later, well, forget I said that. Moncton and Windsor play later tonight. So do both NHL Conference Finals series, as well as Game 2 of Boston/Orlando, if you’re into that sort of thing.