Wednesday, June 30, 2010

City of Ottawa closer to having terrible football team

It appears that the city of Ottawa has voted on the proposal to redevelop Lansdowne Park which will refurbish Frank Clair stadium and add 250 housing units.

This is an improvement to Joe Paopao's current standard of living, which is currently in a bus station on Bank Street.

Aside from possibly hosting a new Ottawa football team, this plan also brings Eugene Melnyk's wish to have a Major League Soccer team in Ottawa closer to a reality.

Which is good, because something needs to provide scoring in Ottawa. Since the Senators powerplay has gone anemic, nothing has scored in Ottawa since Maxime Bernier.

/hey ho political joke

Damien Cox offers interesting perspective at Wimbledon

Probably [one of] the worst thought out headline ever [this week]:

Serena stands out in Wimbledon

I think the article itself is about how Serena Williams is the only favourite left in the field, but the obvious just creeps into the back of our minds so hard it makes us chuckle.

Meet your 2010 Wimbledone women's singles semifinalists:

So, uh... which of these is not like the other?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daryl Katz buys the lease to Copps Coliseum

The philanthropic owner of the Edmonton Oilers is doing well to put the city of Hamilton out of its misery.

The general consensus seems to be that Katz is attempting to either strong arm the city of Edmonton into helping them build a new arena or to "control the potential arrival of a relocated or expansion NHL team."

The idea that Katz wants a bargaining chip with Edmonton is pretty damn laughable, and Edmonton City Council should be able to see right through it. Northlands Skyreach Rexall may not be a luxury arena, but Copps Coliseum sure as hell isn't. It holds about 1,000 more people and has an ugly seat colouring scheme.

The way the NHL is today, neither Copps or Rexall should fit a team. It's a dissapointing reality. Even the Flames, who reside in a Pengrowth Saddledome that fits 19,000 people, are looking for a new place to not play hockey past April.

So if Katz is using this as a means to persuade Edmonton into buying him a lot (or part of the purchase price) for a new arena, it comes across as pretty thin. Mostly, this is something that Katz is likely using to stimulate discussion amongst Edmonton fans, with a renewed optimism and faith in the franchise thanks to Taylor Hall.

This gives me the idea to copyright the phrase "The House That Hall Built" so I can see some royalties in a few years when it eventually happens.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tim Baines, wrestling columnist, is NOT anti-Spezza

I suppose that few people outside of Ottawa subscribe to the Ottawa Sun, and thus, few people really know whether the Sun is pro-Senators, anti-Senators or whichever. But it appears that they've become pro-sensationalism, with a ridiculous defense of the paper's sports section.

Earlier this week, the Silver Seven blog fired against the paper for its Jason Spezza coverage. and a couple of days later, back on Friday, Sun sports editor (and wrestling columnist, if you check out his bio on the right-hand side of the page) Tim Baines did his best to defend his turf. The result is not pretty:

So, it appears pretty overwhelming here. We are the bad guys for writing that Jason Spezza told Bryan Murray that he wouldn’t “object” to a trade. We are the bad guys for writing that he had a $4-million bonus coming July 1. We are the bad guys for suggesting that the Senators trade him.

That's a fair point, but you're getting way defensive way too early in your column.

We are the bad guys because an overwhelming number of people in this city, when polled, suggested that the Senators should trade their star centre.

An overwhelming number, which doesn't represent the majority at all.

And, many have said, Don Brennan is an idiot because he suggested the Senators should trade Spezza if they can get fair value. Brennan actually disputed what he considers an unfair label about Spezza’s defensive liabilities.

Personally, I don’t think they should trade Spezza. He’s a marquee player on a team that has too few of them. But, and call his sensationalism on my part if you want, be assured the the Senators GM is, yes IS, trying to trade him.

In these two paragraphs, the editor is sticking up for his columnist who suggested Spezza should be traded, and that Spezza is not a defensive liability. Then he goes on to suggest that Spezza should not be traded and that his paper is sensationalist for bringing it up.


The Ottawa Sun’s reporters are being blamed for breaking Spezza stories. Does it not seem curious to anyone why Bryan Murray would mention his conversation with Spezza in the first place. Do you think that ruffles the feathers of the team’s best player?

This is where Baines falls apart. When is he going to explicitly defend one of the Spezza stories, one of the broken stories that determined an irrefutable truth? This would be different had Jason Spezza been traded, which it doesn't look like is going to happen.

One blogger suggests the Senators should rid themselves of the real problem, Daniel Alfredsson. Geez, you rip on us for creating a problem with Spezza, then you try and trade the Senators’ captain, a guy who’s poured his heart and soul into the franchise?

And the Dany Heatley criticism persists? The guy freakin’ wanted out of town. He asked for a trade. Didn’t want to be in Ottawa. Was that the media’s fault. He made a lot of money here. We had no gripe with him until he gave Ottawa the middle finger and said he wanted out. Was that our fault?

I find it funny that, on one hand, we are criticized for being too home-teamish. And on the other, we’re over-the-top anti-Senators.

Baines switches from being ridiculously defensive to outright whining. This brings us to the end of the column, where he needs to take a parting shot at blogs.

We make decisions every day on which stories will be played up. Which stories merit space in the paper. You think the guys are making stories up. Unlike some local hacks who live in their mothers’ basements and throw enough crap out there until some of it sticks, our guys have sources — GMs, scouts, management-types.

How original. At no point, though, does Baines mention that anybody at the Silver Seven blog eat doritos.

Sure, we run rumours in our paper. It would be safe to say that somewhere upwards of 99% of trades that are discussed in NHL circles never happen. So does that make it wrong that we report some of the deals that are at the discussion level? And are we wrong for reporting that Peter Regin’s agent suggested that his player could earn a Tomas Vanek-like contract? The notion he’ll get that kind of money is ludicrous. But the fact his agent said it is newsworthy.

You're probably wrong for not calling the guy out on it at all, whether it's in print or via interview. One major difference between print and blogs is that the print guys supposedly have access to major sources.

Baines is the sports editor for a major big-city newspaper, yet his defensive column has no more exclusive quotes or access points, and so his piece could have been crafted by somebody in my position, who has his own blogspot and gets a dozen readers on a good day.

I'll give him the last word, though. Enjoy the rest of your Monday:

It’s great that fans are so passionate about the Senators. They just have to be open-minded enough to hear the good and the bad.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The selective memory of James Sharman

James Sharman, The Score's number one soccer analyst, is an English transfer to Canada, if you will, and was twittering his thoughts during today's England/Germany game.

Particularly, when Frank Lampard's shot hit the roof of the crossbar, fell down clearly a yard beyond the line, which would have tied the game at 2.

Completely opposite to what happened to Geoff Hurst in the 1966 final against the Germans:

So, Sharman got a little angry, understandable:

To all the moronics suggesting revenge for '66; Eng won that gm 4-2 for the record.

So the insurance goal added in the end made all the difference to how we should perceive the game. Which is a fair argument. Except when you come out with this one after your team loses 4-1:

Gutted. Eng not good enough, but make no mistake, that non-call changed everything! Should not be dismissed due to scoreline. #worldcup

Oh well. Sucks to be English today. This 2010 World Cup for our cousins across the pond is pretty well exactly how we did in Olympic hockey in 2006. Dissapointing start, bow out early to your rivals in the knockout stage.

BMO Field one third full due to riots

For some reason, MLS never thought to reschedule last night's Toronto FC/Los Angeles Galaxy game due to the G20. And while the Blue Jays were able to win their first ever home game at Citizen's Bank Park last night, the Reds didn't have quite as good luck.

On a night when violent political protests rocked their home city, Toronto FC kept their composure and gutted out a 0-0 draw with the league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy before an announced crowd of 18,809 at BMO Field.

Actual attendance at the match was sharply reduced. At kickoff, the stadium was barely one-third full. Protesters and police had been clashing in downtown Toronto, which is hosting the G20 summit of world leaders.

Rising security concerns forced the cancelation of most public transit in the downtown core, as well as all commuter trains in and out of Canada's largest city.

Keep in mind the people staying home simply because they were too scared to go outside. A few hours before kickoff, the 24th minute confirmed that the game would still be played, despite the riots.

FC cited the arrival of the Galaxy players and officials in a letter to fans who couldn't attend the game, posted on their website at halftime. Ticket holders, which should be about 10,000 or so, should be able to attend a game on a later date.

And hopefully, that one will have a frigging goal.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Edmonton's draft pick surprises us Jeff Skinner fans

So Steve Tambellini steps up to the podium. We've all read in the newspapers and heard from the TV boxes in the leadup to the NHL Draft about the debate between Tyler Seguin and Jeff Skinner.

Seguin, the Plymouth Whaler, scored 48 goals in the OHL last season. Skinner had 50, in just 64 games with the Kitchener Rangers.

So imagine our surprise when not only did the Oilers select some no-name called Taylor Hall, but Edmonton's reaction was cheers, not boos and confusion.

Who is this guy? I haven't heard of him in all the years I've followed hockey, watching TSN to get all my junior hockey updates and throughout the Memorial Cup. What's so special about this guy? Is it the mohawk? It's the mohawk, isn't it?


Other observations:

-Ottawa's Bryan Murray deferred to trade away his pick for Dave Rundblad, some Swedish defenseman who sounds like a urinary tract disease. The word out of Ottawa is that Murray was scared that Brian Burke would take his guy again.

-The Toronto Maple Leafs were deceptively quiet on draft day, surprisingly not trading Tomas Kaberle and surprisingly not making a pick. Both were apparently really legitimate possibilities, or enough so to make Leaf fans watch a bunch of old guys sit around and talk for three hours.

-The Heckling Line almost got it right when they predicted Montreal might take "A defenseman? American? Native of Minnesota? Not too small? Not to [sic] big? Sounds like a good fit for the Canadiens' organization." Jarred Tinordi is 6'6" and 800 lbs.

The weird thing is that Tinordi was the ONLY pick made by a Canadian team that didn't spawn some stupid headline on TSN. [Hall of a future? Get over yourselves.]

-Calgary didn't have a pick, mercifully saving us from a Darryl Sutter interview.

-Vancouver opted to trade their 25th overall pick and two useless wingers for a slap-happy defenseman and a useless winger. Credit to Puck Daddy for reminding us of Keith Ballard's place in history on the blooper reel:

-After the draft, Philadelphia traded Dan Hamhuis to Pittsburgh. Here's Eklund's take on it. Yes Dwayne, at some point next season the Penguins will score on the powerplay against the Flyers. No, it will not make us remember draft night.

Thousands of Torontonians protest Roy Halladay's Philadelphia start

That's what it was about, right?

Holy moly. Why any city would want to host the thing is beyond me.

Roy Halladay, in his "return" to Toronto, threw seven innings, striking out four. The game was played in front of just over 43,000 people, which is technically the best attendance figure for a Blue Jays home game this season.

Major League Baseball, instead of simply rescheduling the damn series, moved the three games against the Phillies to Philadelphia. As if that wasn't enough to patronize the few remaining Jays fans, they dressed Toronto in white, Philly in red, and let Toronto bat last.

It just looks so stupid.

Oh, and Toronto lost 9-0. Technically their worst home loss of the season.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Toronto Raptors draft unnecessarily tall guy

[The Raptors pick is on the right]

I love NBA draft pictures. David Stern is about two feet undersized, and he's trying to shake the hands of really tall black guys. I can only think that most of these players had taller prom dates.

The really tall guy in this picture is Ed Davis, the newest Toronto Raptor (unless you count Solomon Alabi, acquired later in the night), a 6'11" power forward who pretty well bookends the Chris Bosh era in Toronto.

Why are you excited to come to Toronto, Eddie?

"My favourite player Chris Bosh plays there."

We may have a problem.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The 'Eh' Factor's 2010 mock draft

Since the 'Eh' Factor really has nothing to add on top of the NHL Awards (other than noted taxi enthusiast Patrick Kane came 12th in Lady Byng voting, and with the NHL entry draft up this Friday, it is time for a mock draft.

Now, here at the 'Eh' Factor we have better things to do than read endless lists of prospects and attempt to assess how good these 18-year olds will be in 10 years. But we can mock those who do endlessly.

First pick: Edmonton Oilers

Whether the Oilers pick Tyler or Taylor, the TSN broadcasting crew probably have the presence of mind to give this poor Tambellini guy some makeup. This is from the press conference on Monday when he "promoted" Pat Quinn to a front office job. He looks like he hasn't slept in a year.

Second pick: Toronto Maple Leafs Boston Bruins

That one is a cheap shot. All the hubbub surrounding this pick is because of the 'EHM era', as I'm dubbing this, where fantasy hockey geeks completely overvalue draft picks. Phil Kessel is just 22 and already a 30-goal scorer. It's not like Brian Burke traded this pick for Dustin Byfuglien as John Ferguson Jr. probably would have. Boston was the worst scoring team in the league last year and probably could have used a few more.

And this is Brian Burke, whose draft-and-development record has been about as bad as the Leafs' win-loss record lately. For every Drew Doughty picked second overall, there's a James van Riemsdyk. Or a Kari Lehtonen. Jason Spezza. Or Daniel Sedin, who has NEVER won a Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy or made a single All-Star Game appearance.

Whoever Boston takes with this pick will be unfairly compared to Phil Kessel for the first few years of his career while he develops.

Third pick: Florida Panthers

Florida develops its firt rounders like photos of Bigfoot. Recent picks: Keaton Ellerby, Michael Frolik, Kenndal McArdle, Rusty Olesz. Conveniently, this is also where my knowledge on any prospects in the draft ends.

But remember last year when all the talk show hosts were debating Tavares vs. Hedman? None of them were nominated for the Calder, but the third overall pick, Duchene, was.

TSN tells us the logical pick is Brett Connolly from Prince George. You know the Prince George player is going to do well at camp and make the roster, just so he doesn't have to go back to Prince George for another year.

Fourth pick: Columbus Blue Jackets

This is about the time that James Duthie feigns interest because some team has made a pick that was off the TSN chart. Maybe Columbus reached and took Emerson Etim or Nino Neiderreiter.

Fifth pick: New York Islanders

I often wonder what happens when a team lets the clock run all the way down and forfeits their pick. If it had to happen to anybody, it'd probably happen to the Islanders. But how do they announce that? If Garth Snow is nowhere to be seen after the ten minutes are up, does Gary Bettman approach the podium and call them to come up to the podium, immediately, mister?

Sixth pick: Tampa Bay Lightning

Gary Bettman steps up to the podium... "we have a TRADE to announce!" he says in his patented nerve-inducing voice. The Montreal media holds its collective breath (and loads) for what comes next.

Then the moment is ruined when all that's announced is a pick trade between a couple of teams. So much for Lecavalier going to Montreal. Maybe next year...

Seventh pick: Carolina Hurricanes

By now we begin to realize that Martin Biron or Matt Barnaby or whichever current NHL castoff is part of the TSN panel knows less about the prospects than we do. He can't fake his way through the top five any--WOW that kid who was just drafted has terrible skin and I think his voice just cracked! That's the funniest thing to ever happen on-air!

Eighth pick: Atlanta Thrashers

Emerson Etem is a "California born-and-trained player" according to this LA Times article. So how come the article also mentions he went to Shattuck St. Marty's HS in Minnesota and played junior for Medicine Hat?

Ninth pick: Minnesota Wild


Jingoistic dicks.

Tenth pick: New York Rangers

A Canadian team gets the first pick, and then they don't pick again until the 16th, barring trades. This takes away from TSN's storylines, and a visibly tired James Duthie lets out a yawn on-air.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Yes, yes, Scott Niedermayer retired and we'll get to that as soon as we can, but for now, let's run down the exhausting programme for the NHL Awards show tomorrow.

-Two rock bands that the majority Canadian audience are not familiar with, and two other musical acts that the majority Canadian audience are kind of familiar with highlight this year's 'famous for the NHL' glamourous Vegas chorus. The Goo Goo Dolls and Shinedown are your typical canned-rock bands that have had a number of hits on obscure charts (not unlike when Finger Eleven performed a couple years ago). The former are from Buffalo, and the latter are from Jacksonville, so at least there's sort of a hockey connection involved. Goo Goo Doll frontman John Rzeznik will likely wear a Sabres jersey, while Brent Smith of Shinedown will either wear a Predators jersey because he's from Tennessee, a Tampa Bay jersey because he's based in northern Florida, or no jersey at all because he's completely forgotten what he's performing for tomorrow night.

-The other two acts are Travis Barker and Snoop Dogg. Snoop is the NHL's most famous celebrity fan, who is often seen at Anaheim Duck games high on cocaine with his son:

As for Travis Barker, he was formerly the drummer for San Diego band Blink-182. If you know a teenage girl from the early 2000s, you probably saw one of their posters. I cannot imagine a worse fit for performing at a hockey show than a tattooed up drummer with no connection to any team or the game itself. Luckily, the man survived a plane crash so he's likely to survive this train wreck.

-Cirque du Soleil are also scheduled to perform, along with Mark Wahlberg and George Stromboulopoulus. It's rumoured that Cirque is performing in an attempt to recruit Maxim Lapierre, who looked like he belonged in that act throughout the playoffs.

Two surefire predictions

-Ron McLean will inevitably drop some awkward jokes about the Phoenix Coyotes situation. The camera will pan to Gary Bettman as he shifts uncomfortably in his seat and reluctantly grins.

-George Stromboulopoulus will piss me off.

Trophy predictions

Norris Trophy:

Duncan Keith, Mike Green and Drew Doughty are up for this one. I can already say I disagree with the winner by the mere fact that Mike Green is a nominee. Conventional wisdom says Keith in this one, but Doughty is the sexy pick, which is typically how writers vote when they get their ballots in the mail and suddenly realize they have no idea what the hell the criteria for this award is.

Jack Adams Award:

Barry Trotz, Joe Sacco and Dave Tippett. You can pretty much guarantee that this will go to Tippett, since the award historically goes to the coach who brought his doomed team to the playoffs, without any thought on actual player development. You get a feeling that Barry Trotz will eventually win this due to the fact that he's stuck around in Nashville and put together good team after good team, but nobody seems to think that the Predators were ever screwed enough to merit giving it to him.

Vezina Trophy:

Ryan Miller, Ilya Bryzgalov and Martin Brodeur. As inconsistent of a year Brodeur had, he led the league in wins and shutouts and was third in goals against average, although those stats (as with all goalie stats) are so heavily biased towards the team playing in front of them that we really have no way of objectively analyzing these goalies to say who's the best. The GMs vote for this one, so they seldom get it wrong. If the writers were voting for it, Miller would win, based on his Olympic performance. Since that isn't the case, this one goes to Ilya Bryzgalov, although that probably isn't a good thing.

The last three goalies to win this trophy other than Brodeur are Jose Theodore, Mikka Kiprusoff and Tim Thomas, all three of whom could attest that their careers haven't necessarily improved, with the exception of the multi-million dollar contracts they all got as a result for getting hot for half a season.

Calder Trophy:

This one always goes without fail to the rookie who scores the most points. I think that it was Matt Duchene this year, and he'll probably win, because he's going up against a defenseman and a goalie. The defenseman, Tyler Myers, is the sexy pick, while Jimmy Howard is the pity pick. This is a guy who got a starting job by being marginally better than Chris Osgood, after all.

Selke Trophy:

Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler and Jordan Staal are up for this one. This pretty much comes down to a coin flip, since there's no objective way of determining the best defensive forward without watching all three nominees play at least half their schedule. Based on that alone, I'll give it to Ryan Kesler, who's shown more nationally in Canada than the other two, but you won't be penalized for taking Staal or Datsyuk either.

Actually, the more I dwell on it, this should go to Datsyuk just so we can watch him give another speech:

Hart Trophy

This is one of the most flawed awards in all of sports, only slightly less than the BCS National Championship Trophy. This is "awarded to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team."

Unfortunately, you can't really judge 'value to the team' when you don't take the playoffs into the equation (otherwise Jonathan Toews would run away with this thing). Since most teams will judge success based in the playoffs, it seems kind of dumb to completely eliminate that part of the season from voting. Otherwise you're just really voting for who the best player in the league is, which is totally fine, but then you'd have to factor in, say, the Olympics this year, because we are now voting for the best hockey player in the world today, who is Jonathan Toews.

'Value to the team' can't be judged when the Canucks, Capitals and Penguins all had the same type of season: they finished first in their respective divisions and had massive playoff failures. There's really no way of negotiating which team would be more S.O.L. without their MVP candidate in the lineup. The Capitals played nine games without Ovechkin and managed a 7-2 record. The Penguins lost in overtime in their only game without Sid, but that was against the eventual Cup champions. Henrik Sedin didn't miss a single game for the Canucks, and based on the sole criteria of 'value to the team' playing the most games probably means you have the most value to your team, amongst the other nominees.

So, without a set criteria, I may as well just say that Matt Cooke should go ahead and win this award, which is no more farfetched an idea than having Mike Green nominated for the Vezina, or admitting girls to the Hall of Fame.


Other big hockey news story. Angela James, Cammi Granato and Dino Ciccarelli were elected to the 2010 Hall of Fame class. I wonder if the extra wait time for Ciccarelli is worth the customary inductee orgy that takes place the night of the ceremony.

The Hockey Hall of Fame, probably the easiest to get into [see: Gillies, Clark], also snubbed Pat Burns from the builder category. Burns has three kinds of cancer, has given up the fight and doesn't have much longer to live, yet he still managed to be snubbed. The Pension Plan Puppets explain the situation far better than I ever could.

There are arguments to be made for and against Dave Andreychuk, Pavel Bure and Doug Gilmour (the most compelling 'for' argument being "but you let Rod Langway in!") but Pat Burns getting in as a builder should have been a sure thing. Even Facebook wanted it to happen. But a coach with three Jack Adams Awards (more than Scotty Bowman!!!) 500 wins (more than Toe Blake!!!) and a Stanley Cup (more than Roger Nielson!!!) who's probably going to get in anyway may as well get in at a time when he can savour the moment.

Or, screw it. The only fun thing about the Hall of Fame is the goalie game.

[Opening doors to Hall of shame - Bruce Arthur, National Post]

Monday, June 21, 2010

Darren Dreger is just no fun

It figures that when Ottawa Citizen writer Ken Warren puts together some exhaustively researched arguments about where Jason Spezza could eventually end up, that noted brat Eklund will set loose some vague conclusions on his legions of fans.

Two things about his post that I love.

#1 - 'Source' is capitalized.

#2 - "a well-placed source" denies an alleged 'Spezza to Columbus' trade as being off just minutes after Darren Dreger, citing Ottawa GM Bryan Murray denied the rumour on Twitter.

You may not be familiar with Twitter, but the first list that Eklund follows is what he calls 'the-big-3-nhl-twitterers', of which Darren Dreger is a part.

It's hard enough to be a hockey blogger out there without Dreger showing up every ten minutes and shitting on your parade, although it is worrying seeing so many BS Eklund rumours show up on the desks of mainstream media folks. Dreger tonight, and Sportsnet last week.

Keep in mind that when Nashville traded for Dan Hamhuis on Friday, that there was absolutely no lead-up to the event. It's almost as if a well-organized professional hockey front office doesn't release sensitive information that might harm the potential value of its assets, and that rumours do not come from NHL teams, but rather educated guesses coming from the team's beat-writers.

The trials of Mike Weir at Pebble Beach

Friday morning: Weir one off lead at U.S. Open
Saturday morning: Mike Weir implodes in Round 2
Monday morning: Mike Weir says rueful goodbye to Pebble Beach

70. 79. 83. 75.

Not exactly a weekend to remember for Sarnia's Mike Weir, and why should he? This is a guy who has not won a PGA tournament since 2007. He's been in the top 10 just once in his last 11 major tournaments. This is a guy who hasn't cracked the top 100 more times than he's come in the top 20 this year.

Sure, for some of us, we'd just love to be out on the course breaking 80 half the time. But Mike Weir was formerly #3 in the world after placing third in the US Open, coming two months after he won the Masters.

After the Skins game next week, Weir is going to head to Italy to drink wine until the British Open where he'll change his swing. That'll help. Get the man some waitresses, and anything can happen in this crazy sport.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

John Helm will choke you with his mind

Media profiles #1

John Helm, the crotchety old Brit you see on your left, is an ITV soccer football commentator who's been optioned out for International World Cup broadcasts. This means that Canadians get to listen to the guy on CBC.

Helm is a tad overweight, and to no means at the 'Eh' Factor do we intend to disparage the lifestyle choices of others, however, for the love of God, John, step away from the microphone when you need to take a patented heavy breath.

Click to listen

It's Darth Vadar-esque. "They lead three-nil" *SNOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRT*

This World Cup has had some strange moments, some odd sounds, but John Helm may have topped the vuvuzela in sheer annoyance. It can't be the South African heat, because it's winter down there. He sounds like he ate more at halftime than an Ivory Coast player has in his entire life, or he climbed the stairs to the broadcast booth.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dan Hamhuis traded to Philadelphia

We all know that Dan Hamhuis' rights were traded to Philadelphia from Nashville earlier, for a pretty good young defenseman. This trade makes perfect sense for the Flyers, whose real problem in the Cup Finals was their defense.

I know Hamhuis has to say all the right things after a trade, but c'mon, Dan, nobody believes you when you say:

"I've heard nothing but great things about the city of Philadelphia and the Flyers."

That's the city that booed Santa Claus.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren isn't going to win by tinkering with the defense. Whether you have Parent or Hamhuis is pretty well irrelevant when you have a goalie who acts like an obstacle on a miniature golf course. You just have to time the shot right to get it past the clown teeth or the windmill, or between Michael Leighton's legs.

Parent had a rough Finals, but he'll rebound. He's young, he's tough, Pierre McGuire loves him and he's off to play under Barry Trotz, who is to young defensemen as his appetite is to doughnut sales.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Offseason surprise #1: Jaro Halak traded

And other Friday headlines

-Some of us enjoyed the irony of the star player of a team named the Canadiens was a Slovakian. Unfortunately, he has been traded for a Dane.

Just to inject a bit of reality into the situation, there was no chance that the Canadiens were going to be able to keep Halak. Some General Manager out there was probably willing to sign the guy to a ridiculous offer sheet, and why not? He brought both Montreal and Team Slovakia to the Final Four.

Halak said he was surprised to be traded, and I can think that this is probably the best way for it to have all gone down. The Canadiens get a couple of solid prospects in Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. Eller is 6'0" 198 lbs, and Schultz is 6'2" 205 and both are forwards.

In all honesty, the current Habs team probably wouldn't even make the playoffs next year. That Eastern Conference is a total crap shoot, so I'm going to go off and say this was a good move for Montreal, in that maybe their stop signs will return to normal, eliminating the Slovakian name on a sign that should only have two languages on it.

-Depending on Ray Emery's contract status, there's a chance that Danny Briere is the worst driver on the Flyers.

-Mike Weir is one stroke back at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach after the first round. Today's mission: put together a solid round to get in contention for the weekend, and then completely fuck it up with back to back 80s on Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And here's a video of Jason Bay tripping at first base

Trail's Jason Bay ran right into Andy Marte's butt hustling down the line in the second inning, and was pulled in the sixth with a mild quad strain, or charley horse, or something.

It's been an odd year for Bay, which I guess comes with the territory after signing with the Mets. He had an 0-for-16 slump last week, has only hit four home runs, and is now listed as day-to-day after falling in comical fashion.

Sportsnet and their dirty Brodeur/Semin rumour

Sportsnet video from yesterday

I'm going to assume I'm not the only one who hates Sportsnet Connected. It's not that I have an affinity for neck ties, it's just that it looks absolutely pretentious when guys with grey hair pretend they're "with it."

Part of pretending they're "with it" involves their involvement with hockey 'blogger' Dwayne Klessel, who goes by the pen name of 'Eklund', who appeals to the lowest common denominator of hockey fans.

Klessel was part of the Sportsnet deadline day fiasco back in 2007, where he sat in the shadows at the top of the set.

Back on Tuesday, Klessel 'reported', citing his own anonymous sources that Martin Brodeur was going to be traded to Washington or something. (And then yesterday he pretty much contradicted his own post with another.)

I guess I'll pay lip service to how stupid of an idea the Devils trading Martin Brodeur would be. He's staying there for the rest of his career. He's not going anywhere, no matter how many Russians he can be traded for to convince Ilya Kovalchuk to stay.

But, a couple of New York newspapers picked up on the story, here's one, and here's the second.

It was Rich Chere from the Star Ledger who was the first 'mainstream' personality to respond to the rumour. Naturally, two New York newspapers that quoted Lou Lamoriello denying the dumbest trade rumour in existence obviously gives enough credence to the rumour so Sportsnet can run with it, right?

Screw journalist integrity, we have a demographic to maintain.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The 'Eh' Factor with the vuvuzela

A couple of days ago I wondered whether it was possible to have a notorious vuvuzela playing over a post. Well, thanks to the beloved internet, this is now possible. Just click here and you can read this post with the sweet, sweet hum of the vuvuzela in the lower left corner.

A couple of notes...

-Neate Sager killed it with his post about the Waterloo steroid scandal. As I found out last night, testing for CIS teams is usually some online exam that gives you a certificate, much like the one I had to take at work allowing me to lift heavy objects.

No player is given a mandatory test unless they make their sports' respective national tournament.

-Our red-and-white Swiss brethren had a shocking! (!!!) upset over Spain this morning, even though (a) the Swiss didn't allow a goal at the '06 World Cup and (b) Spain are the San Jose Sharks of the World Cup, never finishing higher than fourth, despite massive expectations.

With the NHL draft just a week away, I can't help what this does for Swiss prospect Nino Neiderreiter's draft stock.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Waterloo drug scandal, Maple Leafs saved

Tuesday morning headlines

-Rob Pettapiece has a nice piece at The CIS blog about the decision to suspend the entire Waterloo football program because nine of the team's 62 players were found to be using drugs.

Pettapiece uses a great term "drive-by media" for a case like this. Indeed, the Waterloo scandal was the lead story on CBC's "The National" Monday night, and it seems the only time Canadian Interuniversity Sport gets into the news is because of a scandal, whether it's steroids, hazing, or Mike Danton.

I'll add onto this, since Pettapiece obviously missed Marg McGregor's quote on the National. McGregor, (for you future university sports reporters, has a lovely answering machine) the CEO of the CIS, said that "we are not taking the view that this is an isolated problem at the University of Waterloo exclusively, and in fact our former testing results have shown that we have had positive infractions not just in football."

Waterloo suspended the whole team team. No dumb humour here. This is a pretty serious situation. Whenever the CIS gets any press, it's usually negative. Perhaps the lack of media support factors into why so few fans come out to watch CIS teams, and thus why some players need to resort to drugs.

From my knowledge, testing policies in Canadian collegiate and university sports vary on a team-by-team basis. In Kamloops, our local university spent $1.4 million on its athletic department (not including athletic scholarships) in the 2009-2010 season, without a single dollar being explicitly dished out to testing or medical treatment of players.

This will be something I will be looking into, due to my recent history of having some bullshit bone to pick with people who are bigger, stronger and more influential than myself, but I've always advocated for cleanliness in sports, since my baseball career ended when I learned that many baseball players at this school were juicing when I was considering a tryout.

-In more positive, hilarious news, Calgary cast-off Dion Phaneuf has officially donned the "C" in Toronto, and the Leafs finally brought back tail-stripes to their otherwise naked jerseys from last season.

Wendel Clark, George Armstrong and Doug Gilmour were all on hand at a private ceremony at Real Sports Bar & Grill Monday as Phaneuf put on his brand-new shirt. The shirts will be available exclusively at Real Sports Apparel for the next week. Both entities are owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, so I have a slight suspicion that Phaneuf isn't really the best candidate for a new captain, but he's the one who will sell the most jerseys and promote their new sports bar.

So really, nothing has changed in Toronto.

-Now that unfounded Jason Spezza rumours have died down, The Ottawa Citizen has decided to break the news that Jonathan Cheechoo will be bought out today. Remember back in 2006 when you needed a good goalie to win the Stanley Cup and Cheechoo/Spezza would have been the best line in hockey?

-An earthquake tremor hit during the 8th inning of the Blue Jays/Padres game. In equally likely news, Aaron Hill got three hits and Kevin Gregg managed to save a game.


In honour of BTO guitarist Tim Bachmann being charged for having sex with a girl under the age of 15...

...and go watch some soccer. The late game today (2 EST) features Brazil, which means it will be your best chance to see nudity on midday network TV.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The terrible tragedy of Danny Brannagan

Or, your Monday morning briefing

-It's no secret that Canadian quarterbacks have it tough in this world. Danny Brannagan will be the next to figure that one out. Brannagan went 3-of-11 for 31 yards, was picked, was sacked, and will have to wake up tomorrow as a Toronto Argonaut.

None of the Argos four QBs registered a touchdown, and former Heisman trophy winner Ken Dorsey was picked late in the fourth quarter.

Again, this is a Hamilton team that didn't dress a single regular from last year.

Read Mark Masters' article about the struggles of Brannagan here, along with some rah-rahing. Toronto apparently won 13-10, which doesn't bode well for the second string special teams units in Hamilton.

-Three other CFL games were played today. The Saskatchewan Roughriders had two touchdowns called back (already in Grey Cup form) to penalties and lost to the Lions 19-17. Buck Pierce, in his Blue Bomber debut, went 6-of-10 for 105 yards, a touchdown, 34 rushing yards and a career low six concussions. In Edmonton, the story was the terrible loss of the only natural grass stadium in the CFL, as Commonwealth is now home to some high tech grass that you can play a football game on, and then get you can get home and get stoned to the bejeezus belt on this stuff at night.

-The Jays were swept by Colorado, but today, there was a twist! See, Jeff Francis last won a game at Coors Field on June 18, 2008, but pitched seven innings today, with five hits and two runs and four strikeouts to give the Rockies a 10-3 victory.

-It turns out we can't have a day where neither Justin Morneau or Jason Bay go 0-for-4. Morneau left two on base and struck out against the Braves, but broke out of an 0-for-18 slump with a 4-for-4 night against Milwaukee, including a solo jack in the fifth inning. Joey Votto showed both of them up with a 2-for-4, two home run game against the Kansas City Royals. (okay, shouldn't count for as much, but still)

-Lewis Hamilton won some car race in Montreal. Vroom.

-Finally, Ryan Dempster broke every unwritten rule about the Stanley Cup, and hoisted it over his head as the champion Blackhawks were honoured at Wrigley yesterday. This all but assures Dempster will never win as a player.


Will this blog be more exciting if I edited the HTML code so that the sound of a vuvuzela (also known as the Ivor Wynne trumpet of doom) can be heard as soon as you click on the link?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Liddell KO'd in Vancouver, Hamilton with pole in Montreal

Your Sunday morning update

-Three Canadians were on the card at Saturday's UFC 115 event in Vancouver. Montreal's Claude Patrick won against Brazilian Ricardo Funch with a guillotine choke in the second round in his UFC debut. Former middleweight #1 contender David Loiseau lost to Mario Miranda to TKO, but the Canadian buzzmaker at the event was Quesnel's Rory MacDonald, who took home a $65,000 "Fight of the Night" bonus in a loss to Carlos Condit.

The welterweight MacDonald, a 20-year old phenom who debuted professionally four years ago, dominated Condit with early strikes and take downs during the first two rounds. He came out a little cocky in the third and the veteran Condit devastated the BC-native with ground-and-pound, appearing to fracture Rory's right orbital bone with an elbow. The fight was stopped with just eight seconds left, which incensed the pro-MacDonald crowd, but the kid learned a valuable lesson in the Octagon tonight.

And that lesson, kids, is that if you work your whole life to an end of standing in a cage trading punches with big, scary men who work out for a living, you're probably going to get hurt at some point.

In the main event, Chuck Liddell, got knocked out for the third time in as many fights by Rich Franklin. Turns out his nickname "Iceman" derives from the substance most often applied to his face.

-Our friendly neighbors to the South tilted the world on its axis when a soft goal by Clint Dempsey found it's way past keeper Robert Green, upsetting our friendly cousins across the pond in World Cup action.

British broadcaster Martin Tyler told American audiences after the goal that it's "not one that you see regularly. If you're watching a game like this for the first time—and maybe some of you are—that just doesn't happen."

I think Tyler was referring to any type of scoring in soccer.

Meanwhile, Green reportedly has a tryout with the Vancouver Canucks next month.

-One of the most awkward headlines ever is about Lewis Hamilton's exploits in Montreal. I'm not sure if the UK Reuters reporter was referring to Hamilton's performance in the Canadian Grand Prix qualifying, or his preference of strip bars on Rue St.-Catherines.

-Jeff Francis pitches against the Blue Jays today, who will send Jesse Litsch out to the mound for his first start of the season. The Expos have Stephen Strasburg going against Cleveland today. Interleague baseball! Love it!

-Justin Morneau and Jason Bay were a combined 0-for-7 today. Joey Votto went 1-for-3 with three runs scored and two walks, an RBI and a stolen base. I'm still trying to find out what team Matt Stairs signed with in the offseason.

-The Montreal Alouettes got their Grey Cup rings today. The team splurged on material costs this time around and went with 'A'-grade tinfoil.

-Finally, Chrissy Pronger had a brief retort to Adam Burish today, who called Pronger "the biggest idiot in the league" during the Stanley Cup celebrations Wednesday night. Pronger should really try to hit Burish where it hurts, by stealing the puck from Burish's first NHL goal, assuming that it's already happened.


-Algeria/Slovenia. Serbia/Ghana. Germany/Australia. Canadian Grand Prix. If you live in Winnipeg, Toronto, Regina or Edmonton, you could watch a CFL pre-season game. Get used to that feeling if you're in Toronto.

Friday, June 11, 2010

K'naan sucks live, and Blake retires

Your Friday morning reading

-Here's a lovely piece about the retirement of Rob Blake, set to the words of Leo Tolstoy.

-TSN Headline: REPORT: Toronto awarded 2010 Grey Cup, apparently a full two years before the game itself is scheduled to be played.

-A day after the Cup Finals, where the country might begin to care about the Jays, they win on the heels of a strong start by Brett Cecil against the best team in the majors. Now that that's over, the World Cup is sure to drag the Jays back into relative obscurity.

Except today they play against Ubaldo Jiminez, which is worth watching, I believe this will be Jiminez's first appearance on Canadian TV. Don't miss it. It'll take three whole years before the next one.

-There are two high-profile Canadians at the World Cup, and neither are playing soccer. Steve Nash will be writing for CBSSports, while Somali-Canadian rapper K'Naan deals with Coca Cola's official song.

So, K'Naan was singing at the opening celebration concert, and, ugh... judge for yourselves:

It's amazing what auto-tune does, eh?

Kickoff is today. The first goal is projected for as early as next week.

-Justin Morneau! 2-for-4! Michael Saunders! 2-for-4! Ryan Dempster! Manages to avoid being tagged with the loss.

-Rich Harden is on the mound against Milwaukee for Texas today, unless he's traded first. Uh oh.


I apologize for having defended Chris Pronger yesterday. Allow me to make it up to you by introducing you to the wonderfully addicting game that is Taberinos.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicago's dynasty ended as soon as it began...

The summer of cap problems in Chicago

James Duthie got a leg up on everybody today, but hilariously pointing out that Jonathan Toews gets a $1.3 million bonus for winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. Whether that's worth the diamond crypto smartphone or 6,500,000 cab fares for teammate Patrick Kane, it also adds up to one huge headache for Chicago General Manager Stan Bowman.


Toews - 7.500
Kane - 6.200
Hossa - 5.233
Sharp - 3.900
Bolland - 3.375
Versteeg - 3.083
Byfuglien - 3.000

Campbell - 7.140
Keith - 5.551
Seabrook - 3.500

Huet - 5.625

Their cap hit for next year is already $58.866 million when you factor in the Toews bonus. The cap isn't expected to go up all that much if it does at all, meaning that the Blackhawks could have less than a million dollars to sign four players. Some of these contracts, like Brian Campbell's, Cristobal Huet's, Patrick Sharp's, Dave Bolland's and Kris Versteeg's, are absolutely un-tradeable.

See you in 2059, when Marian Hossa's contract is up, and also when the Blackhawks are due to win their fifth Stanley Cup.

Required viewing: Adam Burish has nice things to say about Pronger


Yes, on national television (although it IS NBC) Adam Burish called Chris Pronger "the biggest idiot in the league."

The best case scenario for this is that it'll turn into a hilarious exchange between Pronger and some anonymous beatwriter.

Since being traded from St. Louis, Chris Pronger has reached the Cup Finals with every single team he's been with in his first year of play, meaning his trade stock would be at its all-time highest, if it weren't for that stupid 7-year, $34 million deal Philly gave him.

So, really, Adam, while I'm sure you're proud you won the Cup and all, it's not like Pronger has never done anything. I'm sure 'Chrissy' is going to go home, his hot wife, to his millions of dollars, to his Stanley Cup ring, to his two Olympic gold medals, to his World Championship gold, to his World Junior gold, and to his Hart Trophy, seriously reconsidering being "the biggest idiot in the league."

Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup (no... really)

-The last time Chicago won the Stanley Cup, sock-hop was popular, Kennedy was president, and Wayne Gretzky didn't even know how to crawl. It was a long, long time ago. But, championship droughts, like the hopes of Michael Leighton signing a big contract, must come to an end. It really is a pity that it came against the very likeable Philadelphia Flyers and their classy fans.

-The NHL moved the trophy presentation from the traditional centre ice spot to the zamboni entrance, presumably because Philly fans are prone to violence. Never mind that they appeared to do that last year in Detroit when Pittsburgh won.

-Jonathan Toews became the fourth (fifth, or sixth, depending on how you order them) player to win the Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal in the same year, but also was named the top forward at the Olympics as well as winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP (finals apparently not included in the voting for some reason) which is truly amazing. At just 22 years old, the man has all that, plus a World Junior gold medal to his name as well as a World Championship. I was born just a couple of months after the guy, and here I am eating cheetos in some god forsaken basement blogging. That son of a bitch.

-Patrick Kane's goal... was it the most anti-climatic moment in sports history? Only Kane, Patrick Sharp and Darryl Powe seem to notice that the puck went in. The referee, goal judge, and even Jim Hughson were flummoxed as to what had happened, and as the Blackhawks poured onto the ice in utter confusion, only then was the puck fished out of the net. Not fished out of the net? Michael Leighton's signing bonus.

-Transcript of the goal call:

Jim Hughson: "Campbell, holds the puck in at the line, turns, won't shoot. Kane, watched by Kimmo Timonen, to the net... ... ... Leighton stopped it! It came loose on the other side of the net!"

Craig Simpson: "It's in."

Jim: "It's over! Patrick Kane has scored the goal! The Chicago Blackhawks long drought is over!"

-Although that beats the hell out of the Bob Cole/Harry Neale version of the call, which I imagine would have gone as follows.

Bob Cole: "Philadelphia, in the orange, still can't seem to get the puck out of the zone and the white team keeps it in..."

Harry Neale: "They're applying a lot of pressure here Bob!"

Bob: "Look at the moves by the young Chicago forward, Patrick Kane that is! He takes the puck in front and he shoots and he went wide with it. Chicago retreats, and... oh my... it looks like Chicago will get a penalty here, the play is called."

Harry: "That could be a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, Bob. They're all out there. It's been an epidemic this postseason, and now Philadelphia is going to have a powerplay chance to end the game and send this series back to Toronto for Game 7."

-Ron MacLean opened the night by awkwardly standing in front of the Flyers loosening up playing soccer and reading poetry. It wasn't quite Don Cherry at the organ bad, but I'm wondering what the hell CBC could have done for an intro if a 7th game was forced. Thankfully, we are done with these until next June. I never imagined I would possibly long for the days of Scott Oake's pre-recorded interviews with assistant coaches before games.

-In other dumb studio host news, here is a video of Jeremy Roenick crying on NBC.

-With four different 24-hour sports channels in this country, we tend to overanalyze everything. Tune into TSN or Sportsnet tomorrow to see what Nick Kypreos or Darren Dreger or some other brainstem says what the turning point in the series was. The turning point in the series, actually, came three years ago, when a ping pong ball fell into the right place to give Chicago the first overall pick. They took Kane. The Flyers picked second, and ended up with James Van Riemsdyk, who was only in the lineup this series because he isn't a huge idiot like Daniel Carcillo.

-Baseball happened. Toronto lost. Morneau got a hit. Bay's game was postponed.

-The CFL is joining the 21st century which will give quarterbacks headsets and allow them to communicate with their coach between plays. The headsets delivered to Blue Bombers camp allow members of the team to communicate with the defense lawyers between aggravated assaults.


Hockey is done. We're sad. But don't let it bring you down.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pronger wears a skirt

Wednesday, June 9th

-Essentially all that happened today is the Chicago Tribune published a photoshopped picture of Masters Champion Chris Pronger wearing a skirt. Pronger responded by saying he "doesn't read what you [the media] write," but I'm pretty sure he's seen the picture, and thought it was just as lame as I do. This is something that would be moderately funny for somebody younger than 12, and frankly the Chicago Tribune look like dumb kids for running the picture.

Pronger has had a great playoffs. Nobody saw Philadelphia making it this far, and Pronger has pretty much lifted the team on his back and carried them to the finals. As much as we hate him, he's a great defenseman. His only two bad games of the playoffs are the games in which his goaltender(s) got absolutely shelled because they're bad goalies.

Also, did you know that the five times that the Conn Smythe Trophy was awarded to the losing team, twice it went to a member of the Flyers? There's a pretty high probability, given Jonathan Toews' no-show in the Finals (thanks in large part to Pronger dominating that line physically) that it could happen a third time.

-The Blue Jays had a chance to redeem themselves after blowing a pair of 9th inning leads to the Rays last week at home. Let's see how they did in the first of three against Tampa.

-Justin Morneau was one K short of the golden sombrero in an 0-for-4 night against Zack Grienke and the Royals. Jeff Francis gave up seven hits in as many innings, striking out one and getting a no-decision. Francis avoiding the loss thanks to an equally mediocre performance by his bullpen was the only bright spot in Canadian baseball today. Except for Stephen Strasburg of the Montreal Expos who had 14 Ks in his Major League debut. This is just what Montreal needs to get people back to the Big-O.


Game 6 is tonight, but mostly we're waiting for the World Cup, and its large Canadian contingent [K'Naan] to perform. With so few sports on TV, it's almost embarassing to have the TV on all the time, searching for something remotely watchable. Yesterday I settled on 'Jeopardy!' reruns.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Neil owes $2.4 mil, idle Jays draft

Your Tuesday headlines

-Due to blogger being down yesterday, we could not bring you the headlines. Unfortunately, they were very funny, and only our esteemed editor had a chance to read them.

-First off, it appears that Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil has been in debt for quite some time.

Luckily, the man has all kinds of talent to fall back on.

-The Blue Jays drafted Deck McGuire, a future KRIO Action 7! News team anchor, with the 11th pick in the draft. The guy sounds totally badass, and, as a Blue Jays right hander, would probably only blow 30 saves a year!

-Here's a blog post comparing Chris Pronger to Gordie Howe in a way that does not stretch as much as it could. Pronger has had two horrible games these playoffs, in which times the goalie has been pulled.

-Joey Votto went 0-for-3. Had Michael Saunders not hit a three-run homer, we'd have been doomed at the next Baseball Classic.


Okay, we're done. We need sleepz.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

QMJHL draft-day trade shuts down Montreal radio

Your Sunday morning headlines

-Montreal Canadien draft-pick and future Hall of Fame winger Louis Leblanc, the hometown hero of Habstown, had his rights traded from Chicoutimi to the Montreal Junior 'Q' team, prompting speculation that he'll drop out of Harvard to play a year of junior in his hometown, giving Habs fans a reason to riot again.

You might not speak French, but you won't really want to. In this post, we're convinced that Leblanc can just as easily continue his studies at McGill University while he plays for the Junior. Hell, Bob McKenzie, a media leader in not jumping the shark, tweeted that he'd be "shocked if [Leblanc] doesn't leave Harvard for Q."

Anything to make people in Montreal care about the 'Q' again. The picture above Leblanc at Habs development camp yesterday, a snapshot that also made the rounds.

-From universal obsession to the completely overlooked, the Blue Jays beat the Yankees on a second straight day by a 3-2 score, with Aaron Hill knocking in the winning run in the bottom of the 14th in what was actually a pretty good game. Vernon Wells and Alex Gonzalez homered, bringing the team total to 96 on the year, 18 dingers above the next highest team in baseball, the Red Sox. The team has also struck out 427 batters, good for fourth in both leagues and just three behind the Dodgers, leading the category. Pretty soon there is going to be no reason to not watch the Blue Jays. It's a scary thought.

-Across town at BMO field, there is no danger of that happening with the local Reds, or 'Toronto FC' as they call them in soccer circles. They drew 0-0 on the road to the Kansas City Wizards yesterday, prompting one F.C. blogger to take pleasure in the upcoming World Cup break, since it means he won't have to watch F.C. for a while.

-Not his strongest outing of the year, but Ryan Dempster won another game, he's now 4-5 on the year, as the Cubs beat the Astros 8-5. He gave up six hits, two homers, and walked a couple, but managed to strike out seven. Justin Morneau was given the day off in a Twinkie 4-3 win over the As (although he managed to come in for a heroic pinch-hit walk in the 9th, before heroically being pulled for J.J. Hardy, who scored the winning run) and Jason Bay should have been given the day off. He went 0-for-4 with two Ks.


With the Belmont Stakes today, horse racing's triple crown season is over. Next up on jockey's to-do lists: workouts with the Montreal Canadiens.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blogger: Pha-noof to save Leafs with arbitrary stitching on jersey

Leafs defenseman to be introduced as captain this month. Maybe.

The blogosphere has taken off. Ron Wilson started it after the season when he said that most players on the team look up to Phaneuf as the leader.

Today, some blogger known as 'The Hockey Twit' has posted a mockup of the Leafs sweater with the "C" on it for Phaneuf.

It's eventually going to happen. Part of the reason why the Leafs haven't named a captain since Mats Sundin is because they didn't want it to go to some European player like Kaberle, who's been with the organization for a while, wants to stay even with all the people demanding he leave, garners respect around the league and is one of it's premier offensive defensemen.

Rather, they will wait to give it to Phaneuf, who most of the league hates, who's been there for only a few months, and is one of the league's premier defensemen at missing the net and being out of position.

It will happen. Maybe 'The Hockey Twit' is right and it will happen on June 15. If not, we'll have to wait a little longer before we can cue the "I haven't seen a Dion lead this bad since..." jokes.

Morning Briefing - Saturday June 5th

Fin big in Game 4, Jays radio host suspended

-Ville Leino scored a lucky little goal off of the back of Kris Versteeg, and his Flyers survived a late charge to win 5-3 in Game 4, tying the series at two, bringing us back to Chicago. Patrick Kane finally got an assist in this one, but Jonathan Toews is still held off the scoresheet.

Captain Obvious sez: If the Chicago top line doesn't get it together, Philadelphia win this series. Joel Quenneville is making himself look stupid by continually allowing Philly to match up Chris Pronger with Dustin Byfuglien. Put Patrick Sharp back up on that line, make the line faster and skate around the guy.

Or, just keep doing what you're doing. You're the coach.

Also to note, how great has this series been?

-Here's a dissapointing story out of Toronto (surprisingly, that doesn't even involve the Leafs). Wilner, a host for the Toronto Blue Jays radio station, Fan 950, has the weekend off due to comments made about Cito Gaston after Gaston brutally mis-managed the final two games of the Tampa Bay series. Rogers Communications own the Blue Jays, the stadium, the Fan 950 and Rogers Sportsnet, who show every Blue Jays game this year.

Convergence is a wonderful thing. Oftentimes in sports we forget how important basic beat reporters are. People who cover the team and question decisions. This is a case of the Toronto Blue Jays attempting to control their communications, which they're fine to do, but the radio network and the Jays should work at arms length from each other.

Whether it's pro sports, amateur sports, or collegiate sports, no reporter who has been granted access should ever be barred from attending, asking questions, or reporting games. Newspapers and radio stations are not free advertising space for sports organizations, though it often works out that way.

I dislike Rogers Communications, and part of it comes from the way they have a monopoly on pro baseball in Canada. TSN and CBC no longer have the odd weekend games to show.

-Meanwhile, the Jays managed to hold onto a 9th inning lead for a change, winning 6-1 over the Yankees. Jose Bautista had two more home runs, and at one point was a trending topic on Twitter. Brett Cecil went eight strong, allowing just five hits.

I'm scared to write anything negative about the game, since the Jays might cut off my access to the team.

-Gibdan Hamdan, apparently a former NFL quarterback, retired from football at Argos camp today apparently after looking at himself in the mirror and decided he couldn't offer "100% dedication to the team."

Following his lead, the rest of the Argos left, citing the same problem. Like you would want to dress in powder blue on national TV and lose 15 games a year.

The development just means that we are ever so close to Glen Suitor publicly fellating Danny Brannagan when he throws a completion.

-Finally, Toronto's Laura Newcombe tied for 5th at the Scripps Spelling Bee after missing 'confiserie'. I can't really complain about her performance, because it took me three times to type the word with a cheet sheet on my other tab. There's a joke about the Canada's performances at international sporting events (specifically, the Olympics) somewhere in here, but I haven't found it yet.

At 11, the youngest speller in the final, it seems as if we have a child prodigy on our hands.


This is the Eh Factor, the 100% green-efficient sports blog. Suck it, BP.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Morning Briefing - Friday, June 3rd

CFL camps open, Morneau continues to roll

-Training camps are open for rookies around the CFL. One of them in Toronto will become the new starting quarterback. In a world where former Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks run amok searching for software engineering jobs, you'd think one of them would be able to spend a few months throwing to wide open defensive backs in the CFL East Division. It's not like it's a job that will carry over into November.

-Justin Morneau singled last night in Seattle, increasing his hit streak to a modest six games, briefly taking over the top spot in the American League batting race before he went 0-fer in his last three at bats. The Twins won 4-1, giving them three out of four games in the series. The Twins move on to play Oakland to actually face Dallas Braden tonight. Remember him? He pitched a perfect game about a month ago.

-After a pair of blown 9th inning leads, the Jays kick off a three-game set against the Yankees tonight. Brett Cecil (5-2) goes up against former Jay A.J. Burnett (6-2). Until Cecil spells 'laodician' correctly, I'll have my butt firmly planted in my seat cheering on Toronto's Laura Olivia Newcombe.

-Meanwhile, your required reading today comes from Jack Bogoch, who investigated a Regina hockey school of fighting with an open mind. [] Given that somebody has died doing this and it's not leaving the game anytime soon, shouldn't schools like this be more commonplace?


Quick. What are your favourite drinking games to play when watching the spelling bee? It's easier to watch than Jeopardy, because the solutions are right there on the screen. All you have to do is watch and hope the 11-year old kid doesn't screw up. Like parents taking their kids on Toddlers and Tiaras.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The next true north hope

This weekend is the Scripps National Spelling Bee. There is only one Canadian contestant, but, after finishing 17th last year, the seasoned veteran is hungry and eager to spell.

Toronto's Laura Olivia Newcombe, who goes to Deer Park Elementary School, is from a family of spellers. Sister Leslie competed back in 2006 at the event.

Here's her profile on the official Scripps website. No stats are listed yet, but you can bet we'll all be huddled around our television boxes cheering on the #24 speller.

Go Laura!

We remember the worst blown calls of all time

CBC came out with their list of top 10 blown calls in celebration of Jim Joyce singlehandedly ruining a perfect game from a smiling Armando Galarraga.

The call is really only funny if Hitler and his Generals are narrating the action.

CBC's list is almost complete, but, for a network that takes so much criticism for catering to the Toronto Maple Leafs, it's surprising the list is short one Gretzky high stick.

Why was that one left off the list, but the 2004 Phantom Goal on the list?

I guess that's the way things go these days at that network.

Thursday June 4th - Morning Briefing

I had written a post, but then Jim Joyce came around and deleted it before I could publish it.

-In all seriousness, Armando Galarraga threw out 27 of 27 batters, but on the 27th, a terrible call from umpire Jim Joyce kept him from throwing the third perfect game in 22 days. World of sports explodes, and all of a sudden Kerry Fraser is vindicated for the Gretzky non-call in 1993.

-Stanley Cup Finals. Philly wins at home, breaking Chicago's 7-game winning streak on the road. Ben Eager did not take the puck at the end of the game, so there's no real story here, except we saw a fantastic hockey game and are looking forward to Game 4 on Friday, with the series at 2-1 for the Blackhawks. Also to note, the deciding game will be on network television in the States, since VERSUS carried Games 2 through 4. 5, 6 and 7 are all on NBC. Bet they won't when Winnipeg and Hamilton meet in the Cup Finals.

-The Blue Jays gave up another lead in the 9th to the Rays, but Kevin Gregg wasn't in tonight to pin the blame on. A fantastic baseball game was at 2-1 headed into the 9th, and then Shawn Marcum collapsed. Toronto lost 7-3.

-Justin Morneau was upstaged by Ken Griffey retiring at Safeco last night but managed a hit in a 2-1 loss. Joey Votto was hitless but Jason Bay was 3-for-4 in a Mets loss to the Padres. Suddenly I'm not feeling so optimistic about the World Baseball Classic.


I don't know what's on tap for today. I'll take a walk, then end up watching baseball. The secret to good chicken is tomato sauce, hot sauce and teriyaki sauce. Let it be known.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Shootout on the docket

General Managers discuss shootout, head hits

At today's General Manager meetings in Philadelphia, a surprising issue was put forward: NHL teams think that there are too many shootouts deciding games. The conversation paused awkwardly when Flyers GM Paul Holmgren was asked for his opinion.

The "Ken Holland" solution, according to Bob McKenzie, is to follow 4-on-4 overtime with 3-on-3 overtime before the shootout occurs. I have another suggestion to add to that. Between overtime and the shootout, stop scraping the ice. With a three-man format instead of a five-man format to decide games, you're already pretty much allowing for a situation where one lucky bounce can determine the outcome. Ice scraping already takes too much time, and if we come to a situation where another period of overtime comes before the shootout, we're looking at games being three hours long in the regular season.

I like the Ken Holland rule.

The other topic of conversation was the blindside hit to the head rule. It looks as if we'll have a rule next year which allows referees to call a 5-minute penalty on the blindside head hit. Not a bad idea, if you're some kind of pansy. Next I suppose players will want to wear visors.

Wednesday June 2nd - Morning Briefing

Pronger... and Angel Hernandez goes ape shit

-Philadelphia has had trouble with discipline in the Cup Finals. Chicago can't get its first line going. Neither team has played very well, and Chicago find themselves up 2-0. So what's the biggest story? Naturally, Chris Pronger picking up a puck and upsetting Ben Eager.

Down Goes Brown, everybody's favourite, has the latest on the absurdity, chronicling other "jerk" things Chris Pronger has done, prior to him stealing game pucks from the Cup Finals. [Down Goes Brown]

-What's the deal with Steve Nash's legacy? Tim Micallef uses sound bits from Charles Barkley to convince the world that Nash is a surefire Hall of Famer the minute he retires: [The Score]

Now... my friends and I had a debate over a glass of wine/rum/beer tonight, how many more years does Nash have left in him? My completely unfounded guess is six, based on the rate he's improved over the years. With Goran Dragic developing into a capable backup point guard, Nash will only need to play 30 minutes to give the Suns a good chance.

-If you happened to catch the Blue Jays yesterday, you hit the jackpot. Toronto played great until the 9th, when Kevin Gregg went all Little League on Tampa's hitters and threw five walks to allow the Rays to erase a 2-run Toronto lead and take one of their own. This came after Carlos Peña was not granted a timeout at bat, struck out, and forced Joe Maddon to come out and yell at home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Maddon was subsequently tossed, then went after Joe West for good measure.

The way Maddon acted was enough to make Joe West seem downright reasonable. He is the crew chief, but this is the same umpire who tossed Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buerhle for showing up to the ballpark last week. He is a major league umpire with his own publicist and country record, but Joe Maddon made him seem reasonable.

Either way, Gregg got tossed after Cito Gaston took him out of the game four batters too late, and the Jays came close to tieing the game in the bottom of the 9th, with Vernon Wells coming within a foot to the top of the wall to making it a 7-7 ball game. He settled for the RBI double, Jays drop a close, important one to Tampa.

Tomorrow is David Price (7-2) against Shawn Marcum (5-1). I advise you not to miss this one.

-Also starting tomorrow, Vancouver's Jeff Francis for Colorado against the Giants. More Canadians tonight, Justin Morneau homered, but the Twins lost 7-1 to Seattle. Joey Votto homered too for Cincinatti, but he also went 4-for-5 and his Reds beat the Cardinals 9-8. He also score three runs and took the lead in the National League batting race, two points ahead of Christian Guzman with .326, or .326 above the 'Aaron Hill Line.'

-CFL camps open tomorrow. Very excited for pigskin up here.


That's pretty well it. If I missed something, like a Brian Tallet perfect game, I'll be sure to pay full lip service tomorrow in a post directing you to somebody else's work. Have a great hump day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday June 1st - Morning Briefing

Pronger causes trouble, Jays continue to roll

-We've all played pickup sports with that kid who would pick up the ball and go home if a game didn't go his way. It turns out Chris Pronger is one of those guys.

If you don't have the luxury of the Sportscentre morning loop with Onrait and O'Toole, you may have not noticed that Pronger picked up the puck after the game (you can see it in his left glove at the 0:27 mark) and then flicked a towel at Ben Eager.

Of course, Philadelphia had lost their second straight one-goal game 2-1 this time, and Craig Simpson on CBC speculated that Pronger wanted to keep the puck away from the Blackhawks as a part of team history. Pronger will go down in history as a great defenseman, and also somewhat of a prick. The man might be better served getting his team ready for Game 3 in Philly rather than attempting to play jedi mind-tricks with Ben Eager. "You are not a goal scorer."

"I am not a goal scorer."

"This is not the puck you're looking for."

"This is not the puck we're looking for."

Pronger later said he didn't know what language Eager was speaking. Eager apparently came all the way across the ice to tell him "you can keep the puck."

Either way, this is sure to broil down to a bigger controversy than Greedo shooting first. It may be wise to avoid Nick Kypreos' opinion on this one.

-His numbers weren't spectacular and his form wasn't particularly impressive, but Brendan Morrow put together a solid outing and gave the Jays a huge win in their first of three against the Rays to improve to 4-4 on the year. The Jays knocked Tampa started Matt Garza (5-4) pretty well, but only had three runs to show for their 11 hits. Adam Lind hit an opposite-field shot in the first inning, Vernon Wells had two more hits and Aaron Hill went 3-for-4 to increase his batting average to a paltry .179.

-In more Jays news, the team will honour Roy Halladay with a jumbotron tribute sometime this week. In the comments of that story, commenter JoeKnowsIt points out that the Leafs did the same thing with Mats Sundin when he returned to Toronto as a Canuck. I guess the state of Toronto sports is that bad, where you've run out of players on your own teams to honour. I can't wait to see what kind of montage the Raptors have prepared for Hedo Turkgolu.

-Justin Morneau went 3-for-4 as the Twins beat the Mariners 5-4. Jason Bay went 0-fer with two strikeouts and the Mets got gulled by San Diego 16-8.

-CFL camps start this week, with the BC Lions practicing just down the road from The 'Eh' Factor's head offices in Kamloops. This means that chances are high that Casey Printers will overthrow a receiver during a drill and the ball will carry into my yard.

-Toronto FC's Dwayne De Rosario was voted Major League Soccer's Player of the Week with a two-goal performance against San Jose. This is the kind of momentum that's nice to see from Canadian players as we prepare for the World Cup.


I'm really anticipating the start of football season. I think I might spend that time avoiding getting called out in the letters page of community newspapers by anonymous gym teachers. That's a pretty tight burden. Jays are on later, and if you're feeling particularly groovy, you can stay up late and watch the Twins on the Pacific channel, 100 per cent Buck Martinez free.