Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An excellent standard for headshots

The Canadian Hockey League called a head hit by Brayden McNabb on Joey Hishon "was a reckless action by the player but not a deliberate attempt to injure” and suspended him one game. Awesome.

Here's a video of the hit, if you have not seen it already:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thoughts on Canada's Team, the Winnipeg Jets

The 'Eh' Factor turned a year old this week, the same day I took a flight to Toronto to cover the Memorial Cup. I'll be linking to some prospect profiles throughout.

I wanted to get a quick comment in about Canada's Team. I recall cheering for Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton during their Cup runs but against Ottawa. When a team is the underdog, regardless of geographic location, they're the team to cheer for. It just so happened we've had a few Canadian Cinderella stories recently.

Truly, Canada's team is now the Winnipeg Jets.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rogers Sportsnet: Now with fewer sports!

Canadians like hockey, and Canadians love Game 7s. Canadians love the occasional junior hockey matchup, gain casual interest in the Memorial Cup, turn out to sports bars in droves to watch World Junior games, but Rogers Sportsnet doesn't give a shit.

Nope. If you're an average Canadian Joe Sports Fan, you probably have a digital cable package with Sportsnet One and all the Sportsnet regional networks. On my dial, I'll have Sportsnets Pacific, West, Ontario, East, HD, One, and Vancouver Hockey HD. That is seven channels.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sean Bergenheim vs. Fernando Pisani

One of my friends used to play hockey growing up. According to him, this makes him far superior to me in understanding how hockey works, because he played in games and tournaments and coaches right up until his 17th birthday.

A "debate" we routinely get into is the effects of momentum on the game. Naturally, I agree with Kent Wilson on the issue and a number of things struck me as odd in the first season that I started watching hockey with a more analytical eye--certain things have more of an effect on the game than others. I posted on his Facebook wall after the Sharks shook off their three-game losing streak and closed out Detroit:
Momentum: [n] 1: force or speed of movement; impetus, as of a physical object or course of events. 2: a bullshit sports premise.
A good shift usually results in a goal, a powerplay or an offensive zone faceoff, so success directly after the good shift can be attributed to "momentum" even though the immediately preceding period before a goal set the team up to have a direct positive benefit. I can point to a long possession by the Canucks in the offensive zone in Game 7 of the Chicago series, however, the faceoff ended up in the Vancouver zone at the end of it, so any positive effect was wiped, despite a cheering crowd.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend reset: Mark Hominick has a big lump on his face

Go vote† today and really show those terrorists who's boss.

The picture over at Deadspin pretty much captures it all. Mark Hominick, the Thamesford, Ontario native, fought against Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight championship at Rogers Centre on Saturday, and came out a little worse for wear.

That said, Hominick certainly won some people over. He was decimated in the first four rounds, but had Aldo, regarded among the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world, on his back and taking abuse in the fifth round. Unfortunately, Hominick wasn't able to close the deal and lost via unanimous decision 48-45, 48-46, 48-47. For a fighter in a division that hasn't gotten much exposure in the past, he certainly turned some heads. Hominick spent the weeks leading up to the fight throwing out the first pitch for the Blue Jays and signing an endorsement deal with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He really integrated himself into the Southern Ontario sports community as if to become a fixture for years to come, and, at 28 years old, there's still plenty of room to move up. The fight with Aldo also earned him "Fight of the Night" honours which comes with a $129,000 paycheque.

In the night's main event, Georges St.-Pierre, the Montreal native, held onto his UFC welterweight belt with an effective victory over challenger Jake Shields, who won two rounds over GSP, the first time St.-Pierre has dropped a round since August of 2007. St.-Pierre won 50-45, 48-47, 48-47 which is a score that doesn't really reflect the fight. It was close, but St.-Pierre controlled the pace despite not going for early or mid-round takedowns, opting instead to stand with Shields rather than grapple on the mat with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. St.-Pierre also took a jap to his left eye in the second round which restricted his vision, and he was overheard on the microphones between rounds saying he couldn't see out of it. He pressed through, as, this is a man who fought through a groin tear in a fight against Thiago Alves two summers ago.

What's next for GSP is a bit of a mystery, as there has been speculation for years that he'd move up to middleweight to face Anderson Silva in a superfight between the two most high-profile UFC champions, but UFC President Dana White suggested that the fight could be against Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz. The Diaz fight is more likely, as the UFC would not want to lose the lustre of one of its biggest stars by guaranteeing a loss for either St.-Pierre or Silva, although the fight would indubitably be the biggest in the history of MMA and would be this generation's Ali/Foreman.

On that comparison note, Stephen Brunt published a lengthy, well-written essay in The Globe on Saturday on the decline of boxing. It's far more than a look by an old-guard journalist at how 'the game ain't played like it used to be' but this paragraph in particular caught my attention:
Someone like Georges St. Pierre is indeed iconic, but in a single dimension, contained entirely within the sport and its marketing machinery. No one in this sport – or in any other sport for that matter – will ever carry the political and social heft of an Muhammad Ali, or a Joe Louis, or a Jack Johnson. We consume sports, and sports heroes, in an environment of cynical brand awareness. Celebrity athletes tiptoe around any issue that is remotely politically or socially controversial, committed only to their own commercial enhancement. And none of them, however successful in their own games, can be what was the Heavyweight Champion of the World, because no title equals that – not even what is now the heavyweight champion of the world.
That's if you live in a fantasy land where athletes who are socially conscious are supposed to be an exception, and not the rule. Most boxers in those days, as hockey players and baseball players, were drinkers and smokers and fornicators, just as they are today.

Missing from the week, just because he wasn't on the Olympic team, doesn't mean Vincent Lecavalier doesn't like beating Russians, the Toronto Blue Jays are trying to steal too many bases, and, though it falls outside the realm of hoserism, we at the Eh! Factor urge you to tune in to the start of the Philadelphia/Boston game tonight, where you may hear the greatest rendition of God Bless America ever.

† But don't tweet any results. That could net you five years in prison