I didn’t realize – WCW, Hockey, Basketball and why is Chris Bosh crying?

Things I didn’t realize;

1) I’m watching the vintage collection on TV and currently they are showing a lumberjack match between 2 of my favourite wrestlers, Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat and Big Van Vader (managed by Harley Race).

I’m not sure I was aware back in the WCW days just how big they got.  At ringside of this match includes; Arn Anderson, Sid Vicious, Sting, Harlem Heat (Booker T), Davey Boy Smith,  but there are also some terrible wrestlers here like Tugboat, and Kevin Sullivan’s slow brother.  Those guys were a waste of everyone’s time, but the rest were quite a compliment.  So great wrestlers, but no writers.

2) I didn’t realize that the game of basketball meant anything to Chris Bosh.  I mean he did tell the entire City of Toronto that his decision to join buddies James and Wade in South Beach was a “business decision” and not personal.  So if it was just a business decision, why the heck was Bosh crying as he stumbled back to the locker room after the Miami (C)Heat lost the championship to the Dallas Mavericks. 

He looked like such a weenie.

I will always have fond memories of when Chris was leaving the court after the game, hand over face, crying up a storm probably because he was embarrassed the Heat lost.

Here is what Toronto Raptor Sonny Weems had to say about that incident;

@IamAmirJohnson and @DeMar_DeRozan why your boy was out there acting like that in the tunnel lol
 
He he.
 
It was also good to see Cleveland Cavaliers’ own congratulating the Mavs and saving something to the effect of; “You have to wait in line to win and cannot do it by taking shortcuts.  That was for you, LeBron James… Maybe you should have shown up for the finals instead of leaning on Wade to get you your ring…
 
Ouch.
 
I also wondered why Mavs star forward Dirk Nowitski left the floor before the NBA Championship was presented to his team?  Dude went to the locker room.   I’m not sure I get the NBA.  In the NHL and MLB , the teams that win championships actually look happy and want to celebrate with their teammates.  Not Dirk… 
 
3) I’m also glad that the Boston Bruins have tied the NHL Stanley Cup finals at 3 each against the Vancouver Canucks.  While I dislike players like Raffi Torres, Max Lapierre or the diving I have seen from Burrows or Kessler, I certainly do not like the fans. 
 
I know of one fan who has a Canucks jersey that says “HATE LEAFS” on the back.  Really?  Your team is in the finals and all you can think about is Toronto?  Very odd indeed.  Sure the Leafs have been brutal for quite a while, it would be really nice to see the cup in the hands of former Leafs Kabarle and Tukka Rask, or Tyler Seguin the 2nd overall draft pick that Boston got from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade. 
 
I kind of feel that it’s the closest the Leafs are going to get to a cup in my lifetime, plus Tim Thomas is a much more deserving cup winner than Roberto Luongo which is why I am voting for the Bruins to hoist the cup this year and not the Canucks. 
 
They’re already blaming Toronto out there for being the centre of the universe.  Might as well be for this too.
 
Go B’s Go!

Random Sports thoughts for a long weekend.

  • I loved the R-Truth / John Morrison segment on RAW the other night.  Brought a whole new look at R-Truth who I could not stand mainly because of the singing and the piercings.  I could have done without the smoking, however.
  • Hoping the Buffalo Sabres – who held off the Toronto Maple Leafs late season surge beat the Philadelphia Flyers.  I detest the Flyers – well everything Philly, except the Phillies.  To see them lose will hopefully be a sign to management there that being the league bullies will not bring success and championships.  Hartnell, Carcillo, Pronger, Versteeg, Mike Richards… Ugh.
  • Any chance the Heat are going to lose in the 1st round?  Doubt it.
  • IF the NHL brings the Jets back to Winnipeg, I think the country of Canada should arrange a deal with the Jets where by people buy a Jets jersey and 50% of it goes to the team to help it keep some cash so it won’t be considered a small market.  I’d buy one!
  • I watch TNA wrestling and as much as I like the wrestling, I realize each and every Thursday night how bad the writing is.  Storylines come and go with no rhyme or reason, people like Rick Flair and still in there, and guys like Gunner and Murphy and Rob Terry are portrayed as useless.  Even RVD gets called out for being a pothead in the show.  I just don’t get it.  If I wanted to watch the alsorans from the WWE, I’d watch Superstars, not Impact.
  • Come to think of it… I think Philly management might be writing for TNA… The Flyers always like to be big and tough, however, no goaltending and too many goons is a huge problem.  They got to the finals with Michael Leighton, then gave him a huge contact but he didn’t play well this year so they turned to Bobrovsky, who had a bad game and they handed the reins over to Brian Boucher – who I used to watch in junior… Big talent, big ego I thought, and now Boucher let in soft goals so they’re back and Leighton whho may not have played since December 3rd or something crazy like that.  Hey Philly… Less goons, better goaltending!

Toronto Maple Leafs trade Kris Versteeg for draft picks and Toronto sports fans still hate it…

Brian Burke is in a no-win situation.

He gets Phil Kessel for two-first round picks and a second round pick and fans hate that move because Kessel – probably better suited as a solid 2nd line winger – is slumping.

Then, yesterday he ships out Kris Versteeg – a 24 year old winger he picked up from the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for 3 spare parts in the summer – for a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick from the Flyers.

Fans… Still not happy because the Flyers are a top team in the league.

But let’s put this all in perspective. I’ve been a Leafs fan since the late 70’s – yes I’m that old – and back then they sucked worse and had no future because of Harold Ballard. Now, they have pressure from everywhere.

Versteeg – I watched him play last week against the Thrashers – was not a good hockey player. Watching him skate around made me realize that because a player is on a championship team does not make him a top-notch player. He is replaced by Jeoffrey Lupal. Lupal came to Toronto with a prospect for a very over-priced give-away prone defenseman named Beauchemin.

Net result, is the Leafs have to get better so as to not give the Bruins a lottery pick this year. They have filled out the second line now with MacArthur, Kulemin and Grabovski. Their first line is Lupol and Kessel (insert a centre that can move the puck here not named Bozak) and in the off season urke will load up a real first line with some free agent talent as the team will have a ton of cap room once Komisarek and Kaberle are gone.

I’m sad for the Leafs.

The sounds I heard most in the ACC were those of apathy.

I just don’t want to give the B’s any more quality players, as Rask and Seguin are enough.

As for the deal just completed today which saw the Leafs pick up Aaron Voros from the (who else) Ducks for a 7th round pick. Sure Voros was available last week on waivers and yes, he was assigned straight to the Marlies, but why give up that pick? Voros, no goals and 43 PIM in the farm this year… Yikes.

NHLPA Player poll results: Leafs, Coach Ron Wilson and Phil Kessel all suck!

I sure as hell hope someone down at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) was reading blogs this morning or listening to the Rogers Sportsnet FAN590, or AM640, because Leafs-nation took a massive beating this weekend and someone from MLSE needs to start to fix the problem!

It all started to go downhill, when Toronto Maple Leaf forward Phil Kessel – of the 2 first round picks and a second round pick to Boston – was chosen last among all players at this year’s all-star game in Raleigh, North Carolina. Instead of getting mad and shining at the game, Kessel did what he does most nights as the Leafs’ marquee player… he was invisible. His final line for the event read like this; 3 shots on goal.

What would I have done in his shoes!? I would have done exactly what former NHL superstar Jeremy Roenick said on the FAN this morning; that if it had happened to him, he would run everyone in sight each and every shift. While Kessel smiled and said nothing, content to have taken his beating from his peers and then go on to prove them right, Roenick would go to prove them wrong… All of them.

Then came a survey from the NHL Players Association (NHLPA), a survey of 318 players who listed Toronto’s Ron Wilson as the coach they would least like to play for. He garnered 24% of the vote. Granted Mike Keenan who has not coached in the NHL in over 2 years received 9% of the vote, but the NHL’s 4th most winningest coach is perceived to be very much unliked by players. Great.

The other bad news for MLSE and Leaf-nation is the fact that Toronto, the city, ranked 4th last in this poll as a destination to play. See what all the losing has done to this franchise!

Crappy team, crappy coach, no future… Yikes!

MLSE… Wake up!!! Do something! Anything! Be mad as hell and say we’re not going to take it anymore. Please.

Here is the link to Slam Sports article on the survey results;
http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Toronto/2011/01/30/17091976.html

What a great week for sports!!!

Man, last week was a GREAT week for sports! Lots going on. It all started with Cliff Lee re-signing with the Phillies (Ha Ha Yankees) and never stopped.

Here are the highlights in my eyes;

  • DeSean Jackson’s last second punt return that completed the Philadelphia Eagles’ comeback against the New York Giants earlier on Sunday is already being considered one of the most incredible finishes in football history and I missed it… The game – not surprising since I don’t really like football – but on replay / highlight too…
  •  On Friday, the Phoenix Suns pulled off a six-player trade in which they sent leading scorer Jason Richardson, Earl Clark and former lousy Raptor Hedo Turk-a-poo to the Orlando Magic for for Crap-tor Wince Carter, and 2 guys I have never heard of named Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus and a 2011 first-round pick and cash in case Carter sucks, I guess.
  • Washington Wizards send Gilbert (Bang Bang) Arenas to the Magic for Rashard Lewis.  The Magic will now prohibit betting in the locker room.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers win the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, joining ex-Jay Shaun Marcum.
  • Edge wins the WWE World Heavyweight title
  • Penguins sniper Sideny Crosby’s amazing point streak continued.
  • Also Hawks on a roll, NYI stinking, Heat starting to Gel and Chris Bosh?!?  Really?

Donor found for Mandi Schwartz in her battle against cancer

I found this article on TSN.ca, the link is below.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=329531

Here is the article.

Please read it. My comments follow the article.

Mandi Schwartz is in a Seattle hospital preparing for a stem cell transplant — and that’s very good news for the Saskatchewan hockey player.

Schwartz is battling acute myeloid leukemia and will undergo the transplant Aug. 26 after a desperate search by her family and doctors for a stem cell donor finally paid off.

The 22-year-old from Wilcox was declared in remission in June, which bought her some time, but doctors informed the family she needed a transplant before September to survive.

“Her health is good and she is continuing to work on some strengthening to ensure she is in good condition for the transplant,” Mandi’s father Rick Schwartz said on the Yale Bulldogs website.

Schwartz played for Yale’s hockey team and has also tried out for Canada’s national under-22 women’s team. After she was diagnosed with cancer in December 2008, Schwartz was forced to take a year off school, travelling home to Wilcox to undergo multiple rounds of chemotherapy.

She was cleared to return to Yale in January to complete her junior year, but the cancer returned in April forcing her back into treatment.

Mandi’s brother is Jaden Schwartz, the No. 14 pick in the 2010 NHL draft by the St. Louis Blues. Her other brother Rylan plays for Colorado College.

The Schwartz family cast a wide net in its campaign — “Become Mandi’s Hero” — to find an appropriate donor. More than 1,600 people were tested at bone-marrow drives at Yale the past two years, and a Facebook page has more than 5,000 followers. For more information, visit http://www.becomemyhero.org.

While an appropriate donor has been found for Mandi, her family says it will continue its crusade for donors.

“Cord blood donations and bone marrow registration still remain our family’s top priorities,” Rick Schwartz said. “Education and awareness about the world-wide need for donors benefits not just us but all patients in need of a transplant and there are many such patients.”

I posted this story because I remember watching the 2010 NHL entry draft and when Jaden was drafted 14th overall – usually an exciting moment for a hockey player – all Jaden wanted to talk about was his sister.

I’m a tough guy who sometimes has trouble expressing his true emotions but watching Jaden talk brought a tear to my eye and just reading this article has done it again.

I hope they get that damn cancer once and for all.

How the Mighty have Fallen: The Demise of the NHLPA

I have thought long and hard about this post. I wanted to present a fair article about the place of unions in sports and how I really don’t think they belong there anymore, and then I see today that the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association) is appealing the decision by the NHL to void the 17 year contract given to Ilya Kovalchuk by the New Jersey Devils.

This decision is what tells me that the NHLPA is finished.

How could they possibly think this contract is acceptable for pro sports? Do they not care about the game? Are they only in the sport to make money for their players, and themselves through union dues?

Do they need periodic strikes or work stoppages in order to flex their muscles and stay relevant?

I just don’t get it. Please! Somebody explain this to me.

Ilya Kovalchuk is 27 years old. Odds are good he will play until he is in his mid to late 30’s. So 10 years might be too long.

17 years?

There is NO way he will be playing at the age of 44. So very few players play that long, let alone with skill. Gordie Howe played until his 50’s, MArk Messier retired at 43. Steve Yzerman at 41… These guys are legends!

And yes I understand this contract was meant to circumvent the NHL salary cap.  This contract seriously front-loads the first 6 years of the deal, then pays Ilya just the league minimum at the end of the deal.  Accepting that type of contract just tells me the team is stupid and the player is greedy.

With the Collective Bargaining Agreement the way it is, more and more NHL teams are trying to find ways to circumvent the salary cap by signing players to long-term front end loaded contracts that minimizes what would be a very sizable cap hit. To do that the player must sign a 10+ year contract, and we have seen more and more of them being handed out.

These deals are usually bad all around. Many times it ends up killing the team that makes the deal, but teams are still doing it more and more.

Has anyone noticed how well the contract given to New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is going? He is entering year 5 of a 15 year contract and in the last 2 years he has only played 17 games, four of which were with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders farm team.

This is a brutal contact!

Another problem besides the length is the fact that players often have career years heading into contract years, then tail off once they have the security.

Also, it’s a major pain in the butt to trade an 11 year contract unless you are swapping for DiPietro, or Hossa.

And while all this is going on, the once mighty NHLPA finds it in their best interest to file a grievance against the league.  How about educating the players about the perils of these types of contracts?  See Alexi Yashin…  Or soon Wade Redden.  

The PA will fiddle while the league burns…

Then that 17 year deal will mean nothing.