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?
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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.

G20 “Protestors” are like Sean Avery…

After a hectic weekend in downtown Toronto where a bunch of malcontents wrecked havoc on this city, I tried to put into words the harted I have for these low-life cowards…

Then it donned on me…

They remind me of Sean Avery.

They are sneaky, devious, dangerous and they snuck thorugh the crowd of legitimate protestors like Avery snakes around the ice looking for cause damage, to hurt someone.  The “protestors” covered their face in cowardice the same way Avery turtles or turns his back when someone comes after him.

In the NHL, people like Avery are called “pests” or “agitators”.  On the streets of Toronto these “people” who smashed windows and set police cars on fire in the name of the G20 are the Matt Cooke’s of the world.  They’ll hit you and knock you out from behind (or the side) because it’s much easier to do that then to do it face-to-face.

Nothing made me smile more than seeing the Toronto Police grab these ingrates from the crowd, cuff them and take them away.  Much the same way you love to see these agitators get tossed from the game or hurt trying to hurt someone else.

Cowards!

It’s officially baseball season!!!

Congratulations to the Chicago Black Hawks on winning the Stanley Cup, probably the most difficult championship to win in professional sports.

With this win, their first since 1961, it means my Toronto Maple Leafs have now gone the longest between cup wins, last hoisting the cup in 1967 – or 4 years before I was born.

Also nice to see an original 6 team win!

Some quick thoughts… I guess third time is a charm for Marian Hossa, eh?  And PAtrick Kane won’t have to beat up cabbies in Buffalo anymore, he can just flash them his Stanley Cup ring.  And what about Bill Wirtz.  Stringy former owner passed away and the first thing his son did upon taking over team was to televise games and remind Hawks fans and residents of Chicago that they still had an NHL team. 

That being said…

IT’S BASEBALL SEASON!!!

and with that, my poor Jays are having their asses handed to them by the Tampa Rays, formerly the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Apparently, the words “Bay” and “Devil” are satanic.  LOL.

But seriously… I’m hoping the Jays don’t tank it now that all eyes are on them, and I hope Vernon Wells continues his streak and we can trade him, as well as Overbay, and bring up the kids…  I hear the shortstop prospect Etchivierry and pitcher Drabek are blue chippers as is the first baseman whose name I do not know at this moment.

Go Jays!

How Sad. Moscow Dynamo

I came across this article on http://www.tsn.ca about the legendary Moscow Dynamo hockey team.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=318976

Turns out the team is on the verge of folding. They have fired their coaches, released a bunch of players and will be closing doors or merging with another team.

I didn’t know they don’t even have their own rink in Moscow…

How sad.

It would be like the Montreal Canadians closing up shop…

Fans… Whip out your hammer and sickle and show your support…

Leafs / Ducks / Flames Shake-up – one game in…

So now all three of the teams involved in the Leafs trade from Sunday have played their first game all with the same common result.  A 3-0 Shut-Out.

The Flames lost 3-0 to the Flyers.
Leafs won 3-0 over the Devils
Ducks win 3-0 over Panthers.

Let me tell you why…

Ducks: Get a speedy forward who could not make it in Toronto. He has skill, and heart but no talented players to play along with him. He should do well with the Ducks. As for Toskala, he’ll be okay as the back-up. No pressure. The Ducks called up another Leafs cast-off in Justin Pogge until Toskala gets to Anaheim.

Surprised and relieved that someone… anyone… was willing to take these 2 contracts and give us a goalie in return. Win-win.

Flames – yikes! Give up a top defenseman, and really tall young defenseman and a good penalty killing forward. In return they get 4 average players. Stajan is ok… at times. Hagman is, as described to me prior to him joining the Buds, a very good 2nd line or 3rd line player who excels when not being checked by the other team’s top players. White is a typical undersized / underrated defenseman who had unlimited potential and gets the job done. He was the Leafs #1A along with Kaberle. Jamal Mayers… Uh huh… Nuff said.

Then the Flames shipped out Prust an agitator and Jokinen a floater for 2 under achieving players in Kotalik (who was sent home by the Rangers) and Higgins who looks like he could use some premium time in the gym…

Leafs – Tempo set by Phaneuf and his hit and fight on his first or second shift. Reminds me of Wendel Clark in that there was a buzz on the ice when he was on. I like that. With Giguere in net it is a huge upgrade over any of the last 6 stiffs who have tended the Leafs net including; Raycroft, Pogge, the Monster, that kids in the farm they signed from the horrible Islanders… Joey something… Toskala and the list goes on. Knowing your goalie might actually make a save builds confidence right away. Sjostrom helped do that on the PK, and finally the young kids get to play in meaningful positions and I’m talking about Hanson, Kulemin, Stahlburg, Mitchell and Bozak. Finally a way to build from within.

Guilleume Wild about Minnesota

Looks like the Minnesota Wild are 11-2 since their trade for Guilleume Latendresse from the Montreal Canadians. 

Believe that qualifies as a good trade for the Wild.

And speaking of the Canadians… I want them to win when they play the Ottawa Senators… They didn’t.  The Habs have a defenseman wearing #47 who was brutal on the Sens winning goal. 

And it’s really tough watching Larry Murphy on NHL on the Fly.  He sucked as a Leafs, but was great as a Red Wing and Capital…  Still bugs me.