Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crisis averted


The NHL didn't just dodge a bullet last night. It dodged an intercontinental ballistic missile with a thermonuclear warhead capable of blasting the league the rest of the way back to the Stone Age to which it apparently aspires.
The thickheadedness of the coincidental minor penalty call that negated Chicago's tie-breaking goal late in the third period cannot be overstated. It embodied everything that's wrong with NHL officiating in the playoffs, from the blatant inconsistency in the application of the rules to the ill-conceived obsession with equal opportunity penalty calls. Only in the NHL - and maybe on the pro wrestling circuit or in a corrupt Third World police state - can a guy get absolutely bushwhacked and be adjudged as guilty as the perpetrator.
The collective hot dog and coffee-scented sigh of relief from the NHL hierarchy after Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook's overtime goal could have knocked a buzzard off a manure wagon - the same wagon that would have dumped its load on the league's doorstep if Detroit had won the game in overtime. A Wings win would have embarrassed the NHL and its apologists into finally addressing the elephant in the room, but fate decreed that they can continue whistling through the graveyard, when they're not either swallowing their whistles or blowing them at entirely inappropriate times.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shuttle diplomacy with John Daly

Proving once again that the best stories are true stories that can't be made up, noted PGA train wreck John Daly has taken to Twitter to urge a truce between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. While he's not on the short list to be appointed as a roving UN ambassador to any of the world's hotspots anytime soon, Daly's unlikely stab at diplomacy inspired the following list of sports figures in improbable second careers:

John Tortorella as a pre-school educator - how long would it take before Tortorella chastised a roomful of four year olds for being terrible drawers before making half of them healthy scratches for swim gym and telling their parents to kiss his ass? My guess is first day on the job.

Bob Cole as a librarian- aside from the irony of a guy who has trouble putting a coherent sentence together overseeing a book depository, Cole's baritone bellowing would routinely shatter the calm of one of society's few remaining tranquil retreats.

Ilya Bryzgalov as a Baptist preacher - they say God has a sense of humour, but even the Almighty would be taken aback by a pulpit-pounding pastor belting out "hallelujahs", "amens" and "can-I-get-a-witnesses" in a thick central Russian dialect.

Rick Ankiel as a gangster - if Ankiel's organized crime endeavors mirrored his baseball career, he'd start out as a promising hitman who suddenly and inexplicably loses his ability to kill people, but reinvents himself as an adequate getaway driver or money launderer.

Travis Moen as a neurosurgeon - you've seen his hands around the net. Imagine Moen trying to apply the deft touch required to carry out a successful ventricular endoscopy. If nothing else, he'd provide steady employment for the medical malpractice firm of Urbina, Schlichter and Strawberry.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Subban snub corrected(and other Monday musings)


Following an apparent three day bout with temporary insanity, Hockey Canada came to its senses today and added P.K. Subban to the Canadian roster at the World Hockey Championships in Sweden. Just two days ago, general manager Steve Yzerman said he was happy with the existing roster and had no plans to add any more players, which was perceived as a snub against Subban, and why wouldn't it be? What kind of general manager automatically rules out a Norris Trophy finalist who's on record as being ready to represent his country at a moment's notice? Better late than never that he relented on Subban, but Yzerman comes out of this looking disingenuous at best...So, Carey Price claims the public scrutiny that comes with being the goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens is so suffocating that he doesn't even go to the grocery store. Well, there's your problem right there: malnutrition...Meanwhile, Price says he still believes he has the ability to win a Stanley Cup, but that he has to take his game to the next level, which according to my calculations makes him a Carey Price hater...The Hockey Night in Canada studio crew's Toronto favoritism is understandable because the Leafs are their hometown team, but as national broadcasters they're duty-bound to consciously check their bias at the door. Burning Don Cherry's blue and white wig would be a good place to start....One of these days, Gregg Zaun is going to be swallowed whole by his suit, and Jamie Campbell isn't even going to notice.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wise guy walrus, wacky wardrobes and other Monday morning musings

There's a case to be made either way over whether Ottawa coach Paul MacLean took the low road by calling a time out with 17 seconds left in a 6-1 game, but this much is certain: the timeout was a convenient post-game distraction for the Canadiens and provided collective motivation for a team that showed signs of coming apart at the seams physically and spiritually. Being down 2-1 in the series is obviously motivation enough, but the perception that MacLean was rubbing the Canadiens noses in their own filth gives Montreal coach Michel Therrien an emotional rallying point where none might otherwise have existed...Meanwhile, it occurs to me that the media sniping between coaches over MacLean referring to Raphael Diaz by number rather than name would be a non-issue in NASCAR, where competitors are routinely referred to by their car numbers. If only it were as easy as rolling the 81 and the 74 into the garage and fixing them up good as new for the next race...The handwringing over violent hits in the NHL is well-intentioned, but let's not forget that blunt trauma is an occupational hazard readily accepted by lucratively-compensated employees of a multi-billion dollar industry that markets physical aggression as a virtue. Like it or not, any potential rule change on bodychecking is a business consideration as much as it is a safety issue...April is no time to panic in a six month baseball season, but now that it's May, I strongly urge all Blue Jays fans to embrace rampant hysteria...You can debate the Kentucky Derby's claim to being the most exciting two minutes in sports, but its devotees' wardrobe choices leave no question of it being the largest annual gathering of well-heeled circus clowns, carnival freaks and court jesters.