Pat Quinn, Dead at 71
Published by Toronto Mike on November 24, 2014 @ 10:50 in Celebrity Deaths, Toronto Maple Leafs
Pat Quinn was 71. He coached the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals twice, with the Flyers in 1980 and the Canucks in 1994.
Under Quinn, the Maple Leafs had consistently been contenders, recording three 100-point seasons and making the playoffs every season until his last, reaching two conference finals.
Quinn was fired in Toronto after eight seasons having gone 300-222-52 with 26 shootout and overtime losses.
Ranking the Canadian Gords
Published by Toronto Mike on November 24, 2014 @ 09:58 in Lists
1. Gordie Howe - 97/100
If you're going to rank the Canadian Gords, you've got to open with Mr. Hockey. The man scored 801 goals and recorded 1049 assists over his lengthy and respected NHL
Gordie Howe also played the unsuspecting object of Ms. Krabappel's affections in Bart the Lover.
2. Gord Downie - 92/100
The quality of Canada's Gords is so impressive, the lead singer of my favourite band of all-time only comes in second. I've seen Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip (including fellow Gord bass guitarist Gord Sinclair) eleven times and counting.
He also covered Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah for Saint Ralph, a version that lovingly haunts my dreams to this day.
3. Gordon Lightfoot - 91/100
Canadian Railroad Trilogy, Early Morning Rain, If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown, Carefree Highway... these are iconic songs of Canadiana. After the holy trinity of Young, Mitchell and Cohen, you've got Lightfoot.
4. Gordon Sinclair - 83/100
Everything I learned about Sinclair I learned from the archives. Author, radio host and beloved commenter, many of his opinion pieces, such as The Americans, survive to this day.
5. Gord Martineau - 76/100
It's difficult for me to remember a time in this city before Gord Martineau. He's been at Citytv since its inception in 1977 and he's still their anchor.
6. Gord Stellick - 75/100
The youngest GM in NHL history when he assumed that role for the Maple Leafs in April 1988, Stellick went on to become a much better hockey commentator on television and radio, as well as a long-time host on The Fan.
7. Gord Miller - 72/100
You'll hear him calling games on the NHL on TSN, but Gord Miller is best known as the current voice of the World Junior Championships.
8. Gordie Johnson - 70/100
When I think of Gordie Johnson, I think of his rendition of O Canada on an electric double neck guitar.
Sure, he was also lead singer of Big Sugar, but this was his defining moment.
9. Gordon Korman - 69/100
As a young reader, my favourite books were from Gordon Korman. I thought his Bruno and Boots series was the bomb.
10. Gord Ash - 65/100
Today he's assistant general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, but we know Gord Ash best as GM of our Toronto Blue Jays from 1995 to 2001. Under his watch we drafted Roy Halladay, and that alone scores him 65.
11. Gordie Sampson - 61/100
This Nova Scotian singer-songwriter's claim to fame is writing "Jesus, Take the Wheel" for Carrie Underwood. Even if that's not your cup of tea, you've got to respect the rewards that tune won, including a Grammy.
Raptors Lead the Eastern Conference
Published by Toronto Mike on November 23, 2014 @ 10:14 in Toronto Raptors
The last couple of nights I've been thoroughly entertained by my Raptors. Before you accuse me of jumping on the bandwagon, let me tell you I've been watching since Alvin Robertson dropped 30 on the Nets.
On Friday night, the Raptors actually led the Bucks by 50 in the fourth quarter. We've never led a game by 50, ever. The Brazilian rookies even got their first career NBA points. It was surreal.
Then last night, with one eye on the Leafs game, we battled back from an 18-point deficit on the road against LeBron and ended up dominating the Cavs. We're 11-2 and leading the Eastern Conference.
All of this is to say there's plenty of room on the Raptors bandwagon if you want to join us. Get in now, though... because it's going to be a fun season. Our starters are the same as last season, but the bench is deep and effective. Sweet Lou Williams is such an upgrade over John Salmons, words don't do it justice.
Of the big three, this is the best Toronto pro-sports team since the '93 Blue Jays. Enjoy, Toronto. It's been a long time coming.
They Screwed Up My Special K
Published by Toronto Mike on November 22, 2014 @ 10:20 in My 2 Cents
Special K was one of my favourite cereals. In fact, when I decided to reduce my caloric consumption in early 2012, Special K became my go-to breakfast.
I visited Amsterdam in August 2012 and ate the Dutch Special K for breakfast at the hotel. It was flakes instead of our rice shape, and the taste was different. As I wrote at the time, I preferred our Special K.
Little did I know that our Special K was a special (no pun intended) formula unique to Canada and made at Kellogg's London, Ontario plant. When Kellogg's closed that London plant, we lost our special Canadian Special K. Now we're shipped American Special K, and I don't like it.
The old Special K I knew and loved tasted better, was easier to eat and contained less sugar. I want the old formula back.
Here's a picture of the Special K I knew and loved.
Friday Open Mike
Published by Toronto Mike on November 21, 2014 @ 08:31 in Open Mike
Welcome to this week's Friday Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.
Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.
The Great Gordie Howe
Published by Toronto Mike on November 20, 2014 @ 10:04 in Sports
I never had the pleasure of watching Gordie Howe play hockey. As a very young man, however, I read a biography on Wayne Gretzky and learned how Gretzky idolized Howe.
That made Gordie Howe my hero's hero. Here's a wonderful story about The Great Gordie Howe.
Mike Nichols, Dead at 83
Published by Toronto Mike on November 20, 2014 @ 08:34 in Celebrity Deaths
Mike Nichols was 83. He won an Oscar for directing the 1967 film The Graduate, and was nominated for Working Girl, The Remains of the Day, Silkwood and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
An Ugly, Ugly Game
Published by Toronto Mike on November 19, 2014 @ 14:08 in Toronto Maple Leafs
Following that debacle in Buffalo last weekend, I tuned into last night's Leafs game looking for a rebound. I figured they'd come out strong at home against Nashville. I was wrong.
At 3-0 Nashville, Bernier was pulled for Reimer and I shut off the game to watch an episode of The Newsroom.
When I tuned back in, it was 8-0.
It ended up 9-2 and it reminded me of a game I watched on a black and white 13 inch television back in 1986. We won that game 11-9 against the mighty Oilers and Miroslav Fryer scored four goals. That game was a lot more fun than this one.
I honestly believe things will get worse for the Leafs before it gets better. It's not a very good team, and the coach is living on borrowed time. I don't think he makes it to Christmas.
At least we have one good team in this city. I can't wait for tonight's Raptors game.
Published by Toronto Mike on November 19, 2014 @ 08:34 in Toronto Raptors
I loved you, man. I was in attendance when you scored 51 against the Suns, I gushed on this blog often when you were Air Carter, and I even busted a television when you missed the buzzer-beating three in game seven against the 76ers.
You're in town with the Grizzlies set to play my Raptors tonight. I hear we've got a tribute in store for you, and the pro-Vince spin doctors are out in full force. I'm old enough to remember what really happened. I remember everything.
Heading into the 2004 season, I hoped for a rebound. I literally gave you 41 reasons to kick ass, but by November 23 it was clear you were dogging it.
Apparently, Vince Carter needs more than 41 reasons to kick ass this season. A player who is averaging 24.1 points for his career is only averaging 14.5 points per game thus far this year. Carter scored just four points on 2-for-9 shooting and didn't play in the fourth quarter while his team mates overcame a 20-point deficit in the second half to beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-91 Sunday. He's not contributing and others are picking up the slack.
Now comes word the "Half-man, half-amazing" doesn't want to dunk anymore. He'll leave the dunking to others and opt for a layup instead. He's as whiny about the pressure to dunk as he is about the league's decision to strip him of his iPod during warmups. It's been a tough week for the $12 million man.
I've been rather vocal in my support of Vince Carter. I want him to play like he can and be a superstar once more for my Raptors. Sadly, it's becoming abundantly clear that he's doing everything in his power to reduce his trade value. He's averaging 14.5 ppg, refusing to dunk and sitting for most fourth quarters. When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team. I'll bet he even dunks for them.
What a shame.
When Rob Babock finally pulled the trigger on that brutal trade, I was relieved. Afterall, you quit on us long ago. At least we suspected as much. in December, you confirmed our suspicions.
Since being traded by my Toronto Raptors to the New Jersey Nets, Vince Carter is averaging 22.5 points per game. He's playing hard, taking it to the hoop and putting up points. Those are three things he didn't do before the trade.
TNT broadcast an interview with Carter yesterday in which he was asked if he pushed himself as hard as he should have in Toronto. Below was his response.
"In years past, no. I was fortunate to have the talent ... you get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things. You see that you don't have to work at it. Now, with the all the injuries, I have to work harder. I'm a little hungrier. Getting a fresh start has made me want to attack the basket."
What an ass. He's essentially admitting he didn't try his best with Toronto. This explains why he looks like a different player in New Jersey. I used to defend Vince Carter when others wanted to get rid of him. Now, I wish him nothing but the worst. Eff him.
So welcome back, enjoy your tribute video, and enjoy our local media all too happy to help you reinvent history. But this fan remembers what really happened. This fan knows better.
Tuesday Open Mike
Published by Toronto Mike on November 18, 2014 @ 08:32 in Open Mike
Welcome to this week's Tuesday Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.
Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.
Want more Toronto Mike blog entries? Visit the archives.