Playoff hockey is the best. Throw in a game seven or two, and it makes for a fantastic night of television. Last night's Canucks ~ Blackhawks game was sensational, but the call of the night belonged to Bob Cole during the Bruins ~ Habs game.
Everything is happening!
Perfect. The perfect call in the perfect timber from the greatest hockey play-by-play announcer of our generation. I've said it before, I will always love him.
Everything is happening... think about it. It says it all....
Thanks, Bob. Long may you be the voice of my favourite NHL memories.
If someone would upload Bob Cole's "everything is happening" call to YouTube, I'd be eternally grateful.
Andrew Ference lived the fantasy shared by many a Leafs fan when he flipped the bird to the Bell Centre crowd in Montreal last night.
I'd gladly pay $2500 to do that.
The Fab Five was my adopted NCAA basketball team. Ask my brothers. I lived and died by that team in the early 90s. Here's something I wrote about The Fab Five 8 years ago.
I just filled in my March Madness bracket for an office pool, and I still find myself going with Michigan. That's all because of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwon Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.
Here's the ESPN documentary on The Fab Five that premiered yesterday.
Now to dig up my old Wolverines jacket...
Like you, my primary motivation to follow the NBA this season is my passionate desire to see the Miami Heat fail.
The Heat have lost five in a row. I repeat, the Heat have lost five in a row. FIVE IN A ROW.
Adding to the good news is this article about Chris Bosh's frustrations.
After bringing up his frustration about not getting the ball where he wants it in a postgame news conference Tuesday night, Bosh said that he didn't even talk to Spoelstra or teammates Dwyane Wade and LeBron James about the issue before or during practice Wednesday. He did say he planned to address it before the game with the Lakers.
Bosh struggled in a 105-96 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday night, going just 3-of-11 from the field and finishing with seven points. But his displeasure seems to have been building for some time, including last Sunday when he only got one shot in the fourth quarter of a one-point loss to the Chicago Bulls.
No Heat No!
I should play more tennis. I really like playing tennis and I almost never play. Does anyone want to play this summer?
Speaking of tennis, in July of 2009 I wrote about Canada's male singles tennis failure. Here's a snippet.
Canada's inability to produce a single excellent men's singles tennis player is mind boggling. There have been a few decent female players, and at least a couple of excellent doubles players, but not one male player who could even upset their way into a semi-final match. The highest ranking Canadian male in singles play was Andrew Sznajder who somehow got ranked #46 in September 1989. You're forgiven if you've forgotten about Andrew Sznajder.
Today, Canada's Milos Raonic reached his second straight final in an ATP Tour event. A year ago he was ranked 361, now he'll crack the top 50. That's pretty impressive.
Is Milos Raonic the real deal or simply Andrew Sznajder reincarnate?
Wayne Rooney just scored this goal for Manchester United vs. Manchester City. Watch it below and meet me on the other side...
I could do that. Just sayin'...
Today is Super Bowl XLV. It's the Steelers and Packers at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. This Open Mike is all about the big game.
I want score predictions. Let's see if anyone nails it...
There's a neat article about the origin of the Gatorade shower over on mental_floss.
My favourite nugget is the premature Gatorade shower Kentucky coach Guy Morriss received. Here's footage of Morriss getting drenched and then LSU wideout Devery Henderson quickly scoring a miracle touchdown on a tipped Hail Mary play.
If you're going to celebrate an upset win by pouring Gatorade on your coach, just make sure you end up with the W.
I just watched the first period of the Penguins and Capitals from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. I realize there's a Leafs game on, but it's the Winter Classic and I'm a sucker for events, even silly made-for-TV sporting events, and the HBO 24/7 series actually had me psyched for this one. Besides, the Leafs are handling the Sens with ease.
Because the Leafs game was on CBC here in Toronto, I watched most of the first period on NBC. It was horrible. Not just the commentary, which was clearly aimed at the non-fan or casual fan, but the camera angles. NBC keeps going to this aerial shot that is so distant it's impossible to follow the action. They keep going to this shot because they can, and normal games are indoors, making such stunts impossible, but they're going to it far too often and for far too long.
Even when we're not getting the aerial shot, it feels like the camera is simple too far away. I've been watching hockey on television for thirty years and I'm having trouble following the play. How is a non-fan or casual fan supposed to enjoy the game?
It's also dingy. I didn't notice how dingy it was until I switched to the CBC feed. The CBC feed was bright, close to the action and far superior.
I get it... sorta.... For NBC, the star of this show is that it's outdoors and played in a football stadium. Hence the long distance shots. For CBC, it's the Pens vs. Caps and we're getting standard angles and proven shots. It makes for better hockey.
It's just a shame we showcase our game on NBC and don't look our best. No wonder Americans are so indifferent to the greatest sport in the world.
I don't see my brothers as often as I used to, but when we all end up in the same room, as we did yesterday for Christmas, great debates ensue. Yesterday, my brother Ryan declared confidently that if Gretzky were playing in today's NHL, Crosby would be the better player.
I almost choked on my turkey when I heard that. I asked him to clarify the statement, to ensure I wasn't misunderstanding the premise of his argument. Basically, if both Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby were 23 years old today, and you had to draft one of them to play for your team, my brother Ryan would draft Crosby. I think he's nuts.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big Crosby fan. Even when it became cool to hate on the kid, I rooted for him. I still root for him, and consider him the best player playing the game today.
But really, Ryan, picking Crosby over Gretzky? Even in today's lower scoring NHL, that's crazy. Until this season, which is still fairly young, the great debate was whether Crosby was the best player in the game today. In fact, Crosby hasn't even dominated the scoring lead on his own team over the past few years. Malkin's beat him a couple of times. Nobody came close to Gretzky.
And that's my point. It's not about Gretzky owning the record books, it's about how much better Gretzky was compared to #2. If you leave aside his first season in the NHL, Gretzky's next four seasons saw him annihilate the league's second best scorer. Check this out...
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 164
2. Marcel Dionne, Los Angeles - 135
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 212
2. Mike Bossy, NY Islanders - 147
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 196
2. Peter Stastny, Quebec - 124
1. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton - 205
2. Paul Coffey, Edmonton - 126
Hell, in that 1982-83 season, Gretzky had more assists than anyone else had points. Then again, when all was said and done, Gretzky retired with more assists than anyone else had points. And oh yeah, he's the most prolific goal scorer in NHL history.
But what about my brother's point that the game has changed? I'm not suggesting Gretzky would get 200 points a season in today's NHL, I'm just suggesting he'd dominate and easily win the scoring race. And as much as I love Crosby, he's not doing that today. Over the past 4 seasons, Crosby has only won the scoring race once, by 6 points over Joe Thornton.
But I'll leave this debate by stealing an argument I read on the HFBoards.
Gretzky was better than Jagr. Sure by the mid 90's when Gretzky was getting old and ready to retire, Jagr was the better player by then, but Jagr at his peak never equalled Gretzky at his. I don't think there's many who'd disagree to that. Jagr only played 2 seasons in the NHL overlapping with Ovechkin, yet in both seasons Jagr outscored him. The first by nearly 20 points (123 to 106), the second by only 4 (96 to 92). Still, he outscored him both years. You could argue that Ovechkin was younger - these were, afterall, his first 2 years in the league, but Jagr was getting old. These were his last 2 seasons in the NHL afterall, not the 5 years of him winning Art Ross trophies. I realize this is a small sample size, being only 2 seasons, but if AO couldn't outscore Jagr (and neither Crosby nor AO have managed to equal Jagr's 123 points from 2005 season, let alone his 149 career high), and if Jagr wasn't as good as Gretzky, then how can AO be better than Gretzky?
Got that? I'll simplify it... Crosby hasn't yet had a season like Jagr's 123 points in 2005-06, which was after the lock-out in today's NHL. So even if you manage to argue Crosby is better than Jagr, and that's a better argument IMHO, nobody will ever suggest Jagr was as good as Mario Lemieux. So if Crosby = Jagr, and Jagr < Lemieux... I'll entertain a "if they were both healthy" debate about Lemieux vs. Gretzky, but we know Lemieux didn't stay healthy and that Gretzky had the superior career. So, if Crosby = Jagr, and Jagr < Lemieux, and Lemieux < Gretzky, how can you argue Crosby > Gretzky?
You can't, and the entire debate is silly. But was it ever entertaining!
If you had to choose between Gretzky and Crosby, and both are 23 years old and the year is 2010, who do you pick?
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