T-Shirt Prognosis: Alexander Ovechkin 2007-08 Hart Trophy Winner

nhlThe t-shirt has spoken.

The NHL's official online store briefly featured a blue Alexander Ovechkin T-shirt with the phrase "2007-08 Hart Trophy winner" displayed along the bottom. The NHL claims it don't mean a thang.

"In an effort to offer our fans the merchandise they want in a timely manner following an event such as the NHL awards, our licensees prepare product for all possible outcomes," spokesman Frank Brown said in a statement. "In this situation, the link for one of the possible products became live early through an error by our e-commerce provider. We regret the error and have since taken steps to amend."

With 65 goals and 47 assists in 82 games, I knew Ovechkin was going to win before this gaffe.


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The Dream NBA Finals: Lakers-Celtics

NBA The NBA have their dream final. The Boston Celtics knocked off the Detroit Pistons last night setting up a Celtics-Lakers final for the first time since 1987. It will be the 11th time the Celtics and Lakers have met in the NBA finals.

Boston has dominated this rivalry, winning 8 out of 10, although the first was against the Minneapolis Lakers. I wasn't around for those great match-ups in the 60s, but I was there for Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson in the 80s. The Celtics currently lead in total championships with 16 to the Lakers' 14.

Expect to see lots of Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Bill Cousy, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kevin McHale, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Parish and James Worthy footage over the next week. Heck, let's start right now. This is, after all, a dream final.

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Why I'm Rooting for the Penguins

Stanley CupThe Stanley Cup finals start tomorrow night. In case you're living under a rock, it's the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Detroit Red Wings. I'll be strongly rooting for the Penguins, and here's the five reasons why.

The Streak
Freddie P touched on this neat little factoid and I dig it as much as he does. No team captained by a non-North American has ever won the Stanley Cup. In fact, all the Stanley Cup winning captains have been Canadian except for Derian Hatcher who captained the 1999 Dallas Stars. Lidstrom, captain of the Red Wings, would be the first European to lead his team to a cup win. It might not be politically correct, but I prefer captains and Conn Smyth winners to hail from Canada.

The Kid
I've been following the career of Sid the Kid since around the time I wrote this entry. Believe it or not, he's still only 20 years old. That's incredible, and it would be even cooler if he led these young guns to the holy grail.

Red Wing Fatigue
I used to hate the Red Wings when we shared a division with them. I watched game 7 of that 1993 series just last week and, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, I was so damn happy Gilmour scored to tie it up late in the 3rd and Borchevsky scored to win it in OT. I'm tired of these guys, they've won enough, and without Yzerman and Shanahan, there's no reason to like 'em.

The Hat
I love watching elite players, and I loved watching Mario Lemieux. In the early 90s, when the Penguins were winning cups, they were the team I cheered for when the Leafs were out. I still have my black Penguins cap in the trunk of my car. It's the only NHL logo on a cap I own that isn't the Maple Leaf.

Gary Roberts
Who doesn't love Gary Roberts? He was our heart and soul, he retired and came back, he hasn't sipped from the Cup since 1989. Damn I want him to hoist Lord Stanley's mug one more time...

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I've Never Played a Single Game of Soccer

soccerMom, if you're reading this, there's something that's bugging me. How is it that I'm 33 years old and I've never played a single game of organized soccer outside of gym class?

My brothers both played. My son plays. It's actually got the highest participation rate in the country. Everyone, it seems, plays soccer as a kid. Except me, that is.

Sure, I had my tee ball and then softball and I played hockey, but how did I completely miss soccer?


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Toronto's Joey Votto Joins Elite Club

mlbJoey Votto was drafted straight out of Richview Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke by the Cincinnati Reds. He made his MLB debut in September 2007, hitting a home run in his 2nd at bat.

Last night, against the Chicago Cubs, Votto went deep three times. It was his 57th career game, and only a small handful of players have hit 3 homers in a single game this early in their career. In fact, according to Stat of the Day, only 4 other players have done it since 1956.

Votto's the best Toronto-born ballplayer since Rob Ducey.

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When Headlines Write Themselves

newspaperIn sports, you can often guess the headline. For example, if the Jays gets stomped by the Kansas City Royals, the headline might be "Jays Crowned By Royals". If the Raptors are beat up by Chicago, the headline might be "Raptors Can't Run With Bulls". You get the idea.

Last night, in the first game of their second round series, the Toronto Marlies were beat 5-1 by the Syracuse Crunch. Who wants to guess today's headlines?

Occam's razor could have been about headline writing. All things being equal, the most obvious pun is always best.

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Reed Johnson's Sick Catch

BaseballWhy the hell did we cut Reed Johnson? Reeder could bat leadoff, hit for average and man could he play the outfield.

I won't be able to sleep tonight. Do you know why I can't sleep? It's because I just saw Reed Johnson make the greatest catch I've ever seen. Yes, it's better than Devon White's catch in game 3 of the 1992 World Series, and the dude made it while playing for the Chicago freakin' Cubs.

It's fresh, so there's not a lot of YouTubage to post. Tune in Sportscentre or The Score or whatever and you'll see it a dozen times tonight. For less than ideal video of Reed Johnson's unbelievable grab, press play below.

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Happiness is a Sweep of the Sens

humourHistorically, the greatest rival of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been the Montreal Canadiens. My dislike of the Habs, however, pales in comparison to my absolute hatred of the Ottawa Senators.

I don't just hate the Sens, I despise them. I understand that those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but I'm loving this collapse by the team voted most likely to win the cup back in October. Damn, they came out of the gate like gangbusters and for a while we were wondering if they'd set a new standard for regular season excellence. Then, it all went to shit and they couldn't stop the slide. It was awesome.

I'm actually glad the Leafs didn't take out the Sens on April 3rd because it allowed this to happen. We Leaf fans, without a team to root for, collectively embraced ABO and witnessed a glorious four game sweep at the hands of the young and exciting Pittsburgh Penguins. Next to a series win by the Leafs, this is the best hockey news possible.

It's a fantastic feeling, but it makes me nostalgic for the days we used to knock the Sens out of the playoffs. It seems like yesterday I wrote this entry after we ousted the Senators in 7 back in 2004. We met the Sens in the playoffs 4 times in 5 years and took 'em out every single damn time. Sweet, sweet memories...


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My Life As A Golf Ball

golfExcluding games on my Nintendo Wii, I've golfed exactly once in my life. It was "lifetime gym" in grade 12 and we took a field trip to a local course to play nine holes. That was over 16 years ago.

One of my brothers golfs quite a bit. I know this because when I'm not sure what else to buy him as a birthday or Christmas present, I usually buy him golf balls. At least I hope he golfs because if he doesn't I've been giving him some pretty crappy gifts.

When it comes to following the PGA, I really only notice the major tournaments and if a Canadian isn't going to win, I'll root for Tiger. I'll root for Tiger because I'd like someone from my generation to shatter all the records. Tiger Woods is the Wayne Gretzky of golf, and that's a once in a lifetime happening.

All you golf freaks have your sights set on Augusta, Georgia where the Masters is underway. My friend Howie is obsessed with Tiger and he considers this a religious weekend. This morning he wrote a funny bit where he answers questions from regular readers as The Masters Guru. He also calls me frequently trying to get me to switch my Maple Leaf love to Tiger love so I can learn what it's like to back a winner. I respond with "1992 and 1993". Yes, I know that winning feeling.

Enjoy your golf. If Tiger is in contention Sunday afternoon, write me and remind me to watch. If Mike Weir is in contention... never mind... now I'm just talking silly.

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The Ottawa Song

Stanley CupThe Stanley Cup playoffs kick off tonight and I'll be focusing on the Pens / Sens series. You see, without a team to passionately root for, I find comfort in passionately rooting against the Ottawa Senators. Even though I drafted a couple of Sens in my playoff pool, I'll be cheering for the Pittsburgh Penguins as if they're playing for the 416.

Below is "The Ottawa Song", found at ABO! Anyone But Ottawa!

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