Kevin Everett's Miraculous Recovery

billsThey said he wouldn't walk again, but Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett has made amazing progress if I'm to believe this footage.

Seeing is believing. It's nothing short of a miracle.

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John Paciorek's Game Was 44 Years Ago Today

mlbOne of my favourite blogs is Stat of the Day which today has a nice little write up about John Paciorek. 44 years ago today, John Paciorek played his one and only major league baseball game for the Houston Colt .45's.

He got to the plate 5 times that day, going 3 for 3 and taking two walks. He also got 3 RBIs and scored 4 runs easily giving him the greatest one game career in major league history.

John Paciorek made the most of his shot, but never earned his way back to the show. A back injury the next year hampered things and he retired from baseball in 1969. Here's the boxscore from that September 29, 1963 game.

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Ranking the Spectator Sports

sportsI just read that Canada failed to win a match at the Rugby World Cup for the first time. We got walloped 37-6 by Australia earlier today and I don't care. Rugby is in my C bucket of sports which means I really don't care how Canada fares unless we happen to win something at which time I'll semi-care.

I'm sure this will sound like blasphemy to rugby lovers, but I've never played the sport nor have I ever watched a match, and I'm a sports fan. With a sport in the Toronto Mike C bucket alongside cricket and polo, a world cup can come and go and I won't notice. I read about our loss to Australia at BBC Sport.

Because I'm sure you're curious, here's my A bucket, B bucket and C bucket. The sports I failed to list are probably in the C bucket.

A Bucket

  • hockey
  • baseball
  • basketball
  • football

B Bucket

  • golf
  • tennis
  • auto racing
  • soccer
  • boxing
  • track and field
  • horse racing

C Bucket

  • rugby
  • cricket
  • polo
  • cycling
  • bowling
  • badminton
  • sailing
  • squash
  • weightlifting
  • skiiing

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Magical Bat

mlbCheck out this magic moment from the Mets ~ Braves game. I've never seen this happen and I doubt we'll see it again.

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Choosing the Right Hockey Stick... YOURS

hockeyThe following entry was presented to me by Easton and I agreed to post it in exchange for some sweet Easton gear. It actually is some good information for those of you loading up on hockey equipment, and in this city, that's just about everybody.

Choosing the right hockey stick can be a daunting task these days. There are more manufacturers offering more models, armed with all sorts of technologies aimed at supporting your game. The following are some key elements to consider when making your choice, regardless of brand or price tag.

Stick Length: When standing, the height of your hockey stick should measure between your chin and nose. This will leave the stick sitting between your collarbone and chin with skates on. As a general rule, forwards will have shorter sticks to allow for stick handling and shooting in tight quarters, while defensemen will use longer sticks to enhance their wingspan and poke-checking ability. Most coaches prefer shorter sticks for young players because it forces the athlete to bend his/her knees when shooting, passing or stick-handling, thereby instilling the basic mechanics and fundamentals of the sport at the onset.

Shaft Flex: There is a tendency to think that a stiffer stick translates to a harder shot. In fact a lower flex can generate a blast if the player can load the stick properly and let the stick do the rest. The key to choosing the right flex is to take into account the player’s height, weight, position and playing style. Remember, a shorter player will likely have to cut down the length of his/her stick, thereby rendering it stiffer. This player needs to choose a softer flex off the rack to offset the effects of shortening a stick/shaft. By the same token, the force generated by a 200 pound player’s shot demands a stiffer shaft for optimal transfer of loaded energy. Last, but not least…playing style. A lightning fast, shifty player like Marian Gaborik will have different stick demands than a player with a cannon for a shot like Brian Rolston or Sheldon Souray. Gaborik’s style necessitates a light, responsive stick that will allow for a quick release while the needs of Rolston or Souray translate to a heavier, more durable stick.

Blade Lie: The lie of a stick refers to the angle at which the shaft relates to the blade (most sticks and blades will have a lie between 5 and 6). The lie factor is the one seemingly trivial element that can truly dial in the performance of a stick for an individual. You can best determine what lie suits your style by examining your game. Are you an upright skater? Do you stickhandle and shoot from near your feet? If so, you’re a likely candidate for a higher lie stick or blade (lie 6). Conversely, if you’re more tilted when skating and stick handling you’d probably be happier and more effective with a lower lie. A surefire way to make certain a lie is right for you is to check the wear lines on the bottom of your blade. What you want is level blade wear between the heel and toe. If most of the wear is concentrated in the toe region, chances are the blade you’ve chosen a lie that is too low for your style. Conversely, if the heel of your blade is taking the brunt of the wear, you need to consider a lower lie.

Blade Curve/Pattern: A player can further customize a stick to his/her playing style by choosing from a slew of pattern options. Generally speaking, a forward will have a smaller paddle to maximize stick handling and a slight loft or open face to the blade, making those top shelf shots a touch more spectacular. Most defensemen will opt for a bigger paddle to help block shots/passes, along with a straight or closed face paddle to keep those point shots low. Blade curves are available in varying degrees of hook (some exceeding the legal ½” limit), originating or focusing in the heel, middle or toe region of the paddle. Players can use personal preference as a guideline for choosing what type of curve or blade silhouette best fits their game. In today’s NHL, most patterns lean towards a slight variance of an open-faced, heel curve with a rounded toe.

Stick Model: Hockey can be an expensive sport, so it’s important to know what a player’s expectations are of a stick when making a choice at retail. The one critical factor to consider is the performance vs. durability of a chosen product. You wouldn’t want to mistake a hefty sticker price for durability, much like you wouldn’t expect a Ferrari to survive a monster truck rally. Again, remember, different products target various styles of play. A finesse player will look for the lightest, most responsive stick he/she can find without much consideration for durability. An aggressive, physical player, however, will instead choose a stick that will hold up to his/her style of play.

Hopefully these different elements will aid in your search for THE hockey stick, although finding perfection is usually a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride.

Mike Mountain
Easton Hockey Product Manager, Sticks


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We Were Good! I Swear!

u of tThe Waterloo Warriors beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 42-17 yesterday. That was the University of Toronto's 42nd loss in a row, only five away from York's CIAU record for consecutive losses.

You're not going to believe this, but this team used to be good. In fact, I was a student at the University of Toronto when they were the best. I mentioned it before, but in 1993 Mario Sturino was the QB and he led the Varsity Blues to a Yates Cup victory.

Things have deteriorated in my absence, haven't they?

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Toronto FC Record Breakers

soccerI haven't caught any Toronto FC action yet, but I'm always proud when a Toronto-based professional sports franchise sets a league record. In their inaugural season, Toronto FC has already set a new standard for Major League Soccer.

Our 1-0 loss to D.C. United last night gives us the MLS record for longest stretch without a goal. We're at 642 minutes and counting.

Add this esteemed record to our previous MLS record for longest goalless spell to open a season. Feel the pride, Toronto.

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Content With Not Contending

Basketball CanadaWhen you compare and contrast the way we view our national basketball team with the way we view our national hockey teams, it's more than a little shocking. The FIBA Americas Olympic Qualification tournament starts today for our men's basketball team as we try and qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Have a look at our roster.

You won't find Steve Nash on that list, by far the greatest player this country has ever produced. You also won't find Jamaal Magloire, the other Canadian NBA veteran. There are recent college stars like Denham Brown, Carl English and Juan Mendez, and NBAer Sam Dalembert, but our best team won't be on the court in Las Vegas, and we're okay with that. Canadians are content with not contending when it comes to international basketball tournaments.

If one great NHLer bowed out of a major international tournament, we'd try him for treason. Every blogger in this country would call him out and claim it was his duty to represent Canada. We care about contending in hockey. It's too bad we don't care about contending in basketball, too.

Steve Nash, where are you?

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756 for Barry Bonds

mlbBarry Bonds sent a 3-and-2 pitch from Washington Nationals left-hander Mike Bacsik last night 435 feet for homerun #756 passing Hank Aaron and becoming the new Major League Baseball home run king.

Hank Aaron's video congratulations was drenched in class.

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Observations From A Soccer Naysayer

soccerI'm not fanatical about my disinterest in soccer. Some who dislike the sport are passionate about their hatred and exert a great deal of energy ripping into devotees. That's not me, I never played the sport and therefore never developed an interest. Now, I think it's just too late for me.

Although I'm not a fan, I don't live under a rock, so I'm well aware of the local hype surrounding last night's game between Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy. 20,522 filled BMO Field by the Ex in the hopes that David Beckham would make his Major League Soccer debut. 20,522 got a double dose of disappointment. Not only did Beckham sit on the bench for the entire game nursing an ankle injury, but no goals were scored in the match. 20,522 missed Beckham in a 0-0 final.

Toronto FC hasn't scored a goal in four games. The fact I don't dig the sport is a blessing. I'm missing out on some major league disappointment.

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