In Case You Missed Ales Hemsky's Goal

hockeyIn case you missed this Ales Hemsky goal to tie things up between the Oilers and Stars the other night, take a look at this.

It's unbelievable. Somehow Patrik Stefan missed an empty netter and remarkably the Oil got the puck up ice where Hemsky made a wicked move with two seconds left to beat Marty Turco. It's awesome, although the commenter came down a little hard on Stefan. Luckily for him, the Stars won it in a shootout.

Go ahead, watch it over and over again. I don't remember seeing anything like this before.

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Daniel Cleary and the '94 Bulls

hockeyMy cousin played two seasons for the Belleville Bulls in the mid 90s. In 1994-95 he started 39 games in net for the Bulls which meant I was following that team closely. The big story that season was a fifteen year old Newfoundlander named Daniel Cleary.

It was Cleary's first of four seasons in Belleville and he finished his rookie campaign with 81 points. This kid was highly touted right off the bat and labelled a future star with can't miss potential. He was a first round pick and when Cleary made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in 1997-98, I was watching.

After playing limited minutes in Chicago he found himself in Edmonton for a stretch where he proved useful but didn't shine as the potential all-star we were expecting. After a brief trip to the desert in Phoenix, Cleary ended up a Red Wing and I had all but given up on him.

On a team with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom and Robert Lang, it's Cleary who leads the Red Wings in goals with 17. That's already the highest goal output of his career. Unbelievably, that 15 year old kid is now 28 years old and is now playing the way it was always believed he could.

Better late than never.

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Sid the Kid

hockeyThe first mention of Sidney Crosby on this site was October 6, 2003. I opened with "Sidney Crosby. Are you familiar with that name? You will be."

I wrote that entry after reading a quote from The Great One himself. Wayne Gretzky said Crosby was the best player he'd seen since Mario Lemieux and Sid the Kid was only sixteen at the time. That's a boatload of pressure.

Crosby is now 19 and he's leading the NHL in points with 47. Only one other player led the NHL in points as a younger man, and his name was Wayne. There's really no telling how good Crosby will get. He's on pace to have the most points in a season since Mario.

There will never be another Gretzky, but it sure is fun watching the tremendous progress of #87. Go get 'em, Sid.

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Cindy Klassen Wins 2006 Lou Marsh Award

canadaCindy Klassen beat out some great competition for this years Lou Marsh award. Klassen won over such formidable opponents as Steve Nash, Justin Morneau and Joe Thornton.

I knew it. Five Olympic medals was not going to be denied.

Here are recent winners of the award.

  • 2006: Cindy Klassen
  • 2005: Steve Nash
  • 2004: Adam van Koeverden
  • 2003: Mike Weir
  • 2002: Catriona Le May Doan
  • 2001: Jamie Sale/David Pelletier
  • 2000: Daniel Igali
  • 1999: Carolyn Brunet
  • 1998: Larry Walker
  • 1997: Jacques Villeneuve
  • 1996: Donovan Bailey

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Mark McGwire Not Cooperstown Bound

mlbMany feel Mark McGwire will be punished by Hall of Fame voters for his alleged use of steroids. That may be the case, but even without the question of whether he was clean, I don't think he deserves to get in. I don't think he's Hall of Fame worthy.

Yes, he hit a lot of homers. When he beat Roger Maris' record it was a great moment that helped many forget about the labour strife that killed a World Series. Late in his career his slugging percentage began to soar, but he was all about the homer.

Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. are also on the ballot, and they're shoe-ins. McGwire will be left on the outside looking in and that's a good thing. Not because he tarnished the integrity of the sport and not because he beat out George Bell for the 1987 Home Run crown but because he was a one-dimensional player who simply doesn't belong in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.

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Justin Morneau, MVP

baseballJustin Morneau is the second Canadian to be named a major league MVP. The New Westminster, B.C. native has been named the 2006 American League MVP.

It was well deserved. He slugged 34 home runs and added 130 RBI while recording a .321 batting average, leading the Twins to the American League Central Division crown.

The other Canadian to win a major league MVP award, of course, is Larry Walker, the greatest position player this nation has ever produced.

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This Just In... Roger Federer Is Good!

tennisIt wasn't long ago we said goodbye to Pistol Pete. Pete Sampras retired from professional tennis with 64 singles titles, including a record 14 majors. I thought he was the best and doubted we'd see anyone as good, ever.

Check out these stats on Roger Federer from the BBC. The dude entered 17 tournaments this year and played the finals of 16 of them. He only lost to two players all season. He's reached six consecutive Grand Slam finals and remember that record of 14 Pistol Pete has? Federer is already at nine.

That didn't take long, did it?

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Pond of Dreams

hockeyI was bouncing around YouTube looking for NHL content when I saw someone had posted Pond of Dreams. This was a 2.5 minute clip that aired prior to the 2000 all-star game. I remember watching it then and getting goose bumps.

Lemieux's lines are a little stiff and it's a fairly manipulative piece, but it still gives me chills. They're playing me like a fiddle and there's nothing I can do to stop it.

The official NHL videos from YouTube can be found here. It's worth visiting daily for the play of the night.

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NHL YouTube Deal

nhlThe National Hockey League has signed a deal with YouTube to market highlight clips. You may recall I recently linked to the NHL on Google Video page, a multi-year deal to provide NHL video content to Google Video. With YouTube now in the Google family, this seemed like a natural extension of that deal.

This is a great move by the NHL. On October 1, I wrote about the problem with YouTube. I found the best clips are posted without consent from the copyright holder and are eventually pulled. Noticing all NHL content among my YouTube favourites had remained online, I wrote this prophetic statement. "Either the CBC and NHL understand the marketing potential of these videos or their lawyers just haven't got around to mailing that cease and desist letter yet."

Luckily, the NHL did understand the marketing potential and I applaud this move. Make it easy for bloggers and GooTubers to share and view NHL highlights and you build a rabid fanbase that will buy tickets, watch games on television and purchase memorabilia.

It's all good.

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Joe's Nail File

baseballThe recent controversy surrounding Kenny Rogers and this recent email about Dennis Eckersley cheating in the 1989 ALCS got me thinking about Joe Niekro. He played 22 season in the Major Leagues, but I only remember him for one incident in 1987. On August 3, 1987, he was ejected for having a nail file on the mound.

Niekro claimed he had been filing his nails in the dugout and stuck the file in his back pocket when the inning started and had not been doctoring baseballs. I remember this contorversy well and that he was suspended for ten days.

Niekro suffered a brain aneurysm on Thursday and passed away yesterday at the age of 61. It's strange, but I don't think Joe Niekro crossed my mind once since the 80s until I thought about pitchers caught trying to cheat after Kenny Rogers was ordered to wash his hands.

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