A few things happened that I thought were pretty cool.
- Was there a person on this planet not rooting for John Daly yesterday? Only six months ago, Daly was down in the dumps when he learned his fourth wife had been indicted on federal drug and gambling charges, just five days after giving birth to his first son. Ranked number 299 in the world, his life was once again a mess. He's seen it all since winning the PGA Championship back in '91. Two divorces, two trips to alcohol rehab, rash behavior on the golf course that led the PGA Tour to suspend him, rumours of gambling and drinking. With a 100-foot bunker shot that trickled within 4 inches of the cup, Daly birdied the 18th hole Sunday to win the Buick Invitational in a three-man playoff. It was great to see.
- Who do you think led the Eastern Conference in scoring during yesterday's NBA All-Star Game? Allen Iverson? Nope. Tracy McGrady? Nope. Our very own Vince Carter? Guess again. It was Toronto-born Jamaal Magloire who recorded 19 points and eight rebounds to lead the Eastern Conference pack.
- The U.K. magazine Q claimed that "all the best new bands" come from Canada. Acts such as Toronto's Broken Social Scene, the Hidden Cameras and the Constantines, Vancouver's Hot Hot Heat and Montreal's Unicorns led the charge.
Last night during the great collapse at the ACC, Sabre goaltender Mika Noronen was credited with a goal when Robert Reichel inadvertently passed the puck into the empty Leaf cage. Noronen became the eighth goalie in NHL history to be credited with a goal, an extremely rare feat. As rare as it is, I saw one of the previous six instances live.
The only game I've ever seen at the Corel Centre in Ottawa was January 2nd, 1999 as the Senators took on the New Jersey Devils. Ottawa won 6-0 and former Leaf Damien Rhodes didn't only record a shut out but he was credited with a goal when a Devils player inadvertently pulled a Robert Reichel. Here's the ticket stub from the game.
Here's the entire list of NHL goalies to get credit for goals.
- Billy Smith, NY ISlanders - November 28, 1979 vs. Colorado
- Ron Hextall, Philadelphia - December 8, 1987 vs. Boston
- Ron Hextall, Philadelphia - April 11, 1989 vs. Washington
- Chris Osgood, Detroit - March 6, 1996 vs. Hartford
- Martin Brodeur, New Jersey - April 17, 1997 vs. Montreal (playoffs)
- Damian Rhodes, Ottawa - January 2, 1999 vs. New Jersey
- Jose Theodore, Montreal - December 2, 2001 vs. NY Islanders
- Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose - March 10, 2002 vs. Vancouver
- Mika Noronen, Buffalo - February 14, 2004 vs. Toronto
A couple of days ago I lamented in this space about Lennox Lewis and how conflicted I was with his success. He became a dominant heavyweight while fighting for Britain despite growing up in Kitchener and winning a gold medal for Canada at the '88 Olympics.
I just read an excellent article in yesterday's Globe and Mail by Stephen Brunt in which he sums the entire conflict up perfectly. I'm posting his closing remarks below as I couldn't have said it better myself. Brunt nails it.
So what does a man with more money than he'll ever be able to spend, with the option of living anywhere and doing anything, do now? He builds a great big house for him and his wife-to-be.
In Kitchener. Ontario. Canada.
If Canadians had known that, in the end, he was always coming home, that he never really left, that he was flying a flag of financial convenience all along, they'd have had a lot easier time embracing his accomplishments as those of one of their own.
World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has announced his retirement from professional boxing. Lewis leaves with a 41-1-2 record, and is the first reigning world heavyweight champion to quit since Rocky Marciano in 1956.
Lennox Lewis dominated heavyweight boxing waving the Union Jack for his native Britain. Canadians will be quick to remind you that he moved to Canada at the age of nine and honed his skills here winning the 1988 Seoul Olympic super-heavyweight gold medal for the True North Strong and Free. I have mixed feelings about this entire situation. Unlike that traitor Greg Rusedski, Lennox Lewis was actually born in England. In fact, he spent nine years there before moving to Canada, so it's hard to fault him for returning home to fight under the flag of his homeland. Still, he learned to box in Kitchener, Ontario and won a Gold medal for Canada. Calling him "Canadian", however, became quite a stretch.
When Canadian Donovon "Razor" Ruddock failed to win his rematch with Mike Tyson, it appeared as if we had missed our chance to have a serious rooting interest in boxing. Then, Iron Mike was sent to the slammer and it appeared as if Razor Ruddock would have as good a shot as anyone. On October 31, 1992 Ruddock faced Lennox Lewis himself with the winner getting an opportunity to take on Evander Holyfield for the belt. Lennox Lewis destroyed "Razor" and he was never the same. Lewis went on to secure the championship and even though I claimed there was a Canadian champion, I never believed the words I was saying. He was, in fact, British.
Jamaal Magloire was named to the Eastern Conference all-star team this afternoon. The Toronto native is now the second Canadian ever selected to play in the NBA all-star game following Steve Nash who was selected twice. He's averaging a career-high 11.7 points and 9.4 rebounds a game this season for the New Orleans Hornets.
Considering as recently as 2001 it could be said no Canadian had ever participated in this game, I'd say we're on quite the hot streak. We've now been represented three years in a row by two different players. Damn, Magloire would look good in a Raptors uniform, wouldn't he. Hmmm.
Late in the second quarter it was beginning to look as if Super Bowl XXXVIII was going to be a dog. There was virtually no offense to speak of, then, all of a sudden, a flurry of offense finished off the half and we had ourselves a game.
The final quarter was great. We saw the longest play in Super Bowl history and a see-saw battle that forced steady Tom Brady to bring his troops from behind twice. Brady is now 6-0 in the post-season proving himself to be as money a quarterback as there is in the league. All I asked for was a good, close game and that's what I got. Super Bowl XXXVIII was a good one.
And lest I forget to mention the half-time show...particularly the final moment of the half-time show. How do you end a concert before the world's largest television audience? You get Justin Timberlake to rip off part of Janet Jackson's top, exposing her right breast, that's how. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw it live but I've since acquired the pictures to prove it.
Yesterday, it was suggested that I list the top five Super Bowls ever as my Friday Five. I didn't, but I did surf the web to find a list of the top 7 Super Bowls of all time as compiled by Rush Magazine. It's a pretty decent list, so I'll post it here and then make a few comments.
- Super Bowl III - Jets 16, Colts 7
- Super Bowl XXXIV - Rams 23, Titans 16
- Super Bowl XXXVI Patriots 20, Rams 17
- Super Bowl XXV Giants 20, Bills 19
- Super Bowl XIV Steelers 31, Rams 19
- Super Bowl XIII Steelers 35, Cowboys 31
- Super Bowl XXIII 49ers 20, Bengals 16
To be fair, here's how Rush Magazine justified their number one choice.
If you've ever been amazed at what you just saw in a football game, you can relate it to this dandy. It didn't end with a miraculous play, and there isn't some overwhelming statistic that you can hang out there that will never ever be taken down... but holy Lombardi's, this was the birth of football. Broadway Joe, calling the win. Calling the win, against the mighty Colts! It just wasn't going to happen!
If you were around then, you'd remember thinking what an idiot this man was to be not only digging his own grave, but bringing a bathtub and a toaster with him. You then watched in head-shaking, head-numbing, head-warping disbelief as you gradually understood that he was going to pull it off. He knew. He just knew. And after that game, we all knew.
In my humble opinion, nothing has surpassed Super Bowl XXXIV in terms of pure excitement. The Tennessee Titans trailed the Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams by seven with six seconds left in the game. Steve McNair was in the red zone, 10 yards from a tie score and overtime. The pass was to Kevin Dyson whose outstretched arm fell a yard short as time expired. I remember watching this one at a house party and you could hear a pin drop during this final play. I think there was a unified "F*ck Off" or "No F*cking Way" when we realized Dyson missed it by this much.
Best. Super Bowl. Ever.
Sunday is Super Bowl XXXVIII. The AFC Champion New England Patriots are taking on the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers in Houston, Texas. I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself.
Sarcasm doesn't translate well to the written word. I should point out the aforementioned expression of my excitement was written with my tongue firmly in my cheek. I don't find this match-up intriguing in the least. There's nothing I can sink my teeth into. Where's the interesting angle? Where's the rooting interest? I don't give a rat's ass about these two teams.
Admittedly, I'm not the world's biggest football fan. It ranks as my fourth favourite sport to watch on television and follow in the papers. Still, I typically get pretty up around Super Bowl Sunday. This year, not so much. I'll probably still watch, but only in the hopes it's an exciting game that comes down to the wire. If a team goes up by more than two possessions, I might bail.
One month ago I wrote about Toronto-born Jesse Palmer who became the first Canadian-born and trained quarterback to start a game in the NFL. Palmer didn't win that Sunday, but he did give thousands of Canadians something to cheer about.
Today, Jesse Palmer is back in the news for another reason. Palmer, it seems, is set to become the next star of ABC's reality series "The Bachelor". Say it ain't so, Jesse. Say it ain't so.
As a fourth round draft pick by the New York Giants, there's no way he needs the money. As an NFL quarterback, there's no way he needs the fame. As Jesse Palmer, there's no way he has trouble finding dates. Why estrange yourself from football fans by appearing in this wussy reality show? Why humiliate yourself on this cornball series? Why Jesse, why? I don't get it.
Tennis player Greg Rusedski has tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone. Reading these reports brought back some pretty ill feelings I have towards this athlete. There are few I dislike as much as I dislike Rusedski.
Rusedski was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. He's as Canadian as I, and played professional tennis as a supposedly proud Canadian. In 1995 he applied to change the country he played for to Britain and based this on the fact his mother had lived in England until the age of four. He simply decided he didn't want to play for the country in which he lived and trained his entire life and opted to be regarded as British instead. His motives, no doubt, were monetary. Seeing him ham it up at Wimbledon sporting a Union Jack bandana was rather hard to digest. It was a cheesy move and I've detested him ever since.
What made the switch an even more bitter pill to swallow is the fact Canada has had such a difficult time producing a quality male tennis player. Rusedski was showing such promise in 1995 and there was a sense that we'd finally have a homegrown rooting interest on the ATP. Instead, he became a phony Brit and an ungrateful Canadian. Seeing his name attached to this controversy pleases me. Seeing he's now ranked 119th in the world pleases me even more.
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