June 2009

Hockey

Matt Duchene: Flirting with First

Matt Duchene is often the forgotten one when talking about the top prospect in this year’s NHL Draft. Growing up in Haliburton, Ontario, kids have to find different ways to entertain themselves than the traditional movie watching and mall trips. Duchene spent his spare time firing pucks, playing road hockey and working out. It paid off for him at a young age, being drafted fifth overall in 2007 to the Ontario Hockey League’s Brampton Battalion….

Basketball

The Death of Allen Iverson

We’ve all struggled with the global recession, there’s no denying that fact. Even sports, once considered a recession-proof industry, are struggling to keep attendance up. Almost every team is actively pursuing payroll cuts, and this trend is most noticeable in the NBA. With so many teams facing serious financial troubles, it’s simply no longer sensible to overpay for production or players who can’t put butts in the seats. But if the recession has sucker-punched NBA…

Hockey

Dear Detroit, signed Stanley

Dear the Detroit Red Wings, On the night of Tuesday, June 9th, 2009, I sat in the bowels of Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, awaiting the outcome of Game 6, contemplating what another year with your organization would be like. Since 1997 I have spent four years with you in the state of Michigan, bearing the cold winters, all the while having visions of the Florida Panthers hoisting me the following June. Man those winters…

Hall of Fame

Marc-Andre Fleury: Motherlover

Does it bother Marc-Andre Fleury that when you Google images of his mom a picture of Jim Carrey in The Mask pops up? Probably not. It didn’t bother him when she smacked a good luck smooch on his skinny little cheek after arriving at Mellon Arena for Game 6 either. Apparently it didn’t bother him when his team trailed 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final – as the ensuing two games would tell us, at…

Baseball

Blue Jays get their wings clipped

A year ago at this time, the Toronto Blue Jays boasted the best starting pitchers in baseball, statistically speaking of course. On Opening Day 2008, the starting rotation for the Jays was established as ace Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum and Jesse Litsch. Of these five, all but Burnett came into the majors through the Jays’ system, and all but Burnett are currently still with the Jays. All but Burnett are injured….

Football

Blindsiding The Blind Side

One of the big trends in football over the last couple of decades has been an increasing focus on the importance of the left tackle, resulting in massive salaries and high draft picks expended on those who play it well. Famed Moneyball author Michael Lewis explored this phenomenon in his 2006 book, The Blind Side, which is set to be released as a movie later this year. The book took a historical look at the…

Other Sports

Can Federer be equated with greatness?

As Roger Federer advanced to a fourth consecutive final at Roland Garros, there was a different air in his quest to obtain the only trophy to elude his grasp. The French Open title, of course, has bite marks brandished on it due to world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who has lifted the trophy on four occasions and sunk his teeth into it as many times. But Nadal, the man who usurped Federer last year after…

Hockey

Seventh Heaven

It really doesn’t get any better than this. Tomorrow night the Pittsburgh Penguins will square off with the defending champion Detroit Red Wings in the Motor City in a winner-take-all showdown for the most coveted prize in hockey. To the victor go the spoils. To the loser go – well not much. Not much except the extremely bitter taste of defeat coupled with the knowledge that after a lengthy 82-game season, four gruelling playoff series…

Baseball

Closing time with Scott Downs

The ninth inning is about to commence at the Rogers Centre. The hometown Blue Jays are ahead by one run. Coming out of the left field bullpen is Toronto’s closer, Scott Downs. As he runs to the mound, the wind picks up Downs’ long dark hair, tucked so neatly under his cap. After throwing a few warm up tosses, the native of Louisville, Kentucky crouches behind the mound, mutters something into his glove and then…

Baseball

Athletics watch 2009: Cliff Pennington

The 2005 Major League Baseball Draft is recognized as one of the better drafts in recent years, with players like Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, and Troy Tulowitzki all being drafted. With their first pick in the draft, and 21st overall, the Oakland Athletics selected middle infielder Cliff Pennington from Texas A&M. “It made me feel great,” said Pennington. “Obviously, somebody thought you were a good player and wants you to be part of their organization.”…