February 2011

Basketball

Has Joe Dumars lost his way?

After being named the general manager of the Detroit Pistons in 2000, Joe Dumars turned heads quickly. In no time at all, he assembled an impressive championship-caliber squad which completely recreated the team’s identity. Over the course of a six-year span beginning with the 2002-03 season, the Pistons made the Eastern Conference finals six straight times, including two trips to the NBA Finals. They won as many as 64 games in a season after winning the NBA Title two…

Hockey

Draft Dogs part one: Dougie Hamilton

Jack Gatecliff Arena in St. Catharines, Ont., affectionately referred to as “The Jack” by the Niagara IceDogs and their devoted fan base, is nearing its 80th year of operation. Its vents clatter so forcefully that they shake standing room counters and, in turn, patrons’ beers between swallows. Its advertisements dominate the facility’s aesthetics, making certain that all 3,046 spectators are cognizant to the local economy. And its 1996 renovations are becoming antiquated. Behind the scenes,…

Baseball

Anthopoulos and the new-look Blue Jays

The 2011 Toronto Blue Jays are entering a new era. GM Alex Anthopoulos has had over a year on the job now and the team is already starting to look like his team. The remnants of the previous regime in all its forms have been shed and now its time to look forward. Anthopoulos’ first order of business was to trade ace Roy Halladay. Everybody knew it was coming, but what Anthopoulos managed to get…

Basketball

Tim Duncan: The silent superstar

Tim Duncan is the silent superstar. Silently, he’s led the San Antonio Spurs to four NBA championships. Silently, he’s been named the NBA Finals MVP three times. Silently, he’s a 13-time all-star, a former NBA Rookie of the Year and a two-time regular season MVP. Countless awards and accomplishments accumulate for the 34-year-old veteran. There’s no doubt he’s heading to the Hall of Fame and you can certainly bet San Antonio will retire his number. And all of this has occurred, and will continue…

Basketball

Defending Chris Bosh’s questionable legacy in Toronto

On Feb. 16, Chris Bosh returned to Toronto, the city he had spent his entire career with before joining the Miami Heat. It was not a homecoming, nor was it an affirmation of the Heat’s dominance. The Raptors lost 103-95. The night wasn’t really what anyone expected. In other words, it was a very Bosh-like night. As somebody who has written extensively about Bosh, I felt like I had to be in the city to at least to get…

Basketball

The Association and the traveling circus

As NBA All-Star Weekend ends, so too ends the greatest spectacle in the history of February. We must pack away the Darryl Dawkins leopard-print suits, the Mohawk-adorned children who keep losing dolls and hot Sager-on-Bieber action. Back we go to the real world of Tuesday road games, playing defense, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The all-star spectacle is the climax of the NBA’s vaudevillian spirit. Together for three days, the entirety of the NBA community gathers together under one tent for…

Other Sports

A North American guide to the 2011 Cricket World Cup

A major global sporting event begins this Saturday in South Asia. Co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the 2011 Cricket World will captivate millions of people across five continents for the next six weeks. Historically, Canada versus the United States is the oldest fixture in international cricket. The first match between two opposing countries took place in September, 1844 at St. George’s Cricket Club in New York City. A stereotypical complaint about cricket is that…

Hockey

It’s not all Phil Kessel’s fault

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the very definition of an “up and down” team. If they’re not running a two-game winning streak, they’re dropping three in a row. As soon as they rattle off four straight, they turn around and lose six of seven. As frustrating as this is for fans in Toronto, it has to be worse for the players, especially Phil Kessel. After being branded as the franchise player before he even flew…

Baseball

Our recovery from Stephen Strasburg’s surgery

Last June baseball fans from San Diego to D.C. had the privilege of watching the Major League Baseball debut of Washington Nationals stud pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The nation-wide pandemonium of his highly-anticipated first start was rewarded in kind, with 14 strikeouts and a win. The years of hype, speculation and mystery, had started to pay off. Over the course of the next three months, Strasburg continued to take the mound on a somewhat regular basis,…

Hockey

Islanders prospects numb pain in New York

The phrase “kick ’em when they’re down” seems tame, sadly, when applied to the New York Islanders this season. Things just aren’t going so well in Long Island. The new year, in particular, has gone poorly for the Isles, and that’s even considering that many thought they would stumble along all season and be a sure-bet for a high lottery pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. To look at the team’s injury report for…