April 2011

Hockey

The first-round’s All-Fearless Team

Every playoff round is different – even in the same sport. With hockey, one year incredible goaltending steals the show, hot snipers another. Through it all though, themes almost habitually tend to transcend time and emerge once the smoke has cleared. One of those constants is the killer instinct that possesses both the Hollywood stud and the fourth-line grinder, in hopes of advancing one step closer to the Stanley Cup. The first-round of the 2011…

Baseball

Brandon Morrow fits future ace profile for Jays

When Brandon Morrow took the mound against the Tampa Bay Rays in early August last year, all he was looking to do was to give his Toronto Blue Jays team a chance to win. After striking out 14 batters in seven innings without allowing a single hit, he was doing exactly that, and in historic fashion. Despite having already thrown 102 pitches, Morrow earned every right to pitch in the eighth inning. He notched two…

Basketball

Classic cinema, samurai and the NBA MVP

Ever see Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon? It’s a great movie, even if it’s a little confusing. It goes a little something like this: a woodcutter tells a man about his experience finding a dead samurai in the woods. He tells four versions of the story, three he heard during a trial – the thief who killed the samurai, the samurai’s wife and the dead samurai’s – before telling what he saw happen. The basics of the…

Baseball

Joe Blanton: The Phillies’ forgotten fifth

When the Philadelphia Phillies brought back Cliff Lee this past offseason, all of the talk around baseball was about their starting rotation, and rightly so. On top of adding a two-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner, the Phillies have their ace Roy Halladay, who is a seven-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner, Roy Oswalt, who has a career 3.17 ERA in 306 starts, and former World Series MVP Cole Hamels. That’s one…

Hockey

Nicklas Jensen: Draft day in Denmark

In its 92-year history, just seven Danish hockey players have found their way into the NHL. All but one of them were drafted between 2007 and 2010 and still remain in the league today. This summer, Denmark will see the developmental trend continue thanks to Oshawa Generals winger Nicklas Jensen. Projected to go in the first-round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Jensen will join the likes of Frans Nielsen, Mikkel Boedker, Jannik Hansen, Philip Larsen,…

Baseball

MLB addresses concussions with seven-day DL

There’s a rising awareness concerning brain injuries across all professional sports these days, their seriousness, and the jeopardy players put themselves in by attempting to play through them, but we need not look at the severity of concussions in hockey or football to understand why Major League Baseball is taking measures of their own to prevent head trauma in baseball. On May 29, 2008, Toronto Blue Jay second baseman Aaron Hill missed 107 games as…

Baseball

Son of a pitcher man: The Kyle Drabek story

At first glance, Kyle Drabek does not appear to be an intimidating force on the mound. Once the ball leaves his hand, though, opposing hitters immediately recognize that he is exactly that, a borderline assassin. With only six Major League starts to his name, Drabek is already inflicting damage on his targets with a variety of weapons. Whether he’s throwing a two-seam fastball with late sink or a cutter that strikes panic into left-handed hitters,…

Basketball

Brook Lopez: The future is frightening

At first glance Brook Lopez is an imposing figure in a Jack and the Beanstalk sort of way – especially for those unfortunate enough to have to check him in a half court offense – but a perplexing first-step combined with his undisputedly harrowing size make him more than just imposing, they make him rather frightening. The fact that he’s managed to emerge as a legitimate 30-point threat while admirably handling the rigors of a…

Baseball

Ryan Doumit, captain among Pirates

Few teams have liquidated their rosters the way the Pittsburgh Pirates did during the 2009 season. After shipping out five of their eight Opening Day position players, a member of their starting rotation, and over half of their bullpen, few players remained from the original group. Had Ryan Doumit not suffered a wrist injury that season, he too would have likely been dealt. Doumit is the only player from the 2009 Opening Day lineup that…

Hockey

Electing the Maple Leafs’ top forward

The 2010-11 NHL regular season has officially come and gone, and on the outside of the playoffs looking in for a sixth consecutive season are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Fortunately, however, veiled by the disappointment of a 37-34-11 campaign, lies hope. In combination with stud goaltender James Reimer’s Broadway-esque debut in the NHL and Luke Schenn’s bounce back performance following a disappointing sophomore campaign was a four-pack of Maple Leafs forwards who each showed legitimate…