Skill finally winning the battle for the soul of the NHL

The Vancouver Canucks, who may have lost the 2011 Stanley Cup to the bully Boston Bruins, have set a new standard for play

Skill finally winning the battle for the soul of the NHLThe Stanley Cup Finals series of 2011 – Vancouver versus Boston – was more than just the best chance for a Canadian National Hockey League team to win the Stanley Cup since 1993. As I explain in my book Ice Storm, it was widely seen as a showdown between the traditional NHL, in the person…

Toronto’s fond farewell to John Gibbons exposes deep faults

The Blue Jays’ president and GM bear the brunt of the blame for a horrible season, not the departing manager

Toronto’s fond farewell to John Gibbons exposes deep faultsLegendary baseball manager Leo Durocher once growled, “Show me a good loser and I‘ll show you a loser.” Soon-to-be ex-Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is certainly not a loser. Trips to the post-season in 2015 and 2016 showed him at his best. But for his 10 seasons during two stints in Toronto, his record was…

How migrants in search of championships hurt pro sports

Expansion meant salary caps and luxury taxes were necessary to keep teams competitive. But the system has failed players and fans

How migrants in search of championships hurt pro sportsThe problem with giving an athlete all the money he’ll ever need is that he’s going to ask you for something you can’t guarantee – no matter how much money you have. And that’s a championship. As the Erik Karlsson drama demonstrated last week, when an athlete gets all the money he can command, he’ll…

Will fans stay loyal as the Blue Jays rebuild?

The 2015 and 2016 Jays were wildly successful but that winning culture couldn't be sustained. A new winning era will take time

Will fans stay loyal as the Blue Jays rebuild?In retail, the time-honoured phrase is “Under-promise and over-deliver.” In sports, you might amend that to: “If you promise something, you’d better deliver.” The history of sport is lined with examples of a fan base turning on a team that, just years earlier, it had worshipped. My book Ice Storm catalogues the meteoric romance between…

Is the CFL kicking off a new sports era with live on-field audio?

For as long as the lens has followed sports, broadcasters have denied fans the language, noise and strategy of the game – until now

Is the CFL kicking off a new sports era with live on-field audio?It’s the next frontier of TV sports broadcasting. Naturally, the Canadian Football League is leading the way. What? The CFL schooling all the big boys on cutting-edge audio technology? Yup. The final frontier of live broadcasting is going inside the audio of the game. Since TSN and the league gave it the go-ahead, we’ve had…

A seagoing golfer’s dream

One Ocean Expeditions’ Fiddles and Sticks tour combines iconic East Coast golf with great outdoor adventure and local culture

A seagoing golfer’s dreamWe’re smashing through the waves toward shore in our Zodiac. Heads lowered, shoulders braced against the wind, salt air stings the nostrils. The beach lies just ahead. We’re ready for any action. Golf action, in this case. We’re the shock troops of One Ocean Expeditions hitting the beach on Cape Breton Island in what can…

How soccer revitalizes nationalism

It’s difficult to detach the World Cup from patriotism, even among the most disenfranchised of citizens

How soccer revitalizes nationalismThe penetrating question of the 2018 World Cup of soccer is: Why do the large, powerful nations have short national anthems while the smaller countries have ones that go on forever? God Save the Queen (England) is over faster than you can say Bobby Charlton. But songs of Iceland and Peru seem more like six-part…

The Slaughter at Shinnecock … or why Phil Mickelson was right

The United States Open is supposed to be a tough but honest test of golf. Instead, it has become a travesty

The Slaughter at Shinnecock … or why Phil Mickelson was rightAs far as Phil Mickelson is concerned, the GA in USGA probably stands for “god awful.” In his putting protest against course conditions in round three of this year’s men’s U.S. Open (run by the United States Golf Association), Mickelson pitted his sterling reputation against the prestige of the USGA. It was a pyrrhic victory…

In defence of sports greatness, from Justify to the Warriors

Why is greatness supposed to take a back seat to parity, the bastard child of bloated sports in North America?

In defence of sports greatness, from Justify to the WarriorsWatching the super horse Justify cruise to the Triple Crown on Saturday by winning the Belmont Stakes in New York City was a sublime moment for lovers of sports. The three-year-old became just the 13th horse in the modern history of American thoroughbred racing to win the three jewels of racing’s Triple Crown. In a…

NFL tackled for a loss by Trump

By taking on NFL players over their anthem protests, the president shows he understands their fans better than they do

NFL tackled for a loss by TrumpThe National Football League has recast its rules about kneeling in protest during The Star Spangled Banner. As is their wont, the NFL owners made things worse, not better, with their compromise. Stated simply, players and coaches must stand for the playing of the anthem before NFL games. However, those with objections are told they…

Gambling and pro sports: a marriage made in heaven

But with so much more money to be made, the potential for mischief seems great. How do we control that mischief?

Gambling and pro sports: a marriage made in heavenIt’s been a big week for gambling. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights – home team of the Las Vegas sports books – continued hitting blackjack on their way to the Stanley Cup Final. And, in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the ban on sports wagering outside Nevada was struck down. Now states can allow legal…

Don’t pin the Raptors’ failure on Casey

He could’ve stood at half court performing triple salchows and it wouldn’t have convinced his players they had a chance

Don’t pin the Raptors’ failure on CaseyTeams don’t quit on their coach. They quit on each other. The biggest fraud among the reasons why Dwane Casey was fired as head coach of the Toronto Raptors has to be that his National Basketball Association team quit on him. The people who say such things simply don’t understand how a team functions, particularly…

Ah, the playoffs: LeBron’s wrecking crew act, Marchand’s licking lunacy

In the NBA, Toronto could not withstand the irresistible force that is LeBron James. In the NHL, the rule book has been abandoned

Ah, the playoffs: LeBron’s wrecking crew act, Marchand’s licking lunacyTo paraphrase that old breakup line, “It ain’t you, Toronto. It’s LeBron.” Because no one gets to break up with Toronto, the humiliation of the Raptors by LeBron James is being seen as all about Hogtown. Sad. But when you’re the centre of your own universe, you think you should be able to buy, intimidate…

To the loser go the spoils … at least when it comes to the NHL draft

Getting to the bottom is the only way to get to the top when it comes to securing quality prospects

To the loser go the spoils … at least when it comes to the NHL draft“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore all dreaming of Rasmus Dahlin.” — Words on the National Hockey League’s Statue Of Draft Liberty It was a moment of blissful self-unawareness that makes the NHL so quaint. Commissioner Gary Bettman’s wind therapist, deputy…

Slim pickings for next great Quebec NHL hockey star

Few French Canadians are prominent in modern professional hockey. What happened to the legacy of Rocket Richard?

Slim pickings for next great Quebec NHL hockey starWhile the Boston Bruins have done well enough when he was injured this season, Patrice Bergeron clearly remains the straw that stirs the Bs’ drink. The 32-year-old centre doesn’t put up Alex Ovechkin numbers but he’s the kind of difference maker every team needs. He’s helped make his linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak into…
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