On thin ice: the NHL’s Canadian teams are mostly a mess

There's plenty of blame to go around but only one certainty: the nation will rally around the Toronto Maple Leafs – right?

On thin ice: the NHL’s Canadian teams are mostly a messThis has not been a vintage winter for hockey in the country that worships the game. Consider the wreckage: Canada’s National Hockey League stars were not allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Replacements may be a swell movie, but it wasn’t a happy tale for the apple scruffs we…

Tiger Woods and golf’s moral dilemma

Tiger Woods is back and the crowds are gathering to show their appreciation, in spite of his checkered personal past

Tiger Woods and golf’s moral dilemmaIt’s hard to find someone who doesn’t disapprove of his antics away from the office. Women, in general, can’t stand him. Despite all this, we can’t take our eyes off him. Donald Trump? Maybe. But the description could also apply to Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer ever, who has made one of the more improbable…

Skipping Olympics a bridge too far for Bettman?

The NHL commissioner has kept the wolves at bay for years, but this season finds Bettman with nothing new to offer and much to lose

Skipping Olympics a bridge too far for Bettman?Don’t look now but Gary Bettman may be running out of second acts. The National Hockey League commissioner for life has spent a good deal of time pushing off the dodgy reality of his league’s place in the broadcast universe. He’s kept a marginal attraction afloat when ESPN and others ignore the league. But could…

For Olympic success emulate the freestylers

Based on the results in South Korea, Canada’s formula for future Olympic success is obvious: emulate the freestylers

For Olympic success emulate the freestylersI know it’s still four years until the next Winter Olympics in Japan. But when they start the planning for Canada’s next Winter Games contingent, might I recommend that they let the freestylers run the show? You may have noticed the Canadian freestyle skiers and snowboarders as they took on half-pipes, ski cross, moguls and…

Missing in action, missing the action in Pyeongchang

NHL players aren’t at the Olympics, nor is Russia (although Russian athletes are). And we're missing plenty of sleep to keep an eye on the action

Missing in action, missing the action in PyeongchangCall them the Missing Olympics. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are missing a few of the staples of previous Games. And that’s bad. And it’s also good. Let’s start with the good. In the decades I covered these events, the Winter Olympics weren’t the Winter Olympics unless everyone was frothing about the judging at figure skating.…

Baseball’s big free-agent balk

Baseball’s new success formula: Get out of the middle class for a while, sell the house, live in a trailer, accumulate credits and then buy a fabulous mansion

Baseball’s big free-agent balkWe’re told that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. If it’s the case that teams are imitating the Houston Astros, then it’s no surprise that prominent agents for Major League Baseball players  are screaming foul about the phoney war going on in the baseball talent pool. MLB pitchers and catchers report to spring training…

Sacked: sports media objectivity is being thrown for a loss

The relationship between the covered and those covering is morphing as teams expect different things from the people who inhabit the press box

Sacked: sports media objectivity is being thrown for a lossMany sports traditions are fading away. Fighting in hockey. The phantom tag at second base in baseball. The big slow centre in basketball. Is media objectivity when covering sports about to become another vestige of the past? Could be. The death last week at the age of 91 of Red Fisher, the iconic Montreal sportswriter,…

An Oil slick of disastrous proportions

There’s a clock ticking on the Oilers’ monopoly on Connor McDavid’s affections

An Oil slick of disastrous proportionsMaybe Edmonton NHL fans should record a song called How Do You Solve A Problem Named The Oilers? Because someone has to figure out what in the name of Bep Guidolin is going on with their hockey team. As we near the all-star break (once called the Olympic break), the hockey heroes from northern Alberta…

Fulfilling your Florida golf fantasy

The renovations at PGA Village and PGA National should please the most demanding player and the weekend hacker alike

Fulfilling your Florida golf fantasyPeople travelling south in the winter are always intent of getting plenty of sunshine and sand. Two of Florida’s premier golf facilities are just the ticket. At Port St. Lucie’s renowned PGA Village and at the iconic PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, designers have been hard at work giving golfers the…

Can sports go back to spitballing on the big calls?

Video replay in football is a perfect example of the law of unintended consequences. And each sport has similar problems

Can sports go back to spitballing on the big calls?Al Michaels was nettled. The star NBC announcer had watched yet another officiating tire fire at the end of Saturday’s Los Angeles Rams/Atlanta Falcons playoff game. He asked: Why do the final two minutes of a hockey game take two minutes, but the final two minutes of a National Football League game take 20 minutes…

Full meal deal: sports world serves up plenty of intrigue

What does 2018 hold? Forgettable Olympics, NHL incompetence (followed by NFL incompetence), Blue Jay uncertainty and golf mysteries, for a start

Full meal deal: sports world serves up plenty of intrigueThe 2018 sports year begins with a bowl (of the college football variety) but the full table setting lies ahead. What courses are being prepared? Let’s look at some of the most challenging stories ahead. Dents in the shield In 2017, the National Football League fought Donald Trump and President Trump won. Okay, the American…

Luck plays a big part in creating a winning athlete

Fire the coach. Yell at the players to motivate them. Or accept that luck plays a significant role in the outcome, no matter how valiant your efforts

Luck plays a big part in creating a winning athleteNow is the winter of sports discontent. National Football League coaches are being primed for the chop. National Hockey League and National Basketball Association coaches, too, are trying to stay one step ahead of the grim reaper as their teams’ rosy prospects dim. In the NFL, we hear that longtime Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis…

Can the Blue Jays soar with a constrained budget – or a new owner?

As the Yankees muscle up, the AL East becomes an ever-higher peak to climb for Toronto – particularly if Rogers sells the team

Can the Blue Jays soar with a constrained budget – or a new owner?It has not been a good two weeks for the Toronto Blue Jays. The most recent body blow was the news that the New York Yankees, the Jays’ bitter American League East rivals, had won the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes. The prodigious Miami Marlins slugger spurned deals to go to San Francisco and St. Louis to…

The ugly tug of war for control of the NFL

If Roger Goodell were a quarterback in his league, we’d say he’s slow to react to pressure and always making bad reads in coverage

The ugly tug of war for control of the NFLWhere’s Bernie Sanders when you really need him? The American socialist scold – who’s usually out of his mind about corporate perks and privilege – has been remarkably quiet about the contract negotiations going on for National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell. According to anonymous source – oh hell, we all know it’s Dallas Cowboys…

The NHL’s goose that laid the Golden Knights

The unexpected success of the new Las Vegas franchise could have the league incorrectly believing that further expansion is the ticket to riches

The NHL’s goose that laid the Golden KnightsThe stunning start to the inaugural National Hockey League season of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights is wonderful news – if you live in Las Vegas. If you’re a fan of the sport in general? Not so much. The Knights have bolted out to a 7-1 home record, putting them in a playoff position. They’ve…