Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Headlines

I know, I know, I just put up headlines on Thursday but Headlines are going to be featured on Mondays from now on, recapping the week that was in sports. So in an effort to get everything on schedule, here are your Headlines:


- Anyone who read the Sports section of Friday's Leader-Post saw how Rob Vanstone responded to his latest critics - with sarcasm, derision and condescension. Nothing that shouldn't be expected I suppose. He was responding to the fact that the Regina Pats organization removed the Sports sections from copies of the Leader-Post that were handed out at a recent game. This was done because Vanstone had written unflattering articles about the Pats' performance in games 1 and 2 against the Medicine Hat Tigers - games which Vanstone did not even travel to see by the way. I suppose Vanstone, as the solitary voice for mainstream sports opinion in this city, feels he is above public reproach? For a guy who's spent the last two weeks ripping 16-20 year old hockey players, you do not get paid a cent to do what they do, you'd think he would expect some sort of backlash. Apparently not.

A side note: I have no desire to engage in a personal assault against Mr. Vanstone. I don't know him and have never met him. He may very well be a great guy. I have only exchanged emails with him on one occasion - but that's another story for another day. The issue I have is that I believe people deserve choice and quality sports-talk. I don't think we're getting either of those things from our local mainstream media. Sports As Life is an attempt to provide those things.


- If you were paying ever cursory attention to the local news this week, you know that the Ipsco steel plant in Regina is likely to be purchased by Russian steel giant Evraz. Here's the Leader-Post article in case you missed it.

Now what you may not know is that Evraz is owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who also owns Chelsea FC of the English Premier League (this is soccer people). Four (I think) years ago Abramovich purchased Chelsea and then proceeded to spend 100's of millions of dollars on the best soccer players money could buy. The results? Chelsea became an instant contender and has won the past two EPL titles, blowing everyone out of the water. Now to sports people, this is what we call buying a championship.

So here is what I propose, the Ipsco/Evrav takeover/sale should be allowed to go through only if Abramovich takes the Saskatchewan Roughriders as well. With only two championships to show in a 90-plus year history (in an 8 team league no less - think about that for awhile) I don't think anyone in Saskatchewan would have a problem with buying a title. And the purchase and subsequent over-spending on players would only cost a fraction of the money Abramovich spends at Chelsea (yes I'm aware there's a salary-cap but come on, this is the CFL, there are ways around it). At the very least, Abramovich could buy us a quarterback who has the ability to hit an open receiver 10 yards down field.


- Ok NHL enough is enough already. We get it, you're serious this time about cracking down on obstruction (and everything else seemingly). The endless parade to the penalty box has to stop. Powerplay after powerplay does not make for exciting hockey. If you think it does you don't know anything about hockey.

The NHL is obviously trying to show how tough it is by cracking down during the playoffs this year. It's an attempt to open up the game and make it more exciting. The only thing endless powerplays create is more scoring. More scoring does not equate to more excitement and a more open game - but this is not what the NHL wants you to think. Do not be fooled people, you are smarter than that. On a great many occasions a 2-1 game is much more exciting than an 8-2 game.

The only way to truly open the game back up is to abolish the Trap. Ever watched Vancouver, Minnesota or Detroit protect a lead - I'd rather walk through Harlem with Don Imus. No wonder the NHL has a problem keeping fans and getting new ones. There is absolutely nothing enjoyable about watching a trapping hockey team - and I'd wager more teams do it than don't. Abolishing the Trap (and I do realize how problematic this would be) is absolutely necessary to actually open up the game again. Legislating scoring through increased penalty calls is a band-aid on a gaping chest wound

(And the data actually doesn't show that scoring has increased all that much when compared to the increase in penalties called since the end of the lockout - I have the numbers to back this up and it'll all be shown in a yet to be published post. Stay tuned.)


- That's 'Big League' by Tom Cochrane, if you didn't know. I think it's a somewhat fitting headline for this. I've gone on ad nauseam about hits to the head and lack of player respect, so I'm not going to do it again. But to get yourself caught up on the subject again, see Colby Armstrong's hit on Patrick Eaves from Sunday night, and Eaves' subsequent stretchering off the ice. (There's nothing on youtube yet, so you're on your own)

Mark my words if something isn't done about this, within 2-3 years a player is going to die on the ice because of the types of hits we've seen this year. Just don't say I didn't warn you.


- Only because it's not going to happen very often (and because I wanted a 5th Headline to round out the day), just though I would let everybody know that my Frank Thomas prediction looks to be solid so far. Granted it's only 12 games in to the season.

But through those 12 games (yes, yes there are 150 games left) here are the stats for the 'Big Hurt':

45 At Bats
.200 Batting Average
9 Hits
4 Runs Batted In
1 Home Run

For a guy brought in to hit home runs and drive runs in, these are troubling early season stats. Maybe he should focus less on child abuse through pillow beatings and focus more on baseball.

1 comment:

Mitch said...

Armstrong's hit was fair, clean and justified. I can agree that there is a bit of a lack of respect in the game, but maybe people are just jerks in general. There are a lot of meat-heads out there and maybe a few of them just decided to play hockey. Not much has changed. The people complaining the most/blogging about it are those who got smacked around when they played hockey.