The (bent) Hockey News

No Vincent? It says here that Team Canada will rue the exclusion of Vincent Lecavalier from its Olympic squad. Five years ago, the still young Lecavalier was clearly the best player on the ice when his Tampa Bay team beat Calgary for the Stanley Cup in a very tough series. He may be having an off year in the pathetic, fight polluted NHL, but my bet is that he’d still rock in international competition. If Steve Yzerman really believes that Patrice Bergeron is a better player, Canada’s hopes for the Olympics may be still-born. Oh, and if you think Quebec is under represented on the basis of merit on this Olympic team, you won’t get an argument from me.

Loaf Nation update: The team still bites. ‘Nuff said. But how weird is it that Toronto ‘sports journalists’ are barely noticing that the NBA Raptors are steadily becoming a competent basketball team? Oceans of ink and otherwise sensible people’s airtime is still wasted on the Loafs. In fact, the Loafs seem more popular the worse they get. Go figure. Toronto as North America’s official Loser-ville, anyone?

Finally, I am so glad I don’t have to hear another word about “our” junior team for about eleven and a half months. The pom-pom waving in The Globe And Mail and on TSN really became unbearable.


The Marvels of Testosterone

The worst start in the history of the franchise. That would be ZERO wins in seven games to date. That’s what big Brian Burke’s injection of “pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence” has wrought for the pathetic Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club. Pugnacity, male hormones and idiotic fighting on skates aside, the ‘Loafs’ just plain bite. Their goalkeeping is sub-standard. They have no scorers. (Woe to them if the next promised saviour Phil Kessel turns out to be another Jason Blake.) They have a defenceman Tomas Kaberle who would star for most teams, but Burke and his coach Ron Wilson spent the best part of a year denigrating Kaberle for his sophisticated approach to the position. Kaberle now appears confused. Last year’s promising rookie Luke Schenn is this year’s dull-witted, slow-footed sophomore. Maybe the startlingly handsome Schenn’s modeling assignments during the off season wore him out.

It has been a rude awakening for The Loaf Nation. The collective boy crush that the ‘sports media’ of Toronto had on Burke during the pre-season led many to predict that the Leafs were playoff bound for the first time in five years. A Toronto daily even ran a feature with admiring photos of Burke  surrounded by the supposed worthies with whom he has filled the executive suites at the ACC. Perhaps that brain trust will produce a win before November.

I’d bet that the likes of Don Cherry is delighted that almost all Leaf games feature a contrived display of fisticuffs at some point. NHL management is no doubt quietly satisfied that such displays often lead the highlight package in what passes for sports broadcast journalism. (Gary Bettman is sufficiently cynical to know that selling fighting is in fact a critical part of marketing the NHL.)

Hey, let the testosterone flow! This hockey fan will eschew the Loafs and the absurdist,  fight-riddled NHL while looking forward to some real hockey when the women’s Olympic tourney begins in February.