By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
When the Ottawa Senators scored late in tonight’s game with the Montreal Canadiens to tie the score, Justin Trudeau was displeased.
hey buddy @JustinTrudeau habs or leafs?
Mr. Trudeau responded.
Mr. Canseco then attempted to continue the conversation.
As of this writing, Mr. Trudeau has not commented on what they should do about “Rod Ford.” But Mr. Canseco does now credit Mr. Trudeau with his knowledge of French swear words. Also, Mr. Canseco seems to think that, given the electoral significance of Ontario, Mr. Trudeau might consider supporting the Leafs.
See previously: Stephen Harper vs. Homer Simpson
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM - 0 Comments
Brian Burke is thought to have struck a blow for accountability on the web with his defamation suit against 18 internet commenters, who last January spread rumours suggesting the erstwhile Toronto Maple Leafs general manager had an affair with sports TV anchor Hazel Mae.
“This will be a very public reminder to people that you can get sued for what you publish on the Internet,” libel lawyer Rider Gilliland told the Toronto Star in a typical response.
But is nabbing pseudonymous trolls the slam-dunk some analysts suggest?
Not by a long shot, says Michelle Awad, a Nova Scotia lawyer who fought a similar case, and has argued issues of Internet anonymity before the Supreme Court of Canada. While it’s true that case law empowers plaintiffs to unmask commenter who post libelous material, she says, the practical hurdles are considerable.
For starters, many web messages originate from IP addresses that host multiple users, such as cafés with unsecured wireless. “Once you have your court order,” Awad explains, “you go to the Internet service provider and ask for the customer information that goes with a particular IP address. But if it’s wireless Internet in a hotel lobby, you’re not going to get very far.”
Information held by the website where the comments are posted can be no more helpful, she adds. “Sometimes they log and say ‘I’m the Easter Bunny at Gmail.’ The site’s automatic registration system doesn’t recognize that’s probably not real.” At that point, says Awad, the plaintiff might take his court order to the webmail host—Google, say, or Yahoo—and seek user information from them. But there again, people can set up pseudonymous accounts from IP addresses that host many users.
So from a legal point of view, the web remains an untamed and unfriendly environment.
The better question arising from Burke’s suit: why does it name commenters but not websites or media companies? Sites, after all, are typically easy to trace to a specific IP address, and the offending statements in this case landed on some well-read ones. Moreover, those linked to major media agencies have deeper pockets, which means a successful plaintiff has the prospect of winning significant financial damages. The messages that so angered Burke appeared on, among other sites, Hockeyinsideout.com, a Montreal Canadiens-themed site run by the Gazette newspaper and owned by the Postmedia newspaper chain; and a popular blog called Canuckscorner.com.
At least one clue lies in a statement Burke’s lawyer, Peter Gall, issued Friday saying his client will seek damages from “everyone who has failed to take down these lies” when Burke first asked them to. According to Awad, the case law on a website operator’s responsibility is far from settled, but the courts look more kindly on sites that take responsibility for what they publish—who make a reasonable effort given the reach of their websites and their resources. Editors with Hockeyinsideout, for example, closely monitor comments, encouraging readers to alert them to potentially defamatory material and taking it down when they decide it crosses the line (a message from a commenter identified as ‘Ncognito’, who is named in Burke’s suit, is no longer on the site).
But others seem keen to play with fire. As the Star noted Saturday, one of the defendants named in the suit, THEzbrad, is linked to a blog where the comments appeared, and where an anonymously posted message this weekend dismissed the suit as “ridiculous.” “Burke obviously did not appreciate these few comments,” the post added, “but the fact that he is going to attempt to sue online commentators is pretty hilarious.”
That’s admirably nonchalant. But here’s some free advice to THEzbrad: take some time out from laughing and get yourself a lawyer.
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM - 0 Comments
EXCLUSIVE POLL: Who’s dirty? Who’s admired? Who’s loved? And who likes Don Cherry?
The Canucks as Canada’s most hated team? Think again. A new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted in partnership with Maclean’s has found that Toronto—not Vancouver—is the country’s most hated hockey team. It turns out Vancouver, which has worn the “hated” label since last spring’s failed Stanley Cup run, is actually one of the country’s most popular teams. Montreal, meanwhile, is the country’s favourite club.
But while Canada may respect the Canucks, it doesn’t mean they’re going to cheer for them this playoff season.
In the wide-ranging hockey poll, Canadians were asked to name their most loved—and hated—Canadian NHL franchise, to name teams they find arrogant, dirty or disrespected, and to say what they actually think of Don Cherry.
The Leafs, it turns out, are a polarizing club—both loved and hated by a large segment of the population.
When Canadians are asked to name their favourite Canadian NHL club, 17 per cent chose the Leafs. When the question was reversed, and Canadians were asked to name their most hated national franchise, a slightly larger proportion, 19 per cent, chose the Leafs.
Like the Leafs, the Habs—the country’s other Original Six franchise—are also well loved. They’re the country’s most loved club, the choice of 19 per cent of Canadians. And they are also country’s next most despised team, among 15 per cent of Canadians.
Vancouver was the favourite club of 11 per cent of Canadians, while fourth place was a tie. Both Alberta franchises, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are favoured by five per cent of Canadians.
That picture changes, however, when you ask only hockey fans.
Among fans of the game, almost a quarter of the country, 24 per cent, name the Leafs their favourite team, followed by the Habs, with 21 per cent of the votes, and the Canucks, at 18 per cent. The Oilers, rounding out the list, come in with 13 per cent of votes.
At this stage, 35 per cent of Canadians tell Angus Reid they’ll root for Vancouver, and one in five Canadians, 20 per cent, are supporting the Ottawa Senators.
Nearly half the country, 45 per cent, however, would prefer to see an American team take home the Cup over the Canucks, with Boston (11 per cent), Pittsburgh (8 per cent) and Detroit (8 per cent), the most popular choices.
CITIES AND HOCKEY
Canadians not only dislike the Leafs, they hold negative views of the team. They see them as weak (48 per cent), in decline (43 per cent), arrogant (39 per cent), boring (38 per cent) and overrated (38 per cent).
In a funny finding, Canadians view Toronto much the same way as their hockey team. Both the Leafs and Torontonians are seen as arrogant, dirty, disrespected and overrated.
But Canadians don’t just see Toronto and the Leafs as one and the same. The Alberta capital and the Oilers are both seen as down to earth, while the Jets and Winnipeggers are both seen as undervalued. Vancouver and the Canucks are both seen as strong, exciting and clean. Both Montrealers and the beloved Habs are seen as dirty and in decline.
But Canadians also hold positive views of the Habs, with 49 per cent agreeing it is a classic club, and 36 per cent calling it admired.
Canadians also see the Canucks in a positive light. They see them as strong (47 per cent), exciting (36 per cent), clean (26 per cent).
No surprise, the game’s most divisive figure is a polarizing fellow. Just 40 per cent of Canadians say they have a favourable opinion of Don Cherry. Among hockey fans, however, that number jumps to 59 per cent. But what you feel about Grapes seems to depend on where you live: Albertans love him most (53 per cent), while only one in five Quebecers (19 per cent) have a favourable opinion of him.
But that’s just Cherry. Canadians have nothing but love for the game’s stars. A huge proportion of Canadians think favourably of Wayne Gretzky (87 per cent), Sidney Crosby (80 per cent) and Mario Lemieux (78 per cent).
By Dave Bidini - Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 7:07 PM - 3 Comments
The editor is laughing. He is laughing and holding his Habs belly. He is…
The editor is laughing. He is laughing and holding his Habs belly. He is laughing and slapping his Habs knee and pointing at the screen with his Habs finger because he knew this would happen. He bet some friends that it would. He is filling his Habs wallet with his winnings. He is getting a beer. This is too funny. Way too funny.
The editor is laughing and I am writing, and that the Habs have struggled to find themselves over the last few days is beside the point. By contrast, the Leafs have completely lost themselves, and even though the writer knew that he would eventually be forced to write this column, he thought that maybe his instincts would betray him; maybe luck would sway and a new day would find him and the team and the land. Continue…
By Dave Bidini - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 1:12 PM - 23 Comments
Someone once said that great clubs need great enemies, but why it can’t be Dallas or Florida or Buffalo
F—in’ Habs. There, I said it. It’s not like I don’t say it at least 30 times a day. The paperboy misses the porch: F—in’ Habs! The Windows and Doors people wake me up from my afternoon nap with one of their incessant calls: F—in’ Habs! I burn the noodles: F—in’ Habs! An earthquake levels Bali: F—in’ Habs! Everything that goes wrong in the world, I blame on the Montreal Canadiens. It’s convenient and it fits. I believe we would all be much happier and the world would work better and there would be no more stress or pain or misfortune if only the Habs would throw their skates into the river already. But this isn’t going to happen. I am realist and, yes, I am learning to cope.
Someone once said that great clubs need great enemies, but why it can’t be Dallas or Florida or Buffalo, I don’t know. Instead, it has to be the most arrogant and self-satisfied of all teams grinding against that which I love. It has to be the (F—in’) Habs. Argghhhh. Once more, only longer: Arghhhhhhhhh! Continue…
By Adam Gopnik - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 2 Comments
And how a good mind can turn the game upside down
John Kenneth Galbraith, Martin Luther King Jr., Claude Lévi-Strauss, Margaret Atwood: the luminaries who have delivered the annual CBC Massey Lectures since 1961 are luminous indeed. They are an integral “part of the intellectual life of the nation,” in the words of CBC executive producer Bernie Lucht. This year’s speaker—“deeply honoured and deeply terrified” at being selected for the 50th anniversary—is Adam Gopnik, New Yorker staff writer, author and honorary Canadian. Born in Philadelphia, Gopnik lived in Montreal from the ages of 10 to 25, when he “experienced every significant thing that can happen to a human in those years, from falling in love to being rejected in love,” not to mention becoming a diehard Canadiens fan.
Gopnik’s topic is winter: “I wanted something Canadian but not narrowly Canadian, something that would bring in art, music and sport from across the world.” He offers an engaging account of the artists, composers, writers and intellectuals who invented the modern idea of winter, but the real passion lies in his sports lecture, especially when Gopnik discusses the only game that really matters in this country. His take on hockey describes how, in Montreal over a century ago, the French-Canadian demand for style and skill and the English-Canadian interest in playing rugby on ice saw the fusion of brutality and grace into a game of beauty.
This year’s lectures are scheduled for Montreal (Oct. 12), Halifax (Oct. 14), Edmonton (Oct. 21), Vancouver (Oct. 23) and Toronto (Oct. 26), and will be broadcast on CBC Radio’s Ideas Nov. 7 to 11. A book of Gopnik’s lectures will be published by House of Anansi Press. BRIAN BETHUNE
By Cathy Gulli - Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 6:22 PM - 3 Comments
Scientists replicate the hit—and see how it compares to Sidney Crosby’s
Scientists at the University of Ottawa have reconstructed a hit similar to the one sustained by Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens during a game on March 8.
That’s when Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins slammed him headfirst into a stanchion—knocking him unconscious, breaking a vertebrae and causing a debilitating concussion from which he has yet to recover.
The impact occurred at a speed of 36 km per hour—nine kilometres faster than the hit Sidney Crosby took on New Year’s Day. He hasn’t returned to play since being diagnosed with a concussion on January 5.
The reconstruction was conducted by Blaine Hoshizaki, director of the Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory, and his team.
Maclean’s will have more on what science can tell us about the Pacioretty hit and concussions in hockey…
Video provided by Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory, University of Ottawa
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 9:13 PM - 44 Comments
The resentment toward the Habs rookie highlights how prissy hockey has become
They called him an original, but Dave “Tiger” Williams was, in truth, the logical product of his era—a clowning marauder who understood that hockey’s sideshow had become, on many nights, its main event.
And better to star in the sideshow, he reasoned, than take a non-speaking role in the feature presentation.
That evening in December 1980 when he rode his stick down the centre of Maple Leaf Gardens might now be regarded as Williams’s apogee: he’d just scored his 17th goal in what would be a career-best 35-goal season, and though not important in the context of the game, it meant a lot to him. It was his first game back in Toronto since the Leafs had shipped him off to Vancouver, and the Canucks were on their way to an 8-5 romp.
So after shoving the puck past Leafs’ goalie Jim Rutherford, Williams climbed aboard his fibre-ply and rode it pony-style down the ice, firing imaginary six-shooters into the crowd. “Hey, you’ve got to put on a show for the folks,” he later told the Toronto Star. “After all, this is show business, and there’s no business like show business.”
Right, that. But the reaction to Williams’s celebration seems noteworthy today for its mutedness, considering the newfound standards of decorum in the National Ho-hum League. There were no scolding opponents, no clapped out coaches-cum-commentators preaching to Williams about “respect for the game.” Gardens fans—harbouring residual affection for their old jester—actually cheered. But you’d never know it from reading the morning papers: neither the Star nor The Globe and Mail mentioned the crowd’s reaction at all.
Flash forward three decades, to a game last week at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Continue…
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Fewer Quebecers have been cracking the Montreal Canadiens’ roster. Some think it’s political.
All it took was for Ottawa to consider sinking $175 million into a new arena for the Quebec Nordiques for those two staples of Quebec culture—identity politics and hockey—to collide and cause havoc for the Montreal Canadiens. Once celebrated as a symbol of Quebec’s unique place in North America, the team is now being derided as a federalist outfit looking to dampen Quebec’s national ambitions. “I think there are people within that organization who are profoundly federalist,” says Pierre Curzi, the PQ’s popular culture critic, “and they’re very conscious that a hockey team is a very important vehicle for identity politics.”
While Curzi’s claims of federalist puppet masters appear unlikely, the crux of the actor-turned-politician’s complaint—that the Canadiens have fewer Quebec-born players—is true. What’s more, the Canadiens have been shedding Quebec-born talent more quickly than the rest of the NHL.
According to Michael Whitehouse, who writes the Habs Analytics blog, the percentage of games played by Quebec-born players on the Canadiens fell to 14 per cent last season, its lowest level in the post-1967 expansion era. And in the 41 full seasons since 1967, only three Habs teams had Quebecers making up less than 20 per cent of the roster: 2009-2010, 2007-2008, and 2006-2007. This year’s club won’t likely buck the trend. Only two Quebecers, Maxime Lapierre and Mathieu Darche, are on track to take a regular shift with the Canadiens.
By Andrew Coyne - Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 4:50 PM - 56 Comments
Ordinarily I frown on people trying to inject politics into sports, but in this case I’ll make an exception:
DRUMMONDVILLE – In her closing speech to a Parti Québécois meeting Sunday, PQ leader Pauline Marois drew a parallel between her party’s goal of making Quebec a sovereign country and the Montreal Canadiens’ quest for the Stanley Cup.
“The whole nation is vibrating in tune with a team of players who were called too small, not talented enough, not proud enough to win” Marois said.
“I am talking about the Montreal Canadiens,” she said winning applause from about 600 delegates and observers, some of them wearing Habs sweaters.
“Today, like Quebecers, it is because they played as a team, that they sacrificed themselves for the team, that they can aspire to the highest honour,” Marois said….
“When we have solidarity, determination, pride we can succeed at everything, starting with the sovereignty of Quebec.”
Because, you see, she has a point. The Montreal Canadiens are the precise embodiment of everything the Parti Québécois has ever stood for, a living example of the compassionate, social-democratic, and above all sovereign Quebec Ms Marois is trying to build. After all, they are:
- foreign owned. Well, technically Anglo-owned, ever since the Molsons bought it back from George Gillett, but same diff
- made up mostly of foreign players. Of the current 25-man roster, only 14 are Canadian-born. Just three are from Quebec. There are more Americans, more British Columbians, more Torontonians on this team than there are Quebecers — and as many Czechs. Needless to say, the language of the workplace is English
- part of a league in which they are forever condemned to be a minority. Although the team’s share of representation in the NHL has dwindled over the years from one-sixth to one-thirtieth, they have as yet not elected to separate, or threaten to.
I could go on. The Canadiens are not only mostly foreign, but exclusively male. Selected by a remorselessly Darwinian process, they play a game noted for its anarchic violence and cut-throat competition — possibly owing to its British origins. I’m told they are paid many times the average worker’s wages for it.
In short, nothing says Quebec pride and solidarity like a team stacked with visiting Czech millionaires playing a Scottish game for American money. Oh, and did I mention they’re called the Canadiens?
Still, at least they’re paying Quebec’s punitive tax rates. As Ms Marois said, it’s all about “sacrificing for the team.”
By macleans.ca - Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 2:04 PM - 0 Comments
Les Glorieux fell another giant, and the merriment goes up a notch
Sometimes a game is more than just a game. When it’s the playoffs, and when Montreal is involved, it’s just … better. Even Habs haters admit it. The sounds are sharper, the colours brighter, the atmosphere just a bit more charged. Hard enough to resist that the (gasp!) Toronto Sun proclaimed “T.O.’s got Habs Fever!” on it’s front today, after the Canadiens took down Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in a stunning Game 7 victory, winning their quarter-final round. It was the second upset the Habs have inflicted on a heavily favoured opponent in the ‘10 playoffs—the Washington Capitals suffered the same—and it sent fans into the streets of Montreal. Around midnight things got a little out of hand. Bottles flew, a window got smashed. There was minor looting. But the resident idiots couldn’t dampen the glee of those from coast to coast who worship la Sainte Flanelle, knowing their team was going deep into the playoffs for the first time since it won the Stanley Cup in 1993.
By macleans.ca - Friday, May 7, 2010 at 9:30 AM - 2 Comments
Plus a week in the life of P.K. Subban
Face of the week
Creepy baby: A giant, electronically animated infant greets visitors to the Spain Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo.
A week in the life of P.K. Subban
A skilled and swift defenceman who grew up in Toronto’s troubled Jane-Finch neighbourhood, 20-year-old Subban was called up Monday from Hamilton to play for the Montreal Canadiens, the team he grew up idolizing. He recorded an assist that night against Washington, then helped the Habs upset the favoured Capitals in Game 7 on Wednesday. In two quarter-final matches against Pittsburgh, Subban saw his ice time rise to 23 minutes per game.
By Philippe Gohier - Friday, March 12, 2010 at 5:56 PM - 63 Comments
I hate to admit how much time I spent trying to get this photo…
I hate to admit how much time I spent trying to get this photo today, but Deadspin finally beat me to it. I saw this last night while watching the Habs’ game on RDS and had to pick my jaw up off the floor afterwards.
For those of you who aren’t hockey fans, first things first: What’s wrong with you? Second, here’s what went down: Sometime around the middle of the game, the camera inexplicably cut to these two doofuses in the crowd at the Bell Centre. The announcers initially seemed a little dumbfounded—not by the fact there were two Al Jolson wannabes taking in the game, but by why they’d be dressed up at all. When one of them noticed their t-shirts say “Subbanator” everything became crystal clear and perfectly reasonable.
P.K. Subban, you see, is a highly-touted prospect plying his trade in the Canadiens’ minor-league system and he’s already a bit of a fan favourite. He’s also black and, for some reason, no one involved in broadcasting (or attending) the game appeared to think this was a problematic way of feting Subban. Certainly not the dude in the truck, who left the shot up for a good 7-8 seconds; certainly not the announcers, who seemed to see it as “just a couple o’ guys havin’ fun at the game”; and certainly not Bell Centre security, who appear to be more concerned with preventing folks from sneaking beer into games than suggesting minstrel theatre should, at the very least, be confined to a different venue.
Ugh. Quebec just leaves me speechless sometimes.
By Charlie Gillis - Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 10:35 AM - 788 Comments
A young man dies on the ice. A father hopes for change. Why isn’t the NHL listening?
“You’ll never get rid of it entirely.”
Michael Sanderson spoke those words to practically anyone who would listen in the days following his son Donald’s death. And in a nation suffering no small amount of guilt over a senseless loss, they were received as absolution. In the depths of his grief, this man got it, the self-styled purists said. He’s played the sport. He knows fighting is embedded in it. He won’t use the death of his 21-year-old son—by universal account about the best kid you could ever meet—as a pulpit to rail against that which sets the game apart. “Other people won’t understand this,” Don Cherry told his coast-to-coast audience after attending Donald Sanderson’s memorial service in Port Perry, Ont. “But Mike is a hockey guy.”
Yet on this subject, more so than any other, we Canadians don’t listen closely. Or we hear only what we want to. So if you’ve been gathering your information on this slow-moving controversy from Coach’s Corner, it may surprise you to learn that Michael Sanderson would in fact love to see fighting eliminated from the game. You may be shocked to hear he supports measures that would suffocate the practice. Automatic ejections? “Helluva rule.” Requiring players to keep their helmets and visors on during fights? “Great. If they know they’re going to be punching plastic with their bare hands, they’ll eventually stop.”
By Noah Richler - Monday, December 15, 2008 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Even the board game Monopoly is feting the Canadiens’ 100th
Families of Montreal Canadiens fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that even in the club’s centennial year they will not be called upon to purchase different hockey sweaters once a week so that their kids’ and their heroes’ jerseys match. This changing of what the English call a “kit” is the cynical measure European soccer clubs take to fleece their loyal supporters’ wallets on a regular basis, but it is not one of the marketing tricks that the Habs’ American owner, George Gillett Jr., has brought back from the United Kingdom subsequent to his purchase, in 2007, of a 50 per cent stake in Liverpool FC.
Still, as part of its celebrations of its 100th year, the club has reissued four vintage sweaters this season and has plans, next year, for three more—their pedigree proceeding backwards in time through the Habs’ actual anniversary date of Dec. 4, 2009, the earliest jerseys sporting not the familiar CH, but the original CA—for “Club Athlétique.”
By selley - Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 2:24 PM - 7 Comments
Must-reads: …Jeffrey Simpson and James Travers on the political fallout from our collapsing economy;
Casualties of the bailout
In which Stephen Harper prepares to abandon conservatism for good, and Bob Rae weeps openly into his Pinot Grigio.
Sun Media’s Greg Weston predicts tomorrow’s Speech from the Throne will “be little more than a terse statement of the obvious”—which is, in the words of a PMO official, that “the primary focus of this Parliament will be the economy, and other areas [we] committed to during the campaign … are secondary.” This likely means that measures such as the diesel fuel excise tax cut and even “the Conservatives’ hallmark crime-fighting measures will probably be pushed to the back-burner,” Weston agues. After all, hitting up “Canadian taxpayers … for billions of dollars to help rescue the economy from a tsunami of red ink” is a full-time job on its own.
The Calgary Herald’s Don Martin gets the same PMO briefing as Weston and adds tax credits for seniors and “for kids’ piano lessons” to the list of election promises we should not expect to see fulfilled in the near future. But breaking such promises pales in significance to the “horrifying” overall optics of Harper’s situation, Martin suggests. The Prime Minister “is on the record as opposing ‘Band-aid’ financial assistance for companies while insisting deep tax cuts were the way to keep corporations in Canada and defiantly declaring there would be no deficit under his watch,” Martin writes, and he’s in danger of abandoning all three in incredibly short order. That’s not necessarily his fault, of course; Canada can’t very well zag when the United States zigs. But with MPs returning to the House of Commons—and without Peter Van Loan’s silver tongue to protect him, we’d add—his life will nonetheless become increasingly difficult.
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 3:48 PM - 13 Comments
Folks, I’m as pumped about the Habs centennial as the next guy. But when…
Folks, I’m as pumped about the Habs centennial as the next guy. But when six of the seven Montreal Canadiens on the All-Star ballot are leading the vote their categories, even nutters for La Sainte-Flanelle like me have to admit the system has gone pear-shaped. This isn’t ballot-stuffing. This is a cyberfarce that risks turning the mid-season classic into an exhibition game for the host team. Saku Koivu has three times the votes Ovechkin does in the Eastern Conference. He’s got double Alex Semin’s total—and Semin’s the hottest forward in the league, with 27 points to Saku’s 13.
You could blame this on the NHL’s all-too-gameable online voting system, which opened for business yesterday. I blame it on the league’s skewed fan base, which confers an obvious advantage on big-market Canadian teams whose fans are foaming-at-the-mouth crazy about their finally-competitive club (the fact that Tomas Kaberle is the sole Toronto player in the top 10 in his position tells you only that the so-called “Leafs Nation” is in hibernation for the season).
For fan balloting to work, you need a functional league. The NHL is a dysfunctional league. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, September 8, 2008 at 10:47 AM - 1 Comment
… for two hours, according to a diligent blogger’s account of a public appearance…
… for two hours, according to a diligent blogger’s account of a public appearance Gainey made in St. John’s. If you want to see a rare, useful example of “citizen journalism,” check it out. According to the blogger, known to her readers as J.T., Gainey laid it on the line for Mats during a meeting Saturday in Toronto: ”I told him to make a decision. I said, if you feel like you want to retire, then retire. But if you’re not sure, you should play and the emotion will come.”
By Charlie Gillis - Friday, August 29, 2008 at 1:40 PM - 0 Comments
La Presse reports this morning that the Canadiens will retire No. 33 this year…
La Presse reports this morning that the Canadiens will retire No. 33 this year as part of their 100th anniversary celebrations. It’s not yet confirmed, but if it’s true, the move will stir controversy. No less a figure than Red Fisher, the legendary Gazette hockey writer, has advised against the move. Roy turned his back on the franchise forever, according to Fisher, that night in 1995 when he stormed across the bench and declared that he had played his last game as a Hab. Others point to Roy’s questionable conduct as a junior coach—scrapping with fans in Chicoutimi; dispatching his kid to lay a sh**-knocking on another goalie during a game. These incidents, they argue, make Roy an unsuitable candidate to occupy the Bell Centre rafters alongside the likes of Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard.
No question about it, St. Patrick will never be mistaken for Citizen of the Year. And yet…
You simply can’t discuss Roy’s departure from Montreal without noting the chief mitigating circumstance: he was hung out to dry that night by Mario Tremblay, a bad coach who left him in for nine goals against the Detroit Red Wings. And if good behaviour is suddenly a criteria for jersey retirement, we’re about to enter a drought in heart-warming celebrations. These are pro athletes, after all. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, July 3, 2008 at 5:02 PM - 0 Comments
After years of ignoring obvious liberties opponents were taking with their stars, the Montreal…
After years of ignoring obvious liberties opponents were taking with their stars, the Montreal Canadiens have signed the heaviest of the heavyweights, Georges Laraque. Good idea. He can play a semi-regular shift, he speaks French and he has a devastating left, as seen above.
Three years, $4.5 million, which is great for 31-year-old Georges. Fighters don’t last like skating defencemen. Alex Tanguay, Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec, you can now breathe easier.
By Charlie Gillis - Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 12:18 PM - 0 Comments
The saga continues. According to this update from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, whose information is…
The saga continues. According to this update from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, whose information is generally solid, Sundin is likely going to wait it out ’til July 1. Contrary to earlier reports (to which we foolishly linked), Bob Gainey has not yet flown to Sweden. He’d just like to.
So we thought we’d catalogue the reasons Mats might not be so eager to join the Habs. Add any you please, within the bounds of good taste (i.e. no franco-baiting):
• Taxes. Players in Quebec pay more than any in the league.
• Habit. He’s spent his life battling the bleu, blanc et rouge, first with the Nords, now with the Leafs. This would be like changing religions.
• Loyalty to the Leafs. Apparently this stuff matters to him, and it sounds like Toronto has made Sundin an offer which he has not yet refused. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, June 23, 2008 at 12:58 PM - 0 Comments
So much has happened, hockey fans. Let’s recap.
• As per last Friday’s post,…
So much has happened, hockey fans. Let’s recap.
• As per last Friday’s post, it turns out the Leafs are so determined not to let Mats skate into the sunset without compensation they dealt “negotiating” rights to him to Bob Gainey and the Habs before the July 1 free-agent signing deadline. Huh? Without a copy of the National Hockey League’s 17,000-page CBA at our fingertips—not to mention legal counsel and six hours to blow—we can only assume this is permitted.
• Essentially, the two teams have a deal in place that would be triggered should Sundin sign with les glorieux before Canada Day. What kind of deal? Good question. But pointier heads suggest it could involve a second-round pick, and/or speedy Habs centre Mikhail Grabovski. Either (or both) represents decent return for a player who has clearly had enough of the Leafs Alternate Dimension—sorry, Nation. It would however mean one of the best -nicknamed lines in history, will never play together again. That would be Alex Kovalev, Grabovski and Andrei Kostitsyn—or, as Habs fans knew them for their brief time together, Kovy-Grabs-Tits.
By Steve Maich - Monday, June 23, 2008 at 12:45 PM - 0 Comments
First Star: I nearly failed grade nine french, and I already have to deal…
First Star: I nearly failed grade nine french, and I already have to deal with the indignity of knowing that the Habs are a solid young team, getting better, while my Leafs are a terrible team committed to get worse before they begin to improve, so excuse me, but on Mondays this section is going to be called “first star.” (Plus, I don’t know how to make accents on this keyboard.) Anyway, the first star today is Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas who led his team to victory over Italy yesterday making several key stops, including the one you’ll see below, and stopping not one but two penalty kicks to decide the game.
[YouTube = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ9bWkwID00]
Two minutes for: fixing what ain’t broken. Matt stairs tees off on recently-fired hitting coach Gary Denbo. Not nice to dance on a guy’s grave, but Stairs makes an excellent point. One of the keys to coaching is recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your players and getting them to focus on what they do well. Denbo wanted to turn everybody into Lyle Overbay – working the count and shooting the ball to the opposite field – which might explain why Overbay is one of the guys who appears in the story to defend Denbo.
Anybody got tickets to: Wimbledon. That is, if you like tennis, and white tennis outfits. I like neither, because I think generally tennis is a game played by snobs and private school boys. But I understand the sport is pretty popular, and it’s a slow day in the world of sports, so here you go tennis fans. Have some strawberries with cream, and prepare to watch Roger Federer beat the snot out of everybody…again.
Fun Police: Why, why , why does everybody in Leaf land have their knickers in a knot about Mats Sundin joining the Habs? The Leafs are a non-playoff team, begining a long, slow re-build. Sundin is a veteran superstar at the end of his career. It’d be nice if he hung around to help keep the team halfway respectable, and help teach the young guys something about being a pro. But if he’s not going to sign in Toronto, it doesn’t matter where he signs. Michael Farber on the weekend was comparing this to Johnny Damon jumping from the Red Sox to the Yankees. One key difference, the Sox and Yanks were highly competitive at the time. There is no Leafs/Habs rivalry until the Leafs get better.
Extra bases: Good bye TJ, Hello J.O.?; Cool story about Nashville Predators first round picks Colin Wilson and Chet Pickard both getting cut from the same kids’ team when they were 14. Hey coach IN YOUR FACE!; Amazing and depressing story on the impact that suit technology is having on the sport of swimming. “By compressing his torso, the LZR not only lets him go faster, because it maintains a tubular shape, but also allows him to swim longer with less effort.” Read the whole thing and you’ll soon agree with me that if it’s not lycra/spandex, it should be illegal. Honestly, baseball says bats must be wooden. Why can’t swimming say suits must be Lycra/spandex?