By macleans.ca - Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 0 Comments
Are we allowed to root for the other Canadian teams?
It has been deemed appropriate for Maclean’s to address the most urgent question of the day: what is the right attitude to adopt toward other Canadian NHL teams once your own has been eliminated from the playoffs? This is one of the rare issues in which public sentiment appears to lie in an enduring, almost perfect 50-50 balance. (Note: this is one of the 4.7 per cent of statistics cited in magazines that is completely made up on the spot.) People of a naturally patriotic bent—and while Canadians do not think of themselves as aggressive flag-wavers, outsiders with experience of us will contradict this instantly—believe in transferring one’s primary loyalty to some other Canadian club that has a chance of bringing home the Cup. Others prefer to cheer against surviving Canadian teams. They want their own club to be the one that finally brings the grail back to Canada after what may shortly become a 20-year absence.
By Charlie Gillis - Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:17 PM - 0 Comments
GM’s off-ice bluster and bombast never translated into success for the Leafs
It’s been a carnival ride, this Brian Burke era: noisy, colourful, stomach-churning and ultimately unequal to the hype.
When he blew into town on a gale of rhetoric four years ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs GM promised to restore the lost grandeur of the NHL’s richest franchise. The team would be fast, he said; it would be “truculent.” The Stanley Cup awaited, and the media, more so perhaps than the fans, were pumped.
Instead, the Leafs limped through three losing seasons, missed the playoffs for their seventh straight year and became one of the league’s least intimidating clubs. Today, as NHL governors gathered to vote on a new collective bargaining agreement with the players, the new owners of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment announced they were cutting the cord, replacing Burke with his more buttoned-down assistant, Dave Nonis.
So ends the tenure of one of the most entertaining figures in NHL management–a white-headed throwback to hockey’s bygone era who seemed built to endure one of the game’s great crucibles.
Tom Anselmi, the president of MLSE, was reluctant today to get into the reasons for Burke’s firing–beyond the self-evident ones. “You’ve got new owners who just bought into a company,” he said in reference to the Bell and Rogers partnership that completed its purchase of the team last summer. “They were evaluating people and the hockey club and that evaluation included how the team was doing, how it finished up last season.”
But there were suggestions today that Rogers and Bell executives were unimpressed by Burke’s bluster. And one cannot discount the effect of sorrow. In February 2010, Burke’s son Brendan was killed in a car accident; the GM was candid about how deeply he was affected by the loss (Anselmi, for the record, said the dismissal “had nothing to do with Brian’s personal life”).
Still, Burke’s record of misjudgment in Toronto is surprising, considering his deep roots in the game and his previous success as an executive with the Vancouver Canucks, the Anaheim Ducks and league offices.
To help explain why, in Anselmi’s words, the relationship between Burke and his corporate masters “wasn’t going to work,” we compiled a brief list of his blunders and misdemeanours during his time with the Leafs. None alone is enough to get a GM fired. But each is cringeworthy, and together they have delivered the Leafs to their current state.
The Phil Kessel deal: The speedy winger Burke acquired from Boston in Sept. 2009 is a bona fide scoring star, but Kessel is anything but truculent, and the price was too high. With the picks they got in return, Boston drafted forward Tyler Seguin, a more complete player than Kessel, and Dougie Hamilton, one of the best junior-aged defencemen in the game.
Mike Komisarek: Burke signed the hulking defenceman to a whopping five-year, $22.5-million contract just as his game went into decline. Injuries followed, and this summer Komisarek will be a prime candidate for a so-called “amnesty buyout,” where teams are permitted to pay out a player in order to gain room under the league’s salary cap.
Free-agent lethargy: Not once but twice during his term with the Leafs Burke was away from the office on July 1, the day teams compete for the season’s crop of unrestricted free agents. Hard to know whether his presence would have helped the Leafs land a star like, say, Brad Richards. And in both cases, Burke was supporting worthy causes. Still, to Leaf fans, the optics weren’t great.
Goaltending woes: J.S. Giguere couldn’t rediscover his old magic. Jonas “the Monster” Gustavsson was monstrously bad. James Reimer suffered head injuries. In four years, Burke never quite found the right man to play the game’s most important position.
Roberto Luongo: Burke saw the enigmatic star from St. Leonard, Que. as a potential solution to the Leafs’ goalie grief, but the time to get him was last summer. Luongo is in the third year of a 12-year contract, which was designed to get around the league’s old salary cap system. Now under complex provisions of the new CBA, the Leafs would take a serious cap hit if they traded for Luongo and he failed to play out the entire contract. He’ll be 43 when it expires.
Ron Wilson: Loyalty’s a virtue, but Burke left his former college roommate in place long after it became clear Wilson wouldn’t succeed. So long, in fact, that the fans were chanting “Fire Wilson!” as the Leafs floundered last season—a humiliation Burke then used as cover to let the coach go, saying keeping him in place would “cruel and unusual punishment.”
The credit side of Burke’s ledger is not empty, of course. Kessel may yet have his day, and James Van Riemsdyk, a rangy, talented winger acquired from Philadelphia, seems good return for Luke Schenn, the player Burke dealt to get him. Nazim Kadri, one of the Leafs’ top prospects, is excelling this season in the American Hockey League.
Burke was also a fine ambassador for the team in the city, donating time and money generously and standing tall for the causes in which he believes.
But good will doesn’t show in the NHL standings, and Anselmi has acknowledged that this move was months in the planning, that a change in leadership and direction was in order. If that’s true, it seems odd they’d opt for Nonis, who has a history with the current GM in Vancouver and Toronto, and who had a hand in running the team during its last four dismal seasons.
But Nonis is different. More withheld. More corporate. And not named Brian Burke. Until the Leafs go on their first losing streak, those are all things that will work in his favour.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, January 7, 2013 at 8:23 PM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – A former beauty queen whose crowning as Miss Congeniality made her one…
VANCOUVER – A former beauty queen whose crowning as Miss Congeniality made her one of the highest-profile suspects in Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riot has pleaded guilty, and her lawyer has suggested the woman’s international notoriety has gone far beyond what her case deserves.
Sophie Laboissonniere, who was 20 at the time of the June 2011 riot, was not in court Monday, when her lawyer entered the plea on her behalf.
The Richmond, B.C., resident was among the first batch of suspects charged after the riot. Media reports quickly identified her as the winner of Miss Congeniality at a local beauty pageant, sending her name and photo across the country and farther afield.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 3:46 PM - 0 Comments
The Conservative MP suggests, if the NHL season is cancelled, that the Stanley Cup’s trustees hold a competition to award it.
So if the 2012-2013 NHL Season is unsalvageable, I propose that the trustees exercise that very discretion and award the Stanley Cup to the best amateur or beer league or women’s or sledge hockey team in Canada. That would allow the trustees to fulfill their obligation to exercise their duties in the best interests of the original purpose of the trust, which was to promote amateur hockey in Canada.
How absolutely Canadian!!
If the lockout is not resolved by the end of January, perhaps a Private Member’s Motion…………………
Colby Cosh made a proposal in this regard in August.
The House does not return until January 30.
By Alan Parker - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 6:35 PM - 0 Comments
80,000 km, two continents, and four months of travel
With the National Hockey League and its players locked in a cold war stalemate, another hockey icon is headed for the ice rinks of Europe—the Stanley Cup.
But unlike NHL players now suiting up in pro leagues from Switzerland to Russia, the championship trophy won’t be there long. The Cup will be back in North America before Oct. 11—even though the NHL regular season will not open as scheduled then.
The European sojourn is the tail end of a four-month odyssey the Stanley Cup has been on since the Los Angeles Kings won temporary rights to it by beating the New Jersey Devils in Game 6 of the NHL championship finals on June 11.
In that time, the Stanley Cup has travelled more than 80,000 km—twice the circumference of the earth. It’s been hoisted and hugged and drunk from and danced with in cities, towns, firehalls and lakeside cottages from central Russia to Vancouver Island to the heart of Texas.
Over 50 players, coaches, scouts, trainers and other key members of the Kings organization each got to spend a day with the Cup, sharing the date with families, friends, hometown communities and sometimes random strangers.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 4:02 PM - 0 Comments
When the National Hockey League locked out its players for the entirety of the 2004-05 season, there was no competition held for the Stanley Cup. To this day, almost nobody ever talks about how bizarre this was—how bizarre, I mean, that the Canadian people and their officialdom stood for it. The precise legal status of the Stanley Cup is a lot like an unobserved particle in quantum physics: it is an unknowable, an existential question that has absolutely no good answer until and unless somebody with judicial authority chooses an arbitrary criterion and applies it. But as for moral ownership of the Stanley Cup… there cannot be any reasonable doubt about this, can there?
The Cup was originally a gift of the viceroy to the people of Canada. It is sacred to the people of Canada, and only to them. As the National Hockey League came to be recognized as the world’s supreme hockey competition in the 1920s, the people of Canada came to accept that the NHL’s champion, even when it was an American team, should receive the Cup. We have forgotten that this was a matter of generosity on our part: that the NHL does not own the Stanley Cup, but is suffered to award it only in exchange for operating the best continuing hockey competition for Canadian audiences.
It is astonishing that we should tolerate the use of our Stanley Cup as a hostage to one side in a labour negotiation. This happened once, and we regretted it passively, snivellingly, instead of demanding action. We can manage a half-decent riot when a Canadian team loses the Stanley Cup in a fair fight. But for some reason, when the Cup is openly confiscated by billionaires, dangled in front of young Canadian hockey players and mothballed when they refuse to give back a piece of their paycheques, we do nothing but mope.
And now it might happen again, you say? Continue…
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
A bail out, the Stanley Cup, the one per cent … oil spills, riot police, plastic bags and outrage.
The $129-billion bailout plan hatched last weekend for Spain’s banks was the surest sign yet that European leaders are committed to the task of rescuing the continent’s economy and its monetary union. Many questions and concerns remain over what happens next. Spain’s economy, the fourth largest in the eurozone, is still in a deep funk. Other countries, like Italy, may soon need a bailout, and Greece could still exit the eurozone. It’s a chaotic situation, with officials rushing to put out one financial fire after another, but it is better than the alternative: a total meltdown.
Game of Kings
The Stanley Cup finals didn’t capture the imagination of many Canadians. The Los Angeles Kings’ early 3-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils made the team’s Cup victory this week seem a foregone conclusion. But those who did watch saw some dramatic hockey, featuring two of the game’s top goalies and what every Canadian says they want—fearless physical play. It’s too bad one of the teams wasn’t Canadian; then again, the victors did have 15 Canadian skaters in their lineup.
By macleans.ca - Monday, June 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM - 0 Comments
The Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to win game six…
The Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to win game six of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals. In the process, they ended a drought as old as the franchise itself—45 years.
The Kings also became the lowest-seeded playoff team ever to claim the Cup.
L.A. won tonight’s game six after failing to finish off New Jersey (sixth seed in the East) in games 4 and 5, despite having beaten them three games straight. That meant the sixth, and ultimately final game was played in front of a boisterous sellout home crowd.
A five-minute penalty against New Jersey in the first period provided an opportunity for 3 Kings goals, and the damage was done.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy for Most Valuable Player in the playoffs.
By Emma Teitel - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 11:05 AM - 0 Comments
What’s the deal with ‘While the Men Watch’?
The CBC has some explaining to do. That’s the sentiment among female hockey fans across the country who aren’t very fond of the national network’s recent endorsement of a “female-friendly” sports broadcast called While the Men Watch. The broadcast, live-streamed during the Stanley Cup finals at whilethemenwatch.com, is described as “a first of its kind, live sports talk show for women . . . Sex and the City meets ESPN.”
Hosted by two “real-life girlfriends,” Lena Sutherland and Jules Mancuso, both blog and broadcast are aimed at sports-wary women interested in anything from “interpreting the rules of the game to coaches in need of a makeover.” Female sports fans are not enthused. “Seriously #CBC?,” tweeted Laurie Kempton. “I’m a serious sports fan. Thanks for the patronizing insult.”
Log onto the show’s blog, however, and it becomes clear that Sutherland and Mancuso aren’t without irony: “If your man is anything like ours,” reads one post, “he believes that players, coaches and refs can hear the instructions they yell out through the TV.” In fact, rather than an insult to female intelligence, the blog reads more like two bored wives making fun of their sports fanatic husbands. It is, in a way, the anti-Cosmo.
Not everyone agrees: Jaclyn Garfinkle, a 23-year-old sports fanatic and an associate producer at TSN’s Off the Record, thinks While the Men Watch is grossly “miscalculated” in its assumption that women don’t know about sports. “I think it’s somewhat ridiculous,” she says. “I think females in Canada are really underestimated in terms of how much they watch hockey.”
Still, one of the show’s biggest endorsements has come from a surprising source: “I think it’s going to be fun,” said two-time gold medallist and women’s hockey legend Cassie Campbell-Pascall. “It may even resonate with some of the most dedicated fans.”
By Nancy Macdonald - Monday, April 16, 2012 at 9:13 AM - 0 Comments
They’re our best hope, by far, for the Stanley Cup
Here we go again. With Vancouver clinching their second straight Presidents’ Trophy over the weekend as the NHL’s best team, and every other Canadian franchise failing to earn a playoff berth save for Ottawa—in by the skin of its teeth—the Canucks are the country’s best hope to repatriate the Stanley Cup. The painful drought that has kept the Cup on U.S. soil since ’93 was made worse this year by an especially grim season for Canadian hockey. Half the country’s franchises—Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton—rounded out the season as bottom-five clubs.
If it were the Winnipeg Jets or Calgary Flames sitting cozy at No. 1, they would surely be embraced as Canada’s team, the country’s hopes and dreams resting on their shoulder pads. The spring before last, when Montreal made it to the final four, almost 70 per cent of Canadians were pulling for the Habs, according to pollster Angus Reid. Last June, however, the Canucks were cast as arrogant, classless, even un-Canadian—and that’s just what Canadian media dubbed them. Things aren’t looking any better this spring.
At this stage, 35 per cent of Canadians tell Angus Reid they’ll root for Vancouver. That sounds okay until you consider that nearly half the country, 45 per cent, would prefer to see an American team take home the Cup over the Canucks, with Boston and Pittsburgh the most popular choices. “They whine. They turtle. They want referees to fight their battles,” Edmonton Sun columnist Robert Tychkowski wrote this week. “They are arrogant, they bite people, and their fans set fire to police cars.”
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, December 5, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 3 Comments
Roberto Luongo was the star Vancouver wanted. But he and the Canucks couldn’t deliver on a city’s Stanley cup dream.
Like many cities with a history of mediocre NHL teams, Vancouver also has a tradition of heroic goaltenders. Glen Hanlon, Richard Brodeur and Kirk McLean count among those who learned their trade one 40-shot night at a time, lifting merely passable West Coast squads to the level of their more gifted opponents. But not Roberto Luongo. The self-confident Montrealer landed in B.C. a bona ﬁde star, with no assembly required. Just like that, he became the centrepiece of a team that seemed destined, ﬁnally, to bring the Stanley Cup to Vancouver.
There’s no denying the Canucks had the makings of a powerhouse. And there’s no denying Luongo has under-delivered. Supported by the most talented lineup ever to pull on Vancouver sweaters, the rangy goaltender has faltered just when his team needed him most, and never more so than during the 2011 Stanley Cup ﬁnal. Key saves too often occurred at the other end of the rink, where former minor-leaguer Tim Thomas weaved a magical spring for the brawny Boston Bruins. With each dubious loss, Luongo’s dour, deﬁant persona seemed more out of place. At one point, he actually criticized Thomas’s handling of a Canucks’ scoring play—then proceeded to blow his next game. Fate, it would seem, had developed a sense of humour.
Alas for Luongo, Vancouverites had not. On June 13, as their team played Game 6 in Boston, Canuck partisans watched in their home arena as Luongo surrendered three goals within three minutes during the ﬁrst period, and cheered when coach Alain Vigneault yanked him. It was the fourth time Luongo had been pulled during the ’11 playoffs, the second time in the ﬁnal. Two nights later, in Game 7, he looked soft on the opening goal by Patrice Bergeron, sliding backward as the puck trickled in. The Canucks never recovered, and afterward, as the Bruins drank from the Cup, Luongo seemed reluctant to shoulder his share of blame. “It’s a team game,” he said when asked how much responsibility he took for the loss. “We all want to be better. That’s the bottom line.”
By Dave Bidini - Friday, October 14, 2011 at 11:33 AM - 13 Comments
Dave Bidini vows to embrace the sadness that comes with cheering for the Leafs
The morning after the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to win the 2010 Stanley Cup—their first in 49 years—I shuffled downstairs in my pyjamas. It was a warm morning, early June, and the NHL hockey season was over. I pressed my fists to my eyes, yawned, and yelled upstairs for the children to get out of bed. Actually, that’s a lie. My wife, Janet, did the yelling while I stood there in the living room looking under pillows for the remote. Finding it, I kachunked the tv and a station bzzzed on. These words were written across the screen:
LEAFS BIGGEST LOSERS IN HOCKEY Continue…
By Andrew Potter - Friday, August 19, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 29 Comments
Andrew Potter on how many take a great pleasure in anti-social behaviour, like rioting
Anyone who has ever taken part in a riot, or even just hovered on the periphery of one, knows how exhilarating it can be. Windows smashed, cars torched, stores looted—it’s like being in the middle of a video game. Yet there is a tendency to try to psychoanalyze society and interpret the mob’s behaviour as a symptom of some great underlying malaise: hockey’s culture of macho violence in the case of June’s riot in Vancouver, racism or poverty or the welfare state in the case of the looting that hopscotched across England last week.
People are over-thinking things way too much. Any proper discussion of a riot and why it happens has to start with the recognition that rioting, especially for young men, is a huge amount of fun. At any given moment, there are far more people willing to riot and loot than we like to admit, and the only reason there isn’t more of it is that if you do it by yourself or in a small group, you’ll almost certainly get caught. But if you can get enough people to riot, you can all get away with it, which is why when it comes to getting one started, what the participants are faced with is essentially a coordination problem. The trick is getting a critical mass of people willing to do it, in the same place and at the same time.
Certain events, like game seven of the Stanley Cup final, have become reliable opportunities to riot—a bunch of people show up precisely because they know that a lot of other people will also be showing up to riot. Another reliable opportunity is any sort of anti-authority protest, such as a meeting of the G20 or—what sparked the events in Tottenham—a demonstration against police violence. No matter how peaceful the initial gathering is meant to be, it is easily overwhelmed by those who are there just to smash stuff.
By Emma Teitel - Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 6:52 PM - 1 Comment
A hockey fan choreographs the night Vancouver famously embarrassed itself
Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was, famously, a dance that started a riot, but until now, no one has seen the process reversed. Enter 41-year-old Edmond Kilpatrick—a Vancouver modern dance choreographer and fierce Canucks fan (though not the cruiser-toppling, Bay-looting kind of fierce) who was so disturbed by Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riot in June, he decided to dance about it. “The riot stole the entire hockey experience from me,” he says, “and the piece is a comment about what happened that night.”
The piece Kilpatrick is referring to is Party Boys, a three-man modern dance re-enacting the June 15 riot that followed the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. “I thought we could congregate downtown and watch the game together,” Kilpatrick says, in reference to the throngs of Vancouverites who filled Georgia Street to watch the showdown on an enormous screen, “but obviously we couldn’t be trusted.” It’s hard to disagree with him. When hockey fans—and a few opportunistic anarchists—realized that their beloved Canucks would not be hoisting the Cup on home ice, storefronts were demolished, cars were vandalized and set on fire, and pictures of young men emerging from burning buildings clutching miscellaneous retail items—their Canucks jerseys pulled up to mask their faces—were more common than pictures of the Stanley Cup itself. Kilpatrick wants his piece—which runs August 10-12 on a 10-by-13-foot stage (the show is part of a larger production called Dances for a Small Stage at Vancouver’s Legion on the Drive)—to answer two questions: “Who were those guys and why did this happen?”
By Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 1:36 PM - 0 Comments
Robert Snelgrove on what prompted his actions, how sorry he is, and what it’s like to be shamed by an Internet mob
During the Vancouver riot, Coquitlam, B.C. native Robert Snelgrove was caught on camera walking out of
The BaySears carrying stolen cosmetics. The next day, he turned himself into police. Snelgrove, 24, a cell phone salesman, has been suspended without pay from his job and may be fired. Below, he tells Maclean’s what prompted his actions, how sorry he is, and what it’s like to be shamed by an Internet mob.
Q: Tell me about Game 7. How did you end up downtown?
A: I’m not really a sports fan. I got involved because all my friends started watching the games. I live on Seymour at Robson, right above Granville Street, and I got caught up in the whole excitement of the city. It was really, really exciting. I was watching Game 7 at a friend’s condo in Coal Harbour.
A: I had heard about it briefly on the news. Then, walking home, I found myself in the middle of it. It was like nothing I’d ever seen in my life before—like WWIII.
Q: At what point did you decide to jump in?
A: I don’t have a criminal record. I’ve never stolen anything in my life. I was standing outside The Bay, watching people breaking windows, smashing things, and lighting things on fire. I didn’t do that at all. When I saw multiple people break the window and walking out with stuff, I got caught up in it… It was a spur of the moment thing. Normally I would never think like that. I’m not trying to defend it, but it was one of those things—everyone’s doing it, so I might as well try it. I was quite intoxicated. I wasn’t in the best state of mind. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Friday, June 17, 2011 at 5:26 PM - 15 Comments
If he’s going to win again in Vancouver, Luongo will have to rebuild his game and his confidence
He’s never been one to pour out his soul, so one might reasonably interpret the phone call Roberto Luongo placed on April 21 as a full-on cry for help. After two straight blowout losses to the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver’s superstar netminder had lost the starting role in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarter-finals to his backup, Cory Schneider. Now, with the Hawks threatening to erase a 3-0 deficit in the series, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was having a public crisis of confidence in his $10-million-a-year goaltender. Luongo’s future hung in the balance.
So he reached out to his brother Leo, a goaltending instructor in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and like any good coach, Leo steered the conversation toward the positive. Roberto’s recent failures went unmentioned, as did the attendant pressures of his epic 12-year, $64-million contract. “We talked about him staying focused and sharp and being ready,” Leo told Maclean’s. “In hockey, you never know what’s going to happen.”
As it turned out, Schneider went down in Game 6 with leg cramps, and Luongo entered the game in the third to make a series of impressive stops in an overtime loss. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 6:04 PM - 9 Comments
Stanley Cup finals post-mortem: How the Bruins hit, skated and shot their way past the Canucks
Deep in the fuggy, aromatic basement of TD Garden, in a corner of the Boston Bruins’ dressing room, Johnny Boychuk’s words to live by loom above his stall: “Move your feet, play physical, shoot the puck!” They are not so much a credo as a command, penned on a strip of yellowed masking tape like a reminder to an errant child. The defenceman reddened last week when a visitor noticed. “Just something I wrote to myself,” he mumbled through his playoff beard. But there was no need to be sheepish, because here was Bruin hockey boiled to its essentials—skate, hit, shoot. Thus did Boston find its way to the 2011 Stanley Cup final. They would forget it at their peril.
They didn’t, of course. The Bruins championship was a masterpiece of blood and sweat, forged from the work of role players and a goaltending performance for the ages. And the Canucks? They might have used that bit of tape. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 10:07 AM - 0 Comments
Vancouver just three wins away from championship after last-minute Torres goal
The Vancouver Canucks clinched a victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final Wednesday night thanks to a last minute goal from right-winger Raffi Torres. The final score was 1-0 for the Canucks over the Boston Bruins. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo stopped 36 shots, obtaining his third shutout performance of the playoffs. He was also awarded the game’s first star. But the victory didn’t come without a cost, as Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis left the game with an injury in the second period. It’s unclear whether he will make a return for Game 2. During their 40-year history, the team has never won the Stanley Cup.
By Jonathon Gatehouse - Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
Niagara Falls. Paris, sure. But Froot Loops in the Cup and dogs drinking beer?
On his day with the cup, Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane took Lord Stanley’s mug to visit Niagara Falls, N.Y., a cancer hospital, and onto the stage at a Jimmy Buffett concert. But the lingering memory will surely be his holy crap moment with hockey’s Holy Grail. The 21-year-old winger—more than a little scared of heights—agreed to hop into a cherry picker belonging to his hometown Buffalo fire department. Up, up they went, three storeys above the street, so photographers could capture him hoisting the trophy against the scenic skyline. But when it came time to descend, the motor stopped working. It took 25 minutes for firefighters to manually lower the ladder. And all the while, Kane’s buddies stood below, heckling. Respect.
By macleans.ca - Friday, July 16, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Unforgettable goal, unforgettable friend, The pride of the ‘Peg and If you’re Canadian, say ‘I do’
Unforgettable goal, unforgettable friend
When Andrés Iniesta clinched the World Cup after smashing home the game winner deep into overtime, he honoured his friend Dani Jarque. Spain’s humble playmaker tore off his jersey, revealing an undershirt with the words “Dani Jarque: always with us” written in blue marker. Jarque, a teammate on Spain’s lineup since the pair cracked the under-15 squad, died a year ago, aged 26, a month after being made captain of Espanyol.
By macleans.ca - Monday, July 5, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Burton Cummings finishes high school, Lady Gaga tries to liven her show with a few corpses, and a big week for—poets?
The never-ending story
It took John Isner of the U.S. from Tuesday until Thursday—a record 11 hours, five minutes—to post a first-round victory at Wimbledon over France’s Nicolas Mahut. An exhausted Isner lost in the second round Friday to Thiemo De Bakker of the Netherlands. “I was just low on fuel out there,” Isner said.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 11:27 AM - 0 Comments
How Chicago crawled out of the NHL stone age
There were plenty of heroes in Chicago’s Stanley Cup win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Patrick Kane, whose overtime winner faked out everyone from the CBC announcers to his own teammates. Duncan Keith, who cemented his status as the world’s best defenceman. Jonathan Toews, who, though he failed to score a goal in the six-game final, was the most dominant player on the ice. Just as interesting though, is the behind-the-scenes story of the Blackhawks’ long journey back from an obscurity born of late owner Bill Wirtz’s stubbornness. For that, credit goes to Bill’s son Rocky, who took over after his father’s death, along with John McDonough, an executive whose marketing acumen reconnected the team with its long-suffering fans. Special mention, too, for Dale Tallon, who lost his job as GM but who—as Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated puts it—is “the architect of this Cup team as surely as Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Robie House in Oak Park.”
By Colby Cosh - Monday, April 19, 2010 at 3:11 AM - 19 Comments
As the paid-up holder of a Mainstream Media club card, can I warn the sportswriters away from making too much of the statistical fluke of all eight first-round NHL playoff series starting out tied through two games? The warning will arrive too late for some, but others may yet be saved.
As a landmark of NHL parity, the large number of 1-1 results in 2010 is not going to prove very useful. Imagine that game outcomes are statistically independent of each other and that the better team has a p chance of winning each individual game in the home team’s rink. If that’s the case, then the chance of a given series standing level after two games is 2(p)(1-p).
The 1-1 tie is always, for realistic values of p, the most common outcome. In a world of perfect parity—all teams are equal, no home-ice advantage, p = 0.5—half the series will be tied 1-1 after two games. And because the chance of the better team going up 2-0 is counterbalanced by a decreased chance of the other team going up 2-0, the overall chance of a tied series doesn’t drop off very fast as you depart from the parity condition, p = 0.5. For p = 0.6, about 48% of the series are still tied 1-1 after two games. (The better team is ahead in 36%, or 0.6²; the worse team is up 2-0 in 16%, about 0.4².)
But you can see that having eight series tied 1-1 will be incredibly rare even in the world of perfect parity. The probability of that happening in a given year will be the total product of the chances of a 1-1 tie in each of the series. Given an average overall value of p, the odds of all eight series starting out equal works out to, at most, (2(p)(1-p))8—a pretty small number, demonstrating the great flukiness of the “eight ties” outcome. Even in the perfect-parity world the expected frequency works out to 1 time in every 28, or 256, years. In the real world, the right average figure for p is probably around .54, giving us an “eight ties” year about 1 time in 269. In a fairly extreme non-parity world where the 1-4 seeds had an average 60-40 edge—that is to say, p = 0.6—the “eight ties” outcome would happen once every 355 years.
In other words, using this fluke as any kind of sign, indicator, or test for parity is about like insisting on reading a book only by the light of Halley’s Comet. You’d better have a comfortable chair. And plenty of kids, so they and their progeny can continue the observations (over several millennia) after you die in it…
By Charlie Gillis with Nancy Macdonald - Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 2 Comments
Sidney Crosby lifts his team—and the nation—in what might go down as the greatest game of all time
After the Golden Goal, when jubilant members of Team Canada had ﬁnished mobbing Sidney Crosby, when the sticks had been gathered and the players made their way to the long blue carpet for their medals, a pleasing sight unfolded in Canada Hockey Place. The crowd began bobbing, twisting, to the rhythm of the Black Eyed Peas, and for a moment, you could look around at thousands of red maple leafs—on flags, placards, T-shirts and jerseys—brought to life simultaneously, as if by a gust of wind.
Down on the ice, the man of the moment looked up and smiled. Minutes earlier, Crosby had slid the puck under U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller for what will surely count among the greatest goals in Canadian hockey history—right up there with Paul Henderson’s in 1972. Now, as he stood at the end of the line awaiting his Olympic gold medal, the crowd began chanting his name. “Cros-by! Cros-by! Cros-by!”
There are moments in sports that define an athlete, and some that define a country. But seldom do the two converge as neatly as they did in the men’s hockey final at the 2010 Winter Games, where Canada defeated the U.S. 3-2. Crosby’s goal seven minutes, 40 seconds into overtime cut short an improbable comeback by the Americans and unleashed four years’ worth of pent-up emotions, dating back to Canada’s ignominious defeat at the Winter Games in Turin. Those feelings had only deepened in the early days of these Olympics, as Canadians had been alternately pitied and mocked for various glitches, not to mention our disappointing medal haul that first week.