Tag Archives: NHL

NCAA Final Four: Kentucky vs. UConn reminds us how bad American sports are at deciding champions

US sports leagues reward inferior teams and routinely deny their best teams the championship.

Richard Allen Smith and I have argued from time to time about the merits of the BCS vs. the NCAA basketball tournament. Rich defends the BCS, while I point out its unfairness and corruption. He argues that the BCS does (did) a good job at getting the two best teams on the field for the final game, and that the single-elimination format of the Dance routinely allows inferior teams to win.

Whatever you may think about the BCS, it has to be said that Rich is right about March Madness. Tonight we’re going to see a “national championship” game featuring a team whose regular season performance merited them a seed in the 28-31 range playing a team whose record earned them an 8 seed – which is to say, they were somewhere in the early- to mid-30s. Read more

Mayors call for end to NHL lockout

I don’t always see eye-to-eye with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, but I’m 100% down with him on this one.

DENVER — Mayor Michael B. Hancock joined mayors and city leaders whose cities host National Hockey League teams across the country to call for the NHL owners and players to return to the bargaining table and end the lockout.

“This is about more than hockey. Our communities invest in our NHL teams, and our local businesses depend on NHL seasons. This is about our small business owners and middle-class workers: restaurateurs, hotel managers, concession workers and fans. It’s about the vitality and economic stability of our communities,” Mayor Hancock said.


In a normal season, more than 15,000 people come to downtown Denver 41 times a year for an Avalanche game.  If each person spends $50 outside their ticket price, canceling those games has an estimated economic impact of $31.8 million per season on downtown Denver’s economy.

Hizzoner joins mayors from other NHL cities in urging both sides to get back to the table and work out a deal. While I’m good with this in principle, I think in truth they’d be better off calling the league office directly and asking to speak with Mr. Bettman…

Will somebody please stomp Brian Burke until he shuts the fuck up?

Toronto GM Brian Burke misses the good old days. And just the other day, he got all misty about having to send his enforcer down the minors because, well, he couldn’t find a dance partner. Or something.

“If you want a game where guys can cheap-shot people and not face retribution, I’m not sure that’s a healthy evolution,” he said Thursday. “The speed of the game, I love how the game’s evolved in terms of how it’s played. But you’re seeing where there is no accountability.”

According to numbers provided by the NHL, fighting is down significantly this season. Through play Wednesday, there was an average of 0.8 fighting majors per game compared with 1.2 at the same point last year. Read more

Okay, so what did Simmonds say, then?

Here’s the chronology:

  1. During a preseason game between the Flyers and Rangers last night, Philly’s Wayne Simmonds and New York’s Sean Avery engaged in some predictable contentiousness. I say predictable because Avery is without question the most annoying little fuckhead in hockey history and there’s always contentiousness when he’s in the building.
  2. At one point, Simmonds is alleged to have called Avery a “faggot.” Read more

NHL discipline boss just doesn’t get it

I’ve been noting the National Hockey League’s fundamental cluelessness regarding the state of its game for some time now. I suspect I’m not the only one who’s voted with his wallet, either – I’ve spent barely a fraction as much on hockey, as much as I love it, since the league’s impotent response to Todd Bertuzzi’s attempted murder of Steve Moore a few years back, and that isn’t likely to change until the front office gets serious about ridding the game of its gratuitous thuggery.

Now we have more evidence that they still don’t get it. Let’s pose the situation as a multiple choice question.

Q: Which is worse?

a) Taking a blind-side shot at the back of an opponent’s head Read more

The NBA: where will “fixed” happen this year?

We watch sports for a variety of reasons. To revel in the thrill of head-to-head competition. To marvel at the athleticism. To root for the home team, in which we have somehow invested a piece of our own identities. To mark our place in the timeless ritual. To learn, even.

With the NBA, there’s one more reason: to see which narrative the league has decided is the most compelling.

Now, I’m not generally a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think the world is biased against me personally and I don’t believe that the refs are out to get my team. In most cases, my attempts to explain bad officiating, whatever the sport, need go no further than “basic incompetence.” Read more

Summer of scandal and the death of sport?

I love sports. Always have. I grew up playing all the usual sports and eagerly tried out a lot of others when I got older. I’ve always been a big spectator, too, watching everything from football, basketball and baseball to soccer, track, cycling, volleyball, water polo – whatever was on, you know?

But these days I watch less sports than at any point in my life, and it seems likely that this downward trend is going to continue. The why is pretty simple. I was raised old school by a grandfather who grew up playing through the Depression. People who knew him back then and saw him play said that under different circumstances he might have been good enough to play in the Bigs. Maybe. Hard to say, because the hard realities of life intruded on the dreams of many in his generation. So he wound up working for a few dollars a week and playing ball on the weekends.

There was a right way and a wrong way to play. Hard, but fair. Sportsmanship mattered. Read more