Canada Pulls Out Big Gums For Gold Medal Game

With the Canada v. USA hockey rematch likely be the signature moment for The Vancouver Games, Team Canada and its fans plan on doing whatever it takes to grin win.

Mitzkini

(Puck you, Daddy)

I’d have left Don Cherry in the booth, but that’s me.

Speed Read: Newspaper Carnage Only Beginning

The meltdown of the American newspaper industry is in full effect. The past six weeks have seen the closures of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News, marking two of the largest newspaper closures in recent memory. And yesterday came news that might be a sign of disaster for one of the nation’s leading newspapers: the SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES reports that roughly 120 employees of the San Francisco Chronicle have accepted voluntary buyouts as the paper struggles to avoid sale or shutdown.

San Francisco Chronicle

According to a list from the SAN FRANCISCO PENINSULA PRESS CLUB, those leaving the paper include NFL writer Nancy Gay, college sports writer Jake Curtis, deputy sports editor Larry Yant and a host of other writers, editors and photographers. This should be taken as a giant red flag if these people are getting out now, especially someone as respected as Gay; trust me, people just don’t leave NFL reporting positions at major newspapers unless something is going terribly, horribly wrong.

Leaving the Chronicle

But even the voluntary exits might not be enough - parent company Hearst Corporation (which also owns the now-online only Post-Intelligencer) has said that it needed to cut “at least” 150 jobs to avoid a shutdown or sale, with the paper currently bleeding money at a rate of $1 million a week. And with the chances of a corporation wanting to buy a failing newspaper next to zero in this climate, it seems as though the only two options are to slash the staff to ribbons or close shop.

As bad as the first option sounds, the alternative is even more daunting. Especially when you consider that the San Jose Mercury News recently announced that it was essentially abandoning the San Francisco market by stopping all weekday deliveries to the city.  Which leaves a very real possibility that the nation’s 12th-largest metropolitan area could be without a major daily newspaper (the San Francisco Examiner, currently having been reduced to a free handout resembling The Pennysaver, doesn’t count).

It seems like Mark Cuban might be prescient when he blogged about the slow death of the newspaper sports section; let’s hope that his idea of teams and leagues banding together to provide beat reporters to cover the same teams and leagues doesn’t pan out, but if the San Francisco Chronicle can fold, is any idea that outlandish?

And don’t think that it will just stop with the Chronicle: the paper was only sixth in TIME’s recent list of “The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America”. Ahead of it on the list are papers such as the Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Miami Herald. That’s a lot of major sports teams that are suddenly going to be underserviced by local media, if at all.

Tim Floyd

Also possibly endangered: the continued success of the USC men’s basketball program. After making the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season for the first time in school history, the Trojans might be going back to square one as ESPN has word that an Arizona radio station is reporting that Tim Floyd has agreed to become the Arizona Wildcats’ new head coach, with an announcement as early as today.

This is all speculation, and as the LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS notes, this radio station has recently also had Rick Pitino and Jeff Capel as taking over at Arizona, so take everything with a grain of salt. But the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that there may be smoke to this fire: Floyd apparently flew out yesterday to Tucson and was given 24 hours to decide on accepting the position by Arizona AD Jim Livengood.

Which is all very interesting, since Floyd rejected an overture by LSU last year, saying that USC was “his last job.” Then there’s the matter of the “impassioned speech” he gave at the team banquet Wednesday night, imploring players such as Taj Gibson and DeMar DeRozan to not jump to the NBA and come back next season to help the Trojans make a run at a national title. And then he got on a plane the next morning to interview for the Arizona job. That’s venturing into Bobby Petrino level of sleaziness.

Diego Maradona

Finally, a busy night of World Cup soccer qualifying has also brought us two people to add to the endangered list. The first is Argentine legend Diego Maradona, whose own near-death experiences with drugs and weight made him frequently endangered in the past. But this time, it’s not his life that’s in danger but his managing career, after his Argentina squad was demolished 6-1 by lowly Bolivia.

How embarrassing is this? It’s the first time they’ve given up six goals in a game since the World Cup…in 1958. Bolivia is 50 places behind Argentina in the FIFA world rankings, and their hat trick hero was Joaquin Botero, who plays for a second-division team in Mexico. This is Chaminade beating Virginia type stuff, where you glance at the box score over and over to make sure you didn’t read it wrong, before convincing yourself it’s just a typo.

And speaking of Mexico…if I were embattled manager Sven-Goren Eriksson, I wouldn’t even bother making the team flight back from Honduras, where his team suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat, unless he wants his severed head to be placed on a pike outside of Atzeca Stadium as a warning to future managers.

The win allowed Honduras to leapfrog Mexico into the third and final guaranteed CONCACAF berth in the 2010 World Cup. Although there’s a lot of games left in both North & Central American and South American qualifying, there’s a chance that Argentina and Mexico could wind up facing each other in a two-game playoff, with the winner getting a World Cup spot and the loser staying home.

Other sports stories you might have missed last night as you were going to the hospital ER in Texas again…and again…and again

  • This is not going to help Wisconsin out in recruiting at all: the DAILY CARDINAL reports that the Badgers have banned ESPN’s Erin Andrews from working as a sideline reporter during games in Madison because she’s too much of a “distraction.” Unless this is a particularly clever April Fool’s joke…which it is.
  • Erin Andrews

  • Remember when Pete Carroll acted petulant at Mark Sanchez’s press conference announcing he was turning pro? Scouts at USC’s Pro Day tell the LOS ANGELES TIMES that Carroll is now claiming he acted that way to “test” Sanchez’s resolve to turn pro. Because acting like a spoiled child is going to convince him to come back.
  • It’s not just American athletes who get into trouble at strip bars late at night: THE MIRROR has word that Sunderland and French international striker Djibril Cissé has been arrested after allegedly grabbing a woman by the throat at a late-night strip club. You might remember him for having the distinction of suffering horrific, Theisman-like leg breaks not once but twice in his career, which you can watch here and here. (Warning: not for the faint of heart.)
  • Give Sen. John McCain credit for doing something right: the DALLAS MORNING-NEWS says that the former Presidential candidate is lobbying for a posthumous pardon of old-timey boxing champ Jack Johnson for trumped up, racially-biased charges. It still won’t make me forget that McCain voted against Martin Luther King Day, but it’s a start.
  • A word of warning: don’t take a quick paycheck to record canned introductions to videos for a company you know nothing about. Greg Gumbel failed to heed this advice, and he wound up as the spokesperson for a time-share, which ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says has lead to a lawsuit. Here’s one video in question:

  • SI.COM says that the Hockey Hall of Fame has changed its rules, opening the door for the first female player to be voted in. Someone in Canada, Don Cherry is burning his plaid Depends adult diapers in protest.
  • Hey look, another lacrosse team has been forced to suspend their season because of alleged misconduct. But the story of the Curry College team is far different than Duke, according to the BOSTON HERALD. Team members allegedly hazed new players at a party, although even the freshmen “victims” seem to think it was no big deal. Remind me to bring a lawyer if I ever go to a college lacrosse party.
  • WSLS-TV says that Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer prepared for the upcoming season by doing some NASCAR racing. He didn’t do so hot, but his goiter was signed to a developmental deal with Joe Gibbs Racing.
  • Somehow former Cleveland Browns QB Bernie Kosar is being dragged into the Rod Blagojevich mess. RUMORS AND RANTS reports that Kosar was on some sort of fundraising “hit list” put together by the then-Illinois Governor with the Steve Garvey haircut just before he was arrested.
  • The Boston Celtics barely avoided another humiliating defeat to the Charlotte Bobcats, as the BOSTON GLOBE reports that Ray Allen’s three-pointer at the end of OT gave them a 114-106 victory.

What is your primary source of sports news and opinion?

View Results

Speed Read: It’s The Academy Awards! … Or Not.

So they handed out a bunch of awards last night, and frankly, we don’t care. Until the “Academy” lifts their de facto ban on nominating sports movies with animals as the lead, we’re boycotting the Oscars and we think you ought to as well.

Air Bud 2
(Sweeping the Oscars in our hearts.)

And as if you needed further proof, The Wrestler, which was probably the best sports movie since Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver Rudy, was snubbed entirely by the Academy last night, as traditional Oscar-bait roles like “impoverished underexposed foreign minority” and “socially stigmatized overachiever” took center stage for the 90 millionth year in a row. But for Mickey Rourke and us, we’ll always have his exuberant speech from the Spirit Awards, which features insanely NSFW speech.

Oh yeah, he definitely did roids.

And there was one other nice sports moment at the Academy Awards: Will Smith, tripping over some pedestrian-at-best lines from the teleprompter, goes boom:

(Click here if, lord forbid, you don’t get it.)

Wade jogging
(”Nope, I see nothing wrong with 30 shots and 5 assists.”)

But back in the real world, we had another big individual performance: Dwyane Wade dropping 50 on the Magic. One problem–none of the rest of the Heat decided to show up, and Orlando ended up blowing Miami out, 122-99. Dwight Howard was the man for the Magic once again with 32 and 17… and this 75-foot shot, which didn’t count but makes me feel like it somehow should have. If you needed more evidence that going Berzerker like this was actually a bad idea on Wade’s part, the Heat are now 0-4 when Wade scores at least 44 points. The Eastern Conference is dutifully taking notes on giving D-Wade the long jumper all night long.

Delonte West returns
(Welcome back, man! But about those cornrows…)

And speaking of notes for the Eastern Conference, Delonte West is back for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that is bad, bad news for everyone else. The Cavs dispatched the Pistons, 99-78, in a game that wasn’t really that close at all; the Cavs led 67-34 at the break (!!!) and coasted to a jarringly easy win. West led all scorers with 25 points, including a 5-5 performance behind the arc.

Some more quick links to peruse while you face full life consequences

Did you watch the Oscars?

View Results

‘Pansification’ Comment By Milbury Outrages Gays

For non-hockey fans, one of the biggest complaints about the sport has always been the propensity for fights to break out during the middle of a game. They say that fighting has no place in sports, and then no doubt turn around and drop $50 to watch UFC on pay-per-view. Let’s just face the facts here, people: humans like violence. We always have, and we always will. So let’s just get on with our lives, and if you don’t like fighting in hockey, then go watch water polo or something else.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. On Hockey Night in Canada — which is ironically televised in Canada — commentators Mike Milbury and Don Cherry have often shared their opinions on fighting as well. Milbury is fond of referring to the movement to ban fighting as the “pansification” of the sport. Now, when first hearing the term “pansification,” it seems rather harmless to me, but I’m not homo-sexual, because if I was, I’d apparently be outraged.

Read more…

Speed Read: Are LA Fans Ready For Lakers Now?

That low rumble you heard in Los Angeles last night wasn’t an earthquake - it was the sound of one million Dodger mini-flags being ripped off of cars simultaneously. The team didn’t have a total collapse like the Cubs, but a sixth-inning mini-meltdown of one bad throw and two lousy pitches undid the rest of the night and equaled a 3-2 defeat.

Pat Burrell is manly

Dodger fans throughout LA have one question: when does the Lakers season start? That, and if Joe Torre should have lifted Derek Lowe after Chase Utley deposited a ball into the bleachers in right center to tie the game. I agree with the LA TIMES’ BLUE NOTES that you have to leave Lowe in: he had been cruising along until then. If you want to find a goat, look at Rafael Furcal going 0-4 at the top of the line-up and making a lousy throw. Or the 6-7-8 hitters for the Dodgers, who went 1-11.

Clemson Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden

And speaking of finger-pointing: Clemson Tigers, meet your fans! If you thought that the fans were hard on you after your loss to Maryland, you probably want to schedule some extra sessions with the team therapist to deal with the fallout from your 12-7 loss to Wake Forest and practically Auburn-like offense. Perhaps it’s just karma for taking away Ray Ray McElrathbey’s scholarship in the off-season.

Here’s some more news to ponder while watching the Dow Jones Index go down another hundred points. Wait, make it two hundred! Three hundred! Wow, I didn’t even know it could go into negative numbers…

Gina Carano

Which Top 10 team is mostly likely to be upset on Saturday?

View Results

Blog-O-Romo: Tony & Jess Split - True or False?

• Have Tony & Jessica really called it quits? Alan Peppard of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS says Yes, while Mark Malkin of E! ONLINE says No.

Tony Romo Jessica Simpson Blue Icing Birthday Cake Kiss

• LARRY BROWN SPORTS thunders down news that Dan Majerle doesn’t want to be the Suns’ next head coach, but wouldn’t mind an assistant’s job.

• BABES LOVES BASEBALL is infatuated with how Manny Ramirez catches a fly ball, high-fives a fan in the bleachers, and still throws a guy out at first.

• BASKETBAWFUL chows down on the Ultimate Experience for some lucky Pacers fan - lunch with Larry Bird!

Read more…

Stylin’ Keyshawn Tells Fashion Critics To Eat Crow

Keyshawn Johnson always knew he was one football stud that had some serious style. Now he has the hardware to finally prove it.

Keyshawn Johnson NFL Draft pink tie

(Give me the damn ‘Best Dressed Man’ award!)

Matt Mosley of ESPN’s HASHMARKS struts out the news that the NFL studio analyst was awarded “Best Dressed Man” at this year’s Michael Awards, joining such illustrious past victors as Pat O’Brien & Regis Philbin.

Now Keyshawn believes that winning a trophy from a little-known fashion awards show should silence the skeptics of his style: Read more…

Melons Gal Clears Up Mindy McClemens Confusion

If Danica & Ashley show up in “Speed Racer 2“, then we might go see it.

• A well-meaning “Melons” waitress helps clear the confusion about Roger Clemens mackin’ on a 15-year-old Mindy McCready.

Mindy McCready Roger Clemens Red Sox

• Ex-KC Chiefs kicker Nick Lowery is getting ready to marry to a major MILF - annnnnd it’s good!

• Having Richard Jefferson show up for a birthday celebration gets a party host all choked up.

Kenny Mayne’s got a book out. Someday we may read it.

John Wooden. Vin Scully. One night. One stage. Be there.

Read more…

ESPN Adds Don Cherry To Sweeten NHL Coverage

In order to bring some flash & flair to their March Madness coverage, ESPN invited Bob Knight to set his butt down at the Bristol anchor desk. Now, the Worldwide Leader is hoping to repeat the same success with the NHL playoffs (or at least the same media buzz) by bringing aboard Don Cherry.

SbB Girls Colene Alex Crystal with Don Cherry

(SbB Girls Colene, Alex & Crystal stay healthy with Cherry)

The TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL reports that the CBC hockey hothead and 7th Greatest Canadian Ever will be adding his analysis and aggravations to SportsCenter (or as they call it up north, “SportsCentre”). Don makes his debut this Friday, but he won’t be carrying on from the Connecticut studios.

(Wild wardrobe gallery from the Don Cherry collection after the jump.)

Read more…

Moss Makes It w/Miss KY; Eight Belles’ Revenge

SbB’s back from the Virgin Islands to the not-so-virgin South Beach.

Randy Moss has his own dirty Derby with Miss Kentucky USA.

Randy Moss Alysha Noel Harris

• Meanwhile, Mike Tirico gets the runaround from a PETA spokesperson when trying to ask a question about the Eight Belles tragedy.

• But the fallen filly is getting her revenge, thanks to this heavy horse in England.

• A Chicago columnist blows up over blow-up dolls in the White Sox clubhouse.

• That writer needs to relax. May this baby buy you a beer?

Read more…