At the Vancouver-Anaheim NHL game last night in B.C., this is what they call Row JJustice:
Thinking Gino Odjick could use a seat upgrade.
At the Vancouver-Anaheim NHL game last night in B.C., this is what they call Row JJustice:
Thinking Gino Odjick could use a seat upgrade.
Sad news out of Toronto today. Ex-NHL star Peter Zezel has been taken off of life support, as he will apparently succumb to a rare blood disorder that has plagued him for years. Zezel, only 44 years old, nearly died of hemolytic anemia in 2001 but recovered. This time, he’s not going to be so lucky.
Zezel scored 219 NHL goals, and was instrumental in helping the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 1985 (as a 19-year-old) and 1987. He also played a key role for the Maple Leafs when they reached the conference finals in 1993 and 1994. Zezel famously retired from the NHL in 1999 when Canucks GM Brian Burke refused to trade him to an Eastern Conference team so he could be closer to his niece, who was dying of cancer. Burke shipped Zezel to Anaheim instead, prompting his retirement and setting off a ton of negative publicity toward Burke and the Canucks, who were not contenders at the time.
I’m sure all this is making Burke feel good about the way he treated Zezel.
• Tryouts were held for the Lingerie Football League’s Miami Caliente, and some of the resulting scenes were, dare I say, en fuego:
• The Dodgers know what women want - their own online radio broadcast!
• The Blackhawks scalp the Canucks, while the Caps force a Game 7.
• A slimmer Jessica Simpson sings at Sea World, much to PETA’s chargin.
It’s been said that either Manny Ramirez is incredibly dumb, or incredibly good at playing dumb, and his response to his 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program gives proponents of either theory plenty of fuel for the fire. On one hand, claiming that a doctor gave him medicine for a “personal problem” seems like a flimsy attempt to use ignorance to cover up cheating, especially since the drug in question (hCG) is primarily used as a fertility treatment for women.
But what the “personal problem” really was personal - like he was trying to get pregnant? Maybe he saw that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Junior” on a plane flight and thought that sounded like a great idea. I mean, come on: Manny’s so crazy, he doesn’t even know that men can’t conceive. That’s just Manny being Manny.
(The only thing inconceivable is Manny Ramirez’s story.)
Are you buying it? Me either. As the news spread throughout the baseball world, the most shocking aspect is just how not shocked anyone who wasn’t a Dodger fan was about it. His former teammates with the Boston Red Sox seemed to be more upset that they have to talk about Manny Ramirez again than anything else, with closer Jonathan Papelbon summing up most player’s thoughts:
“I just walked in the clubhouse today and found out about it. I haven’t really thought about it all. We’ve got more things to worry about on our club. Obviously, it’s a news story, blah, blah, blah. There’s so many more things we have to go get ready for. He’s not in our clubhouse anymore, so this is something that we’re not even worried about.”
Meanwhile, the debate seemed to come not about Manny Ramirez’s guilt or innocence, but about everything surrounding his presumed guilt. Such as Brooks’ question that if everyone is doing PEDs, then do we have to let Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame? Or if the Dodgers are going to symbolically tear down “Mannywood,” the section devoted to the team’s Cult of Personality.
So how did the Dodgers react on the field without their leader? In a word: shaky. Oh, it started out good, jumping out a 6-0 first inning lead on the dreadful Washington Nationals. But then it all fell apart, although this had nothing to do with Ramirez’s absence.
Blame this on the Dodgers’ increasingly leaky bullpen, which allowed nine runs in the seventh and eigth innings en route to an 11-9 Dodgers loss - which stopped the team’s record home winning streak to start the season at 13. You also couldn’t blame Ramirez’s replacement in left field, Juan Pierre, who went 2-for-4 but did make the inning-ending out in the eighth with the bases loaded.
Meanwhile, back to Ramirez’s former team again … actually, let’s look at both of them, since his original team (the Cleveland Indians) just happened to be visiting his most recent team (the Red Sox) on Thursday night. And while it might be tacky after the events of yesterday to says that Boston’s offense was on steroids, it’s safe to say that they were at least jacked up on a six-pack of Jolt colas.
The Red Sox matched a major league record by scoring 12 runs in the sixth inning while drubbing the Indians 13-3. At least we can be sure that Jason Bay isn’t juicing, unless he tests positive for having too much maple syrup in his blood.
And speaking of blowouts, let’s take a moment to congratulate the Atlanta Hawks for making it to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs as they collect their parting gifts and head to the exits. Sure, they are only down 2-0 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and they are returning home.
But anyone who saw just a few minutes of Cleveland’s 105-85 thrashing of the Hawks knows that this series has all the makings of a sweep. Cleveland lead by as many as 36 before calling off the dogs, and LeBron James was just toying with defenders. And oh yeah, Joe Johnson sprained his ankle and might be out for the series. Have fun at the golf course, Atlanta!
More news that you might have missed last night as you were slowly backing away from Kiefer Sutherland and avoiding eye contact as not to enrage the beast:
Reality used to be a friend of Ron Artest’s. However, it was long before the public met the kid from St. John’s a decade ago. For example, no one would be surprised to find out the new Gatorade/Tiger Woods cartoons seem like mini-documentaries to the Tru Warier because he has secretly considered himself the NBA’s Dr. Doolittle for years.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be shocked to find out reality’s been stiffing his calls again. After a questionable ejection in last night’s 111-98 Rockets loss to the Lakers to tie the series at one game apiece, Artest entertained the media with alternating moments of clarity speaking about the ejection and tales about that one time he was in Space Jam II as directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Apparently, this is the first time in Artest’s storied violent past that he remembered a pick-up game where tempers flared and one player snapped the leg off a nearby table and threw it with enough force to pierce the heart of another. By the way, Violet Palmer would only call a flagrant one on that.
One expert on keeping it real is Skip to My Lou himself, Rafer Alston. Eddie House’s yipping dog act (which is only the third-most irritating version on this Celtics squad) wormed its way under the skin of the boy from Queens, causing this rather understandable reaction:
The head slap will probably take the Orlando Magic’s only nominal point guard out of an upcoming game, a rather unappealing proposition after the 112-94 posterior-kicking administed by the Celtics last night. Ron Artest would like to know what reality would eject him for chattering with Kobe Bryant about his flailing elbows while a head smack only earns double techs.
He might start by asking the woman found in Dirk Nowitzki’s home Wednesday. Surely, one of the eight aliases she’s used in previous forgery convictions can speak to the matter. Also, maybe one of them is a lawyer that can explain why she was arrested in Nowitzki’s house for theft of service and probation violations.
(”No, man… I was just asking if you saw ‘House’ last night. Why so sensitive?”)
And maybe one of those aliases once killed a man with a table leg from 20 feet. Hey, it’s no stranger than knowing Ron Artest took the Houston Rockets to a plane of existence Tracy McGrady never could: the second round.
Your hail of bullet points today may seem a bit odd, but there’s a reason for that:
A few days ago, I thought that nothing could in the Celtics vs. Bulls series could top Boston’s wild OT victory over Chicago in Game 5, featuring Paul Pierce playing out of his mind to carry Boston to the win, Kirk Hinrich getting tripped by Rajon Rondo and smashing his face on the floor, or Brad Miller almost getting his faced ripped off (again by Rondo) before missing potential game-tying free throws with two seconds left to seal the victory for the Celtics.
But after last night’s Game 6 in Chicago, I was clearly very, very wrong, as the Bulls’ 128-127 win in triple OT has not only pushed the series back to Boston on Friday for a deciding seventh game, but pushed the series from “epic” to “best ever” territory. And we can forget the qualifiers like “best ever first round series” or “best ever non-Finals series” - based on the series so far and what we can expect on Friday, this might be as good as an NBA series can possibly get.
Just to recap some of the highlights, the fun started when Rondo and Hinrich got into it again early in the first quarter, with Rondo basically slinging Heinrich into the scorer’s table, with Heinrich immediately popping up looking for blood. Cooler heads prevailed and no one was ejected, but it sure served warning about what was to come.
Keep in mind that this game - and the series - should have all rights been over midway through the fourth quarter as the Celtics used a 25-2 run - 25-2! - to turn a 12-point deficit into a 99-91 lead with just under four minutes to go. In most series - hell, in any other series - a 25-2 fourth quarter run by the defending champs is enough to put an end to things.
But there were the Bulls, seemingly unable to grasp just how screwed they were, using their own 10-2 run to take the game to overtime. And from there, it was on. Taking the role of one-man team for the Celtics last night was Ray Allen, who scored 51 points including a game-tying three at the end of the second OT.
Even Allen wouldn’t be enough to fend off a wave of Bulls, all looking to be part of the heroics. One minute, it was John Salmons suddenly becoming unstoppable while scoring 35 points. The next it was Joakim Noah screaming down court after a steal for a ferocious dunk that led to a three-point play and Pierce fouling out with 35 seconds left in the third OT. And finally, Derrick Rose turning in the defensive ply of the season by blocking Rondo’s potential game-winner with three seconds left.
The series has been exhilarating, frustrating, ridiculous and incredible. But as Jalen Rose wisely pointed out on ESPN after the game, the Bulls will have people over the next two days congratulating them on their win, while the Celtics will be stewing on the anger of dropping it, which could be all the motivation they need. Remember what happened last season when the Celtics were pushed to a first-round Game 7 by an upstart team? For the good of sports, I hope history doesn’t repeat itself - sports fans deserve a classic game to end a classic series.
Meanwhile, Bill Simmons’ “Ewing Theory” - where a team inexplicably plays better without their star player - seemed to be alive and well elsewhere in the NBA playoffs last night. Despite having Superman grounded with a suspension after his hard foul on Samuel Dalembert, the Dwight Howard-less Magic were able to drill the 76ers 114-89 to close out their series.
Howard spent his time Twittering during the game, and I can tell you that I understand absolutely nothing he wrote. (Except for something about the Polish Hammer, which makes me wonder why he’s writing about former WWF wrestler Ivan Putski.) Not Twittering was Howard’s teammate Courtney Lee, who was too busy recovering from surgery on his sinus cavity which could cause him to miss the first few games of the Magic’s second round series to “tweet”.
The other example of the Ewing Theory came from out West, where the Rockets’ 92-76 victory over the Trailblazers clinched their first playoff series win since 1997. This was all done, of course, with Houston star Tracy McGrady on the shelf for the season since late February recovering from microfracture surgery on his knee. Coupling the Rockets’ success with Denver’s closing out of New Orleans - giving Carmelo Anthony his first playoff series victory - and there’s now no question who is going to be known as the Best Player Never To Have Won A Playoff Series.
Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ve taken the time this week to butter up your friend with the illegal cable box, since there is a big-time boxing match coming up this weekend as giant killer Manny Pacquiao takes on Ricky Hatton. Since there’s only two days to go until the fight, the fighters have shut up as the hype machine ramps up to sell PPV buys and tickets, meaning that everyone has to get their two cents in about the fight.
That includes the trainers, who seem to be threatening to become the bigger story than their charges. Hatton’s new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. has been defending claims that his combative presence has created problems in the Hatton camp - tough to do when you remember what a jerk Hatton’s father/trainer could be. Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach is telling people that Mayweather was a “poor choice” to train Hatton and that he would have been better served making a different choice of trainer - like himself.
And with any big fight, the media has to track down some brain-damaged, washed-up former champion to give their bleary opinion on who is going to win the fight. God knows where they find these poor sods, but I hope they at least bought them breakfast. People like this sad case named Oscar De La Hoya, who drooled out an opinion for the DAILY TELEGRAPH:
“Hatton can confuse you, offset you, and especially with the Mayweather factor in the corner in this fight,” he told Telegraph Sport. “I know Mayweather, what he is capable of, what he plants – those little details he plants in your head.
“I’m crossing my fingers that Mayweather and Hatton can go undefeated for many years to come. There will be a chess match going on mentally and physically between both camps but, with all due respect to Freddie Roach’s training ability and his team, Mayweather is the better trainer.”
“I’m speaking from experience. He is more technically sound. He teaches you the craft, the art of boxing. He’s old school – an amazing trainer – yes, he’s one crazy son of a gun, but mentally he plants those little details in your head for you to become King Kong inside the ring.”
It sounds to me like De La Hoya’s fight against Pacquiao should have been stopped about eight rounds earlier than it was; clearly the 200 straight blows to the head he took during the fight have rattled his brain to the point of no return. And think about this: if De La Hoya thinks Mayweather Sr. is a better trainer than Roach, what would have happened to him if Mayweather Sr. had trained Pacquiao instead of Roach? Yikes!
Rick Reilly stands this morning as the sports media’s Jack O’Halloran, the ever-prodding manchild from Superman II: every time he throws a bus at Tiger Woods, Tiger crawls out from underneath just a little angrier.
Sunday, Bay Hill stood in for Metropolis and Sean O’Hair pulled over the black bedazzled robes to take the Terence Stamp role to Tiger on Sunday, seemingly in control until he saw that red swoosh fill the camera. At that point, O’Hair dropped from the Saturday leader to a Sunday round of 73 and Tiger dropped a 15-footer for the one-shot victory at 18.
In drama worthy of a Donner-esque cut of a better sequel, Tiger took his first title after last year’s knee surgery on a long putt at hole #72 just like he did last spring. After the win, he met again with the namesake of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, who we think might be Perry White in this analogy. Or Lois Lane. This one may need some work still, unlike Tiger’s knee.
Want Tiger to show you how the heat vision works, Rick? No, you’re good? Fair enough.
Sunday held little heat for the Final Four as Michigan State and North Carolina committed to a weekend in Detroit in April, otherwise known as “the best weekend of weather ever”. No, really… just listen to every sportswriter go on about it next weekend, assuming they don’t spend the whole time in Windsor.
Neither game was particularly close, leaving casual sports fans hunting for Tiger or smaller game (as mentioned below). Sadly, even Clark Kellogg’s stale “versatile like baking soda” line couldn’t get any vinegar for a volcanic explosion.
At least the ticket sales should improve with a state team available to attend. Villanova and Connecticut will fill out the other two slots as we all spend all week polishing our convoluted plans to justify picking against a UConn-UNC final Monday night. (Oh, and is Roy Williams finally accepted at UNC? Just checking.)
A foreign country bordering the United States has such a horrific crime problem due to a drug war that it could affect their ability to host international tourists. Of course, we’re talking about Canada. Specifically, Vancouver’s inability to get decent amounts of cocaine has caused a gang war to break out, raising the murder rate dramatically.
The area has grown so desperate for warm bodies with badges that two officers that “smelled of alcohol and uttered racial slurs” while allegedly beating and robbing a newspaper delivery man in Vancouver won’t have to stand trial for a year because the police can’t spare a single person to be a witness at the trial during the 2010 Winter Olympics. (h/t RAINCOASTER)
After having to spend most of last summer listening to the incessant whining about the safety of the 2008 Beijing Games, we can’t help but notice the silence surrounding the 2010 Vancouver Games. We can’t quite put our finger on what could be different about the two countries. Maybe journalists feel safe after watching a “Da Vinci’s Inquest” marathon?
In case you suspect we’re overstating the case, listen to a local activist: “I’m really apprehensive about going out in the evening. We’ve turned into an American city.” Does that mean you’re not interested in two free Final Four tickets?
Speaking of a hail of bullets, duck even though you don’t feel threatened in your job by Todd Jones…
• A new study has revealed that hitting golf balls can make you go deaf.
At least Tiger Woods wouldn’t be bothered by photographers anymore.
• Speaking with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is a privilege, not a right.
• Secret camera captures soccer club employee stealing over 2,000 jerseys for fun & profit.
• It wasn’t a good weekend to be a good basketball team.
Hey, readers. Hope you had a fun & frivolous weekend. But now it’s time to slide along another exciting edition of the SbB Clever Caption Contest!
Today we feature Kyle Wellwood of the Vancouver Canucks getting some major air over Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars:
But how would you describe this soaring scene? Submit your suggestions into the comments section listed below. Winner will be announced in the end-of-the-day recap, with an option to purchase some highly (in)valuable Phoenix Coyotes stock.
Good luck & good writing! But don’t get yourself airsick!
The CANADIAN PRESS reports that Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luc Bourdon was killed in a motorcycle crash Thursday afternoon.
The 21-year-old Bourdon, a former first-round pick of the Canucks, was riding around in his native northern New Brunswick, when he reportedly lost control of his bike and slammed into a tractor-trailer. Read more…