Wednesday, March 10, 2010


As a guy named Scott, I have a question? Can we now change the expression to “He got off Matt free”?

What a joke.

It’s about consistency?? That’s the company line you’re going to tow, NHL? You have a repeat offender that took advantage of a player in an extremely vulnerable position and you decide that you’re going to go with “Consistency”. I’m sorry – I was under the impression that Campbell was the NHL’s Justice Minister, but apparently he’s in chanrge of Consistency.

Guess who Colin Campbell and the NHL just put in jeopardy? Not Cooke. That’s the obvious and easy answer; that the next time these two clubs get together, Cooke’s got a target on him. No, this ruling puts two of the biggest stars in hockey in jeopardy.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Eight days from today, the Bruins host the Penguins. And while Campbell and Gary Bettman will be sure to warn everyone involved that there had better not be any shenanigans, the Boston market will be demanding blood.

Cooke took out what little offense the Bruins had in the lineup. Marc Savard may very well not play again this season – for a team that has scored fewer goals than any team in the league. And while all eyes will be watching Boston’s tough guys in an attempt to prevent a “Bertuzzi-like” incident, answer me this.

Based on the ruling that came down yesterday, what it to prevent a Bruins’ forward from blindsiding Crosby in the head the same way Cooke blindsided Savard? I am by NO means advocating such action… but if that were to happen, how could Campbell and the NHL turn around and discipline the guy who snuffed out Sid? After all, it’s all about consistency.

And while nothing might happen next Thursday, what about in the playoffs? These two teams have a decent chance of meeting in the first round. You think Boston’s chances aren’t significantly improved without Crosby or Malkin in the lineup?

And let's not forget, when the NHL really wants to suspend someone, they can find a way. Sean Avery's infamous "sloppy seconds" comment doesn't violate any particular NHL rule, but it made the game (and Avery) look awful. It was enough to prompt the league to suspend Avery for six games under the guise of "conduct detrimental to the League or game of hockey". There was no appeal because the NHL did the right thing, which is exactly what they failed to do today

Nice job, NHL. You have done exactly what the Canadian Justice system is often accused of doing – you’ve protected the criminal instead of the innocent.

Why should Cooke or anybody else respect the other players in the league? The NHL has just shown that it doesn’t.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oh Boy, Auger

I wasn't there. Neither were you. In fact, only two people know the truth.

Alex Burrows has accused Stephane Auger of a very serious offense - of intentionally affecting the outcome of an NHL game because of some personal resentment that he harboured for the feisty Canucks' forward. Burrows claims Auger told him he was going to "get him back" prior to last night's tilt between the Canucks and Predators because Burrows embarassed him last month in Nashville. The accusation provides a very plausible explanation for what can only be described as a phantom call when Burrows was assessed an interference penalty late in the third period.

Now Stephane Auger has a very important decision to make. He can choose to tell the truth, or he can choose to lie. I don't know what he said to Burrows, but he does.

It's not often that an adult has such an opportunity with the spotlight focussed so brightly. Mark McGwire had the opportunity a few years ago when he was called before Congress to provide testimony on steroid use in baseball. Our logical suspicions were confirmed yesterday when he explained that he didn't tell the truth because he feared the impact it would have on those closest to him. It's understandable, but it's still not the truth.

Earlier this year, soccer star Thierry Henry had a chance to tell the truth and also chose not to. Henry's hand ball led to the winning goal for France in a winner-take-all qualification match against Ireland, and France advanced to the World Cup as a result. Henry was not directly questioned at the time, but he could have very easily called the foul on himself. He chose not to, however, because we live in an era of "if you're not cheating, you're not trying" and while Thierry is generally regarded as one of the most honest players in the game, he didn't do the right thing.

Auger now has that opportunity. All he has to do is tell the truth, whatever it may be.

Sure, it's easy for me to sit here and type these words; I'm not in Auger's shoes, or those of McGwire or Henry for that matter. There is plenty of motivation in each of these cases for the person in question to act in a manner that benefits himself, his family and his organization. It's easy to argue in any of these situations that more harm that good could come from simply telling the truth. Plenty of other players made millions of dollars using steroids, but will never be questioned like McGwire because they didn't hit enough homeruns. Diego Maradona's "hand of God" won Argentina a World Cup, so maybe Henry's palm will become a celebrated story for generations if France wins this summer's global event.

There's plenty of justification for doing the wrong thing. Often it's financial, sometimes it's to save face. As the old saying goes, "everybody has their price". So what's it worth to look in the mirror every morning a see someone with a dirty conscience?

If Auger did what Burrows alleges, I'll never respect the act. But if he admits to having done it, I'll have a lot more respect for the man.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Let the Sun Shine...

Solid weekend in Vancity… sun, fun and bbq in the air. Nothing quite like kickin’ back on the deck for some meat off the grill and a cold one in the summerlike rays. That said, the world of sports continues spin, even if the Canucks are at a standstill until the Fall…

The puck dropped on Round 3 yesterday in Detroit and the Wings smacked the Hawks 5-2. GET USED TO IT. Chicago is fast, fun, and very talented, but they’re not ready for the Cup yet. I would love to see the Hawks get there – it would be fantastic to watch and Chicago is arguably the best sports city in North America. But the Wings can skate with the Hawks, they’re more responsible defensively and they’re best players get it done at both ends of the ice. Chicago reminds me a lot of Philadelphia last year, which means I could also see them taking a step back next season unless they have a great summer in free agency.

Is anyone buying Bettman’s assertion that he’d rather see the Coyotes back in Winnipeg rather than move to Hamilton if they relocate from Phoenix? Really, Gary? Do you have any stocks in BreX or Enron to sell me while you’re at it? Look, we all know Balsillie is that kid that screws around in class, skips school to go to the beach and still aces every test you hand out. We get that you don’t want to give him the scholarship even though he has the top GPA. But Winnipeg instead of southern Ontario? If it was feasible, I’d say make it happen. Unfortunately, the Peg’s arena is too small which means the ticket prices would have to be high and the chances of getting enough corporate support in that market are questionable at best. Throw in a Canadian dollar that’s well below par and there are too many obstacles for a city that once had a proud NHL tradition. I’m not against getting NHL hockey back in the Peg, but it’s not a better option than southern Ontario at this point.

I know there are a lot of Toronto haters on the left coast, but I am lovin’ the early season run the Blue Jays are on. Grew up on a steady diet of Jays on the tube and it’s been WAY too long since they were legit. I’m guarded with my optimism at this point because they haven’t played the Bo Sox yet, but if we hit June and they’re still cruisin’… I might actually believe that October is a possibility.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Flip Flop, Slap Shot

Like I needed another job, but these days you can often find me chillin' at my wife's new shop down on West 4th and Burrard - Flip Flop Shops. We had the grand opening this past weekend and though it was a long day, it was a cool break from the world of sports that I normally exist in. Don't get me wrong - I'm not quitting my day jobs anytime soon, but it's fairly relaxing to immerse yourself in the world of surf, and and flip flops for awhile.

That all said, what a wild first round of NHL playoffs! From sweeps to suspensions to surprises, there's been no shortage of talkable topics. Here's a few things that have stood out to me so far...

1) Roberto Luongo has been the best player in the NHL playoffs to this point. You can say it's a homer pick if you want, but check the facts. He has the best goals against average and save percentage in the postseason to this point, but most importantly, he has been the difference between wins and losses for the Canucks. His play against the Blues in game four was the type of performance that separates the good players from the great ones. By the end of the series, the Blues might as well been firing pucks at a 4x6 piece of plywood.

2) Who knows whether protocol is actually followed in such situations, but I wonder if Mike Gillis and JP Barry have used this time during the Canucks' layoff to discuss contract extensions for the Sedins. Both sides said they would wait until after the playoffs to talk deal, but no one anticipated more than a week in between games after a sweep in the first round. To me, the Sedins have answered any questions that previously existed about their abilities in crunch time, and there's no way that's been lost on a guy as sharp as Gillis. I wouldn't be surprised if a pact is being talked about even as type this.

3) The Columbus Blue Jackets may end up being the most important factor in another Cup run for the Red Wings should the defending champs get back to the big dance. The BJ's lack of scoring was just what the doctor ordered for a struggling Chris Osgood who looked anything but consistent in the month leading up to the playoffs. Osgood isn't out of the woods quite yet after giving up five goals in his last outing, but he looks far more confident than he did in March.

4) Tortorella vs Brooks might be the best rivalry since Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas "the Hitman" Hearns. The Rangers' head coach and the New York writer are already into after Tortorella refused to answer questions about his one game suspension for throwing a water bottle at a fan in Washington. Tortorella likes to dictate the course of conversation with the media, and Brooks is like the little brother who just doesn't know when to stop bugging his older sibling. Their first memorable encounter came a few years ago in the playoffs and it looks as though the two will butt heads for the foreseeable future should Tortorella have a long tenure with the blue shirts.

One NFL note for you as well... THANK YOU AL DAVIS. The Raiders' controversial owner and GM decided to pass on prolific pass catcher Michael Crabtree with the 7th pick in this past weekend's draft, which allowed Crabtree to fall to a certain 49ers squad that I've been known to root for. The best part about this? Davis can watch from the other side of the bay while Crabtree rips it up for the franchise that Raiders' fans have envied for the better part of the last three decades.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Smell Playoffs...

It might have been the most boring game of the season, but Canucks' fans couldn't care less. Henrik Sedin's overtime marker tonight sent the Canucks to the top of the Northwest Division, one point up on the floundering Flames. It hasn't gone exactly the way I thought it would, but I feel a lot better about my December blog that called the Canucks the team to beat in the Northwest.

Over the past two months, the Canucks have a record of 20-5-1 on the heels of a Jauary that saw them win just twice in twelve outings. The win all but clinches a playoff spot for the Canucks, which leads me to the following observations...

1) The Matchup
Too many Vancouver fans are caught up in whether Chicago is a better opponent than Columbus in the postseason. Did you not see the numbers I just posted? If those aren't good enough, then how about the 11 straight wins at home? It's not as though the Canucks are without flaws, but at this point, the only way you care about who the Canucks face in the opening round is if you would consider one playoff round a success. Based on preseason expectations, that result would be acceptable, but I'm thinking Canucks fans shouldn't be settling for the second round. I'm not saying a Stanley Cup awaits, but this team is playing well enough that fans should have some confidence in this group. If it were me, I'd be more concerned with keeping this team rolling and healthy.

2) The Captain
He might not be getting the recognition he did in previous years, but Roberto Luongo looks to be in playoff form. He's won 19 of his last 24 starts and has goals against of 2.19 during that stretch. As well as the offense is playing compared to Luongo's previous seasons in Vancouver, he is still the key to success in the postseason. He doesn't have to win playoff games by himself this year, but if he is playing up to his potential, the Canucks have a goaltending advantage over every single playoff team in the Western Conference.

3) The Third Line
Kyle Wellwood, Steve Bernier and Mason Raymond (for the most part) were supposed to be a defensive liability - they've been anything but. The trio has held it's own when opposing coaches get their top offensive players out against them. No one is confusing them for the Red Wings' grind line of Draper, Maltby and McCarty, but they haven't been pushed around the way that many anticipated. The "BMW line", as it's been called, doesn't have to be a shutdown line so long as it isn't a "light up" line for the opposition.

Training Update:

I'm three months into my Ironman training and still no injuries! Hard to say exactly where I'm at, but I have made some decent progress in the cycling and swimming departments. This week's a recovery/evaluation week for me with the crew at Innovative Fitness, but next week I get back at it big time. Powerbar is keeping me fueled and Dr. Gerry Ramogida is keeping me healthy. However, the main motivation behind this endeavor is raising money for cancer research. If you're interested, check out my page at BC Cancer:

One more thing:

My pal Willie Cromack is involved in a fundraiser for Cyclebetes this weekend. The goal is to raise money for Juvenille Diabetes and Willie is putting his reputation and body on the line for the cause: Willie is willing to cycle on a spinner for 24 hours straight if a company or individual will sponsor him.


The cost: $2400 ($100 per hour) and he will wear advertising, do interviews and extoll the virtues of your business in exchange for the sponsorship. FOr more info and to get involved in a great cause, follow this link: or give Willie a call at 604-808-8547

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rockin', Rollin' and Ridin'

Watched the Oscars for the first time in years - I usually just catch the highlights - and Ben Stiller was hilarious. His reprisal of Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre appearance on Letterman was massive. If you haven't seen it yet, do yourself and favour and YouTube both interviews. Guaranteed laughter.

As for the weekend in sports, Mats Sundin's return to Toronto went the way everything is going for the Canucks these days - perfect. The Leafs, the crowd and in the end, Sundin himself played their roles to perfection. His shootout winner on the 10th anniversary of the ACC will go down as one of the unforgettable moments in his Hall of Fame career.

In a complete contrast from Januray, the Canucks can do nothing wrong thus far this month. Even when they don't play well for the bulk of the game (like in Toronto), they find a way to pick up a win. Even when Roberto Luongo allows a soft goal by his standards (like in Calgary), he shuts the door the rest of the way and backstops the Canucks to victory. And even when one of the top two lines isn't going, the other seems to carry the mail for the night.

The big question right now is... what do the Canucks do at the deadline? Mike Gillis has repeatedly stated that he's already made his big move by getting Sundin; it's his way of taking a preemptive strike against the inevitable "when are the Canucks going to make a move?" question that surfaces at this time each year. On one hand, the Canucks could use a defenseman to bolster what has been an inconsistent powerplay or an all-around forward that provides equal parts scoring and size. However, this organization isn't currently deep enough to trade away high draft picks or one of the few prospects it has in order to get a rental player. If prices are high to get the likes of Keith Tkachuk, don't expect much - if anything - to happen in the next nine days unless Vancouver deals for a player they can sign going forward.


Some exciting news in my quest to conquer this summer's Ironman Canada in an effort to raise money to fight cancer. A donation page has been created and the link is now posted on the right hand side of this blog. And I've got a big donation to kick things off!

The Vancouver Giants invited me and other media types to gather as many loonies as we could in one minute on the ice last Friday. All money I grabbed was then doubled and will be donated to teh BC Cancer Agency. I WAS ABLE TO GATHER THE MOST MONEY - $645 - WHICH MEANS $1290 IS GOING TO THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER!!!

Sponsors are also beginning to jump on board; Powerbar is going to support this endeavour and we're just working out the details as to how that will happen. I'll be posting a training log on the Powerbar website in the near future. Until then, I'll be training my assets off as gameday is only six months away.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And So It Begins... IRONMAN!

You may have been listening this morning when I made the announcement on the air - I am trainging for Ironman Canada. This is easily the most daunting physical challenge I have ever attempted, but there's a very good reason for it.

Like many of you, my life has been significantly affected by cancer in recent years. If you've been in the BC Cancer Agency or similar treatment facilities, you know that there are so many people that need help in battling this disease.

After watching these people confront the challenge of their lives, it has inspired me to challenge myself. I will train to swim 3.8km, cycle 180km and run 42km on August 30th in an effort to raise money for cancer treatment.

In the next couple of days, I will have more information for you. There will be a link to a donation page should you choose to support this cause, and there are some exciting announcements on the horizon with regards to some corporate sponsorships.

Stay tuned!