Chicago Blackhawks fans chanted “Basketball, basketball!” at Washington Capitals player, Smith-Pelly. He rose to challenge them, and they didn’t let up.This type of ugliness remains rampant across the country, especially at sports events and bars and especially by white men. The question remains: what are we actually going to do about it?
Instead of the damned blaring horn, spotlights and screaming, the Toronto Maple Leafs should focus on the import of the moment. A single note on a gong followed by the crowd rising in silence, a bow between teams and audience, after which they would resume play. That’s what makes a champion.
It was to be magic, the stuff of dreams: a pair of seats ten rows behind the Capitals’ net for Game Seven, perfect for that overtime goal by Matthews, Marner or Nylander. And then not…and I was sent this damnable message: “Thanks for being a fan”? Fuck you. They’re my seats! Mine. I owned them on this night, just like the Leafs owned…ugh.
I’ve never liked Bobby Nystrom. Brash and conceited, he’s the New York Islander I remembered for almost taking out Borje Salming’s eye in 1978. And so it was with a mix of revulsion and childish glee that I received his figurine at Barclay’s Center on Bobby Nystrom Night. I knew I would destroy it as soon as I had it. But what started out as a joke – it was Lorne Henning and not Nystrom who was responsible for Salming’s injury – turned into a glimpse of a personal abyss, in the creation of seedy ISIS-ish video.In my mind, it was fine and funny, something I had to do, but as an act it wasn’t. It was awful really, just wrecking something for a reason that didn’t exist. Not that I’m sad it’s gone.
Phil Kessel started the summer by bringing the Stanley Cup to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. He ended it with a biting tweet on being left off the USA team, which lost all of their games at the World Cup of Hockey. Coach Tortorella – and some players – took offense. They said that Kessel shouldn’t express an opinion, no matter how relevant, because it had an edge. They have a problem with Kessel simply because he’s his own person, because he says what he thinks. Which says a lot more about them.
The Toronto Maple Leafs traded away the majority of veteran players over the past season to begin anew.
On Monday, February 29, four young players had their NHL debuts: Connor Carrick (21), Kasperi Kapanen (19), William Nylander (19), Nikita Soshkinov (22). Soshkinov was the first of the rookies to score, two days later, on March 2 against the Washington Capitals.
The best thing about Toronto Blue Jay Edwin Encarnancion’s home run against the Miami Marlins on June 9th wasn’t the swing. It wasn’t the look. It wasn’t the trot. It wasn’t the celebration at home plate of the walk-off winIt wasn’t even the high five with BJ Birdie. It was the moment when this Sportsnet reporter got shrugged off.Oh, the desperation! The indignation!“Edwin?! Edwin, please!!”
I blogged in February on The Five Big Problems of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Happily Team President Brendan Shanahan agreed on the most important point. By hiring Mike Babcock as the new head coach – $50 million for eight years – Leafs management sends a clear message to media, fans and players alike: this team must win now.
There are many next steps, the most important of which is to address player leadership, but the first step is the most important.
Said Babcock this morning: “I believe this is Canada’s team and it’s time to put it back on the map. I came here to be involved in a Cup process. I have a burning desire to win. I want to build a team that the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs can be proud of.”