Posted on: January 6, 2011 8:15 pm
 

BREAK IT UP!!!

So Canada lost.  Big deal.  In fact, as far as international junior hockey goes, Canada losing is almost best case scenario.  The tournament is just not competitive enough.  Even though they have now lost two years in a row, Team Canada has been nothing short of dominant over the past 20 years.  They have been to ten straight Gold Medal games, and twice over the past 20 years they have had streaks of five straight gold medal victories.  To put that in perspective, only the Russians have even won more than five gold medals total.

Not only has Canada virtually perfected winning, the other teams seem to be sliding.  The Czech’s won back to back gold medals, around the time they won Olympic gold in Nagano, but they have been a huge disappointment over the past five years.  Many people had strong hopes that the Slovaks would build a powerful junior program the way the Czechs had in the years after their separation, but they have also disappointed.  Sweden seems to be treading water, but the Fins recent junior struggle make Finland’s future as a top hockey power seem in doubt. The Swiss seemed to have a break-through a decade ago when they won their bronze medal (their only medal to date), but since then they have not really improved at the junior level.

Russia?  The Ying to Canada’s Yang on the top of the international hockey world’s pedestal?  This is their first Gold medal in 8 years.  Their slide has been perhaps the most dramatic, and the reasons are simple.  The players in the tournament over the past few years were ALL born in the years after the wall fell.  They grew up in the 90s when Russia as a state was in complete economic chaos.  Money to fund and develop minor hockey just didn’t exist.  As a result, these players did not benefit from the same rigorous level of training and development that previous generations of Russian (or Soviet) hockey players did. NHL teams are avoiding their prospects like the plague, and the number of Russians in the NHL as been cut in HALF since the lock out.  To me, that makes this achievement far more significant.  Maybe I am getting old, but I didn’t take this loss as hard as other years, even though the manner by which they lost was rather gut-wrenching.  I was proud to see our countries greatest rival succeed during a period of time where one (for reasons already mentioned) might expect them to fail. 

None the less, virtually no country other than Canada has shown sustained junior hockey development over the past twenty years.  The tournament has not been competitive enough.  For anyone who says it has, I come back to this point: TEN STRAIGHT GOLD MEDAL GAMES FOR CANADA.  The tournament has turned into a “who will play Canada for Gold” derby.  Sure, Canada has lost the past two years, but anything can happen in a one game tournament.  Quite frankly it’s the only “non-TSN-manufactured” drama during the whole two weeks. 

But a wise man once told me “Don’t tell me your problems, tell me your solutions”.  Okay, so that old man was my father, and it was more like “I don’t give a **** (excrement) about what’s wrong, What the **** (Fornicate) are your going to do about it dumbass?”  My proposal is simple.

1)      BREAK UP TEAM CANADA!!! 

-          Make it Canada East and Canada West.

-          As for Ontario, if you play in the OHL west, you play for Team West.  If you play in the OHL East, you play for Team East.

2)      Reunite Czechoslovakia

-          Admittedly, I’m not even sure if they would want to do this, but Czechoslovakia was a far more powerful hockey nation that the Slovaks and Czechs have ever been (Dominic Hasek not withstanding)

3)      Create a “Team Northern Europe”

-          Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and Latvia have exactly ONE World Jr. medal between them.  They have been playing hockey in these countries for decades, and but for that one Swiss breakthrough, they don’t really appear to be going anywhere.  However, they have produced many great individual players over the years.  If you pooled their talent, they would be far more competitive.

4)      Create “Team Eastern Europe”

-          This would basically be a way of re-uniting all of the countries who have broken away from the Soviet Union, excluding Russia.  Think Belarus, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Ukraine.  Like team Northern Europe, these countries have never had any success at the World Jrs but they have developed a pile of quality individual players.  I think putting them together would be great way to make the tournament more competitive.

And there you have it.  My World Junior tournament would be far more competitive.  It would consist of Team Canada East, Team Canada West, Team Russia, Team USA, Team Sweden, Team Finland, Team Northern Europe, Team Eastern Europe, and Team Czechoslovakia.  Yea, that’s 9 teams, but who cares.  If you have a real problem with it, put Sweden and Finland together.  Whatever the case, I think that this tournament would be way more interesting to watch. 

 PLEASE NOTE:

The Americans are a recent success story on the international jr hockey scene, and I really do think that USA Hockey has turned the corner and will challenge Canada for world dominance in the coming decades.  However that is ONE team, ONE program, and they have only recently revamped their program.  Thus, they have not shown an ability to sustain it, so I could be wrong about them. 

Posted on: January 6, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2011 10:48 pm
 

Honey! The Cable's Out!!!

Cable guy is out.  WTF?

So the Oakland Raiders have done what the Oakland Raiders do, the opposite of what EVERY other NFL team would do.  “what, we had our first non-losing season since 2002?  **** it, let’s fire the coach!”

Okay, so I know they didn’t fire him, they chose not to renew his contract.  But seriously, for an organization struggling for stability, what good can this do?  I have a theory.

Who was really responsible for the 8-8 season?  Cable gets the credit, but does he really deserve it?  Yea, he is the one who stood up to Mr. Davis and canned Jamarcus “Purple Drank” Russell.  Wow, that was a risky call, sure hope Jamarcus doesn’t turn into an NFL star for some other team.  Also, his record until this season was not good.  8-8, is an improvement, but that’s like saying the 2010 economy was better than the 2009 economy, it still aint good enough. 

This team should have been in the playoffs.  They blew through the division and lost to FIVE teams with losing records.  Does anyone think the Chiefs are better than the Raiders?  A team that beat them TWICE?  Including pounding them... at Arrowhead... when the Chiefs we playing for playoff seeding. No, but the Raiders blew games to teams they should have beat, and that’s on the coach. 

What is it that made this team better?  The defence has improved moderately, but there have been flashes of good defence in the past few years.  It was the offense.  Who ran the offense?  Not Tom Cable, the team took play calling duties away from him this year after last year’s offensive disaster.   Hue Jackson ran the offense, and it improved greatly.  So much so that the 9ers are interviewing him for their vacant head coaching position.  Some people like to say that just getting rid of Purple Drank was enough to turn the offense around, but they benched him last year and the offense wasn’t THIS good.  Darren McFadden also gets most of the credit for turning the offence around, and even though he was phenomenal, I’m not ready to drink that Kool-Aid yet.  After all, the Offense didn’t miss a beat with Michael Bush on the field this past week.  Also, it was Hue Jackson who put McFadden in a position to succeed, but using him properly.  There was a theory out there that the 6’2 220lb McFadden could only run outside, Jackson knew  better and put the ball in his hands. 

Thus, the Raiders know their success this season wasn’t because of Cable, it was because of Jackson.  They know dam well that they had better keep him, and if the 9ers offer him the Head Coach position he won’t be content to just coach the offense in Oakland.  If we lose Cable AND Jackson, I’ll be angry, but I’ll bet the next Coach of the Oakland Raiders will be Hue Jackson.  Whether he is ready for that or not, well, I don’t really know...

Posted on: December 29, 2010 6:00 pm
 

Better Than Recent Years, But 8-8 Aint All Great

So the Raiders aren’t going to the playoffs this year.  Is anyone REALLY surprised?  I think the biggest surprise of their season is how they dominated the AFC West.  Should they beat Kansas City this weekend they will have swept their division for the first time since this Raider fan joined the Nation.  So the season has had its high points, but its had its low points as well.  Today, let us have a look at a few of the things that disappointed in 2010.

1.        Who is the QB of the Oakland Raiders?

-          Lets be honest.  Until Bruce All Mighty went on IR, every week was a guessing game.  “Campbell is our starter” was all we heard during the summer.  That lasted 6 quarters.  Then the Raider Nation had visions of last year’s upsets over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati dancing in our heads as Gradkowski lead our team to victory over the mighty St. Louis Rams.  Then he blew his shoulder out.  Then he missed some time.  Then he tried to play through it.  Then he couldn’t. Then he went on IR.  Of course, both QBs were a ridiculous upgrade over Jamarcus “Purple Drank” Russell, but is being better than the biggest (figuratively and literally) bust of all time REALLY good enough?  Then again, along as Run DMC keeps carrying the rock like he did this year, does it really matter who is handing off to him?

 

2.       Will DHB Ever Arrive?

-          I know that WR is one of the most difficult adjustments from college to the NFL.  I know that most receivers take three years to develop.  I know that he has all the physical tools.  I know he has had two different offensive co-ordinators in his first two seasons.  I know he has had a bit of a revolving door at quarterback.  I also know that the smaller, younger, and lower drafted Jacoby Ford has had to deal with most of these issues too.  Ford didn’t have the benift of starting or working with the first team offense in practice much.  But guess what.  Jacoby Ford looks like he has potential, and has already outplayed DHB.  I don’t like jumping to conclusions, and I know people wrongly wrote off Run DMC, but I am really starting to get nervous about Darius Heyward-Bey. 

 

3.       Rolando McClain.  Future Star, or Over Hyped?

-          When the Raiders took the big middle linebacker out Alabama in the first round I didn’t know what to think.  My first thought was “AW F***!  What the f*** am I going to do with my Kirk Morrison Jersey now?”  My second thought was “did we really need a linebacker?  Don’t we need help on the O-line?”  Then I decided that, wow, he is such a talented player, I’m just glad he’s on OUR team.  Then I started drinking the cool aid.  I started believing that he was instantly a shoe-in for DROY, and that he would single handily fix the run defence issues that have plaugged our team for years. Maybe I set the bar too high.  When I look back, He actually had a pretty decent season.  The most important thing was that every week the play by play men called his name more and more.  As the season wore on, he began making bigger plays.  I think this future is bright for this young man.

 

Posted on: December 13, 2010 11:56 am
 

Did I Really Say That?

Good morning loyal readers!  A few nights ago I did what I seem to be doing a lot of lately.  I turned the Leafs game off and then proceeded to cry about them on facebook. My good friends Adam and Carter joined in on the conversation.  Now that a few days have passed (and I have sobered up) let’s take a look at what was said.

 

 

Scott Kirkness (Status update) Oh those ******* leafs.... Two comebacks and they decide "***it, we don’t need to play the first and second. We will just go to Pitt and Philly and be all like, yo, see you in the third" Great ******* game plan. Anyone else think Wilson has had long enough to turn this ship around?

Adam
Throw his *** overboard...

Scott I know, all I ever hear lately is that he has "more wins than any other active coach" So I’m left to think, riiiight. How many were pre lockout. Doesn’t he have the most losses too? Plus the knock on him was he could turn a team around, but just couldn’t get them over the hump. We can’t even see the ******* hump

Carter Wilson, how about Burke as well!

Scott - I'm not 100% good with Burke today lol, but he got Wilson better players, and there is still ZERO improvement. Plus, the best way to measure a coach is PK and PP, where the leafs are awful

Carter - He got him better players? All he did he get better back end the forwards are terrible they have 1 top 6 forward mixed in with 3 and 4 th liners

Scott Lol I'm not here to defend the Kessel trade right now, I'm just raggin on Wilson

Carter The Kessel trade in my mind was terrible

Scott Here’s how I feel about the Kessel Trade.

1) Kessel is a young player who is a 40 goal scorer, and they don’t grow on trees. I don’t remember the last time a Leaf scored 40, so we needed him

2) Burke over bought because of his principles.  Edmonton took Penner as an RFA, and Burke lost his $#!*, now he can’t sign RFA’s.  As an RFA the price for Kessel would have been a 1<sup>st</sup>, 2<sup>nd</sup>, and 3<sup>rd</sup> rounder.  Instead, he trades two firsts and a second, all because of his stupid principles

3) Not only did he buy big, he was bidding against himself... Kessel went public with trade demands, not other team showed major interestEdmontoEdmonton took Penner as an RFA, and Burke lost his shit, now he cant sign RFAs. As an RFA the price for Kessel would have been a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounder. Instead he trades two firsts and a second... All cuz of his principals

3) Not only did he buy big, he was bidding against himself... Kessel went public with trade demands, no other team showed major intrestEdmonton took Penner as an RFA, and Burke lost his shit, now he cant sign RFAs. As an RFA the price for Kessel would have been a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rounder. Instead he trades two firsts and a second... All cuz of his principals

3) Not only did he buy big, he was bidding against himself... Kessel went public with trade demands, no other team showed major intrest

Carter look at all the successful rebuilding done since the lockout it is very simple you rebuild through the Draft, not trade away what 2 1st rounder’s and was it 1 or 2 second rounder’s...It is important to build through the draft when you have top 5 picks because most of the time it is a talented player that you have 3 years of salary at roughly 900k.  Instead of draft picks you give a package of players around Kaberle because he won’t be there when the rebuild is complete.  Burke has invested too much money into the back end that it really hinders the Leafs chances of turning the corner soon... Brian Burke gets a lot of credit for the Anaheim Cup when in reality the foundation was already there... He is a terrible GM

Scott Terrible GM? No. He laid the foundation in Vancouver, and brought Nidemyer and Pronger to Anihiem, Thus pushing them over the top.

The draft I’m still torn over. Yes it worked for Pittsburgh, Washington, and Chicago. They found
Franchise players in the top three.  Contrary to popular belief, there is not ALWAYS a franchise player in the top three.

And it doesn’t work for Everyone.  Look at NYI, or even LA.  LA doesn’t have the top 6 to put them over the top, and they never will.

Look, I’ not bashing the draft, you need it to win.  But people who think you can JUST rebuild through the draft are wrong, IMO.

Scott For the record, I agree that they should trade Kabs, and so does Burke. He tried all summer, but nobody trades picks for expiring contracts, except Burke

Carter If you have a good scouting staff rebuilding through the draft will work

Scott  lol often, but you have to admit you are rebuilding. I hate this "building on the fly" crap

Carter What foundation did he lay in Vancouver the your not good enough to make it beyond the 2nd round foundation?

Scott As for foundation, I just meant He took a team that consistently missed the playoffs and built them into a team that consistently wins division titles

Carter Well ya he had to really scratch his brain when he had the 1st and 2nd pick.... Hmmm do I take the twins? Lol really tough

Scott Nope lol, they were 2nd and 3rd, and he had to trade for those picks, had to trade for the pick to get Pronger too

Carter Lol ok whatever either way a ******** couldn't screw that up

 

Okay, well I actually stand by a lot of what I said.  There were three main things that I feel I should explain a little more

1)      The Draft

 

Okay, I think I was a little bitter, but I wasn’t completely wrong.  There is a myth in the NHL that a top five pick in the draft will get you a franchise player.  Not a good player, but a guy who will carry your team for the next 15-20 years.  Everyone is trying to follow the Steve Yzerman “Captain for 20 years” blue print.  I have to admit, since the Lock out let’s look at some of the players that came out of the top 5.  You have Crosby, Ovie, JT, Doughty, and a couple of other real franchise foundations.  But come on, there have been plenty of drafts with more busts than Stars, especially in the first round, but including in the top 5.  Just ask the Oilers and Islanders.  How many times have they rebuilt through the draft in the past 15 years?  Okay, so let’s not even count the pre lockout years.  Let us look closer at the existing Islander rebuild.  Last year everyone said they looked like the “next” team to prove that the draft is the way to rebuild.  Washington and Pittsburgh did it at the same time.  Then Chicago did it, the LA, then it looked like the Islanders were right on pace.  Well, the blue print has been watered down.  Chicago is elite, but sorry, I don’t think they are as good as the Pens.  LA is good, but I don’ think they will ever be as good as Chicago.  The Islanders?  The only thing they are on pace for is yet another number 1 pick.   I know I know, the LA and Islander rebuilds aren’t finished, and the players need to grow, but this isn’t growth, they are both regressing.  LA is scoring less goals that they did a year ago and the Isle’s are doing pretty much anything they can to lose games. 

 

Another team people like to talk about when they talk about rebuilds through the draft is Colorado.  Not buying that argument.  One top five pick doesn’t make you a draft monkey.  Colorado turned their ship around because they found a goalie on the curb.  Ditto for Phoenix.

 

2)      Ron Wilson should be fired.

 

Yea, I’m pretty much going to stick to this one.  Even if Burke HAD built slow and through the draft and actually found franchise players in the top 5, I’m still not sure Wilson is the guy for the draft.  Think about it.  What has this guy done is his career?  Sure, he is the active leader in win.  Big deal, without checking I am pretty sure he is also near the top in loses.  So his record is more a product of longevity than of quality.  Yes, he brought a lousy team from Washington to the cup finals (and let the record show that this was over ten years ago, yet is still his biggest claim to fame) where they were beaten by a better team, and yes he was there for the Sharks turn around (where despite Presidents Trophies he was unable to get his team to the big dance), and yes he is a respected coach in many NHL circles; but that doesn’t mean he is the right guy for the job.  Besides building through the draft, what is one OTHER thing that Washington, Pittsburgh, and Chicago have in common? They fired their coaches and brought in new guys once the rebuild was “over”. 

 

Wilson came to Toronto and took over a team in bad need of a rebuild.  The team limped into the lockout, and then loaded up on veteran players.  He decided he couldn’t win with Raycroft (don’t really blame him there) and hitched his wagon to Toskala (a trade I actually liked at the time *shudders*).  It’s not really his fault that Toskala suffered was seems to be career ending hip and groin injuries, so I don’t blame him for that either.

 

What I DO blame Wilson for is the lack of ANY measureable progress with this team.  PK and PP are still AWFUL.  Say what you will about the leafs depth, but a PP unit of Kaberle, Phaneuf, Kessel, and name any two other players shouldn’t ever hover near bottom half of the NHL  let alone permanently take up residence in the bottom quarter. 

 

This Leafs team is built from the net out.  It has a reliable 1-2 punch in net, and (on paper) a top five blue line.  This team should at the very least be a good defensive team.  Burke has talk a lot about being, if nothing else, a tough team to play against.  Wilson said numerous times last year that he could have this team playing winning hockey if he implemented a tough defensive system or boring hockey, but he didn’t want to do that.  I don’t actually believe him.  I think that the pressure is on this year to win, and he has no answers.  Send him packing

 

3)      Brian Burke is a good GM

He really is.  He has turned teams around, and pushed one over the top.  He is a well educated guy who has been on almost every side of the hockey coin.  He was a fan, a player, an agent, an NHL executive, a GM, and a President.  The man knows what he is talking about.  I don’t want to hear any garbage about him not knowing how to win in the “new NHL”.  The man brought defense back to the league after two years of Wild west meets European style hogwash.  The Ducks won the old way; by playing good defense and getting production from the top two lines.  He brought the defense to the Ducks, and defense won that Stanly Cup. 

He also did the impossible and dumped Sergi Federov’s elephant contract.  That is something else Burke has been good at, managing the cap.  Everyone thought Anaheim was headed to salary cap hell, but it never arrived.  His contracts expire, and he refused to sign those god awful Kovolchuck-type contracts.  He managed to dump one of the worst contracts of the cap era for a Con Smythe winning goalie.  Yea, you all remember the Jason Blake contract.  He also turned spare parts into Dion Phaneuf, Keith Aulie, and Fredrik Sjöström. 

Okay, I’ll give you the Kessel deal as evidence of a bad trade, but let’s look at it one more time.  Why is it good?  The Leafs got Phil Kessel.  Why is it bad?  The Leafs lost two first round picks. Toronto Star hockey columnist Damien Cox wrote a pretty terrific article refuting parts of that arguments recently.  (http://www.thestar.com/sports/hocke
y/article/905921--cox-leafs-can-t-w
in-for-winning
)

The long and the short of it is that that the Leafs are actually loaded with first round picks.  Phaneuf, Kessel, Schenn, Nazem Kadri, Mike Komisarek, Colby Armstrong, J.S. Giguere, Freddie Sjostrom to be specific.  SO why do we REALLY need two more?  Of these players, only Schenn was were when Burke arrived, yet he is continually harassed by fans and media because he let two first round picks go.   

 

So there you have it.  I guess I agree with most of that discussion, even after several days.  To sum it up, keep Burke, fire Wilson, and give Burke a break about the picks, he basically go them back. 

 

Posted on: December 3, 2010 2:09 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2010 2:18 pm
 

Hines Rant Has Flavor, But No Substance

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver/uber blocker Hines Ward went on a bit of a tangent this week about how he thinks the NFL is run by hypocrites.  Truthfully, he might be right, but what he actually said didn’t make a whole lot of sense.   Remember, this guy has a college degree (from UGA), so he obviously can’t be stupid right?  Let’s take a closer look at the words that came out of his mouth shall we? 

Quote number one “The league doesn’t care about us anyway,’’

Long story short, probably not. 99% of players are totally replaceable.  There is no shortage of talent pouring in from the NCAA.  Someone like Hines Ward is particularly replaceable at this stage of his career.  He is an aging receiver who is now better known for his tenacity and blocking skills than for his pass catching ability (though admittedly he is still quite good at that too). That’s a cold hard look at Ward, but he took a hard cold look at the NFL.


Quote number two “They don’t care about the safety of the game. If the league was so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on?”

This quote is just plain stupid.  On face value, it makes sense.  But upon closer inspection, it really doesn’t.  Player safety is in NO WAY related to the length of the schedule.  Player HEALTH and the length of the season are definitely related, but player health and player safety are NOT the same thing.  The crack down on head shots is there to keep players safe.  If they are safer, one can draw the conclusion that their health will be much improved, and thus they can have a longer season.  Thus, the new rules will help facilitate a longer season which, for the record, I am totally against.    


Quote number three “You talk about you don’t want players to drink . . . and all you see is beer commercials.”

Here is another stupid one.  When did the NFL tell their players they don’t want them to drink?  They have said on multiple occasions that they don’t want players to be drunken buffoons who embarrass the league and its brand with their shenanigans, but never that they don’t want them to drink.  If you can’t see the difference, well, that is really kind of sad.


Quote number four “You don’t want us to gamble, but then there are [NFL-endorsed scratch tickets].’’

Okay, he kind of has a point here.  It kind of is hypocritical of the NFL to support gambling in any way, and that should include “the lines”.  Maybe the NFL releases them, maybe they don’t, I don’t actually know.  But if they were serious about cracking down on gambling then they wouldn’t allow their broadcasting networks (Fox, CBS, ESPN) to post the odds on their web site.  I agree that gambling on football is good for the sport.  It gives fans something to cheer about in a game they otherwise would have no vested interest in, and that can only be good for the game.  However, for the NFL to condone it like this is kind of shady if you ask me.  Then again who did? 


After looking at this, one can draw three conclusions.  One, Hines Ward is an idiot.  Two, Hines Ward is frustrated.  Or three, Hines Ward is actually a pretty smart guy who is trying to get sympathy for his cause from a fairly stupid public.  You can select any number of these conclusions I suppose, but I for one happen to think that it is the latter and not the former. Unfortunately for Mr. Ward, not all the public is a stupid as he had hoped.

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Posted on: December 2, 2010 3:49 pm
 

Ol' Pork Chops Gets One Last Try

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So Dustin McGowan has resigned with the Blue Jays and is going to get one last chance to make pork chop sideburns popular again in Toronto.  There are two sides one can take in this matter.

 Option One:  ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME!!! 

The guy has had two major shoulder surgeries, and had to have knee surgery thanks to an injury he suffered rehabbing from the first shoulder knife job.  The man is made of peanut brittle!  It’s not like he’s even young anymore.  He’s not devastatingly old, but he’s not exactly an up and coming pitcher who, IF he pans out, could dominate the American League for the next decade.  Cut the dead weight already!  He’s ageing, hasn’t pitched in the majors in almost two years, and like so many Toronto pro athletes was always buoyed with terms like: potential, exciting, and any other short term excuse they feed fans to keep them from pointing out obvious defects in an athlete’s abilities.

Option Two:  We HAD to sign him, just in case.   

Seriously, how much have the Blue Jays invested in this guy?  He was a first round pick, groomed to be an ace, and the medical bills have really piled up.  They almost have to keep him just to save face.  Plus, the organization can’t have a Chris Carpenter 2.0 situation on their hands.  They already gave up on one often injured pitcher, and all he has done is tear up the National League ever since.  Could you imagine if they let this happen twice?  Yikes. 

No matter which option you subscribe to, you can be comforted by the fact that it’s not like they gave him a lifetime contract.  It’s only a one year, 450,000 dollar contract.  They probably spend more than that on gum for dugout in a season.  We’ve all seen him pitch.  He had great command of four pitches.  I remember a time where people were saying this guy could be the next ace of the Blue Jays, and that was when trading Doc seemed impossible.  I believe it was the summer of 2007 when he was carrying a perfect game into the 7<sup>th</sup> (which until this season was uncommon).  Then again, that summer those same people were touting Jeremy Accardo as a solid closer.  Even though he saved 30+ games that summer, he seems destined for one of those “where are they now” features in as soon as a few weeks.  But I digress.

Dustin could pitch.  I for one would like to see if he can still pitch and, for only $450000, I really don’t mind seeing if he can still do it in a Blue Jays uniform.

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Posted on: December 2, 2010 2:30 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 2:35 pm
 

Will Uncle Ted Rescue the Leaf and Raps?

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So Rogers wants to buy MLSE eh?  This is an interesting situation now isn’t it?  Think about it.  If they are successful in their attempt to buy the sporting giant, they would own every professional team in Toronto.  Yea, I left out Rock of the NLL and the Argos of the CFL, but I’m talking about teams people actually care about.  That would include the Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays, and TFC.  It would also include the Marlies of the AHL, but I said I was limiting this to teams people care about. 

The question on every Leaf fans mind, and I can only assume raptor fans too, is would new ownership mean a winner?  The Leafs are one of only two NHL teams that have yet to make the playoffs since the lockout, and I have a hard time believing that is going to change this year.  The Raptors have won ONE playoff series.  IN THEIR ENTIRE HISTORY. So fans are pretty much at a point where they are willing the chew their arms off AND trade their firstborns for any microcosm of success.   

For the answer to the question eating Leaf, Raptor, and FC fans alive, let’s look at the major professional team in Toronto that Rogers already owns, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays are the last important team, remembering that no one cares about the Rock or Argos, to win a Championship in Toronto.  They of course won the 92 and 93 World Series’, but that was before Rogers owned them.  They won their titles, and then fell off the face of the AL East, only ONCE managing a finish of higher than third place since then.  But is that really the fault of Rogers?  Let’s be honest, the Blue Jays are a competitive and entertaining team, and Rogers puts money in to them.  Perhaps not Yankee/Red Sox/Stupid pills money into them, but they have hovered around the 100 million dollar payroll since Uncle Ted started paying the bills, and have never sent a star packing based purely on salary concerns. 

HOWEVER, the NHL, NBA, and MLS all have one thing that baseball does not: A salary cap.  Rogers willingness to spend money isn’t going to have any significant impact of the Leafs or the Raptors, since they have never had problems spending money.  Maybe FC could take advantage of the Beckham rule, but that’s about it on that front too.

Hopeful fans will point out that Rogers has done more than just throw money at the Blue Jays, they have brought in good baseball people in to run the teams.  This is true.  From Paul Beaton to Alex Anthopoulos, good baseball people are running the show.  However, it’s not as though the Leafs and Raptors are run by Harold Ballard.  Each team has brought in people to independently run their organizations: Burke for the Leafs, BC for the Raps.  Both of those men are understood to have total autonomy in running their franchises, and both are considered to be good at it.  Yet what success have we seen from them?  The Raps lost Bosh, and the Leafs lose every other night.

So for the question of would new ownership mean a winner is unfortunately a big “I really doubt it”.  Say what you want about Rogers “success” owning the Blue Jays, but MLSE’s current ownership hasn’t done anything in years to get in the way of either franchise.  Thus, just changing the owner isn’t going to change anything.  What exactly WOULD it take to get a winner in Toronto?  How much time have you got?

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Posted on: October 29, 2009 11:47 am
Edited on: December 2, 2010 2:35 pm
 

Bill in Toronto Bust? Not so Fast

 

I have to admit, I am a bit of an addict when it comes to this site and this board. Why? I don’t know, maybe I just like ripping on Pricso once in a while. Anyway, one thing that keeps coming up on the boards is could Toronto support an NFL Franchise. I say yes, with out a doubt.

Now, I should clear up a few things that make me look a little biased. Number one, Yes I am from Toronto. Number two, yes as my profile indicates I am a huge fan of the Leafs, Jays, and…. okay I’m not a big Raptors guy, but they do well attendance wise. Now that we have that cleared up let me explain why the NFL would thrive in Toronto.

Lets look at the obvious stuff first. It’s a big city. Really big, and growing every day. It’s the financial capital of the country and as such it has an incredible corporate basis, which is essential for an NFL franchise. It also has people (with LOTS of money) who want to bring a team to Toronto i.e. The Bills in Toronto series, but I’ll talk more about that later. Also, Toronto has a downtown, waterfront, retractable roof stadium. Yes it would need major renovations to accommodate an NFL Franchise, but the building is 20 years old and could use an upgrade anyway.

BUT!

There are a lot of myths out there that suggest Toronto could not support an NFL Franchise. Most of them are garbage, and they have been collected largely from these very message boards. Lets dispell some of them shall we?

1. “It’s the NATIONAL Football League, you couldn’t have a team in Canada”

Dumbest reason EVER. Do I really need to explain this? Fine. The Raptors play in the NATIONAL basket ball association and 24 US based teams play in the NATIONAL hockey league. The Expos playing in the NATIONAL League and the Blue Jays play in the AMERICAN league. These are just brands, they don’t mean sqat.

2. “Theres no stadium big enough for an NFL team”

DUH! Was there one in Carolina, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Houston, or any other city before they got an NFL team? Why on earth would there be an NFL ready stadium if they have no team? There are an awful lot of ways this could be resolved. The simplest plan would be to play in the Rogers Centre until a new stadium is built. The new stadium would be out in North Toronto so you could have the giant parking lot and tailgating experience. And I don’t want to hear and garbage about not finding the money to build this stadium. If someone can afford an NFL team, they can build a stadium. To cold for an outdoor stadium? Hey, its colder in Green Bay. Another plan would be to just renovate Rogers Centre.

3. “The CFL already has a team there”

Are you kidding me? Your worried about the CFL? More people are worried that this would kill the CFL! The NFL would certainly reign supreme. Also, it doesn’t have to be a hostile situation. The CFL should consider working WITH the NFL on this. Back the CFL schedule up so that it starts in May instead of July. This would almost eliminate the over lap in the schedules, and stop people from playing outdoor football in Edmonton in late November (You think Chicago is cold?). You could even name the team the Argos. Yes, there would be two of them, so what, they play in different leagues. There could be a partnership between the leagues. They could play double headers in September…. Think of the possibilities.

4. This is the biggest reason people cite “The Bills games in Toronto doesn’t even sell out and there are only 50 000 tickets. How could they support a team?”

This is my favourite. Do you know how much the tickets cost? About $350.00 US for 200 level seats. You don’t even want to hear about club level seats. Its absolute madness! Who in their right mind would pay that to see the BILLS! Yea yea I know the tickets in London cost a fortune too but that might be their only chance to see a game live in their entire LIVES! People in Toronto just hop the border and pay $35 to see them, and come back with cases of cheap American beer while their at it (trust me). So think about it. Would you pay $350 to see them at home, or drive an hour and a half to spend $35? Yea, that’s what I thought.

A team in Toronto WOULD work. And you would need expansion. Just move the Bills. While I don’t think it should be the NFL’s number one priority should be to put a team in Toronto, I think it should trump London by a country mile. LA first, Toronto second, London, well, I personally think never, but no higher than third.

 

 

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com