Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Great Vancouver Goalie Debate

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The Canucks are in a pretty awkward spot. After getting embarrassed in the playoffs this year, the ice is now wearing thin in the Vancouver goal crease. Reading the writing on the wall, Roberto Luongo, a man who walked on water in BC not so long ago, reportedly asked the Nucks for a trade today. In classy fashion, Luongo recognized young Cory Schneider as the future of the franchise in an interview with local reporters.

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Now comes the tricky part; Bobby Lu commands a hefty price tag, but is also under contract for another decade. That's a tough sell when you're moving a goalie you gave up on. There are several teams with the need, and the means to accommodate the dollars, but the most interesting question is "how much is Roberto Luongo really worth right now?".

Saturday, April 21, 2012

UFC 145: Jones vs Evans - Believe The Hype

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One of the unfortunate side effects of the UFC’s staggering growth has been the dilution of the talent pool. Dana White still puts on the best MMA show on earth, but lately there has been an element of hype missing from main events. Jon Jones vs Rashad Evans seems to remedy that perfectly. 
This is a marquee matchup the UFC usually only boasts when the likes of Anderson Silva or GSP are fighting. Evans presents the biggest challenge yet for the seemingly indestructible Jones, possessing the speed, and intelligence that could finally give the champ a run for his money. Jones on the other hand has unprecedentedly ridiculous reach and striking ability, which will make it tough for the smaller Evans to get inside and do damage. No matter what happens, this is a much-needed clash of the Titans.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Could Subban Solve Leafs Net Woes?

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The Maple Leafs are in a rough position with their goaltenders. After James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson collectively shit the bed this year, and few top-end goalies available heading into the summer, Toronto are going to be in tough to shore up their goalie situation. OHL prospect Malcolm Subban has impressed pundits lately, and has moved as high as #10 in some draft rankings.

The Subbans (photo courtesy of
PK's little brother is the highest-rated goalie available in the draft, and could turn out to be a damn good NHL 'tender. With the Leafs picking at number 5, they are in the opportunistic position of being able to land a hometown goalie prospect with their top pick, something as rare around these parts as a playoff appearance. If they can sign a veteran to fill in the gap, the pick could become a home run.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kings Have Canucks on the Ropes

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The LA Kings may finally become rulers of something. After a pair of convincing wins in Vancouver to kick off their first round matchup, LA is in prime position to upset the freshly minted presidents trophy winners. Darryl Sutter's stingy game plan has stifled the shorthanded Canucks, and Jonathan Quick has proven to be the superior netminder

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The reunion of best buds Mike Richards and Jeff Carter provide LA with a proven winning dynamic in their leadership group. They have big, strong scoring forwards, and an elite puck mover in Drew Doughty. These are key ingredients to winning playoff teams. The Kings history book isn't exactly rich with tales of glory, meaning that this upset would alone be a significant moment, regardless of what happens in the following rounds. If things keep clicking, however, this team could do damage. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pro Wrestling: Who Cares?

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If you’re anything like me, or most of the Hustlers, you grew up during the peak of pro wrestling. Monday Night Wars and good old-fashioned rasslin'. 

Since WWE bought out their competition (TNA isn’t legit competition), it’s been a steady decline right into the shittah. Targeting violence to kids is unethical, but at least when we watched it wasn't so blatant

I've peeked in on programming and noticed they’re bringing back stars from the glory days, only to find that we’re long gone. Maybe, if there was choice for those who used to watch, they wouldn't have lost so many of us.

That’s what made wrestling so great. Liked the violence: ECW. Fan of the classics? WCW. Enjoy a bit of both? WWE. Now you’re force-fed whatever Vince wants you to eat. I lost my appetite a long time ago.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lamar Odom, Dallas Mavericks part ways

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The Dallas Mavericks and Lamar Odom reached an agreement on Monday that will let Odom leave the team without getting released.

In Odom's only season in Dallas, he played his worst basketball of his career posting career lows in every single important statistic you can think of. Now I understand he's gone through many personal tragedies in his life, but the way he spent his time in Dallas was pathetic.

I have no sympathy for bums like this in the NBA. He's a long time veteran in the best league in the world and a lot of players would die to be given the opportunities he's had. For all I care Lamar can go to being the crybaby husband of that pig Khloe Kardashian and leave the NBA to the players who aren't mentally unstable to play a full season.

-Nard Dogg

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hey, Leafs: Apology NOT Accepted

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If you live in or around Toronto, or anywhere in Ontario for that matter, you have surely seen the apology slag MLSE has sent out to try and do damage control for an abysmal finish to what started as such a promising season.

I feel like I’ve just been broken up with by a text message saying “It’s not you, it’s me.” At least if you are going to say you’re sorry to us die-hard fans who have put up with mediocrity (if that) season after season, tell us what you’re sorry for.

Taking out a full page ad is an act of sheer desperation. Just because the MLSE brass threw some extra money in the PR department doesn’t mean all will be forgotten. At least BP Oil tried to do something about it after poisoning millions of their customers.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Big Tings A Gwan in Toronto

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The time for revolution is nigh. The Blue Jays are poised to take over Toronto in heroic fashion this season, or at least that’s the feeling in the city after the exciting start they’re off to. Two dramatic extra inning wins and a near-comeback in their opening series in Cleveland were capped by a tough, but encouraging loss to Boston in their own raucous home opener. 
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The SkyDome was electric as guys like Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus, and Henderson Alvarez gave fans reason for optimism, regardless of how early it is. The Jays showcased some sharp infielding, creative coaching, and aggressive, determined base running. The culture has changed, and the relative youth on the roster suggests that the sky is the limit for this team. If they’re strong out of the gate, AL East beware.  

Tiger's Comeback Turns Ugly at Augusta

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Tiger Woods’ comeback train made an unexpected stop in suck town this weekend, and there’s no telling how long the embattled star will be stuck there. After a huge showing at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger was surprisingly one of the odds on favorites to win this year’s Masters. He had after all played some excellent golf in the months leading up to Augusta. But, instead of thrilling us with another win, inching him closer to the elusive all-time majors record, Tiger tied the worst 4-round score of his entire career. Consistency hasn’t been a trademark of the post-car accident Tiger, and the hype he garnered heading into this weekend should be a reminder of that. Tiger may have some stuff left in the tank, but we can no longer expect him to bring it on a weekly basis.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bubba Busts His Major Cherry At The Masters

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It couldn’t have been a better setting for Bubba Watson to win his first major. Just weeks after adopting his first child, and on the anniversary of the resurrection of his Lord, the exceedingly religious Watson was in contention after 54 holes. Bubba came close to a major in 2010 at Whistling Straits, but ultimately lost a playoff to Martin Kaymer. Going into today’s playoff, thinking that a shot other than Louis Oosthuizen’s double eagle would be the shot of the tournament would have been blasphemy. But after Bubba’s tee shot landed him in the woods on the second playoff hole, he pulled off a shot that will rival any of the best shots in Masters history. A hook from the woods, 150 yards to fifteen feet. Perhaps some divine intervention is to thank. Congrats Bubba, you earned this one. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wild Way to Finish NHL Season

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NHL schedule-makers should be patting themselves on the back today. It’s the final day of the season, all 30 teams are facing off, and so many playoff implications are yet to be determined. All 16 spots have already been claimed, but there is so little wiggle room in the standings; some teams could find themselves either winning their division, or dropping to 8th in their respective conference. Florida and Washington each find themselves in that awkward predicament, battling for the Atlantic

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In the west, San Jose, LA, and Phoenix are in a rare three-way battle for the Pacific division. The amount of possible outcomes is enough to make even the most astute puckhead's brain hurt. What all of this means is that the dream of parity that the NHL sold fans on during the last lockout, is now a reality.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Alistair Overeem Pisses Away UFC Credibility

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 Alistair Overeem just couldn't quit while he was ahead. Overeem landed a gift-wrapped shot at the UFC Heavyweight title after only one bout in the octagon, where he destroyed big bad Brock Lesnar.  That bout may now be all she wrote for Overeem's foray into the world's biggest fight promotion, after he tested positive for P.E.D.'s. "The Reem" registered around fourteen times the average amount of testosterone. This sent UFC president Dana White into a furious rage
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White is notorious for knee-jerk firings and re-hirings, but oddly enough, he hasn't dumped Overeem just yet. Perhaps he recognizes Overeem's massive draw potential; not wanting to react until having a plausible rationalization he can sell to fans. Regardless, who can ever take Overeem seriously ever again? Even if he wins the belt, he’ll always have the Barry Bonds branding on his legacy (*)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Is it a Sport? GOLF

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Sport is defined as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess, and is often of a competitive nature. Although this generalizes pretty much everything from tag to tennis, it features three key elements: physicality, mentality, and competition.

Golf is very much a sport, despite the fact it’s not in the Olympics (yet). Is it the most entertaining or exciting to watch? Not really. Do most of us watch and say “I could do that.” Probably. Despite viral value and a catalog of amazing movies, golfers need more than just goofy pants and a fat ass.

Golf requires athletic ability; swing mechanics, club control, and stamina. It demands physical prowess: hit the ball specific distances repetitively. Finally, golf is one of the most competitive, as it’s up to only you to perform and you control your own destiny.

Verdict: SPORT

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blue Jays Say "Bye Bye Brett"!

(Photo courtesy of AP)
In a somewhat surprising move earlier today, the Jays optioned Brett Cecil down to their AA club in New Hampshire. I find this somewhat humorous after Mike Wilner had claimed there to be little difference between Cole Hamels and Cecil in terms of stuff. Sure, lets throw out the fact that Cole Hamels throws MUCH harder, has one of the best change ups in baseball and is generally a pretty awesome pitcher.

Basically, this should mean that all of Kyle Drabek, Dustin McGowan and Henderson Alvarez have secured spots in Toronto's rotation. Soon, expect angry Jennifer Cecil to voice her displeasure about her husband being sent down. He should be allowed to lob 85 MPH meatballs down the middle while the club sticks by him!

So, that's that.

Kobe Bryant is a God

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When it's all said and done, Kobe may not leave the same legacy as the "GOAT" Michael Jordan, but you can't deny his heart. Kobe was awful on Saturday, going 0-15 from quarters one to three, posting the worst shooting performance of his career. It wasn't until there were only 7 minutes left that he hit his first field goal, but he still finished by hitting the game-winning three pointer. As he made the shot you can see Hornets guard Trevor Ariza just smiling like he knew it was going in. Heck, everyone in the building knew it was going in. The next night he shakes it off and explodes for 40 points in a win vs Golden State. The "Black Mamba" is truly one of the best ever and I'm not looking forward to the day he retires
- Nard Dogg

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kentucky's Depth Just Too Much For Kansas

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Kentucky - Kansas had the makings of a clash of the titans; 1 seed vs 2 seed, #1 pick vs #2 pick, Goliath vs Goliath. What fans got however was a reality check. Kentucky is one of the deepest teams in NCAA history, and it showed from the opening tip. Top pick to-be, and amateur horror movie monster, Anthony Davis laid a goose egg in the first half, but Kentucky still took a commanding 16 point lead into the break. They controlled the pace, the boards, and most importantly Thomas Robinson's beastly performance wasn't the difference maker. When he is removed from the equation, the Wildcats simply out-talent Kansas at almost every other position on the floor. It got interesting towards the end, but Kentucky's 8th title was never really in jeopardy, and they earned it as a team.

Bob Sapp is Gambling With his Brain

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MMA legend Bob Sapp just doesn't know when to tap out. Well, with 8 losses in his last 9 fights, 6 of which via submission, maybe he does. The problem is that with every new fight he takes, the more damage his brain takes. To say Sapp is past his prime is an understatement. His resolve in holding onto in-ring glory is an ominous illustration of the dangerous culture of pro fighting. More is learned about CTE every day, and it's hard to believe that a guy who fights as frequently as Sapp, at his advanced age, hasn't developed the degenerative brain disease (he's got 3 fights scheduled in a 3 week span, a daunting task even for prime-aged fighters). Maybe it's money, maybe it's pride, either way Sapp may become a sad example of the dangers of hanging on.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

*Terrible Time to be from Toronto

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Torontonians are so deeply jaded by the consistency with which their sports franchises suck, that they've started selling long-sleeve Toronto jerseys so emo fans can cover the cut marks. Okay, so maybe not, but that seems to be the overriding emotional tone in Canada's largest sports market. It's a culture that's been nurtured like a ripe batch of mushrooms; living in darkness and fed shit. There are several levels of peril at play in this city, which extend past the reaches of any one sport. As a result, Toronto has become a desolate wasteland of underachievement.

The flagship franchise of this city is the NHL's Maple Leafs, a team so deeply entrenched in losing that they haven't won a Stanley Cup since there were only 6 teams in the league. They boast the longest Cup drought in league history, and as of this year, the longest playoff drought as well. The modern Leafs' biggest downfall seems to be the loyalty of their fans. This loyalty has created a kind of sports paradox, where consistent failure does not result in waning fan interest, but quite the opposite. Fans come out in droves. The Air Canada Centre is literally sold out years in advance, merchandise revenues are the highest of any team in hockey, and there is no sign of that ever slowing down. 

Winning starts at the top, and this backwards culture of lemming-like fandom creates a lack of ambition from ownership. Why exert all of that extra energy building a contender when a cellar-dweller nets you the same amount of profit? It's pathetic, but it's the reality of the Leafs. They are miles away from being a legitimate NHL team, and stuck in a perpetual state of overestimating their on-ice product. They've been a laughing stock around the NHL for years, and it looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better.

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Toronto FC is perhaps the most misleading of the teams, as home games at BMO field are the loudest and most raucous ticket in the city, and in the entire MLS. Another case of Maple Leaf syndrome. The Reds have never made the playoffs in their short history. In fact, they've never even come close. Their new captain Torsten Frings, possibly the most seasoned footballer to ever wear TFC red, was injured before the season even got under way, along with starting goalie Stefan Frei. The result is a very ugly 0-2 start to the season, with no real signs of optimism going forward. They're a team in constant disarray, and with fans flocking to BMO en masse, ownership really has no incentive to start spending on quality talent.

The Raptors are not much better off, although they seem to have more of a sense of realism about where they're at developmentally. They knew they would suck and they have. The Raptors do boast a great core of young talent, but how comforting can that be to a fan base that has seen every star player they've ever had walk away for greener pastures? 

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Andrea Bargnani could prove to buck that trend, but Andrea Bargnani is also considered to be one of the poorer first overall draft picks in the history of the NBA. He's a seven footer who's afraid to play defence or attack the hoop with any regularity, in a league where defence and a post presence are a necessity for a deep playoff run. We may finally keep a star player, but he's the one who is least likely to take us anywhere. The same can be said for DeMar Derozan, a promising young talent who thrives when attacking the hoop, yet does it so rarely that he's sabotaging his own development. The Raps are one of the least attractive markets for free agents, and with New York beginning to build themselves a strong team, the path back to the playoffs is not getting any easier. 

On to the Argos. "The Ar-who?". Exactly. Moving on.

The bright shining ray of hope for Toronto fans is the Blue Jays. The good news is the Jays are absolutely on fire through spring training, looking unstoppable leading up to the season opener. The bad news is that statistical history tells us that spring training records mean sweet fuck all, and almost never translate into regular season success. The Jays' depth of talent is certainly nothing to sneeze at, and they are absolutely the best off of all the major sports teams in the T-dot. 
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It's that depth that may mislead victory-starved fans into thinking they've got something better than they have. There are still holes on this roster, like the lack of a true first baseman, and some questionable holes in their starting pitching. Their whole rotation has something to prove; Romero and Morrow are fine major League pitchers, but get by a little too easily on their reputations. Both have a lot of respect to earn this year, and unless one or both flirts with 20 wins, they can't really be considered top-of-the-lineup studs. 

The extra play-in game added to the Major League playoff format could be just what the doctor ordered to get this team into their first post-season since 93's World Series title, but they have the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Rays, and 162 games of "what-if" between now and then.

With so much negativity ruling the sports landscape for so long, it's hard not to be as skeptical as a hipster at a Nickelback concert. This is an issue that transcends any one sport, and has become part of this city's international identity. The local media makes a living blowing sunshine up the ass of the average fan, but anywhere south of Burlington sees this town as the punchline to a pathetic joke. Ironically it isn't a sense of unity and togetherness that will pull us out of it, but a righteous sense of apathy. Unless fans stop showing up, and stop caring, they'll never stop feeding the machine that keeps their hopes in check. So let's do this Toronto, let's be winners, let's not give a fuck FOR THE FUTURE.