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Saturday, April 3, 2010

EPL pivotal game

An earlier than normal edition of RM today, largely because there's no way I could do this later with a giant game kicking off at 7:45 today when Chelsea visit Manchester United in a game that could well determine the English Premier League champion, especially with third place side Arsenal now minus Cesc Fabregas for six weeks and Andrei Arshavin out for three weeks as well. It is going to be tough for the defending champions - United - minus Wayne Rooney, but they are at home. Loads of pressure on Dimitar Berbatov to provide something in attack with Rooney out, and I suspect he rises to the occasion. My head says "tie" here, but have a feeling that the more mentally tough United beat a mentally fragile Chelsea here 2-1.

The NCAA Final Four goes tonight from Indianapolis. I'm liking Butler and West Virginia myself, though the West Virginia selection is no doubt coloured by my hatred of Duke.

Speaking of Manchester United, they're said to be ready to drop £40million to land Bayern Munich/French midfielder Franck Ribiery. Not sure that will get the irate fan base off of the Glazer ownership group, but it wouldn't hurt.

The Hedo Turkoglu Party Machine. 'nuff said.

I don't know why a guy with Tourette's sucker punching his wife is funny, I just know that it is. Check the vid at that link.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman figures that the value of the NHL's next American TV contract will more than double over the current $75 million. Even if it does, that's hardly anything to be bragging about.

As if two free cards on TV and a pay-per-view weren't enough action for the UFC the last two weeks, they've got another pay-per-view lined up for week today, this one in Abu Dhabi. It has also been announced that UFC 115 will go in Vancouver on June 12th.

What happens when you take a video of a bulldog banging a stuffed animal, and mix it with a soundboard of NCAA commentator Gus Johnson? In a word: magic.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A very Good Friday to you...

Here is a Final Four primer. Or at least a look at the cheerleaders of the Final Four squads. If this has any bearing, it is gonna be Michigan State cutting the nets.

Toronto Maple Leafs
coach Ron Wilson is the first coach in team history to miss the playoffs in consecutive years and get a crack at making it a third. It says here that the Leafs make the playoffs next season.

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho says he isn't happy in Italy, and is no doubt throwing it out there as a thought for the big clubs in England where he wants back, badly. Great thing to say with your team barely hanging on to first place in Serie A and in the quarterfinals for the Champions League.

So if minimum wage is increasing and that includes wait staff, does that mean we can cut tips to correspond with the increase? Seems reasonable enough. Here comes the hate mail!

For a guy who went to a good academic school in Stanford, Tiger Woods sure isn't bright. Sure, he may have paid Rachel Uchitel $10 million in hush money, if the TMZ reports are true, but he must've neglected to pay over a dozen more, judging by how freely and frequently we are hearing more details of his affairs. Can't imagine he strays from his "that's between me and Elin" auto response at his presser Monday.

In another step to increase the quality of the product on field, and recognition off of it, Major League Soccer has expanded the "Beckham Rule" to allow teams the option of adding a second designated player spot and allowing teams to purchase a third. Here's hoping Toronto FC acts fast and as important, correctly. A man can dream, no?

90 days until LeBron James is a free agent. You've been warned.

Charles Barkley flips off TNT audience.

The best part about U.S. gold medalist Lindsey Vonn delivering the game ball to a New York Red Bulls game isn't that she rolled in in a NASCAR, but that the Red Bulls player Ibrahim Salou (#29) is a knuckle deep into his nose before shaking her hand.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pig power

Chicago Black Hawks fans aren't too pleased over this mural at right going up in Chi-Town of Jonathan Toews in which his nose looks, well, like that of a pig. Also, fans are unhappy the mural includes the Stanley Cup, something the Hawks haven't lifted since 1961. Superstition, and all.

"Nosed" out of the picture of the day is this gem by a restaurant in - where else? - Bangkok, where they've created a life size replica of Tiger Woods made entirely out of condoms. No, really.

Barcelona opened yesterday's Champions League visit at Arsenal with as dominant a start as you could imagine, and only incredible keeping from Manuel Almunia - no, really...not an April Fool's joke - kept Barça from blowing them out early. The second half saw each side score a pair of goals for a thrilling 2-2 finish. Arsenal's in a lot of trouble for next week's return leg in Barcelona with Cesc Fabregas out on a suspension, in addition to him suspecting he's got a broken leg. The other game of the day saw Inter Milan grind out a 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow. In other injury news, Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is out 2-4 weeks with a bad ankle.

Damien Cox suspects the Toronto Maple Leafs will be splashing the cash around this summer. With most big names tied up, might they be a cap relief source for a team like the Chicago Black Hawks? Dealing Tomas Kaberle, which seems likely as he and coach Ron Wilson are feuding, will clear up an additional $4 million or so.

Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous says the brains of the management in the AL East are far more challenging to overcome than the dollars. So there.

NFL prospect Dez Bryant, who has had some shady dealings in the past that have led to an NCAA suspension, says "I ain't never got in trouble with nobody. I never said anything. I don't say anything wrong to nobody." Not sure what kind of pro he'll end up being, but if he can pound an opponent like he just did the English language, he'll be in Canton ultimately.

Kevin Durant gets some calls from officials, Kevin Garnett drops an f-bomb in the presser post-game. Nice work, KG.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not sure if you've heard, but...

The book ends of Manchester United's visit to Munich yesterday proved polar opposites. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring a minute in, and went out in the last minute with what looks to be a serious ankle injury just as Bayern scored to win the first leg of their Champions League quarter 2-1. Gonna be tough to see United win anything minus Rooney this year, who has been incredible, but I'll be shocked if they don't advance given all they need is a 1-0 home win. The other match saw Lyon beat visiting Bordeaux 3-1.

Not sure if you've heard but NCAA Final Four team Butler is 10km from Husky Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Confirming what the Globe and Mail and RM wrote a week back, the MLS Cup will indeed go in Toronto this November 21st with an 8:30 kick off. Ought to be frigid, but it'll be a rare opportunity for a trophy to be lifted in Toronto, so celebrate, T-Dot! Also being discussed is a friendly at Roger Centre where Manchester United would likely face Glasgow Celtic July 17th.

Was Diego Maradona recreating that scene from Hannibal where he convinced a drugged up victim to let his dogs chew on his face? Could definitely see the drug angle given Maradona's history, and especially now that his dog used his face as a chew toy. Thanks to GBVH for that linkage.

Up today in Champions League play, Barcelona visit Arsenal and Inter Milan visit CSKA Moscow. The first ought to be a thriller with two teams that think attack first and only.

Not sure if you've heard but Tiger Woods is playing the Master's next weekend.

Good of the National Post to step up in an editorial in favor of Ontario legalizing mixed martial arts.

In a sign of budgetary consciousness, the New York Yankees rolled out ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte yesterday who changed hands depending on the batter. Wonder if this guy develops if he is a complete game lock?

Not sure if you've heard, but Kelly Kelly is smokin' hot.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be changing their uniforms for next season, doing away with the practice jersey look. No word on if they'll correct a long standing grammatical error. They'll be revealed this summer.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Champions League Quarters start today...

Champions League quarter-final play starts today with Bordeaux at Lyon, and Manchester United in Munich to face Bayern. United will see Wayne Rooney back after missing a game for injury and if recent form continues, they'll be in great shape even for a road game. Bet 'em at Pinnacle.

Sources in Phoenix say that the NHL is ready to move the Coyotes to Winnipeg if the current deal to keep the team in Arizona falls through. Say, didn't we talk about that here a month or so ago?

MLB will be reducing the number of days off during the League Championship Series by one. Funny that it took them up until now since the overly stretched 2009 playoffs to sort out that the previous system wasn't right.

Remember that Jim Lampley "Bang!" flurry during the last Manny Pacquiao fight? Here it is mashed with Metallica's "Master of Puppets". Strangely hypnotizing.

TMZ, entering the sports business more by the day, says that 50% of NBA wives are groupies. Maybe that explains why Jackie Christie was working so hard to shelter her man.

In an NBA shocker, the New Jersey Nets beat the San Antonio Spurs to ensure they won't finish with the all-time worst record.

How good are Barcelona? Good enough that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is playing a literal back pass.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekend wrap

Chelsea went off for seven goals in a 7-1 thumping of Aston Villa, previously the English Premier League's best defensive side. Manchester United maintained their hold on top spot with a 4-0 win at Bolton, while Arsenal suffered a serious blow to their championship hopes with a 1-1 draw at Birmingham. Chelsea visits Man U next Saturday morning in a match that could well decide the champion. Frequent reader and poster Norway/Kristian passed on this slight alteration to the Villa logo. Hint: one part at the bottom normally reads "prepared".

Butler, Michigan State, Duke and West Virginia are the Final Four in a wildly unpredictable NCAA tourney. If you caught the Duke game, they benefited greatly from a terrible charging call and an equally dubious technical foul call that were largely the difference in a seven point win over Baylor. Lovely. I'd be thrilled to see any of the other three cut the nets ahead of that squad.

Toronto FC
didn't exactly impress for a lot of their opening 2-0 loss at Columbus, but they weren't quite a disaster as feared heading into it. That said, Ty Harden and Nick Garcia in the heart of the defence doesn't inspire, and big signing Julian de Guzman was invincible for the most part. O'Brien White was impressive up front, and Martin Saric looks like he could be decent in the midfield.

Are CSKA Sofia the most dysfunctional club in Europe? Whether you're a soccer fan or not, be sure to take a read of this look at the club. What a freakin shit show they are.

Georges St. Pierre defended his UFC middleweight title with a dull decision over Dan Hardy. Shane Carwin made it 12-0 with all his wins by first round knockout in stopping Frank Mir to set up a July showdown with Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title. That's gonna be the most hyped UFC bout, perhaps ever.

Word is that next year's NHL Winter Classic will be at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, with the Washington Capitals visiting. If that don't do a monster rating in the U.S., the NHL is officially dead in Uncle Sam's land.

Memo to the Buffalo Bills: if you're going to use Jim Kelly as someone to guage the personality and willingness to come to Buffalo of a player, especially one as high profile as Tim Tebow, be sure he tells his wife not to Tweet about it.

How serious is the Ben Roethlesberger case? Serious enough that Peter King at says the Steelers would be wise to plan for a 2010 season minus Big Ben.

It almost seems too good to not be scripted, but the Phoenix Coyotes have clinched a playoff spot for the first time in eight seasons. This could well mark the first time a playoff team in the NHL draws under 10,000 fans to a game.

Check out the coach of the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat Jim Playfair going Hulk Hogan on a ref.