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Monday, February 14, 2011

National Bush Hockey League

An off day here on Saturday saved me from commenting on the joke that is the New York Islanders.  It isn't enough that they gave the league its worst contract in history when they signed Rick DiPietro through 2,052, or that owner Charles Wang thinks that every team should make the playoffs, now they went and dressed seven meatheads for a game in which they hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins and they went meathead with dirty hits and looking for fights and led the way in producing 346 penalty minutes, 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors and 20 misconducts.  Classy.  Pens owner Mario Lemieux said the resulting suspensions, mostly the Isles along with a hefty fine to the franchise, were not enoughBill Daly, Gary Bettman's #2 in command, waved off Lemieux's comments.  Nice work, blowing off an all-timer, hot on the heels of alienating Wayne Gretzky from the game with the way the Phoenix Coyotes sale has been handled. With the recent SlapShotting of the league, the Toronto Star's Damien Cox has dubbed the league the NBHL: National Bush Hockey League.   Bruce Arthur at the National Post looks at the brawling NHL of late. Videos of all the non-sense at the bottom.

It took two sales days and roughly 15 minutes combined for the UFC to sell 55,000 tickets to the Rogers Centre in Toronto for UFC 129 on April 30th.  The event is not only UFC's largest crowd and gate in history, but will also be the largest crowd at the Rogers Centre this year, including Blue Jays opening day, and will beat some Jays series.  Sorry, I had to.  Tickets are going for as much as $6,000 on StubHub, with reports that some front row seats went for $39,000.  That's insane.

The last eight baseball seasons have seen 24 of 30 teams make the playoffs with seven different World Series winners.  Good luck getting a salary cap with that stat, smaller marketers, nevermind the realities of the baseball environment and local TV deals.  That said, an AL GM tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post a second wild-card team is a "near certainty".

In 56 games, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been shut out through two periods 20 times.  That is pathetic.

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is pulling a page out of Albert Pujols book, saying once arbitration is done, he won't be negotiating a deal during the season. Speaking of Pujols, word is he's turned down an offer and the clock is moving fast towards his deadline, with an announcement expected tomorrow from him that the dealing's done and he'll go into free agency at the conclusion of the season.

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is already talking big for next year, guaranteeing a Jets Super Bowl win.  And I quote: "there's no way we don't get it done next year."

Interesting travel stat this year to show how massive North America is.  In the English Premier League, Arsenal will travel 2,400 miles for 19 away league games. Toronto FC will travel 43,200 for their 17 MLS road games.

Dozens of people suffered some kind of respiratory problem after a party at the Playboy Mansion.  Maybe they were showing a Hef sex tape?

I have a hard time thinking we'll see a better bit of skill in a big moment this year than this Wayne Rooney goal on Saturday that gave Manchester United a big 2-1 win over Manchester City in English Premier League action. 

Penguins/Islanders brawl videos from Friday night...

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