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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Only Gary Bettman Can Screw Up A Gimme, Slam Dunk, Open Netter etc.

With the Atlanta Thrashers moving to Winnipeg, you'd think the league and team would get off to a good start in the 204, but not the NHL.  First, Gary Bettman essentially goes asshole - as if he could go any other way - and tells the locals they need to have 13,000 season tickets and sell the building to make it viable, as if the local owners haven't already done that research and like that's some huge challenge in a 15,000 seat arena.  That of course begs the question, how are all the franchises in the U.S. getting by with a lot fewer than those figures buying tickets?  Hopefully somebody is forwarding Gary Bettman this piece by the National Post's Bruce Arthur that reminds him that the league needs Winnipeg more than Winnipeg needs the league.  Second, the NHL says that it won't realign for 2011-12, so Winnipeg will play in the Southeast division.  The schedule for next year isn't out, so why wait?  It isn't like the move totally sneaked up on them.  Word is they'll flip conferences next year with Detroit finally moving to the East. Third, the team name hasn't been officially announced as Jets Memo to True North: there is no other option, despite word you're leaning to Manitoba Moose. GBVH passes word from Forbes saying the average ticket price in Winnipeg is going to be $82, which would tie Montreal for second highest average price, trailing only Toronto.  

Oh yeah, the Stanley Cup Final starts tonight.  Seems nobody is giving the Boston Bruins much of a chance in this one, and maybe that is just a product of living in Canada.  But if I'm a betting man - and I am - I have a lot more faith in Tim Thomas than I do in Roberto Luongo.  It isn't the sexy pick, but I'll take Boston to win this one in six, completing Boston's sweep of all the major titles in the last decade: NFL, MLB, NBA, and MLS.  Incredible.  Bastards.

It is never wise to say a series is over after one game, but the NBA Final could well be with the Dallas Mavs throwing away a very winnable game - and they didn't cover to make it worse.  The Heat won by six last night, and you get the feeling that the Mavs winning 4 of 6 is going to be a tough call.  Word that Dirk Nowitzki has a finger injury doesn't help.  How hot are the Heat in Miami?  Not very.  Three hours before the first game in Miami last night, there were still 800 tickets left on StubHub.

Let's not get too carried away with this discussion seemingly everywhere about how flat the baseball standings are with so many teams hovering around .500 at the moment.  We're not even a third of the way through the season for most teams.  How many teams would be close to .500 in the NFL after 5 weeks?  That said, in the 2000's, 59% of the teams holding a playoff spot on June 1st went on to make the playoffs.  A Yankee fan will be pleased to note the Yanks were first on April 1st, May 1st and now June 1st, which the boys in my fantasy league will notice lines up with yours truly, although I've been on top every day in between save for two.

Clearly, Dough Ford, brother of Toronto Mayor Rob, hasn't learned a thing from the travails of Jim Balsillie when it comes to trying to attract a team.  Dough has been now musing about how Toronto is such a big market, so why would the NFL be in Jacksonville, where they are only drawing 20,000 a game from his knowledge.  Funny thing about that, Dough, is they actually draw 63,000+ which, while not tops in the league, isn't exactly Argo or Blue Jays numbers.  Speaking of the Argos, somehow Dough believes that the presence of an NFL team in Toronto wouldn't hurt the Argos.
Of Jose Bautista's 20 home runs, 9 have come against last place teams in Minnesota (7) and Houston (2). 

As mug shots go, this one of just indicted Tampa Bay Buc Aqib Talib is a real gem. If I had a mug shot like that, I wouldn't even bother with a lawyer.

If you're a fan of ESPN's dynamite 30 For 30 series, you can now order all the DVD's in one set.  Solid.   I may have mentioned this before.

Wondering what all 30 of the NHL arena's goal horns sound like, because they don't score as often as they used to?  Wonder no more.  Can't say that the Montreal and Toronto ones sound overly familiar, nor do I recall them typically using horns.

MLB has never had an openly gay player, but it has had Ernie McAnally.

Say what you will about Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, now with AC Milan in Italy, but the dude is a winner. 8 titles in 8 years, with 5 different clubs in 3 countries. That's incredible.

The Seattle Sounders fans raised the bar on the Portland Timbers in their heated confrontation a few weeks back.  This is freaking awesome.  Seattle's average attendance of 36,000+ would be 9th in English Premier League, 6th in Spain's La Liga, 2nd in France's Ligue 1, and 4th in Italy's Serie A.


DeKev said...

I agree with the Bruins in 6.

Tim Thomas is 3-0 lifetime against the Canucks with an amazing 0.33 GAA. (Doesn't lend well to the amount of scoring - or lack thereof - we may see in the final round) And the Sedin sister's have ... 0 points ... against the Bruins lifetime. Again, goal scoring may be down in this one.

Plus, Luongo is due for a good choking session as we haven't seen it yet this year.

TB said...

ZERO points? That's hard to do. Over how many games? Guessing not a tonne, but they've been around a decade or so, so has to be at least 20-30 games between them. On second thought, that IS a tonne.

I keep watching Boston and look at their team and go "how are they doing it? None of their offensive guys are stars" (Seguin down the road perhaps) and yet they keep getting enough to win.

DeKev said...

I think thanks to the NHL's stupid West plays vs West, East plays vs East rules, they really haven't seen each other often. Possibly as low as 10 times. I'll try to find that out.

FOUND IT - Sedin's have played Boston 11 times. BUT - correction to my stat - it's 0 points in the last 3 games against Boston (my bad - was same story as Thomas stats were in where I saw that one). BUT - Dan Sedin - 5 points in 11 career games with a -4. Hen Sedin - 4 pts in 11 games with a -3. Needless to say, they don't perform how they do on average against Boston. Also interesting - Kesler only has 2 points in 5 games lifetime against Boston.

As for Boston's success - I think their D is underrated (Outside of Tomas Kaberle, who is extremely overrated) and a few of their forwards never had the chance to prove how good they really are (Thinking mainly of Nathan Horton here who was lost in Florida for many years). To handle Power Forwards like Horton & Lucic at the same time, you need to basically have a Chara-like defenseman on the ice and none of the teams they've beat so far have had a strong enough D, in my opinion. I think if Pronger had been healthy, the Philly series would have been a lot different.

Up front for Boston, outside of the top line - add guys like Seguin, Marchand, Recchi, Ryder and Chris Kelly (Who's quietly put up 11 points in these playoffs) and you've got a ton of depth.

Vancouver has strong D, but I don't think they're going to have enough there to handle the B's top line. Krejci and Horton are a force together.

I think what can potentially save Vancouver is that a) Kesler is a stud in his own end defensively, which could eliminate 1 of Horton / Lucic in the offensive zone each time he's matched against them. And b) Malholtra returning for key faceoffs really puts puck possession in Vancouver's favour in important situations.

Should be a good series as the team's do match up well, but I'm sticking with Boston to win it all. Tim Thomas has emerged as the best goalie in the league. Hands down.

TB said...

Ahh, that makes more sense. Nada over 20+ games seems incredibly bad. 3 games isn't exactly a huge sample size, but it is something.

Horton's been a beast. Clutch and a load.

gbvh said...

Bruins +209 on series.
Too much value to pass up.