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.