It doesn't matter how well the Leafs play from now till the end of the season, or even if they advance to the post season, a Stanley Cup is not on route here anytime soon.
Yes, we have some pieces in place to build on, but is Ron Wilson really the man who is going to lead this franchise to a championship? Of course not. Then who is? How about Detroit Red Wings tactician Mike Babcock, who has been a winner since arriving in "Motown" in 2005 and should I mention has won at every level.
But are the Red Wings interested in letting him go? Probably not, but what's to say if an offer was on the table that would include a couple of draft picks and perhaps a prospect, Detroit would not listen?
An aging team like the Red Wings who are desperately trying to lure some youth into their organization, are prime a candidate to try to pull off this type of blockbuster trade..
Would Leafs GM Brian Burke dare to make such a move? Why not, especially with the struggles this team continue to experience in special teams. Over the years the Red Wings have managed to find a way to win with a group of aging defenders and an average goaltender. Most of that is a tribute to Babycock's dedication for his team to be more discipline in both ends of the ice, which would be highly embraced here in Toronto.
If Brian Burke has any intentions of winning a Stanley Cup in the immediate future, landing a coach like Babcock would go a long way in ensuring this would transpire.
Despite another floundering season of CFL football in Southern Ontario, tickets for next year's Grey Cup in Toronto have already gone on sale.
With recent struggles sustained by the Argonauts in the last few seasons, the 2012 year no doubt will be a measuring stick in terms of where exactly the city's support for the franchise and the league as a whole stands.
I understand organizers are going to roll up their sleeves to try to market the event to death and ensure the 100th edition of this championship is a success. If early indications mean anything, the early campaign to sell tickets for next year's CFL's grand finale is off to a good start. Organizers claim deposits for ten thousand tickets has already been put down, with just barely a week since they went on the market.
I also think it's vital the Argonauts front office focus in putting a product on the field that at the least contend and attempt to make it to the final game next year. If the Toronto team are dismal next season, even if the Grey Cup is sold out, it will be another step back for the league, especially if a Southern Ontario team once again fails to advance to the final game . Neither the Grey Cup nor the Argonauts can do much to recapture the magic the league once carried in the 60's, 70's and to a certain extent the early 80's. However, it can help secure it's current core of CFL fans, as well and more importantly maintain a connection with the new generation of fans.
As commissioner Mark Cohon indicated during Grey Cup week in Vancouver, Toronto is the key market of the CFL and it's crucial the stability of the team is maintained, especially if the city is going to be considered to host future Grey Cups.
There's no question the Toronto Maple Leafs are the most financially stabilized hockey franchise in the NHL. But for most of those who have followed the sport particularly here in Toronto, will tell you Toronto is primary a Maple Leafs town rather than a majority hockey market.
Having said that, why is it junior hockey, even university or AHL hockey have always drawn little interest from hockey fans in this city. Despite those claims, a large number of us remain convinced a second NHL team in the GTA would be a success.
The fact of the matter is fans here have proven over and over again the "thirst" for NHL hockey here in TO is overwhelming, even if their team haven't won the cup since 1966. Bottom line is, people may not embrace hockey at other levels here, but when it comes to supporting NHL hockey Toronto is the "cream of crop".
Minnesota for example, is one of those markets who've always embraced their hockey from the junior all the way up to the university and pro level. Could they support two NHL teams, clearly no.
Another city that comes to mind is Detroit. Last year in an outdoor University hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State, over one hundred thousand fans showed up. Yes, the Red Wings receive good support at the Joe Luis, but they have also been putting some good hockey teams on the ice for sometime. If the Red Wings would ever drop from standings, you can bet so would their attendance figures as well.
Yes its good to support hockey at all levels, but in a modern city like Toronto where consumers demand the best for their entertainment dollar, anything less then a major league product clearly isn't good enough.
With the pre-season already completely wiped out and the threat of the entire regular season very much at stake, NBA owners & players better prepare for the serious consequences that will follow if both sides don't reach an agreement.
Forget about the financial demands from the players and a hard cap system owners want to include in a new deal, what about the integrity of the sport? Is anybody considering the damage effect this will have on the league and it's fans.
I don't care how big the NBA players or owners think they are, unlike the NFL and Major league baseball, it would take a significantly longer period of time for the NBA to recover from a full strike season.
If the season is cancelled in it's entirety, other sports like hockey should benefit greatly. People are going to consider other entertainment options and they simply might not return to their NBA season tickets.
There's no question there's huge financial bleeding sustained here by both sides, inlcuding television money and huge sponsorship deals. Also companies who signed a number of players to endorsement deals, might likely pull out if an agreement between the owners & the players continues to be distant from the negotiating table.
Can both sides pull a "rabbit out of a hat" and put an agreement together to save the season? If this doesn't transpire, you can bet a bigger MIRACLE will be required and that is to save a large portion of the fanbase they will lose if there's no basketball this year.
After a disappointing last campaign in the EPL, Chelsea football fans are hoping roster changes and the addition of a new coach will be exactly what the club needs to erase last year's 2nd place underachievement.
Despite the roster changes in the off season, the most significant move was probably the hiring of new coach Andre Villas Boas. With F.C. Porto last year, Villas Boas guided the Portuguese side to four trophies, including claiming the Europa League title against arch rivals S.P. Braga.
His well earned promotion to the premiership is certainly a welcomed opportunity, as he recognizes the EPL is a higher level and that positive results have to be earned every game regardless of the opposition.
Can Villas Boas duplicate what Jose Mourinho accomplished during his tenure in Chelsea? Mourinho was very successful in his stint with the 'blues' until his relationship with billionaire owner Roman Abramovich turned rocky, forcing him to depart to Inter Milan.
There's a lot of pressure that comes with being a manager in the EPL, particularly with a historic club like Chelsea. But Villas Boas is up for the challenge and he's confident he will flourish in his new role in the premiership.
Yes, he is the youngest coach in the EPL, but he also brings a very successful resume with him from Portugal. Questions are already surfacing on whether or not he can withstand the flamboyant personality of Roman Abramovich and his tendency to interfere with coaching decisions.
It will be vital for Chelsea to get off to a good start to the season and take some of that pressure off Villas Boas' shoulders. Any early struggles, could dictate how patient Abramovich will be in his decision to get involved and possibly remove his young coach from the team.
As far as stabilizing and handling a locker room full of star players and getting them to play all in the same level, shouldn’t be a concern. F.C. Porto had a strong core of young star players and Villas Boas was very efficient and getting his players to respond to his system which saw the team not lose a game in the entire season of the Portuguese league last year.
In recent months football fans have had to endure the possibility of no NFL football this year. However, after several strategies implemented by the NFL players association to work out a deal, both the players & owners finally reached an agreement.Okay, one lockout over and dealt with, while another is well underway and far from a resolution. Of course, I'm talking about the NBA lockout, which unlike the NFL version, is here to stay for awhile and impact a significant portion of the reguolar season schedule.In this dispute, it's not a question on who's wrong or right, because there is a consensus players demands are so far contrary to the owners mind set, that by the time both sides put pen and paper on a new deal, a full NBA season could be wiped out in it's entirety.With many players already anticipating the worst, explains why a number of them have already signed one year contracts to play basketball in Europe.There's no question owners are highly responsible for this dispute, particularly for dishing out ridiculous money, which in essence build up the ego filled personalities of NBA players to the point where they are still not satisfied.The NBA is the only sports league of the four major sports who don't have a salary cap structure. This is something the owners welcome and need to implement, but an idea most NBA players outrightly reject...Unlike the NFL, the NBA cannot afford to lose touch with it's fan base and if a work stoppage is going to transpire, you can bet fans won't be so forgiving.There's simply has to be a halt to the overspending, and if a salary cap structure is in place for each team, there's no question it could go a long way in helping control some of the ridiculous salaries in the NBA.The NBA players appear to have already shown an initial indication, they are not going to budge to salary cap suggestions. But as most sports experts often state, the huge list of "super ego" personalities in the NBA are overwhelming compared to players in other sports and that is a major reason why an agreement between the players and the owners is not going to happen anytime soon.
In recent months football fans have had to endure the possibility of no NFL football this year. However, after several strategies implemented by the NFL players association to work out a deal, both the players & owners finally reached an agreement.
Okay, one lockout over and dealt with, while another is well underway and far from a resolution. Of course, I'm talking about the NBA lockout, which unlike the NFL version, is here to stay for awhile and impact a significant portion of the reguolar season schedule.
In this dispute, it's not a question on who's wrong or right, because there is a consensus players demands are so far contrary to the owners mind set, that by the time both sides put pen and paper on a new deal, a full NBA season could be wiped out in it's entirety.
With many players already anticipating the worst, explains why a number of them have already signed one year contracts to play basketball in Europe.
There's no question owners are highly responsible for this dispute, particularly for dishing out ridiculous money, which in essence build up the ego filled personalities of NBA players to the point where they are still not satisfied.
The NBA is the only sports league of the four major sports who don't have a salary cap structure. This is something the owners welcome and need to implement, but an idea most NBA players outrightly reject...
Unlike the NFL, the NBA cannot afford to lose touch with it's fan base and if a work stoppage is going to transpire, you can bet fans won't be so forgiving.
There's simply has to be a halt to the overspending, and if a salary cap structure is in place for each team, there's no question it could go a long way in helping control some of the ridiculous salaries in the NBA.
The NBA players appear to have already shown an initial indication, they are not going to budge to salary cap suggestions. But as most sports experts often state, the huge list of "super ego" personalities in the NBA are overwhelming compared to players in other sports and that is a major reason why an agreement between the players and the owners is not going to happen anytime soon.
With the 2011 CFL season underway, it's once again exciting times for football fans in this great country as all eight teams will be battling it out on the field in quest of winning sir Earl Grey's mug this December in Vancouver, British Columbia. The other night while watching the Montreal and BC game, I asked myself why are people so negative about this product? Actually, in my opinion the first mistake those who bash the league make when drawing comparisons between our product and NFL, is ignore the fact our game is an entirely better brand of football than the one across the border. I would think all you need is a bit of common sense to make such acknowdgement, but some people just have to be right even if they are incorrect. The Canadian game is growing with popularity, not just here in Canada, but also in the United States. ESPN and now NFL network continue to show CFL games in the US, which for the most part receive decent ratings. For the second straight year, Halifax will be hosting a regular season game, which is anticipated to sell out once again. Obviously CFL expansion to Halifax is in the league's future plans which explains why regular season games are being experimented there. My question is, why not consider playing a game in Europe? Who cares if the NFL plays a couple Of games in England. Our product is exciting and unique and it would be a fantastic idea to introduce the CFL game to markets such as Munich, Barcelona even Amsterdam. With so many great names attached to the history of this league, it's good to see CFL teams honor their past heroes before kick-offs. Joe Theisman, George Reed, Ron Lancaster, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, and even Montreal's Anthony Calvilllo, are all significant figures who made a significant mark in the Canadian Football League in more ways than one and should never be forgotten. It's been 15-years since the Ottawa Roughriders folded in 1996, and football fans in the city are hoping for another chance. There's no question it's a league's priority to bring football back to the nation's capital and also expand to Halifax, but this is a process that needs to be executed with caution and certainty, to ensure stability is going to be a strength of who ever claims ownership of the team. Canadian football is alive and well and it's inspiring for all of us who love the game and are passionate about this sport . It's going to be a great year and it's an encouragement to see the bright light shining ahead for this league in the immediate future.
Before the Toronto Blue Jays moved into the Rogers Center in 1989, an old crammed and uninviting facility by the name of Exhibition Stadium served as their home for 12-years.
As a kid and having the opportunity to take in a few baseball games in the old Exhibition grounds of the CNE, the first thing that comes to my mind, is how uncomfortable and small those seats were.
There's no question moving to Rogers Center was an upgrade, but when I look around major league baseball today and see the new modern concept of designed baseball only venues, I get the consensus the era of big bulky baseball stadiums is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
How long can the Blue Jays survive playing in an old massive stadium like Rogers Center, which looks fairly empty even with 30,000 people in attendance. There's no question Baseball can survive in this huge market and certainly a winning product can help facilitate that, but an adequate building is needed and vital in the moving forward process, where it can solidify a fan base already in place and more importantly establish a connection with the next generation of fans.
A new home friendly baseball stadium comparable to Fenway Park, Oriole Park in Baltimore, or even Target Field in Minnesota, would be a step in the right direction in cementing the overall baseball stability in this city .
As always, finding the money certainly is a challenge, but there are enough investors here in Toronto who have the deep pockets to help fulfill this type of project. Whether or not anyone is willing to step up and open up their wallet to this type commitment is a clear uncertainty. Yes, Rogers are on top of that list amongst those with funds in hand, but it's unlikely they would be interested in putting money into building a new facility when they already own Rogers center.
Although the prospect of building a baseball only facility is unlikely to transpire in the immediate future, the idea should be open for discussion. No I'm not an engineer, but one day if and when serious consideration will be put on the table to build a new stadium, the architecture, design and characteristics of a new facility should be similar to other stadium landmarks such as Wrigley field or a Fenway Park.
Is there any whispering or minor talk about such a project right now? No, but there will need to be if baseball is going to stick around on this side of the border for a long time and that's a fact.....
Hard to imagine how personalities of sports athletes today have drastically changed over their past counter parts. Today's 'super ego' athletes certainly have plenty skill and talent to back up their ego filled personalities, but is this good for sport? Athletes are role models and it's certainly part of their job description to fulfill that role. For example, Lebron James is a great athlete, but is he a true example of a role model? Yes, there's no denying he is a master of his craft and a likely figure many kids want to follow if they have aspirations of becoming a professional athlete one day. However, his personality off the court is far from the impressive basketball credentials we see on the court. But again perhaps it's understandable why there are more positive models to follow out there than James . Tom Brady the New England Patriots quarterback, is a great example on and off the field. Over the years, Brady has won three Superbowl championships and two most valuable player awards and remains a true example of a professional whether he's out in the public eye or being interviewed by the media.The same can be said for Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is clearly a true role model both on the field and when he is not wearing the uniform. Over the years Jeter has established himself as one of the great shorstops to ever play the game, while at the same time earning himself the reputation and respect of a great leader and fan favorite where ever he goes.Terrel Owens and Randy Moss two great NFL stars who were spectacular athletes, were well known for demonstrating poor sportsmanship on the field and bad characteristics off it, as they were for making great catches. What separates one athlete's personality and behavior from the other? Childhood and how one is raised certainly has a huge impact later on when they become adults and turn into professional athletes who get paid a lot of money. It's easy to be critical of those wearing the 'super ego' mask and point out that money was the main instigator and made them what they've become, when in reality the morals were never there even before that first professional contract was signed.
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