Posts Tagged ‘sports’
Apparently as a consequence of ill-judged statements suggesting that his football players would be criminals if not for him, and not because of the ongoing question over an alleged crack video, the Toronto Catholic School Board has fired mayor Rob Ford from his position as coach of the Don Bosco Eagles senior football team.
The TCDSB did not give a clear reason for its decision in a statement released on its website other than to say it is “pursuing a different direction” and thanked Ford for his commitment to the team.
A spokesman later told CBC News the decision is “in no way related to the current allegations. It is due to the review of his March 1 Sun News Network interview.”
John Yan said Ford painted the Don Bosco community negatively when he referred to it as “crime ridden,” and the youth as “gang bangers.”
[. . .]
The mayor’s commitment as volunteer head coach of the north Etobicoke high school football team has not been without controversy.
In November, a TTC bus was diverted off-route to go pick up Don Bosco players at a game after reports that a near brawl was about to break out on the field.
Ford had faced criticism for missing an important council vote to attend the semi-final game that would eventually land the Eagles in the GTA Metro Bowl championship.
“It’s the playoffs, we’re undefeated, we’re No. 2 in the city. We’re in the championship game,” Ford said later, denying any involvement in requesting the bus.
It’s worth noting that even at at the Toronto Sun, comments are not very supportive of Ford.
The Toronto Star‘s Damien Cox expresses the general mood in wondering how the Toronto Maple Leafs could have collapsed so badly in Game 7 of the playoffs against Boston. I’m still struck myself: one minute the Leafs were ahead by two goals, and the next it seems they were defeated.
I can only imagine that the effects of this on Maple Leafs fandom might be dire. Being beaten badly is one thing; being beaten as a result of a last-minute collapse is another.
The Maple Leafs, and their legions of fans, had dared to dream that this might become a unique spring, particularly after twice fighting off elimination to force Game 7 in their best-of-seven opening round playoff series against the favoured Boston Bruins on Monday night.
All signs were pointing to this series as a shiny new beginning, not a nightmarish end.
Instead, the end came with a stunning, mind-blowing 5-4 overtime loss on Monday night, with defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in the most painful, shocking and unforgettable way imaginable.
[. . .]
In a game totally abandoned by the officials to the nastiest desires of two of the NHL’s toughest teams, the visitors led 4-1 with less than 11 minutes left in the third period and seemed headed to the second round with a stunning upset victory.
No team in the modern tight-checking NHL blows a lead like that, right?
Well, the Leafs did in what will live on as one of the more infamous playoff defeats in team history, with Patrice Bergeron’s OT winner completing one of the most extraordinary Game 7 comebacks in NHL history.
Hockey Night in Canada host Elliotte Friedman is a man without a team — he’s an unbiased observer — but he does know a little about “fandemonium.”
“Your city is just a little bit more enjoyable when your hockey team is good. It’s about time Toronto fans had this,” he says at the CBC’s downtown Toronto office, a couple of hours before he’s scheduled go on air for the HNIC pre-game show and the Leafs-Bruins game.
He grew up a Blackhawks fan, not a Leafs fan, but in the late ’90s and early 2000s, when the Leafs were good, he was caught up in the excitement, he says.
“They needed this badly because I think they’re in danger of losing a generation of fans,” he says. “If you lose a generation they’ll become Sidney Crosby fans or something else.”
[. . .]
Friedman predicts Boston will take the series in six — because of the Bruins’ experience, depth and Zdeno Chara — but says just having the Leafs in the playoffs has changed things.
“If they lose this series, will they be disappointed? Yes. But they’ll look at this season and say, ‘We’re back.’”
I’ve blogged a fair bit over the years about the seemingly futile Toronto Maple Leafs. I posted in January a link to a Torontoist opinion piece by Corbin Smith arguing that Brian Burke shouldn’t have been fired as general manager. In a much more recent post, Smith argues Burke should be given credit for the team’s playoff success.
Many of us have felt it coming for a few weeks, but now it’s finally official. After a game against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched their first playoff berth in nearly a decade.
It’s been a long, long time since this city has seen playoff hockey. Ours is the only team in the NHL not to have made it to the postseason since the 2004-2005 lockout.
Toronto fans have had a tough time these past several years. Single-player roster moves and staff or management changes were too often touted as silver bullets that would somehow lead the team to salvation. For instance, now-former general manager Brian Burke arrived in 2008 with much fanfare. The media considered him to be the saviour of the Maple Leafs (he was certainly, at any rate, being paid a saviour’s salary). Sure enough, Burke landed some big names in his first year as GM. It practically made us forget that he was inheriting arguably the worst NHL team in the league.
No reasonable person should have expected major success from the Maple Leafs in the first few years of Burke’s tenure. It takes time to build up an NHL team from worse-than-nothing to a perennial playoff contender. Even so, both fans and sports writers became increasingly impatient with the Leafs’ failures year after year. Then, before this year’s lockout ended, Burke was shown the door, leaving assistant GM Dave Nonis at the helm.
Though Nonis is officially the GM as the Leafs head to the playoffs, there should be no doubt that this is the team Brian Burke built. The Leafs are winning on the backs of the players that Burke went after, all playing in a style Burke had championed since game one—a style characterized by, to use Burke’s thesaurus-abusing phrase, plenty of “pugnacity, testosterone, truculence, and belligerence.”
Facebook’s Iman linked to David Cooper’s Toronto Star article. Is this actually the case?
Sports blogs and sports sites that follow baseball closely have been posting photos and videos showing unruly, drunk and obnoxious Blue Jays fans.
One Yahoo sports blog displays several examples under the headline: “Toronto Blue Jays lead the league in drunken fans.”
Former Blue Jay catcher and current baseball analyst Gregg Zaun has also chimed in, suggesting some Jays’ fans are engaging in boorish, obnoxious behaviour that he finds appalling.
[. . .]
Boorish behaviour at Blue Jays games has risen to alarming levels, according to Zaun.
The fans, especially in the 500 level, “are developing a reputation,” Zaun told the Star on Monday.
“It’s very, very prevalent at the Rogers Centre, especially in the later innings when the Jays are losing that people lose their minds,” Zaun said.
He said some fans are under the wrong impression that just because they paid their admission that they can behave anyway they want.
“They’re getting drunker, and drunker and drunker and it’s because fans are getting younger and younger,” Zaun said.
He added he is most concerned about fans throwing objects onto the field, but he doesn’t even think “profanity should be tolerated at all.”
The former Blue Jays catcher said offensive behaviour on social media sites is carrying over to ball games, fuelled by alcohol, even though the club shuts off the taps at the end of the seventh inning.
CBC Sports’ Steven Bull writes about the response to the surprising news that the Toronto Maple Leafs made it to the NHL playoffs. It has been a long time.
The last playoff game featuring the blue and white took place on May 4, 2004 at the Air Canada Centre and ended in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of the second round.
Ed Belfour was the starting goalie for the Leafs in that game. He played his last NHL game six years ago and is now in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
You won’t see a photo of Belfour making a save in Game 6 posted on Instagram, because it was still six years away from being invented. In fact, Instagram started as an iPhone app, and the first-generation iPhone was still three years away from introduction.
No one has ever tweeted about a Leafs playoff game. Twitter was still almost two years away from launch when the Leafs were eliminated by the Flyers.
The last Maple Leaf to score a playoff goal was Mats Sundin, who’s been retired long enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which he was in November. He buried a third-period goal to tie Game 6 against the Flyers, with assists by Gary Roberts and Alexander Mogilny.
You wouldn’t have read about that goal on Facebook unless you were enrolled at Harvard, where the social network launched three months — to the day — earlier. Or maybe if you were one of the early adopters at Columbia, Yale or Stanford, where Facebook expanded two months earlier. And it was still called The Facebook back then.
Be-Leafers have been around longer than Beliebers. Justin Bieber may not have even been allowed to stay up to see the end of a hockey game on a school night. He was only 10 year old and just another kid in Stratford, Ont., not yet a mega pop star.