Monday, April 16, 2012

Brendan of Mayberry and other Monday morning musings

Brendan Shanahan needs to turn in his badge. In not suspending Shea Weber for a WWE-style head slam on Henrik Zetterberg in the first game of the Detroit-Nashville series, Shanahan tacitly authorized the shameless goonery that's characterized the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Subsequent suspensions for rookies and role players like the Rangers' Carl Hagelin and Ottawa's Matt Carkner legitimize the long-held notion that there are two standards of justice in the NHL - one for perennial All Stars like Weber and another for everyone else. After a promising start as the NHL's chief disciplinarian, Shanahan has proven to be just another toothless watchdog for a league that continues to put star power and cronyism ahead of credibility and fair play...Almost lost in the mindless post-season mayhem is the startling fact that the pre-playoff Stanley Cup co-favorites - Pittsburgh and Vancouver - are both a loss away from being swept in the first round, which opens up all kinds of previously unforeseen possibilities, like a Kings-Panthers or Devils-Coyotes Cup final. I said unforeseen; I didn't say tantalizing...Nico Rosberg's surprise win for Mercedes at the Chinese Grand Prix continued a welcome 2012 trend towards intrigue on the normally predictable Formula One circuit. Too bad the three races so far this season took place on the other side of the planet, which translates into the middle of the night for North American fans and early morning for the sport's core audience in Europe. It's a testament to F1's global reach of that one of its biggest challenges is keeping everyone in the world happy at the same time...After missing five games because of a cold, legendary 84 year old baseball broadcaster Vin Scully was back behind the microphone this weekend in his 63rd season as the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers and archetype for the Freedom 85 retirement plan.

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