Monday, January 13, 2014

The Markov Dilemma (not a Robert Ludlum novel)

Never mind the P.K. Subban negotiations. The most challenging contract scenario facing Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin involves the resurgent Andrei Markov, who's in the final season of a three year contract and reportedly wants a new five year deal at a substantial raise from his current salary of 5.75 million dollars. Markov's renaissance notwithstanding, that's a lot of money and term for a 35 year old with two reconstructive knee surgeries in his recent medical history, and creates a compelling story line ahead of the March 5th NHL trade deadline.

There's nothing like an electrifying win over the defending Stanley Cup champions to tone down an in-house controversy between the Canadiens coach and their best player...until the next time Michel Therrien benches P.K. Subban.  And there will be a next time because of the way Subban plays the game and the nature of Therrien's coaching style.  Therrien was well within his mandate to sit Subban for half the third period in Philadelphia last Wednesday, and anyone asking why you'd bench your best player with a two goal deficit also needs to ask why your best player would take a selfish, undisciplined penalty with his team down by two.  The cult of PK needs to understand and respect that just because he's a special talent doesn't make Subban unaccountable.

The Carolina Panthers and their fans can bellyache all they want about the officiating in yesterday"s NFC divisional playoff loss to San Francisco, but when you fail to punch the ball in from the one yard line on two separate possessions, you're the authors of your own misfortune. That's with all due respect to the 49ers defence, whose resiliency under duress was a reminder that while there's not much that's truly "heroic" about sports, the goal line stand is about as close as it gets.

Watching the Saints and Seahawks battle in a cold rain and biting wind in Seattle, it occurred to me that I can't recall watching a football game from CenturyLink Field when the weather wasn't inclement, if not downright appalling. I'm no climatologist, but didn't the Seahawks used to play in a domed stadium for a reason?

Whether it's his career home runs total or the length of his suspension for using performance enhancing drugs, the numbers are no longer relevant for New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.  In any event, his reputation is ruined, and the Hall of Fame voting results for fellow PED enthusiasts Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire are proof enough that A-Rod is only going to Cooperstown as a tourist.

What an enormous relief to learn Lebron James had "King James" stitched onto the back of his Miami Heat jersey as part of the NBA's Nickname Night promotion and not as a sign of rampant egomania.  For the record, if my high school buddies had made the NBA and had their nicknames stitched onto their jerseys, the Heat's starting five would have been Zeke, Camel, Rat, Quiff and Pussy, with Crotch and Lurkey on the bench and ready to step in at a moment's notice.  I didn't have a nickname, much to the benefit of my fragile teenaged self-esteem and emotional well-being.  

I GOT A JOB: Meanwhile, in real life, I'm co-hosting the morning show at 89.9 KIC Country with James Java "Jacobs", my friend and former partner from K103.  I wasn't sure what I was getting into, but as a professional broadcaster you adjust to the format, and what an enormously pleasant surprise to discover that so much of modern country music is old school southern rock with a twang.  I've added some links to some of my favourite new songs.  If you like what you hear, give us a listen from 6-9am Monday-Friday at 89.9FM, online at or at ckki).  Thanks to everyone who encouraged me between gigs.


The South - The Cadillac Three

Ain't Much Left of Me - Blackberry Smoke

The Boys 'Round Here - Blake Shelton

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