Monday, June 23, 2014

Markov, Pat Burns and severed heads

Three years at $5.75 million per is plenty steep for a defenceman on the wrong side of 35 and with two reconstructive knee surgeries in his medical history, but it was the cost of doing business for the Canadiens to retain Andrei Markov.  It's a measure of how much they value Markov that the Habs gave him a better deal than he probably could have negotiated as an unrestricted free agent.  It's also an example of what you can do when you've got ample cap space and your franchise is a cash cow.

The embarrassingly overdue election of the late Pat Burns to the Hockey Hall of Fame begs the question: what changed since 2010, when Burns was dying of cancer and the Selection Committee declined to induct him while he was still alive?  The whole notion of multiple years on any Hall of Fame ballot defies logic.  You're either worthy of the honour or you're not, and letting guys who deserve induction swing in the breeze for years on end is unworthy of the institution.

A generation ago, if you weren't part an ex-patriate community from a traditional soccer country, chances are the World Cup wasn't on your radar.  Canadians don't even have a dog in the fight at Brazil 2014, but soccer fever has gripped this country to the point where the normally all-consuming NHL draft and free agency are afterthoughts.  That said, do we really have to continue to making a British accent a pre-requisite for being a soccer analyst on Canadian network television?  The obligatory deference to Old Blighty on matters of soccer expertise only serves to undermine the reality that the beautiful game is now part of the Canadian sports mainstream.

The upside of flopping as a child prodigy is that there's a substantial comeback window.  Golfer Michelle Wie, who spent years underachieving relative to the promise she showed as a 13 year old, won her first LPGA US Open title this past weekend at the ripe old age of 24.  Don't be shocked if Wie wins another major championship or three before she starts knitting booties for the grandkids.

Much like the collective bargaining agreement grudgingly accepted by CFL players two weeks ago, the release of injured receiver Jamel Richardson by the Alouettes was a case study in Canadian pro football economics.  Richardson could yet come back from a long-term knee injury and perform at an All Star level for another team, but as one of the highest paid players in a budget-conscious league, it made more sense for the Als to let him go.

If England are the Toronto Maple Leafs of World Cup soccer - no championships since 1966, the year before the Leafs' last Stanley Cup - what does that make Algeria?  According to a television graphic on Sportsnet, a 4-2 win over South Korea in the group stage was Algeria's first World Cup victory since 192.  Presumably, that's a typo, because soccer in the second century AD was traditionally played with the severed head of a vanquished enemy, which I'm pretty sure is against World Cup regulations.


  1. This does not always happen but I agree on all points. I asked my wife that same question about Pat Burns tonight....what has changed since he died?

  2. I have many severed heads I'd like to use as soccer balls. I say bring this back.

    Every ¶ spot on Ted

  3. Those severed heads are just faking dead.

  4. Re: Canadian Soccer and the CSA, Its bloody well time that the CSA shows there soccer balls and introduce along with the Canadian government a mandatory "GRASS ROOTS" program in the public and private educational system and maybe then we will see some rising stars and a Canadian qualification for the "World Cup". Things MUST change or soccer will remain purely recreational in Canada 4ever....

  5. There have been some substantial changes to the HHoF selection committee. Gregory, Quinn & Sinden are gonzo. Sinden, IMO, was the reason Burns wasn't elected. Two alphas with the same organization never ends well. And Sinden has a reputation of being a vendictive SOB.