Tuesday, July 25, 2006

If There Were Any Justice in The World

Women's Beach Volleyball would be the most popular sport in the world. Those (very) fine ladies would be the ones signed to the multi-gazillion dollar contracts and the multi-gazillion dollar sponsorship deals. LeBron who?

Have you ever watched Women's Beach Volleyball? I mean, really watched it? Just try telling me that that is not the most perfect sport in existance. I dare you.

That's really all for now,


Monday, July 24, 2006

You Go Away For A Week And Everything Falls to Pot

What a week to decide to shut oneself on an island with no electricity, under the proverbial rock. You go away for seven measly days and not only does Middle East explode, so does the Blue Jays clubhouse (Not that we're comparing the very, very serious situation in Lebanon to the just slightly silly debacle at the Roger's Centre. No sir).

So we come back to find that Shea "What Do You Mean You Signed Overbay?!" Hillenbrand is gone, after almost starting a fight with manager John Gibbons. The whole thing started over some stupid messages written on a board. Come on guys, what is this, kindergarten?

Well, Hillenbrand isn't that big a loss, he didn't get much playtime, and was unhappy here anyways. Not to mention his contract was up after this season, so the Jays saved themselves some big bucks.

He's in San Fran now, and we hope he's happy. For their trouble, the Jays picked up a reliever, which is always handy.

The best part is that this soap opera coincided with a visit from the Yankees, and they took three of four games from them. The Jays should start some clubhouse drama more often.

In other news, the Maple Leafs' off-season apparently was not quite done, as they picked up former Edmonton Oiler Michael Peca. The media seemed to be largely in favour of Peca coming home, due to his effort in the playoffs, which saw him significantly pick up the pace.

But before we start planning parades down Yonge St., let's not forget that for most of the regular season he was invisible. Our new second line centre didn't even put up twenty points last year. Not that we're against Peca playing here, we're just saying hold your expectation in check, just a little bit.

Also Eric Lindros followed the money down to Dallas, which offered twice what Toronto was willing to pay. We love Lindros, we do, we just hope that he doesn't get burned down there by over-hyped expectations. What exactly do the Stars expect out of him?

That's all for now,


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

State of the Canadian Game

All of the Canadian NHL teams have been busy little bees this season, Montreal becoming the last to jump on the bandwagon today with a flurry of signings and trades of their own. Let's take a look at what the more northernly teams have been up to, accompanied by our expert (snicker) commentary. From east to west, here we go.

In: Sergei Samsonov, Mike Johnson
Out: Richard Zednik

Montreal was good last year, without being great. Next season looks to be more of the same. They don't have a number one goalie; Aebischer and Cristobal Huet will have to duke it out for that honour. Samsonov is a nice addition, though he kind of went MIA in Edmonton last year at the end, he still has his goal scoring touch. Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev are just another year older though. And why do they still pay Radek Bonk?

In: Martin Gerber, Joe Corvo, Tom Preissing
Out: Zdeno Chara, Dominik Hasek, Martin Havlat, Bryan Smolinski, Tyler Arnason, Bryan Pothier

Unlike Ottawa GM John Muckler, we're not so
keen on his new-look Senators. At best, this team is merely as good as the one that preceded it, but we're skeptical that it's better. We like their move in net, signing Carolina's Gerber, which gives them a legit number one, and an end to the Hasek circus (How did signing him ever seem like a good idea?). They also completed one of the more confusing trades of the off-season, sending Havlet and Smolinski to Chicago for San Jose's Preissing. We're told that Corvo and Preissing are both underrated defensemen, but do they equal one Chara? We're skeptical. We're also from Toronto. Go figure.

In: Andrew Raycroft, Hal Gill, Pavel Kubina
Out: Eddie Belfour, Tie Domi

Our beloved Maple Leafs are looking younger and better than ever. They have a former rookie of the year in net, plus four legitimite defensemen. And GM John Ferguson has shown the door to the old Leaf policy of hiring old timers well past their prime (Sorry Gary Roberts, not this time). The future is bright in the centre of the universe. Oh, and how many more chances does Nik Antropov get before the Leafs' brass give up on him? Four, minimum, is our guess.

Winne...oh, right.

In: Daniel Tjarnqvist, Marty Reasoner, Joffry Lupul
Out: Chris Pronger

It doesn't matter what the Oilers do now, they've lost Pronger. That's an imbalance no amount of signings is going to fix. Lupul is no slouch, and the handful of draft picks are nice, but they don't add up to one Pronger. And Dwayne Roloson has suckered them into giving him a three-year contract. We suspect that by the end of that, somebody is going to regret signing that contract, and it's not going to be Roloson. On the other hand, the Oilers have a bunch of great young guys, so it's way too early to write them off.

In: Alex Tanguay, Jeff Freisen, Andrei Zyuzin
Out: Jordan Leopold

Dare we say it, but Calgary is shaping up to be a team we could actually cheer for. Our main sticking point last season was that they played old-style defensive hockey in the new goal-happy era. Mikka Kiprusoff was the very deserving Vezina winning goalie thanks to that system, which saw the Flames take one goal leads and then shut down the game. But now with another goal scorer or two on the team not named Iginla, this is shaping up as a very interesting team. Also, coach Darryl Sutter (and not, as I almost typed, Darryl Sittler) resigned as coach, for better or for worse. He's still the GM, and the new coach (the hilariously named Jim Playfair) was his old assistant coach, so we all know who's pulling the strings.

In: Roberto Luongo, Marc Chouinard, Willie Mitchell
Out: Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen, Dan Cloutier, Ed Jovanovski

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Vancouver pulled off an amazing trade in getting Luongo, and dumping Bertuzzi. The Canucks have all the pieces now. They have the scoring, the goaltending, and most of the defense, though losing Jovanovski never helps. This team badly underachieved last year, somehow managing to miss the playoffs. Marcus Naslund needs to shape up, Anson Carter needs to come back, and Luongo needs to put up the same numbers he did with the Panthers. Vancouver should do much, much better this season. Or they could crash and burn, again. You know, whatever's easier.

So could this be the year that all six Canadian teams make the playoffs? You better believe it. Not only that, but this could be the year that the Cup comes home. A Canadian team to win it all this season? Why not.

With eleven months to go until the Stanley Cup is next awarded, we're going to go out on a limb and predict that the Leafs will win it all. Let's say in a four game sweep of Calgary, no wait, Detroit, no, no, we got it: Columbus. Yeah, Columbus. We'd be willing to put large sums of money on it, in fact.

Until then,


Sunday, July 09, 2006

I Guess Zizou is French For Dumbass

The World Cup has been decided, on penalty kicks no less. Not the most satisfying way to award it perhaps, but definitely the most heart attack inducing.

It was a good game, as World Cup finals go, a solid and unsurprising finish to what has largely been a solid and unsurprising World Cup. Did anyone really expect this game not to go to penalties? At this Cup, that's simply par for the course.

We here at 63 Years were cheering for the French, unfortunately, more from lack of anyone else than because of any overwhelming desire to see Les Bleu lift the trophy again. We sure as hell aren't about to cheer for any damn I-tals in our lifetime. (Hah, we kid, we kid. We would never cheer for them in a million years)

We thought France would come out on top after sticking it to the Italians for most of the second half and extra time, but Buffon isn't paid the big money for nothing.

We should mention something about Zinedine Zidane, who choose a very innoportune time to show Italian defender Matterazi how smooth his head was. Pardon our French here, but what the fuck was he thinking? What could Matterazi have said to provoke that? Has no one ever told Zidane that they've slept with his mother before?

So instead of capping off a brilliant career with perhaps a World Cup, he gets to celebrate from the dressing room, not even alowed to pick up his loser-place, er, second place medal. Bravo Zinedine, bravo. We used to think you were cool.

Anyways, for those not who might not have been cheering for the Azzuri, we have this to cheer you up. It did wonders for us.

Italy Practicing



Saturday, July 08, 2006

Free Agency, Huzzah!

The free agent season started on July 1st, and what a week it's been since then.

The Leafs got in on the free agent pie, thankfully, landing two decent defencemen in Pavel Kubina and Hal Gill. So for the first time in as long as we care to remember, the Leafs actually have a solid group of blue-liners.

John Ferguson Jr. has been doing well this offseason, probably trying to make up for last year's non-offseason, in which he signed Eric Lindros, Jason Allison, and Jeff O'Neill, who promptly all got injured.

Of those three, only O'Neill is under contract for this season, and we here at 63 Years expect him to put up significantly better numbers than last year (38 points, 74 games). Or else.

Allison, the only one who actually put up numbers (60 points, 66 games) is likely to take his unsightly -19 somewhere else this season.

Eric Lindros, nee The Big E, might be back again, on the cheap of course. We would not be against Lindros returning. He was a key figure last season while captain Mats Sundin was out early on, though he eventually dropped off the radar and ended up missing most of the season with a wrist injury (22 points, 33 games). This obviously isn't the Lindros of the mid-nineties, and nobody expects him to put up those kind of numbers, but we feel that he would bring something intangible to this squad.

Side note: Eddie Belfour seems set to sucker the Red Wings into giving him a contract. Didn't Detroit learn their lesson with Hasek? 40+ goalies are not the way to go. This will end badly for both sides.

Side note: Gary Roberts is trying to wrangle a trade back to Toronto, which unfortunately only sounds good in theory. We here at 63 Years love Roberts to bits, we do, but Florida signed him to way more money than they should have last year, and that's not money the Leafs have to throw on aging veterans. Though, you have to think, if the Leafs were still under old management, Roberts would have been back in a heart beat, and Tie Domi and Belfour would still be wearing the Blue and White as well.

On the Raptors side, they shipped up and down rookie Charlie Villaneuva out of town for point guard T.J Ford. Score another one for Brian Collangelo. These Raptors are starting to look like an actual team. Pinch us, we might be dreaming.

Also, the Raps are starting to phase the purple out of the team colours, in favour of the more patriotic red. Now, Collangelo probably had nothing to do with this move, but ever since he came on board, the news about this team just keeps getting and better.

And finally, the Jays are in a funk right now, having just lost their series to...um, Kansas.


Well, the All-Star break is right around the corner, so perhaps that will help. And speaking of all-stars, the Jays have five, count 'em, five of them, the most since 1993, and you know what that team went on to do.

Of course, none of them are starters (though Vernon Wells assuredly deserves to be), but hey, cracking the AL all-star starters is no easy task, especially when you don't play in the centre of the baseball world, Boston or New York.