And with one save, a new saviour for Leafs Nation is born.
Last night, in NHL exhibition action, the Toronto Maple Leafs prized goaltending prospect Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson made his home debut at the Air Canada Centre and treated the fans to two periods of shutout hockey, which included a spectacular save on a two-on-oh breakaway versus the Detroit Red Wings.
I have to give him credit, it was a pretty mack-daddy save.
With that save (and having seen incumbent #1 goalie Vesa Toskala look extremely ordinary in their other games), Leafs Nation has declared Gustavsson their new hero and the man who will lead them to the promised land, capture a Stanley Cup, conquer the world, dominate the universe, rule the solar system...ya...Leaf fans can get a little carried away when something good happens to them.
Lets remember it was Mursak to Ryno, and not Zetterberg to Datsyuk. And if Ryno had shot high, the environment in T-Dot this morning would likely still be doom and gloom, rather than lollipops and rainbows.
As much as it sickens me to say it (boo Leafs!), it looks like the Buds may have a stud in Gustavsson. He's massive and moves well (check out the overhead view of the save to get a perspective of his size and flexibility), and by all accounts he looks and acts very calm...all qualities you want in an NHL goalie.
Of course...the christening him as a hockey God by Leafs Nation, comes after he's played three, yes, A WHOLE THREE, periods of exhibition hockey. And of course, he hasn't been thrown to the wolves (the Toronto media) for a full season yet.
Time will tell how The Monster (BLAST! He's even got a cool nickname!!) turns out, but for one day, he's the King of Toronto.
Here we are with about a week and a half to go in the MLB schedule. With the way things sit today, you can pretty much put a nail in the coffin of the MLB playoff 'races.' They are done like dinner...and so could the interest in baseball.
Sure, the Twins miiiiight catch the Tigers for the AL Central title, and there is the verrrrry remote possibility that the Braves, Giants or Marlins might catch Colorado for the NL wild card...but seriously...can you recall a season where all the playoff chases were so non-existent?
These races have been as entertaining as a pitching conference on the mound.
Back in 1994, MLB went from four divisions to six, and added the wild-card playoff birth to increase the number of teams in the playoffs. Subsequently, this meant that more teams would be in the playoff race as the season wound down.
Not this year!
Check out the leads as of today:
NL East - Philadelphia 6.5 games NL Central - St. Louis 10 games NL West - Los Angeles 5 games NL Wildcard - Colorado 4 games AL East - New York 6 games AL Central - Detroit 2.5 games AL West - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (still a Mickey Mouse name...appropriate that they play next to Disneyland) 6.5 games AL Wildcard - Boston 10 games
So with all the races pretty much over, I would think that MLB would be quite nervous about ratings and interest heading into the playoffs. I suspect that with the NFL in full swing, NBA and NHL seasons soon to open, MLB execs would gladly take a massive losing streak by Colorado or Detroit right about now, to spice things up.
Of course, with the Yankees assured of a playoff spot, and Boston all but assured one, when October baseball rolls around...every baseball fan will have at least one team to cheer against!
Considering the lack of storylines in this year's MLB playoff race, I give you a much more entertaining baseball story to consider:
Michael Crabtree, if you do not sign a contract with the San Francisco 49'ers and get into the NFL this year, then you are a FOOL.
Crabtree, a pass-catching vaccuum from Texas Tech, was taken 10th overall in the NFL draft by the 49'ers, but as of today, he has not yet signed with the team.
The 31 other first round picks? They've all signed.
But not Mr. Crabtree.
Crabtree played on a high profile team at Texas Tech and scored a dramatic touchdown to beat Texas (CLICK HERE to see the td) so there was a lot of hype behind him when he entered the draft.
But in the NFL, you don't get paid on hype. Draftees are paid based on where they were drafted. A first overall pick gets first overall money, a 32nd overall pick gets 32nd overall money. So that means that Crabtree should get 10th overall money...right?
Apparently not in Crabtree's world.
He and his agent (who happens to be his cousin...great decision BTW) believe that he should get more money than 7th overall pick Darius Heyward-Bey because...wait for it...they feel that Crabtree SHOULD have been picked before Heyward-Bey.
Excuse me? What kind of ass-backward logic is that?
If I arrive 5th at a restaurant, and because of that I'm going to be seated 5th, I wait my turn. In Crabtree World, he would just burst to the front of the line and grab his own table.
Heyward-Bey's contract with the Oakland Raiders will gaurantee him $23.5 million bucks...and Crabtree wants MORE than that.
If he signed for 10th overall money, he'd probably have to suffer with making around $20 million. (Dripping with sarcasm) Now how on earth would a man be able to survive on a measly $20 mill???
And the capper is, that if he doesn't get the money he wants, he'll go back into the 2010 draft so he can be drafted by another organization next year.
Mmmhmmm...and tell me Mike, exactly which team would want to take you?
You would be the guy that: -offended pretty much every professional football player, coach, scout and water boy with your selfishness. -gave the middle finger to the NFL because you want things your way. -obviously has made money the most important thing in your life.
Hardly what you would call a team player.
Crabtree, just sign your contract, and join the Niners. If you even come close to living up to your hype, your BIG payday (like this one isn't big enough) will come eventually. End this foolishness and start playing the game you love, in the biggest professional sports leauge on the planet, and live off that paltry $20 million you'll likely get.
Serena Willams is one of best tennis players to ever take to the court.
She has 22 Grand Slam titles (11 in singles, nine in women's doubles and two in mixed doubles,) two Olympic gold medals in women's doubles and she has won more career prize money than any other female athlete in history.
But, she will never get the respect that she deserves...and last night at the US Open was a perfect example why.
Williams was taking on Kim Clijsters in the women's semi-final when she took her dispute with a line judge one step too far.
Williams was serving to stay in the match and was down 15-30. She was called for a foot fault on her second serve in the next point to go down 15-40 and took exception to the call by the line judge. She then verbally abused the judge, pointing her racquet and finger and yelling at her a la her idol John McEnroe.
Following the exchange, the line judge jogged over to the chair umpire to complain about Williams' tirade. Williams then disputed with the chair umpire and supervisor, and a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct was called -- the call awarded the next point to Clijsters, which ended the match with a 6-4, 7-5 final.
In the video at the end of this entry, you can quite clearly hear Serena threaten the judge by saying "I swear to God I will take this BLEEPING ball and shove it..."
Well, only the people in the first few rows know exactly where that ball would be shoved. Classy.
Of course, Serena plays dumb in the post match press conference questioning a reporter's comment that the judge felt threatened and she did not own up to what she did. Double classy. Or in this case, double fault.
In the end, Serena is out of the US Open because of her temper, lack of sportsmanship and all around "holier than thou" attitude towards the judge.
Whether or not the foot fault was the right call, it doesn't hide the fact that Serena's behaviour will continue to tarnish the image of one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
On the other hand, for those who can't stand Serena (and her sister Venus), seeing Serena lose that match last night in that kind of fashion was like finding a 1000 bill in your pocket...FANTASTIC!
Last night in Vancouver, the Canadian women's hockey team took on the American women in the gold medal game of the Hockey Canada Cup, a 2010 Olympics test event.
The Canadians ended up losing to the Americans 2-1...making it four consecutive tournaments in which the Yanks have beaten the Canadians.
Do I care?
Not one bit.
Should I care?
I'm not going to apologize for not liking women's hockey.
I won't apologize for not liking water polo, cricket or table tennis, so why should I make excuses for not being interested in this game?
Women's hockey just isn't my thing.
"But you're Canadian, you have to support our women's team," the PC-world is saying to me.
Oh I support them..."Go Canada" I say!
But will I be clearing my schedule to watch the women's hockey team play in the Olympics?
Being a lifelong fan of the type of hockey which feature bodychecking, playoff beards and the odd fight...women's hockey just doesn't give me the same kind of rush watching "mens" hockey does.
I've seen women's games from ice level. I've sat right up against the glass for it. And what did I find? It's slower. It's less physical. It's got full facemasks. And there is too much high-pitched yelling on the ice!
I know that Kim St. Pierre, Meghan Agosta, Sarah Vaillancourt and the rest of the players train incredibly hard, sacrificing time, money and their families to make their dreams come true...but do are lugers, figure skaters and cross-country skiers.
I hope the Canadian women reach their goal and win that gold medal in 2010. I really do! I just won't be sitting on pins and needles waiting for it to happen. Just like I won't be waiting breathlessly to see how we do in biathlon.
I just like some other sports more than women's hockey.
Considering there were just over 8000 people at GM Place last night in Vancouver for a game that was billed as a "preview" of the Olympic gold medal game, it seems that I'm not alone.
Nothing rhymes with it, and no other jersey pops like it.
Last night, while the BC Lions were upsetting the Montreal Alouettes in CFL action, they were wearing their gorgeous orange home unis.
A few years ago, the Leos decided to go back to the orange/black/white colour combo that they were famous for in the 70's and 80's...a great decision.
Orange is a jersey colour that, for the most part, works very well for those teams who choose to rock it. Orange is a bold colour choice that can look fantastic, like the Lions, or pretty questionable, like the New York Islanders third jersey from a few years ago.
NFL - Denver Broncos. The Orange Crush. Even though I couldn't (and still can't) stand the Broncos, I have to give them props for these beautiful uniforms.
NBA - Phoenix Suns. When it comes to roundball, I'd suggest teams stay away from orange. It just doesn't work as well as in other sports. Though, the Phoenix alternates do have a have decent look.
NHL - Philadelphia Flyers. Last year the Flyers debuted a 3rd jersey that could quite possibly be, the BEST uniform in the history of the NHL. Beautiful orange...and with the white name bar...it's amazing!
Although they won't admit it, I think that the reason the Winnepeg Blue Bombers ended up passing on signing troubled NFL player Adam "Pacman" Jones comes down to one reason: bringing in Jones would turn every Bomber game into a sideshow.
To that idea, the Bombers said 'thanks, but no thanks.'
Just look at how much press the Bombers were getting by even CONSIDERING signing Jones. They had TSN, Sportsnet, The Score, CNNSI, local tv, radio and newspapers beating down their door trying to get get information on the potential signing.
Coach Mike Kelly (who handles the media like you would handle taking a pot roast out the oven with your bare hands) was being bombarded with questions and inquiries upon the rumour coming out that they were on the verge of signing the twice suspended Jones.
The Bombers obviously recognized that this would not stop if they signed Jones...so why bother?
Sure he's a former first round NFL pick, and a pretty talented cornerback and kick returner, but his play on the field could never counteract the headaches off the field that his signing would cause.
So for now, Pacman waits for another team to take a chance on him.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers make a couple of shrewd moves to load up their roster for the upcoming MLB playoffs. One of those moves, was aquiring slugger Jim Thome from the Chicago White Sox.
Not only is Thome recognized as one of the 'good guys' in baseball, he can also MASH!
This will give the Dodgers two top notch sluggers in their lineup, when Thome joins Manny Ramirez and the rest of the Dodgers today.
Together, Thome and Man-Ram have knocked 1,106 career homers. Pitchers beware!
So with these sluggers united in La La Land, it got me thinking about some of the hitters that are a 'must see.' These are the guys that you have to stop and watch when you're doing a little diamond surfing on the tube. They hit them big. They hit them long. And sometimes they hit them out of the stadium!
According to hittrackeronline.com, the longest home run hit this season was slammed by Arizona Diamondback Mark Reynolds...and whopping 481 feet. Yet Reynolds, won't make the following list (though in a few years he probably will...even though he's 2nd in the majors with 40 dingers, I just haven't seen enough of the guy to make me say 'hey, buzz off, I'm watching Mark Reynolds')
Sticking with current MLB players, these guys always have the abilitly to provide a 'did you see that home run last night?' moment when they step to the plate...
5. Prince Fielder - His top knock this year travelled 460 feet. When Cecil's 'little' (and I use that term loosely) boy steps to the plate, it's always time to put down your brewski and watch him swing away.
4. Adam Dunn - 3 of the top 10 longest home runs hit this year were hit by BAD, Big Adam Dunn (the longest being 473 ft). Too bad no one ever sees his dingers since he plays on such a lousy Washington team.
3. David Ortiz - I know his production is down due to his horrendous start and there's been the cloud of suspicion around him all year regarding 'roids...but when Big Papi steps to the plate, don't change the channel or you could miss something spectacular. Plus, Red Sox haters can celebrate when he fails to get the job done.
2. Manny Ramirez - Ya ya ya...another dude, like Ortiz, that should have an asterisk by his name, but there is no denying the fact that when Man-Ram digs in, everybody and their brother wants to see what the outcome is.
1. Albert Pujols - Phat Albert leads MLB with 41 homers, many of them being of the spectacular variety. Oh ya, he's also hitting .320. Albert is definitely the King of Swing in MLB right now.
Those are my fave 5 to watch...what about you? Did I leave someone out that YOU always want to watch?
Leave me a comment, and don't forget, 'chicks dig the longball':