Archive for October, 2010
Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
While the Leafs were impressive this weekend with a 2-0 start, it was the highly touted Marlies who sputtered out of the gate (0-2).
Brian Burke and his entourage were scouting from their box, as the Marlies were dominated by Rochester for 50 of the 60 minutes in their season opening 4-2 loss. It was kinda like watching the Leafs manhandle the Sens later that night, although not quite as consistent a drubbing.
They did show some jump in the first few minutes of the game, and they also pulled goalie James Reimer with six minutes remaining, which sparked two late goals (Alex Foster and Simon Gysbers). The Brayden Irwin, Marcel Mueller, Greg Scott trio was solid most of the night too. But the majority of the Marlies play was uninspiring, and this trend seemed to stem from the most talked about of their players.
Nazem Kadri had a complete dud of a debut. It was so unimpressive that head coach Dallas Eakins benched him for a few shifts in the second period.
“You turnover pucks like that in junior and I’m sure they put you back out there,” Eakins remarked following the game, “but you get two chances with me and then you’re going to sit down. And he decided he wanted to keep turning it over and I decided I wasn’t going to watch it anymore.”
Kadri did grab his first career AHL point after the benching. It was an assist with the goalie pulled, with Gysbers tipping in a Kadri wrister at 15:07 of the 3rd period.
Also in Kadri’s defense, it looked as though he was often a focus of the opposition, who were physical with the 20-year-old from the opening faceoff. But he made that easy for them with his lack of speed and lack of size (including the 15 extra pounds he claims to have added this summer).
When asked if it was injury from a knee he received that caused him to miss shifts in the 2nd, Kadri responded, “No, no, I think I just got sat down a little bit. You know my knee’s fine. I think I just had a couple of turnovers there that shouldn’t have happened.”
The turnovers were definitely his big trouble spot – near the end of the first period I cracked a joke in the press box that we should have been counting – but a few other holes are noticeable in the youngsters game.
For one thing, he cannot play the type of pressure game Ron Wilson expects without another gear in his speed. Mikhail Grabovski is often ripped by the Leaf faithful but he gets on the forecheck a lot quicker than Kadri these days.
The other kink that sticks out is Kadri’s locker room style; the kid has to fall in line within the organization. For the first time in his hockey life he’s not the star of the show. He’s just turned 20 and may in fact be rubbing some of his teammates the wrong way with his cocky demeanor.
“It’s all accountability. I’ve got to own up to it,” said Kadri in reference to his benching for the turnovers. This statement is perfect, but he has to show he is putting it in to effect. He seems to have learned how to ‘talk the talk’ – Burke and Wilson search with this type of uber-confident (cocky?) player – but until he can walk the walk, both on and off the ice, he won’t be a Maple Leaf.
“It’s not gonna happen again, I’ll tell you that much” remarked Kadri, after keying on accountability.
Is that so, rookie? Well I’ll believe it when I see it.
Friday, October 1st, 2010
I know this is supposed to be a hockey blog, but I have a buddy who needs a hand.
The world is bullying my man Tiger Woods. Now I understand he’s made some pretty big mistakes in the past, but enough already. We are tearing him down, you can see it in his eyes, and we’re losing an amazing sporting icon by doing so.
A few things need to be made clear, here. First off, Tiger Woods career is not over. He’s just 34-years-old and not finished winning. Golf is a sport where some of the best players are in their 40s (Mickelson, Els, Singh, Furyk, Harrington, etc). Of the top six players in the world golf rankings, Tiger is the youngest. He has dominated the game at all levels of his life (see below), and he will rebound to once again dominate at the highest level in the sport.
Just think, he has had the worst year of his life. The sky has fallen. The roof has caved in. He stands up in front of the media almost weekly, and is close to tears with nowhere to turn. But amazingly, through all this mental anguish, he was still pretty darn good on the golf course this year.
Don’t forget, each week he’s out there against 100-plus of the world’s best golfers. After a 20 week hiatus due to his domestic wounds, Tiger finished fourth in the first two majors of the season (Rory Mcilroy and Phil Mickelson were the only other players with two top 5 finishes in the majors this year). He had the world (and media) crashing down on his head, and he was the only player to finish top 30 in all four majors in 2010.
On another note, we’re lambasting the man for an error that is more societal than individual. I’m betting men all over the world are making his mistake (and women too?). The rest of the sporting world is certainly making it. The ‘sports men are sluts’ stereotype has been witnessed on a few occasions by my own two eyes, and not just through Roger Dorn, NFL QBs or Tiger Woods.
It makes sense that these mighty men are promiscuous at times. These athletes are often pretty attractive individuals, worked in to splendid form thanks to their time and effort in preparation for battle. Tiger looks jacked, walking down the fairway in his Sunday reds. And I bet Tiger never let out a lustful roar like many youthful men in this day and age. He was too busy becoming the best golfer to ever set foot on a green.
In 1991, at the age of 15, he was the youngest player ever to win the U.S. junior amateur championship, the biggest tournament in his teenage world. He was the first player ever to win back-to-back U.S. Juniors, and still the only man to win three in a row. The next year (1994 – at the age of 18), he became the youngest ever winner of the U.S. Amateur championship, a tournament played by men of all ages. In 1996 he became the first man to win three consecutive U.S. Amateurs. Less than a year later, seven Months after turning pro, Tiger won his first professional major (the 1997 Masters). It was a record low score (18-under), by a record margin (12 strokes), becoming the youngest Masters winner and the first African-American winner. This is unbelievable stuff. Never matched in history. Woods has held the number one position in the world rankings for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks. He has been awarded the PGA Player of the Year a record ten times, the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has the record of leading the money list in nine different seasons.
Do you get the drift? He’s the definition of a sporting legend. And I’m arguing that’s all he ever wanted to be. We (along with Nike, Am Ex, and Buick) put him up on some social pedestal and now we’re ripping him down. Its been going on for almost a year now! Where is this forgiveness you always hear talked about?
Well I, for one, am behind my man Tiger, and will be cheering loud and clear when he wins major number 15 – sooner rather than later I suspect.
Professional Golf Caddy