(NOT SO) Deep thoughts
Not sure if this will be enough to get city council to part with the tens of millions of dollars likely needed to completely redo and upgrade our downtown arena, but if you rearrange the letters in FirstOntario Centre you get A Tons Nicer Retrofit.
TRYING TO CATCH THE SPIRIT OF THE THING
Today is the 40th anniversary of the release of “Slap Shot.” Ask anyone in the hockey world and they’ll tell you it’s the greatest sports movie ever made. Which is correct. Then, as soon as these same hockey folks have finished stating their unwavering devotion to the Paul Newman classic, which was absolutely robbed of that year’s best-picture Oscar by “The Deer Hunter,” they’ll immediately begin reciting lengthy passages from it. Which a number of scientific studies have shown is an unavoidable, reflexive response to a mere mention of the motion picture. Or any mention of foil. Since we’re talking movies, the top five sports flicks of all time are: 1. “Slap Shot” 2. “Hoosiers” 3. “Rocky” 4. “The Natural” 5. “Field of Dreams” As for the three most-underrated sports movies you’ve quite possibly never seen (and may have a hard time finding, but really, really should hunt down), start with “61*,” chase that down with “The Rookie” and finish up with “Catching Hell.” All baseball flicks, all very different and all terrific.
DID NOT SEE THAT COMING
Had two women on my radio show the other day. Both have been involved with high-level sports for years and they were asked whether Eugenie Bouchard and Serena Williams appearing barely covered in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition was good or bad for female sports. It was a setup, since I already knew they were going to say it was sexist and had set back the cause of having women treated seriously a few decades. Both said it was great.
IT’S CONFUSING ,
True story. When Kia Nurse announced she was going to play basketball at UConn — where she’s now won a record 102-straight games and counting — a number of her friends thought she said she was going to the Yukon. She had to explain to a few of them that she was going south to the University of Connecticut, not somewhere far north. For the record, there is a college in the Yukon (predictably called Yukon College). Alas, it doesn’t have a basketball team.
PAGING ALANIS MORISSETTE
Speaking of Nurse, she’s presently nursing an ankle injury that’s sidelined her for a few games. In an ironic twist, her brother Darnell has been out of the Edmonton Oilers’ lineup for some time now with an injury. To his ankle.
LAST OF HIS KIND
Nearly every member of the 2007 Hamilton Bulldogs’ team that won the franchise’s only Calder Cup played in the NHL before or after that championship season. However, only one remains active in the NHL today. That would be Montreal Canadiens’ goalie Carey Price, who was named playoff MVP that year.
THE LONG WAIT
If things break right, the Bulldogs could qualify for the playoffs on Sunday afternoon in Kingston. It will have been 2,104 days, two leagues and four head coaches since the organization’s last playoff game.
THE LONGER WAIT
One more on the Bulldogs. The best collection of talent on any Bulldogs team was the 2002-03 squad that finished with 110 points, but lost in Game 7 of the Calder Cup finals to Houston. One of the guys still active in the NHL from that squad is Ron Hainsey, who was traded from Carolina to Pittsburgh this week. His move to the Penguins should end the most ignominious streak in league history. Hainsey has played 891 career games in 13 seasons for Montreal, Columbus, Atlanta, Winnipeg and now Carolina, but has never been in the playoffs. Nobody in 100 years of NHL hockey has ever played more without tasting the post-season.
GOOD MONKEY, BAD MONKEY
There’s a live wrestling card in Hamilton next Sunday (under the Alpha-1 promotion) featuring a match between “Space Monkey” and “Evil Space Monkey.” That’s right, there are two “Space Monkeys” participating in this event, which one suspects, might be a record for most “Space Monkeys” in one show. To make this confusing moment truly Canadian, one should walk to the ring wearing a Saskatchewan Roughriders hat and the other should walk in wearing an old-school Ottawa Rough Riders hat.
THIS MIGHT START A FIGHT
A little while back, ESPN ranked 60 commonlyplayed sports by degree of difficulty, based on 10 categories including endurance, power, strength, hand-eye co-ordination, analytic aptitude and more. The toughest five? Boxing, hockey, football, basketball and wrestling. The easiest? Curling, bowling, shooting, billiards and fishing. If we know one thing about curlers it’s that they won’t take kindly to being lumped in with the last group. I think this kind of insult is known as burning their stones.
“Slap Shot,” starring Paul Newman and released 40 years ago today, is without doubt the greatest sports movie ever made.