(NOT SO) Deep thoughts

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - SCOTT RADLEY The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor sradley@thes­pec.com 905-526-2440 | @radley­atthes­pec Spec­ta­tor colum­nist Scott Radley hosts The Scott Radley Show week­nights from 7-9 on 900CHML

A SIGN?

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.

HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

“Slap Shot,” star­ring Paul New­man and re­leased 40 years ago to­day, is with­out doubt the great­est sports movie ever made.

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