It’s Good Friday, a time to celebrate “good” stories; in other words, don’t expect to see much about the Toronto Maple Leafs in this column.
“Good” Ol’ Canucks .Yes, the Vancouver Canucks have been “good” to their supporters in the regular season. However, playoff expectations may be a tad unrealistic. The media has placed unnecessary emphasis on the division race against Calgary. Of course, it’s nice to capture the Northwest Division, but it will anger fans more if Vancouver fails to deliver in the post-season. Consider the following highlights:
A terrific record since Feb. 1
Depth on the blue-line (led by Willie Mitchell, with one of the league’s top plus-minus rating)
The surprising emergence of Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler
The steady play of the Sedins
A bona fide second line which includes Mats Sundin and Pavel Demitra
An ace goalie in Roberto Luongo; and
A relatively healthy roster.
If the Canucks win a minimum of two rounds and reach the conference final then they can consider this season a successful one. However, I’m not convinced that this will transpire. Nonetheless, it’s been years since the Canucks have looked this good on paper.
The Windy City Strikes It “Good” The Chicago Bears finally have a “good” quarterback. Jay Cutler might pout and sulk when not getting his way, but no one can argue the 25-year-old Pro Bowl player isn’t just what the Bears needed, especially since they haven’t had a front-line signal caller since the Jim McMahon days, some 20 years ago.
However, this begs the following question: Did the Bears sacrifice too much in dealing quarterback Kyle Orton, two first-round draft picks and a third rounder to the Denver Broncos for Cutler and a fifth-round pick? Perhaps, but it remains a myth that a team won’t get fair-market value if they publicly announce one of their players is on the trading block. The Broncos issued a statement that Cutler was available and then 48 hours later secured a deal. I doubt that Denver could have received a better package in return by trying to keep the situation on the hush and hush.
“Good” Local Twist It certainly is “good” to see that the UNBC Lady Timberwolves roster for the 2009-10 basketball season includes many local athletes. No less than six players from P.G. high schools will get court time for Loralyn Murdoch’s team. Christine Kennedy (fourth year, College Heights), Erin Beckett (third year, College Heights), Soli Smith (fifth year, PGSS), Jennifer Clyne (third year, DP Todd) and rookies Mercedes Van Koughnett (Duchess Park) and Emily Kaehn (PGSS) will help form the team’s nucleus. With half-a-dozen players of that calibre, it certainly speaks volumes for the rapid growth of basketball at all levels in the Prince George area.
“Good” In Goal….It’s been a very “good” season for Northeastern goalie and former P.G. Spruce King, Brad Thiessen, who has signed an entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thiessen is one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker award, which goes to the top player in U.S. college hockey. He was 25-12-4 for the Wildcats with a 2.12 GAA, a .931 save percentage and three shutouts.
“Good” Ol’ Excitement Just Around The Corner Sports may be in a bit of lull locally, but on a broader base, it is arguably as “good” as it gets at this time of year. Yes, the Stanley Cup playoffs begin Wednesday, followed by the NBA playoffs just a few days later, Major league baseball is now underway, and this weekend golf fans are treated to the Masters.
There is one glitch with golf, however. If Tiger Woods isn’t in the field, then there is little point in watching. I am sure you’ve heard the old adage that no one player in any sport is bigger than the game itself. However, that doesn’t apply to golf. TV ratings consistently show that when Tiger is in contention people are watching. When he isn’t challenging for the title or not playing, the networks would be better off with a re-run of The Munsters.
In the world of much doom and gloom with a down economy, I was pleased to present a “good news” column. Have a great Easter and, as the late great Paul Harvey would say, “Good Day.”
And in case you missed it:
“Good” teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the me’ for the we.’
LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson
Also from the quote rack:
San Jose Sharks centre Jeremy Roenick has purchased Pembroke Country Club, the Boston-area golf course he played often as a teen. If they’re nice to J.R., members of the Toronto Maple Leafs might be able to get a deal so they can use the course every April.
(Note: Sorry, couldn’t resist one more shot at the Leafs)
Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post
Bank of America extended its sponsorship with the New York Yankees, and economists immediately hailed it as the ultimate win-win. The team gets much-needed signage for its new ballpark, and the bank gets to borrow money whenever it needs it.
Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times
Alex Rodriguez says he is now at 70 percent after his surgery. In other words – playoff form.
Contributor Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California (www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com)
The CFL trading season is in full swing with players being sent to teams for future considerations, IOU’s and a deposit on bottles to be drunk later.
Contributor Derek Wilken of Calgary Hartley Miller is the sports director for radio stations 94X and the Wolf@97fm. He also writes for Opinion250. Hartley can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.