Sunday, March 23, 2014

episode 5 | Role Models

We're back after a few big moments in the sports world. In this episode we talk about some scary injuries, a terrible moment for a class-act hockey player, and we look at some of the influences that athletes and sports can have on their fans, and the world.

We talk NFL free agency, CFL off season and CBA, and we've even added some music!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Winners, Losers and Marty St.Louis – Part 3

Now that we’ve talked about the winners and the losers of this year’s NHL Trade deadline, it only seems appropriate to start the discussion on arguably the biggest trade of the deadline. Of course, the deal in question is the one that saw Martin St.Louis shipped north to the New York Rangers. As we’ve already touched upon in my review in Part 1 of the biggest winners, the Lightning came out on top with this trade. It’s especially surprising considering the pressure they were under to move St.Louis prior to the deadline. That pressure was strengthened by the fact that Marty only wanted to go to one team, and one team alone, the Rangers.

Now we have to rewind a bit in order to fully understand the conditions and the reasons why Marty wanted out of his longtime home in Tampa. You have to rewind to the Canadian Men’s Olympic team announcement this past January. This is the moment that started the whole ordeal. St.Louis was omitted from the team. Shocking? Perhaps. There was always a strong argument that Canada could roster at least two possibly 3 teams if they wanted but some players made the cut while others didn’t. St.Louis was one of those many who didn’t.

Marty took to the ice for the Lightning and began to take it out on the other teams, scoring 4 times against San Jose and becoming one of the hottest players in the month of January. Rumors began to swirl he was not happy, that he wanted out but nothing was ever confirmed on either end. As the Olympics approached, Stamkos was not cleared to play which meant an alternate needed to be named to the team. Yzerman and company decided to bring the red-hot St.Louis to join the team. At that time many expected the heat between the two to settle, well those folks would be dead wrong.

During the Olympics, Marty was used sparingly and saw limited play during the course of the Games. Why would they bench the guy who was lighting up the National Hockey League the month before the Games? It’s simple, the answer lies in the way St.Louis played. He didn’t perform on the big ice. He was given some chances to get going and some time on the ice but he didn’t do anything special. Many would argue that many of Canada’s forwards didn’t do much either. I would agree, the offense was limited but Marty really seemed to struggle to find any sort of good rhythm.

Now we know how the Games ended, with a big Canada victory with high-fives and smiles amongst teammates but once these guys landed back in North America, St.Louis decided it was time for a change. He demanded to be traded to the New York Rangers. It wasn’t just enough to demand to leave the team but he picked where he wanted to go and said make it happen. First, he’s mad he didn’t make the team then he did, and now he’s mad he didn’t play enough but he still won Gold in Sochi, do you see what’s wrong with this picture?

Slowly in the matter of less than 3 months St.Louis went from being the Man, the Myth, the Legend to becoming the Man, the Myth, the Baby. St.Louis made the cardinal sin in sports, he began to worry more about the name on the back of his jersey rather than the one on the front. In sports there’s always some players who care more about themselves than the teams they play for. They’re often the ones asking for trades, making demands or taking all the credit. St.Louis was always viewed as a little Canadian hero. Proving the critics wrong by excelling even though he has always been at a size disadvantage. Its amazing how one player could change his image in the matter of months. He wanted out because he wasn’t picked to play on a Canadian All-Star team because his manager didn’t pick him. Was he supposed to receive special treatment? No, but St.Louis seems to think so. Yzerman and his staff picked the team, however St.Louis only saw Yzerman at the helm. Pointed the finger solely at him and demanded out. You could say he stomped away like a child because he didn’t get his way and then grabbed his bags saying he wants to run away.

Martin St.Louis will forever have this on his record. He’ll always be known for his childish behavior pre and post Olympics. When you put yourself in front of the team you play on it will never lead to good things, those players tend to get what they deserve in the end. Big hearts, win big games. Big egos, win nothing. There are always exceptions to this rule but St.Louis seems to have lost his heart, lost his way and now he is in it just for himself. Don’t be surprised if his next demand is to take Rangers off the front of his jersey and slap a St.Louis on there too.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winners, Losers and Marty St.Louis – Part 2

Now that the dust has settled a bit, it’s time we sit back and take a nice long look at the NHL Trade Deadline biggest losers. Like any game, every trade has a winner and a loser, this year was no exception as there were some pretty BIG losers. I don’t want to point any fingers but I’m pointing it right at the Vancouver Canucks. They weren’t the only Trade Deadline losers though, although it’s hard to argue that they weren’t the biggest losers of the week as one other team gave them a good run for their money. Now let’s review these 2 key trades.

The BIG losers:

New York Islanders – If one team was going to give the Canucks a run for their money on who is the biggest loser of the deadline, it would be the New York Islanders. They were bad that day, they may be one of the worst managed teams in the league at this point, and that’s saying a lot. But to fully appreciate how bad it is you need to rewind to a happy time when Tavares wasn’t injured, before the Olympic break and to when Garth Snow decided he wanted to trade for Thomas Vanek. For a team that needed some help scoring, a little extra push in their offense, it seemed like a smart move right? Wrong.

Not only did Snow want Vanek but for some reason he decided it would be a good idea to ship out Matt Moulson and a 1st round pick to Buffalo in exchange for him. Now you might ask yourself why he would trade away one of their top scorers for another scorer with equal point out put the past few seasons. Nobody truly knows why Garth does a lot of things it seems. All I can say is that they squandered a chance to truly bulk up their roster and gave away a lot to get someone for the short term, whom they needed to move at the deadline anyways.

Now without a 1st round pick, the Isles needed something in return after Vanek openly stated he would not re-sign with New York. Teams knew this, they used it against the Isles and as the deadline loomed they pushed hard for picks. In the end they shipped Vanek to Montreal for the equivalent of a hockey bag and a sack of pucks. A conditional pick was involved. To go from having Moulson and a 1st round pick, to Vanek and no first round, to no Vanek and no first round pick at all just seems odd. This wasn’t just a bad trade, it was doomed from the start, poor management lead to a bad decision…or decisions in this case. Don’t be surprised if you find Snow without a job soon enough, I’m no psychic but fans can’t be happy about what occurred and you can bet the organization can’t be happy either.

Vancouver Canucks – Here you have it folks the biggest loser of the deadline. Not only did they move Roberto Luongo out of Vancouver but they received little in return. As the wise Drew Mindall from TSN 1290 once said, “Anytime you can go from a goaltending tandem of Schneider & Luongo to Lack & Markstrom, that's a deal you HAVE to make.” This must have been Mike Gillis’ logic then because it surely made no sense to anyone else in the league. If teams were ships, the Canucks would be the Titanic and it would be sinking quickly. Everyone grab a life boat or some drift wood, they’re going under!

Not only did the Canucks trade Luongo away but they didn’t get anything of value in return. Markstrom and Mathias are both underachievers. Both bring little to the table compared to what the two time Olympic gold medalist Luongo brings to the table. Now they are left with a goaltending void to fill, very few high end prospects and a struggling team. The team may be on life support, after dropping 7-4 last night to the Islanders after a 7 goal 3rd period by the Isles it’s hard to imagine this team turning things around anytime soon. Why would Gillis make that trade? What was the benefit for the team? Well for one they shipped out Luongo who was unhappy in Vancouver…but can you blame the guy? He was disrespected, benched and tossed aside after leading them to the Cup Final a few years back. They have never been the same since. As an Eddie Lack supporter, I have to feel for the guy. He is now rushed to be the starter and is under tremendous pressure to win on a bad, aging team. One has to wonder what moves Gillis has left before his tenure in Vancouver ends but there can’t be many left. His fate may be sealed. In the meantime all Canuck fans can really do is #PrayForEddie and the twilight years of the Sedin twins as their time in Vancouver may be coming to an end soon too.

Part 3…Coming Thursday. Marty St.Louis – The Man, The Myth, The Baby.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Winners, Losers and Marty St.Louis Pt 1

The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone folks. On a day that saw 20 trades and 38 players moved, we saw some winners and a lot of losers, and somewhere in that mix you’ll find Marty St.Louis.

Like many trade deadline days in recent years, the action may or may not have lived up to the hype. In a year that has seen the 2nd highest number of trades in the last decade. Whether you were following on Twitter, checking or following the in-depth coverage on Sportsnet and TSN, there was an abundance of coverage available. TSN even brought back some old faces of Jay and Dan on Fox Sports One for a brief cameo or two. Although the coverage was everywhere, the trades were not. What ended with as a busy day, started out very slow.

With the first trade coming later than previous years, and the majority of the trades coming at the deadline or just after the deadline hour passed as trade calls with the NHL were awaited and reported for nearly an hour after the deadline. Now who won this year’s deadline? But more importantly, who lost? Who were the biggest losers this year, well let’s discuss. Today we’ll discuss the winners, followed by the losers and the Marty St.Louis fiasco over the course of the weekend.

The BIG winners:

Tampa Bay Lightning – The Lightning were put in a tough spot this year, sitting at the top of their division and without their young gun in Stamkos for most of the season, they had a gun to their heads. That gun was pointed by Marty St.Louis. He wanted out, there’s no better way to put that. He had issues with his GM, Steve Yzerman and held a grudge, so what could his GM do but move him to get that bad seed off his team, even it meant moving one of the key pieces to his team’s success over the last decade.

The issue was Yzerman was given one team, I repeat ONE team to move St.Louis to. That team was the New York Rangers. But how are they the winners if they lost such a key piece to their team? Well let me explain, they won because of not the player they received in return but the picks they got out of the deal. Sure Ryan Callahan is a great player to help offset some offense and leadership now but its really the top big picks that came with him that are the prizes. A 1st round pick in 2015 and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2014 that could become a 1st rounder if the Rangers manage to make the Conference Finals this year.

Talk about a blockbuster steal. Not only can Yzerman work to re-sign Callahan who is an unrestricted free agent this July but he may get up to two 1st round picks out of the deal. Can you name a bigger winner than Tampa Bay at the deadline? I don’t think so.

Minnesota Wild – Goodbye Buffalo, Hello St.Paul. Matt Moulson, one of the other big names at the deadline made a late day move to the Minnesota Wild late after the deadline passed. Rumors were flying around where Moulson may end up but in the end the Wild were the winners here. They gave up Torrey Mitchell, and two 2nd round picks (2014 & 2016) for Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick.

Moulson may be arguably one of the best pieces out there considering his age and scoring this season outside of Martin St.Louis. Moulson, who was moved by the Islanders in one of the most lopsided trades of the year for Thomas Vanek early this year, had shown he was still able to score and lead the Buffalo Sabres, whom had struggled most of this year. Many thought, myself included, that Moulson may struggle himself as he entered Buffalo without having a line mate like Tavares to work with but he has shown that he can score and still play great hockey without elite talent around him. Moulson may be a key player to watch as he is still an unrestricted free agent this offseason but perhaps he will find a place in St.Paul this spring and they’ll find that extra scoring touch they’ve been looking for.

Honorable Mention:

Roberto Luongo – Now I know it’s a player getting a mention instead of an entire team, not to mention the deal happened the day before the deadline, however after all he’s been through we really owe it to Luongo to give him this mention. Well this may just be the first and only time you’ll see this happen here. Unlike the St.Louis situation in Tampa Bay, Luongo never took a gun to his GM’s head, he has always been the perfect image of class and professionalism when it comes to trade rumors and getting disrespected. Whereas the grudge from St.Louis stems from a Team Canada snub, the issues with Luongo go back to the Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. That series left Vancouver itching to move the goaltender as he was the scapegoat for bigger problems.

So Gillis tried, he left Luongo on the trade block for a year, ended up having dueling goalies for a season and ended up shipping Cory Schneider out to the Devils last summer at the NHL draft. So you would think the issues surrounding the goaltenders would be solved right? Wrong.

Gillis, with the newly hired John Tortorella played a little game I like to call, “Bully Bobby Lu”. They had a very inexperienced backup in Eddie Lack playing behind Luongo, as their team struggled due to chemistry and roster issues, the goalies began to get shuffled. After being selected to play for Canada at the Olympics and returning a Gold Medalist, Luongo was pushed aside again for the young goaltender.

The last straw came at the Heritage Classic which saw Lack get the start of Luongo. After that the writing was on the wall for a quick exit. Sure Luongo wanted to go to the Panthers but he gave the team every opportunity to change their ways. Good for Luongo on being where he wants to be, and leaving the mess behind in Vancouver. It’s not every day you see players get disrespected to the degree Luongo did with the Canucks so it’s great to see him leave with his head high and put things behind him. He will make the Panthers a better team, he may have single handedly crippled the Canucks for years to come, only time will tell but isn’t that a little bit of sweet revenge?

In case you missed it, we’ll leave you with some of Luongo’s tweets from last night during the Canucks first game after the deadline.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Episode 4 | Team Building Exercises!

In today's episode I talk NHL trade deadline, off season NFL, and even a little bit of a mix between NFL and MLB!! Unfortunately for my prediction, Tim Thomas was traded to the Dallas Stars a couple hours after I recorded this so I was definitely wrong. 

I'm also welcoming a new member to the Sports Junk team! A witty aficionado on all things sporting, I'd like to welcome the T-cona Sports Guru to the group. Travis Paskaruk will be writing some blogs, and hopefully joining in on some episodes in the near future! Follow him on Twitter @TconaSportsGuy and welcome him aboard!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Michael Sam!

Episode 2!! Michael Sam! DE out of Missouri drops a bomb before the NFL draft! A quick at the Olympics as well!