Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Hazies - The Champs & The Chumps

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

We're a day late with this week's Hazies - we spent last night watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Ducks and the SenaTards...good thing too, last night's game gave us a few of this week's winners and "runners up". For those of you who haven't been here before, we take a look back on the week that was in the world of sports and we highlight the some of the more notable performances - to those who have shone above the others, the have the title of "Hazel's Hero" bestowed upon them and are awarded an honourary "Hazie". To those that have distinguished themselves for all the wrong reasons...keep reading. While Hazel hasn't officially approved this week's list, we'd like to think she give a thumbs up.

Kind of fitting that our 1,000th post is one about awards.



Anaheim Ducks G Jean-Sebastien Giguere is being talked about as this year's Conn Smythe Trophy winner (for NHL playoff MVP) and we aren't about to argue. It is generally accepted that in order to win the Stanley Cup, a team has to have good goaltending - but Giguere has been better than good, better than very good, at times his play has bordered on dominant and unbeatable. Giguere is pretty much the only reason the Ducks find themselves up 3-1 (don't you just love saying that?) and a pretty good bet to take it down tomorrow night in Anaheim. The Ducks have come out relatively flat in three of the first four games - and were it not for Giguere shutting the door down on the Tards, I might be joining my man Tilt in Spain later this week to get away from the Stanley Cup parade the Tards were ready to throw. Giguere has kept his team in each and every game of the series with some unbelievable saves early and late in the Ducks three wins and steady goaltending throughout all four.

Anaheim Ducks RW Teemu Selanne has played like a champ in this series. Selanne acknowledged before the series started that he was going to be in tough, as the Tards would likely be looking to shut Center Andy McDonald and him down. Selanne's numbers in this series have not been awe inspiring (three assists in four games) but he really has been a big part of the Ducks success in this series. Selanne has paid the price to try to make plays and create scoring chances, he has not complained about his coach not working to get the big line away from Ottawa's checkers, he has been a leader on the bench and the ice. The value of Selanne's play won't show up on the scoring summaries - but without the threat he poses and the respect he commands from the opposition, Ryan Getlaf, Dustin Penner and others wouldn't be enjoying such a good final run to the Cup - Selanne put the team's success ahead of his own personal success.

As mentioned, my man Tilt and I took in the Sox vs Yankees from a luxury suite at Fenway on Sunday night (more on that another time). Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia had a three-run double early on and hit another screamer mid-way through the game that could have resulted in two more runs. Pedroia's struggles early on this year are well documented, with many wondering if he was able to play at the major league level - the little guy silenced critics (temporarily I suppose) by hitting .415 with two home runs and nine runs batted in - good enough to win the AL Rookie of the Month award. He persevered, he took full responsibility for his slow start, he never complained and he kept believing in his ability - isn't that what champs do?

Sam of the Cask N' Flagon makes our list this week. Tilt and I spent Sunday afternoon drinking at the Cask with a few friends and our server Sam was a champ - for so many reasons that I won't get into...but she made our time at the Cask excellent, mixing great service with a great sense of humour and warding off would be diners who wanted us to leave our table. You rock Sam.

Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha, better known to Portuguese fans as "Nani" signed a transfer agreement last week and will suit up with Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United next week - but he really distinguished himself by scoring the opening goal in Portugal 2-1 in Belgium in their last Euro 2008 qualifier before the break. You may not have heard of him yet...but you will - this kid is going to be a champ; maybe at next year's Euro???


The SenaTards have been the epitome of chumps in 2007 Stanley Cup Finals - they came in with all their usual talk and have had it handed to them by a better team. A few Tards have risen above the rest and really made a compelling case for being this week's chumps.

Krusty the Klown (aka Daniel Alfredsson) - the NHL's prototypical power forward when he can see the opposition player's name on the jersey, delivering bone -crushing, shoulder separating hits from behind; taking slapshots at the opposition when the clock is winding down; delivering straight right cross sucker-punches when the linesman are breaking up a scrum - he is a clown.

Chris Neil - this self-proclaimed tough guy who never fights the heavyweights, spent game four diving around trying to draw penalties, instead of playing the tough hard nosed hockey he claims to play; through in a few dirty hits that qualify as headshots and a couple of sucker-punches during scrums and you can figure out why this guy is a chump.

Dumb and Dumber (aka Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza) these two have done absolutely nothing in this year's finals after racking up big numbers against Pittsburgh and New Jersey (and Buffalo for that matter) - they both talked at nauseum about how this year's team was different and about how they knew how to handle and overcome adversity. Well boys, you can now spell adversity - P-R-O-N-G-E-R & N-I-E-D-E-R-M-A-Y-E-R and you have hardly overcome...you both folded like we knew you would.

The NHL Head Office makes the list of chumps this week. The Toronto Star's noted Leaf-hater Damien Cox reported today that New York Islanders D Sean Hill played the last 20 games of the season appealing his positive test for using illegal performance enhancing drugs. When asked about the validity, Bill Daly said the NHL wanted to fix the length of time it takes for an appeal. On behalf of Toronto Maple Leafs fans all over the world - THANKS FOR NOTHING NHL...YOU COST US A SHOT AT BUFFALO.

New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez made big news in Toronto for both his on and off the field antics. This week though, ARod makes the list, not so much for his on the field actions but, for his refusal to acknowledge that his actions on the field were not befitting of a major league. Anyone reading this page likely knows what ARod did - hell, some of you were probably at Fenway on Sunday night screaming "Mine" along with Tilt and I - when questioned about the play, ARod said he just yelled "HA". Come on ARod - jeezus, ever hear of YouTube? ARod should have just owned up and said that he yelled "Mine". As a sidebar to this - how does Blue Jays SS stand there without saying anything? Wouldn't he, as infield captain, scream for Howie Clark to take it? Wouldn't Howie Clark as a wannabe major leaguer not have enough confidence in himself to scream "MINE" when he is camped right under the ball? C'mon guys...man up.

Michael Vick - no explanation needed.

Former NFL WR Johnnie Morton made his debut in the world of Mixed Martial Arts - Morton lost his fight in 38 seconds and was carried out on a stretcher...to cap off a perfect night, Morton was suspended and had his purse withheld because he refused to take a mandatory post-fight anti-doping test.

That's it for tonight gang...have a great one.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

I'm out!


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