Archive | March, 2011

Podcast: March 23, 2011

24 Mar

For whatever reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to put me on the radio. Last Wednesday, Jeff Lagerquist and I hosted our first episode of Headlines and Deadlines – one of the official radio shows of The Eyeopener – on CKLN 88.1 FM.

This Wednesday, we aired our second episode, and decided to start up a podcast for those unable to listen when our show airs.

This week’s topics included meeting Donovan Bailey, my pets’ NCAA brackets, and why I hate Earth Hour.

Headlines and Deadlines Ep. 2 – Hosted by Jeff Lagerquist and Charles Vanegas – March 23, 2011

Headlines and Deadlines (Lagerquist/Vanegas version) airs every Wednesday at 6 a.m. on CKLN 88.1.

You can follow Jeff or me on twitter – send us a note, and we’ll be sure to read it on air.

Newfoundland police officer charged with drunk driving

16 Mar

A Newfoundland police officer has been charged with impaired driving, after he allegedly crashed into the side of a McDonald’s restaurant in St. John’s, while going through the drive-thru. RNC (Royal Newfoundland Constabulary) officers stopped Sgt. David Byrne, 54 – who was off-duty – early Friday morning, after receiving a complaint about a possible drunk driver.

A St. John's sergeant is just the latest Canadian police officer in trouble for drunk driving / photo courtesy of West Georgia DUI

On Tuesday, the RNC announced they have suspended “the officer”, without pay, pending the outcome of internal disciplinary proceedings. He will appear in court on April 1. The RNC did not release Bryne’s name, saying they would not because he had yet to appear in court, but his identity was soon discovered by CBC News.

This is just the latest drunk driving case involving a police officer in Canada.

In October 2010, a Saskatoon police constable was convicted of impaired driving. Const. Roy Rodgers was banned from driving for a year and given a $1,000 fine. He was found not guilty of driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, but the judge said he believed the officer who stopped Rodgers intentionally botched the investigation by waiting over 45 minutes before giving him a breathalyzer test.

On Sept. 30, 2010, the police chief in Lévis, Que., was charged after being stopped in Quebec City with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit. Jean-François Roy was suspended, with pay. His case is still ongoing.

Chara not suspended after Pacioretty breaks neck

9 Mar

Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty suffered a broken neck and concussion after having his head run into the stanchion (the bar between the bench and the glass) by the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara during the second period of Tuesday’s game in Montreal. Chara received a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara wasn't suspended for his hit on Pacioretty/ photo courtesy of Dan4th Nicholas

On Wednesday, the NHL ruled that despite the injury, Chara would receive no further punishment.

“After a thorough review of the video I can find no basis to impose supplemental discipline,” said Mike Murphy, NHL Senior V.P. of Hockey Operations in a statement. “This hit resulted from a play that evolved and then happened very quickly — with both players skating in the same direction and with Chara attempting to angle his opponent into the boards.”

Murphy said that when making their decision, they considered that Chara “had not been involved in a supplemental discipline incident during his 13-year NHL career.”

Montreal was leading 4-0 when Chara made the hit. In the previous match-up (Feb. 9) between Boston and Montreal, the teams combined for 182 penalty minutes. Another game (Jan. 8.) ended in a skirmish after Pacioretty shoved Chara after scoring the game-winning goal in OT.

According to the NHL rulebook, an illegal check to the head is “a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted”. In regards to boarding, “the onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a vulnerable position and if so, he must avoid the contact”.

If the onus is on the player to avoid injuring an opponent in a vulnerable position, how is Chara not responsible for Pacioretty’s injury?  Chara admitted that he knew how close they were to the bench when he made the hit. Under NHL rules, it’s his responsibility to know how dangerous a hit into the stanchion could be, and should have avoided it.

The league’s decision is interesting, but unsurprising. This season, many players – including many of the leagues’ stars – have suffered concussions or similar injuries as the result of hits to the head.

Sidney Crosby has been out since January 6 with concussion-like symptoms. / Dan4th Nicholas

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has missed over 25 games because of a concussion, which has been attributed to two illegal hits made in separate games. The first hit wasn’t ruled a penalty, and the second only garnered a two-minute minor. Neither player who hit Crosby’s head received suspensions or fines by the league. It’s unlikely that Crosby will return this season. Other elite players like Pat LaFontaine and Eric Lindros had their careers shortened due to dangerous hits to the head.

The two most notorious moments in recent memory are Todd Bertuzzi’s suckerpunch from behind on Steve Moore and Marty McSorley’s piñata swing on Donald Brashear. Bertuzzi – whose attack was in retaliation for a headshot Moore took on teammate Markus Naslund earlier in the season – was suspended indefinitely (although due to the 2004-05 lockout, he ended up missing only 20 games), and McSorley was suspended for a full year, and never played another NHL game.

This season, the NHL implemented a new rule regarding illegal checks to the head, and although they’ve handed out 22 head-shot related suspensions this season, only two of them have been for more than six games. Both instances were for New York Islanders’ winger Trevor Gillies, who received his second suspension (10 games) in his first game back after serving a nine-game suspension.

The NHL has a major problem. Rule 48 has done nothing to deter hits to the head, because the league rarely enforces its new rule, and refuses to adequately punish guilty players when it does.

Chara says he didn’t intentionally slam Pacioretty into the stanchion. But that doesn’t matter. He put him in a dangerous situation that resulted in a serious injury, and should have been punished for it.

Heat coach tells reporters team was crying after loss

7 Mar

Sunday’s 86 – 87 loss to the Chicago Bulls was a tough one for the Miami Heat. So tough, in fact, that they had a good cry over it, according to Heat coach Eric Spoelstra.

“There are a couple of guys crying in the locker room right now,” Spoelstra said in his post-game press conference.

Dwyane Wade / Photo courtesy of Keith Allison

On Sunday – their fourth straight loss – the Heat blew a nine-point lead against the Bulls, with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both missing game-winning shots in the final seconds of the game.

On Friday, they suffered their biggest loss of the season against the San Antonio Spurs (losing 95-125), and on Thursday, they squandered a 24-point lead in a loss to Orlando.

Miami now has a combined record of 0-6 against the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls – the two teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings. They are 5-5 against the three teams below them.

Miami’s last significant win happened over a month ago, and the team still hasn’t figured out a way to share the ball, win close games (2-8 in games decided by three points or less), maintain leads, or even beat good teams (15-17 against teams with winning records) .

Perhaps Spoelstra wanted to show how much his team cares about winning. But he’s actually given people another reason to question the Heat’s mental toughness, and probably angered some players.

Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra may have said too much when he told reporters that players were crying in the locker room / Keith Allison

Since the “Big Three” of Wade, LeBron, and Chris Bosh joined forces this summer, there’s been speculation that Heat GM Pat Riley would replace coach Spoelstra (like he did with Stan Van Gundy in 2005-06), as Riley (and his five championship rings) would instantly be respected by the team.

Earlier in the season, Wade was criticized for saying that Spoelstra wasn’t “his guy.” James was also criticized for bumping shoulders with the coach during a timeout that may or may not have been intentional. It’s unlikely that spilling the beans on a team sob-fest will increase Coach Spo’s popularity in the locker room.

So far, he has done nothing to stop people from talking about a possible coaching change, and if he can’t get the team to play well come playoff time, Spoelstra may find himself taking his talents to the unemployment line.

NOTE: Stats as of March 7.

Don Cherry swears on live TV

6 Mar

During the “Coach’s Corner” segment in the first intermission of Saturday’s Leafs/Blackhawks game, CBC analyst Don Cherry uttered the word “chickensh-t” on live TV.

The term was used to describe a trip made by Ville Leino on Thursday night, when the Philadelphia Flyers hosted Toronto. Leino was racing with Leafs’ defenseman Luke Schenn, and in an attempt to avoid an icing call, reached out his stick and tripped Schenn.

Just hours earlier, ESPN college hoops analyst and former coach Bob Knight – forgetting that his microphone was still turned on – derided the Baylor men’s basketball team for playing “chickensh-t defense” on a pregame segment of ESPN College Gameday. Moments later, ESPN apologized.

This is not the first time for Cherry. On May 2, 2009, he “dropped an F-bomb” in a segment after a playoff game between Chicago and the Vancouver Canucks.

UPDATE at 9:59 p.m. 03/05/11:

While CBC has not commented, Cherry’s slip of the tongue has been edited out of the clip on the CBC website.