Archive for December, 2010

It’s Leafs vs. fans in waffle crackdown

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By Stu Hackel

The war against waffle throwers at Maple Leafs games in Toronto has escalated. James Mirtle in The Globe and Mail reports that 31-year-old Joseph Robb, the alleged Eggo Bomber, has been charged with mischief (interference with property), faces a court date in January (now, that could be fun, even in staid Toronto), and has been banned from the Air Canada Centre for all events as well as other Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment events at BMO Field and the Ricoh Coliseum.

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  • Published On Dec 22, 2010
  • Team effort propels suprising Stars

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    Productive but relatively low-profile players like winger Loui Eriksson have propelled the surging Dallas Stars to the top of the Western Conference standings. (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The rise of the Dallas Stars — who many doubted were even a playoff contender at the start of the season — is among the most surprising developments of the season’s first 11 weeks.

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  • Published On Dec 22, 2010
  • Maple Leafs waffle plague continues

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    By Stu Hackel

    Those with some Old Testament knowledge can rattle off the 10 Plagues that befell Egypt prior to Moses leading the Hebrews on their Exodus. There were some lovely infestations — lice, frogs, boils, locusts and diseased cattle were the most tame. But after a third time in 12 days that the Blue Team has been taunted by frozen toaster-ready breakfast food, it must be asked: Is the throwing of waffles part of a bigger picture? Is it just the first in a series of increasingly severe plagues that the Maple Leafs must endure prior to their exodus from their enslavement to pro hockey incompetence?
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  • Published On Dec 21, 2010
  • Who’s to blame for the Bruins’ slump

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    Defensive lapses and flat play proved disastrous for the Bruins in their 3-0 loss to the Ducks. (AP Photos)

    By Stu Hackel

    The Boston Bruins, losers to Anaheim on Monday night, have now dropped four of their last five games and coach Claude Julien is catching heat because his system is too defensively oriented. The Washington Capitals, who just snapped an eight-game losing streak, have a collection of offensively talented skaters and their coach, Bruce Boudreau, has long been criticized because they too often play with little defensive awareness. The solution? B’s GM Peter Chiarelli and Caps GM George McPhee should trade coaches.
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  • Published On Dec 21, 2010
  • Two under-the-radar teams worth a look

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    Trading with the Capitals for forward Tomas Fleischmann has proved to be a savvy move for the surging Avlanche. (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Pop Quiz: Who is the general manager of the Colorado Avalanche? (No peeking below)

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  • Published On Dec 20, 2010
  • Fehr’s past crucial to hockey’s future

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    By Stu Hackel

    While headline writers and a hockey columnist can joyously exploit the homonym of his last name, only those who live to crush the NHL players’ union can honestly say that the only thing they have to fear is Fehr himself. The rest of us will have to wait and see what Donald Fehr’s tenure as the NHLPA’s executive director means. But Fehr may not be the boogieman some people think.
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  • Published On Dec 20, 2010
  • Life’s about to get tougher for the Flyers

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    The Flyers’ defense has depth, but it will still be hard to make up for the loss of Chris Pronger’s leadership and imposing presence. (Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    Chris Pronger will miss up to six weeks with a broken bone in his right foot, and without the imposing presence of the All-Star defenseman in their lineup, the league-leading Flyers will face a rough stretch of games right away. That makes adjusting to the loss of the 6-foot-6, 220-pound backbone of their defense corps a bigger challenge. Read More…


  • Published On Dec 17, 2010
  • HBO scores with opening episode of 24/7

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    By Stu Hackel

    The opening shot of the highly anticipated new HBO Sports 24/7 series “Road to the NHL Winter Classic” shows the Washington Capitals’ red sweaters tumbling around in a dryer. It’s a perfect metaphor for a team in turmoil and the start of a wonderfully filmed and intimate look at two teams, the Caps and the Pittsburgh Penguins, on a collision course that culminates outdoors at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field on New Year’s Day.

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  • Published On Dec 16, 2010
  • Young blueliners can learn from Lidstrom

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    Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is so fundamentally sound that his greatness can often be found in the subtleties of his game. (Dave Sanford/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    There were four, count ‘em, four hat tricks in the NHL on Wednesday night, but there is only one Nick Lidstrom, and as his career accomplishments accumulate — they now include his first career three-goal game – it’s appropriate to ask this question: Is the 40-year-old Red Wing not only the greatest defenseman of his era, but the best d-man ever, aside from Bobby Orr?

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  • Published On Dec 16, 2010
  • The most mind-boggling streak in sports

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    Ironman goaltender Glenn Hall weathered crease crashers and slap shots without a mask during a remarkable streak that lasted more than seven years. (IHA/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s been interesting to read all the accolades  that are being tossed around for Brett Favre, the NFL QB whose streak of 297 consecutive regular season starts -– 321 if you count the playoffs — ended Monday because of a shoulder injury. His streak has been called not just one of the greatest achievements in pro sports (as SI.com’s Don Banks referred to it), but even the greatest streak in pro sports by some, including FOX broadcaster and Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, who saluted Favre during the broadcast of the Vikings-Giants game. Others, like The L.A. Times, had sportwriters from around the country weigh in on whether Favre’s streak was more impressive than Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played for the Orioles.

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  • Published On Dec 15, 2010


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