Ilya Kovalchuk

So it’s been a month since Ilya Kovalchuk signed a massive 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils. It was promptly (and hilariously) rejected by Gary Bettman on the grounds that it was intentionally trying to circumvent the CBA and the salary cap so that the Devils would have a lower cap hit for the duration of the contract. This was promptly challenged by the Devils as several teams have handed out similar contracts (Marian Hossa, Roberto Luongo etc.) over the past few years. The arbiter ruled last week in favor of the league and then proceeded to say that he would investigate other contracts (such as the aforementioned deals, as well as Chris Pronger and  Marc Savard’s contracts) to see if there was intent to circumvent the salary cap.

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Phillies Celebrate a Victory

During the Phillies runs to the World Series over the past two years, they have managed to largely avoid the costly injuries that can derail even the best teams. But the luck that they’ve had has seemingly run out this year as every starting position player (outside of Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez *knock on wood*) has spent time on the DL. Jimmy Rollins was the first to go down. After having a disappointing season last year, Rollins was looking to rebound and had set lofty goals for himself during spring training. Unfortunately, he went down during the third series of the season and missed 58 games. JA Happ joined Rollins on the DL soon after and missed 88 games before making a brief comeback in July. Chase Utley has missed 39 games so far, Ryan Howard is out for at least two weeks, and Shane Victorino still isn’t close to coming back. In all, the Phillies have lost about 470 games to injury.

And yet, the Phillies sit a game out of first place in the NL East.

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Notice how the city has thrown itself behind it's baseball team

TORONTO — It’s time to face facts, T.O.

No, I’m not talking to Terrell Owens. It’s actually the shortened nickname the city of Toronto has given itself (the T.O. standing for Toronto, Ontario). No, I’m not making that up either, although the message might work for both parties.

Instead this advice is for the sports fans of this fine city (and it is an amazingly fine city), to wake up from their frozen delusions and accept the sobering reality.

The Blue Jays are the best team in your city. Yes, the fourth-place AL East Blue Jays.

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Chris Bosh: Superfraud?

Since 2003, Chris Bosh and Toronto shared some good times.

Bosh was named an All Star five times and made the All-NBA second team in 2007 while the Raptors made two playoff appearances — losing to New Jersey and Orlando — winning three playoff games between the two series.

The forward from Georgia Tech was the next big hope for a franchise that hadn’t had a star since Vince Carter. Fans turned to Bosh as the Raptors were fighting for the final playoff spot with Chicago this spring. Bosh missed six games down the stretch as Toronto ended up missing the playoffs by a game.

Now with Bosh headed to Miami to form the most hated team in America with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo decided to say what he really felt about Chris Bosh.

And he’s mad. REAL mad.

“Despite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games,” Colangelo said. “I’m not even questioning Chris’ injury. I’m telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn’t there and he chose not to play. Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn’t quite into it down the stretch, he wasn’t the same guy. I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.”

God. Damn. That is some hefty, hefty criticism. Not only did he call him a wuss, he accused him of mailing it in when it mattered the most. The biggest insult you can take as an athlete is to be called gutless and a quitter and Bosh just got it stamped right on him by his former boss.

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You carry your own damn pads!

It took less than a week for the Dallas Cowboys to make headlines.

Just great. I must say, the Cowboys and their fans are so insufferable sometimes (Yes, I’m aware that I date one. I’m sorry baby. Love you.). They think that the entire league revolves around them even though they have one exactly one playoff game since 1996. The glory days of Jimmy Johnson leading Aikman, Smith and Irvin into battle are LONG gone.

In place we have Tony Romo, Marion Barber and Roy Williams and Jerry Jones and Dallas fans will try to convince you that this is the team that will get them back. Sorry, but it won’t.

But to my point. Dez Bryant decided he was going to mark his turf and refused to carry Roy Williams’ shoulder pads. It was made a bigger deal than it probably should have been but nonetheless it’s a story.

I personally applauded it, yeah, it’s tradition, yeah, you’re supposed to pay your dues and show respect, but he’s there to take Roy’s job and threw the gauntlet down. Instead of offending him, it should have motivated Williams to maintain his spot as the top dog.

Instead Roy decided to whine about it. As if it were more about the man than the principle.

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When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong: TDF

Posted: July 27, 2010 by TomKinslow in Cycling, WKIRGW

Thank you Dave Chappelle for the idea behind this segment.

So the Tour de France has kind of been lacking for Americans ever since Lance Armstrong rode off into the sunset after his seventh straight victory (before riding back, with less impressive results).

There’s not much about it that appeals to your average American sports fan. It’s kind of dull, it’s slow-moving and cheating is rampant. But enough about baseball — just kidding. But seriously, watching people ride bikes up mountains isn’t really thrilling television but this year’s tour found ways to spice things up.

Fistfights!

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A Farewell to The Boss

Posted: July 20, 2010 by tcopain in Baseball, George Steinbrenner, MLB

There really are no words

Admit it, you look at that Sports Illustrated cover of George Steinbrenner and you really don’t know what to think. It is one of the most famous covers SI’s ever done, Steinbrenner re-creating the famous portrait of Napoleon after Steinbrenner was allowed back into baseball. Maybe the theme fit so well because Steinbrenner, the long-time principle owner of the Yankees who passed away last week at the age of 80 was a confusing person who brought out a lot of different feelings in different people.

Who was the real George Steinbrenner? Well if you read, hear or listen to some of the tributes and reaction to his passing, he ranged to being a patron saint to a vindictive bastard and everything in between. He was a winner, a visionary, a reluctant good guy, an arrogant American pig, a convicted felon and the man who turned the Yankees into the media, marketing and baseball powerhouse they are today. And of course, he was the guy whose baseball people loved Ken Phelps’ bat.

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