Some random thoughts on the sporting world this Sunday afternoon, with a focus on ice hockey and golf. Let's get started...
John Ferguson and Leaf Nation are in deep denial. The Toronto Leafs general manager says his NHL team is heading in the right direction and had it not been for a few injuries, the blue and white would be in the post season. He also mentioned that the talent pool runs deep.
Given the fact his team has missed the playoff in consecutive seasons, its more likely that Ferguson has gone off the deep end and is worried about his job.
The Toronto franchise has been offering up the almost there excuse for four decades now. New personnel arrive every few years and buy into the myth that the team is one or two players away from a championship. The media and fans are brainwashed into believing it and yet, nothing changes in Toronto.
The same old song and dance has been going on since 1967. Leaf Nation (the fans) maintains that others criticize the franchise due to its success. The Toronto Maple Leafs are successful at the box office, nothing more. Success is measured by championships not sellouts.
The Montreal Canadiens are also in denial. The once proud franchise has won two titles in nearly 30 years and now its main objective seems to be qualifying for the playoffs and hoping for the best. Toe Blake must be rolling over in his grave.
The Canadiens used to dominate the NHL and anything less than a Stanley Cup was considered a poor season by the faithful. Lousy drafting, poor trades (Chris Chelios for a fading Denis Savard) and lowered expectations have dropped the Habs into the lower half of the league. The franchise hasn't drafted a superstar since Patrick Roy way back in the early 1980s. The Montreal Canadiens mystique is long gone.
In the purge that took place with the Phoenix Coyotes, one name was mysteriously missing: Wayne Gretzky. The man can't coach. His Coyotes have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons with him behind the bench and the team shows no signs of improving. The Teflon One will never be fired (how does a part owner fire himself?); he'll simply resign with a ready excuse.
Zach Johnson deserves full credit for his Masters win last week. You wouldn't think so judging by the Tiger worshippers at CBS and Golf Channel, although Nick Faldo chopped down Peter Kostis' excusing Tiger's poor play on his health.
According to the networks, no one wins a tournament; Tiger loses it. Tiger's sycophants blame the weather, Tiger's cold, Tiger not bringing his A game and any other excuse under the sun.
Everyone had to play in the same conditions and half the field undoubtedly felt run down in the raw weather. Tiger not bringing his A game doesn't cut it. Isn't this the man that peaks for major championships?
Tiger took the lead early in the final round -- albeit for only 20 minutes -- and then was passed by Rory Sabbatini and others. He then bogeyed the sixth and tenth. His eagle at 13 had the broadcasters nearly wetting their pants with excitement but the alleged charge never took place.
Tiger finished with a 72 while Johnson shot a crisp 69 including birdies at three of the final six holes. Tiger did, however, give a several million viewers lessons in profanity and how to blow snot rockets.
Please tell me it's a joke that Nancy Lopez is attempting a comeback at age 50. Come on Nancy, it's been a decade since you won and the 83-80 you shot at the Ginn Open doesn't bode well for your attempt. Time waits for no one. You had your moment in the sun; don't tarnish your name like so many sports figures by attempting a comeback.
Is her back injury the beginning of the end for Annika Sorenstam? Sorenstam has won 69 times on the LPGA Tour, including 10 majors, during her 13-year career, but a ruptured disk could slowly finish her off. She's due back in a month, yet back problems, once started, seem to gradually get worse.