By Left Field
For the those of you – the faithful few as I like to call them – breathlessly awaiting another low blow from Left Field, I have no excuse for not getting ‘er done, other than the dog days of summer have conspired with my personal sports calendar’s seasonal dead zone. It’s gotten so bad I actually watched the Argos play the Stampeders last night, truth being sometimes stranger than friction. It wasn’t a bad game, once you got past the flags that flew on every second play. So with apologies to the CFL, the Blow Jays and FIFA women’s soccer, here’s all I can muster for now, for better or cursed.
You have to feel for New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson, who lost more than their grip setting off fireworks on July 4. The careless use of devices that are meant to blow up in the air instead of your hands will have long-term ramifications on and off the field. It puts a bizarre spin on the digital age, to say the least. You can bet that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners’ legal eagles are soaring to new heights to find out how they can get off the hook payroll wise, and are crafting a new clause that forbids the use of fireworks by players under contract. And you can also wager that the NFL Players Association is equally hard at work concocting a way to give the league the finger, er, fingers, on that one.
Maple Leafs fans are positively delirious for a change waiting for the season to start now that Mike Babcock has taken over the coaching reins in Hog Town. While $50 million for eight years had to be a contributing factor in his decision to take the job, I think Babcock liked the idea of starting his holidays in April with no chance of work in May or June, after 10 years in a row in the playoff grinder in Detroit.
I had a hard time putting on my Habs hat at first for this one, but I believe Zack Kassian for Brandon Prust is a shrewd move by Montreal GM Michel Bergevin. There’s no denying Prust was a character, core player teammates loved because of the way he handled the heavyweight duties, often forced to trade punches way out of his weight class. But although Kassian comes with some rather large question marks, the fact is he’s younger, cheaper and much bigger than Prust. If those three reasons aren’t enough, Kassian has the potential to score 20 goals or more if his head is threaded on correctly, and that’s something Prust was never going to do in Montreal. It also sends a message that although Montreal is arguably a playoff contender, no one’s job is safe until the team is able to push their playoff performance far enough to get to the finals.
With only sixty more sleeps until the NFL season kicks off September 10, here’s some random thoughts and things to watch. Will Tom Brady pay the full four game price for allegedly playing with his balls before that playoff game against the Colts? Will King Goodell manage to hang onto his $40 million crown if another Ray Rice-like crisis or Deflategate surfaces during the season when, you know, the focus is supposed to be on the gridiron and not the courtroom? Will this be Peyton’s last stand in Denver, whether the Broncos win the Super Bowl or come up painfully short for the third year in a row on Manning’s watch?