Need I say more than the title?
Recently, I attended a roller derby game for the first time. For those unfamiliar with the sport, it’s really confusing, but one of the rules they have is that they are allowed to sport nicknames on their backs, a flexibility not known in any other major sport.
But, recently, the NBA allowed the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets to play a game with the players having their nicknames on their back. King James, D-Wade, Birdman, Truth, The Big Ticket, and D-Will took to the court in what was a small triumph for nicknames in sports.
Of course, Andrei Kirilenko’s nickname, AK-47, was not allowed, for reasons that only could be summed up as the NBA being a bit timid.
This then raises a question that probably hasn’t been asked prior: are nicknames ready to take all sports by storm? Or was that a mere gimmick to sell tickets and merchandise?
I think both.
Watching games with nicknames involved invokes a feeling of a level playing field. Too often, we put these athletes on infinitely high pedestals, so it’s interesting to feel as if they are people, similarly to you. We all had nicknames growing up, so it’s only fitting to see players’ nicknames above the numbers on their jerseys.
Besides, we’ve seen how well different jerseys sell. The Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL are all too familiar with this, sporting a variety of different jerseys, including the Gettysburg Address sweaters. It’s gained them national press, striving to be different than other teams in their league.
But, there are limitations. I imagine if they were to allow whatever the player wanted on the back of their jerseys, we’d see a lot of “dangle, snipe, celly” on their backs.
Even if we didn’t, the novelty would wear off fast. Pretty soon, we’d get sick of the nicknames, just as we (somewhat) are with the players’ last names. Then, it would be totally unorthodox to have the last names on the jerseys.
I could definitely go for seeing Hallsy, Ebs, and Hoppy on their respective jerseys. If they are going to go through with it, however, they have to be a lot more lenient. If the names are valid nicknames that everyone calls the player (like AK-47), then they should be allowed.
At the end of the day, though, I would only be able to view it as a money grab, where the league would exercise all ideas and options just to take a few more dollars from their fans.
I suppose if you’re really adamant, you could just get it done yourself. But, if you have the nickname “noodles” on the back of your jersey that supports journeyman goaltender Jamie McLennan, you might get a few double takes.
Sports, or its scientific disease name, putthethinginthegoalitis, often has to do with one being more athlete than their opponent. It is the number one most common disease in the world, and generates the 2nd most revenue behind My Little Pony.
However, unlike your traditional disease, sports is different because it is completely harmless to you, and only harmful to your time.
Fortunately for you, reader, seemingly unaffected by the disease as of yet, the disease is not directly contagious. Studies have shown that if you touch a sports item such as a football or a diver’s cap, you are only 10 per cent more likely to have sports than others.
Some earthlings, such as yours truly, were unfortunately born into the world of sports fandom. Growing up as a sports-positive man, my choices were limited. I couldn’t like painting my nails, I couldn’t like sitting inside and playing video games all day. You could say I was, born this way.
But seriously, not even Lady Gaga can understand the sports disease. Some believe there will never be a cure.
However, science has also been studying the long-term effects of being a fan of a bad team as a gateway to being cured of sports.
A team from UCLA studied Edmonton Oiler fans who were born into liking the franchise after 1990. The results were astounding. Though unpredictable, some of the infected became cured of their sickness, refusing to be sick anymore. More and more were cured after each year of being terrible. Others’ diseases, however, proved to be more resilient.
With the Edmonton Oilers almost winning the league in 2006, that was a major setback because not only did it increase previously infected citizens’ sports disease, it also infected more people by association.
A lot of science has been pressed on this issue, though it has been tough for scientists to map out because of its unpredictability. Why do some have immunity? Why do most don’t? Is it hereditary? What can we, as a society, do to stop this madness?
I’m not sure what the answer is, but did you see the Raptors game last night?
Growing up playing basketball in high school, I loved it. Growing up and watching basketball in high school, I hated it.
So why is it, that whenever I see a Toronto Raptors game this season, that I tune in, excitedly awaiting the results?
Could it be because Drake, their “global ambassador,” inspired my love for the game?
Could it be because I’ve simply gotten sick of hockey?
See previous posts. Nah.
Could it be because watching the Toronto Blue Jays depresses me?
That’s actually quite possible. Last season sucked. All of it. Hope it’s at least a little better this year. But, not completely the reason.
Could it be because the Raptors are winning?
DING DING DING! That’s it! For the first time in a long time, the Raptors are winning, and not just because they have a Chris Bosh.
T-Ross, DD, K-low, Amir, and Big V are all leading the team to victory in their various ways. It’s exciting to watch.
I think what’s probably most exciting about the Raptors this year is that they are finally putting themselves back on the map. I think that even with Bosh, nobody cared about Toronto and nobody wanted to go there. All of a sudden, the Raptors are talked about, they have more than one good player, and things are fun.
Not to mention their lineup includes some serious dunks. Terrence Ross and Amir Johnson can throw that ball down, and even DeRozan can from time to time. Kyle Lowry definitely can’t, (correction: he can) but hey, he’s looks like a little kid out there compared to the heights of the rest of them (even though he’s six feet tall).
The bottom line, the Raptors are good. They aren’t up there with the Heat or the Spurs or the Pacers or the Thunder, but they can make some serious noise in the playoffs for the first time in some years. In the meantime, I’m going to impatiently wait for said playoffs.
I realize that I probably don’t sound like a real sports fan, and that’s probably true. But, I didn’t say I wasn’t a fan of the teams; I guess I’m just too young to remember when those teams won, if it all.
I never thought I’d say this, but during the NBA playoffs, you might catch me watching the Raps play (when the NHL playoffs are on commercial, of course).
Today, I’m taking the five largest deals (in my opinion) from the 2010 draft, telling you where everyone has ended up, and who won the deal. Get ready from some real interesting stuff, my followers who don’t actually read these.
But first, look at the picture above. This is from the NHL website. It’s like the guy designing it accidentally turned on caps lock and then realized it four trades later, turning it off without fixing it.
5. The Boston Bruins trade D Derek Morris to the Phoenix Coyotes for a conditional pick in 2011 (later became F Anthony Camara).
The Coyotes seem to have taken a liking for Morris, having traded for him twice (first from Colorado). He’s been a great player for the Coyotes, scoring a respectable 17 points this season, 16 of which have been even strength.
Considering that they got him back for Anthony Camara, who (so far) is only most memorable for this, that’s a pretty respectable deal. Camara is only 20 years old, however, so he’s got a lot of time to develop. The Bruins are great at developing young players as well, and according to Hockey’s Future, Camara is their top LW prospect. We’ll see if he turns out, though Boston may be kicking themselves for letting Morris go, considering the holes on the blueline.
Who won? – I gotta say it’s the Yotes right now, Morris is solid. Camara is pretty solid too, though. Like, brick wall solid.
4. Los Angeles trade F Teddy Purcell and a 2010 3rd round pick (Brock Beukeboom) for F Jeff Halpern.
A very lopsided deal looking back on it, though if I remember correctly, Purcell was a highly sought after free agent that never really panned out in Los Angeles. Halpern has never put up more than 46 points in a season, but they seemed to think he’d be more help than Purcell.
Well, they were wrong. Halpern registered just two assists in 16 games, and no points in the playoffs that season. Purcell went on to put up 51 points in his first full season in Tampa, and registering 17 points in 18 playoff games that year. The draft pick, Beukeboom, doesn’t really look like he’s going to develop into an NHL player, again though he’s only 21. Not even sure what system he’s in anymore, if any.
Who won? – Tampa still won this trade by miles, though. Purcell has turned out to be a great offensive player, and Halpern is now with the Coyotes.
3. Calgary Flames trade F Olli Jokinen and forward Brandon Prust to the New York Rangers for F Ales Kotalik and F Christopher Higgins.
Not really sure how I feel about this one. Jokinen has proved in Winnipeg that he can still score points. Prust consistently puts up over 100 PIMS each season for the Habs. Kotalik is M.I.A. and is playing in the Czech league, and Higgins has been good for the Canucks.
Who won? – Well, since none of these players are with the clubs they were traded to in 2010, it’s a tough call to say who won the trade, though I have to believe the Rangers have the edge, strictly because Kotalik. He was sort of a dud in Calgary, and actually got sent down to their AHL affiliate towards the twilight of his North American hockey career.
2. Calgary Flames trade D Dion Phaneuf, F Fredrik Sjostrom, and D Keith Aulie to the Toronto Maple Leafs for F Matt Stajan, F Niklas Hagman, F Jamal Mayers and D Ian White.
Phaneuf is a staple in Toronto, playing the most minutes of any player on his team. Sjostrom didn’t do much as a Leaf, and is now in the DEL. Aulie was traded straight across to the Lightning for Carter Ashton, who hasn’t received much playing time this season in Toronto, despite notching 18 points in 16 games for the Marlies prior to his call-up.
On the other side, Stajan is a mainstay in Calgary, though never really living up to his potential. He’s turned his defensive game up, though, and there’s obviously a reason the management want to keep him around. Hagman put up a few points and peaced to Europe after a brief stint in Anaheim, Mayers now plays for the Blackhawks and White eventually got dumped for Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos.
So, basically, Calgary traded one of the best defensemen they’ve had in a long time in Phaneuf for Matt Stajan. Everyone else as either become or is irrelevant.
Who won? – My obvious opinion sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s Toronto. As much praise as I have for Stajan, Phaneuf is a fantastic player. Case closed.
1. Atlanta Thrashers trade F Ilya Kovalchuk, D Anssi Salmela and a 2010 second-round pick (John Merrill) to the New Jersey Devils for D Johnny Oduya, F Niclas Bergfors, F Patrice Cormier, and a first (Kevin Hayes) and second-rounder (Justin Holl) in 2010.
Now the Winnipeg Jets, the Thrashers made waves that year, dealing their franchise player after they reportedly couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension.
Unfortunately for New Jersey, they lost Kovalchuk, too, this time to retirement(?). But, let’s go through the trade first.
Kovalchuk put up some numbers for the Devils when he was there. He was a point-per-game player in his career. Salmela isn’t expected to make an impact in the NHL, but John Merrill is currently their most highly-touted defenseman, according to Hockey’s Future.
Oduya, now with the Blackhawks, was dumped from the Jets for two picks, which (I believe, not 100%) ended up being G Eric Comrie and F J.C. Lipon. Not a bad return so far, as they are number two and six respectively on their respective prospect depth charts (again, according to Hockey’s Future).
Bergfors was dealt to the Panthers a year later for Radek Dvorak and a pick, which is probably not very good. Cormier is still in the Jets’ system, just ahead of Lipon on the centre depth chart.
And those picks? Well, they were dealt to Chicago in a huge deal, most notable name being Dustin Byfuglien. Those picks, Hayes and Holl, remain in the Hawks’ system. Hayes is number three on the centre depth chart (though good luck cracking that lineup), and Holl is seventh in defensemen.
Who won? – Not really sure. Both teams sort of got screwed. Kovalchuk left and inflicted some damage on the Devils, though they recently got pardoned (somewhat). Atlanta/Winnipeg didn’t really get much in return, I guess except inadvertently Byfuglien. Trades are hard.
Well, that’s it! Stay tuned for the next 47 instalments of this.
Here’s a post from my other sports blog, The Timeout! It’s a transcription of the conversation between the two teams that traded on Friday, St. Louis and Buffalo.
In this transcript, we have St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong and assistant GM Kevin McDonald speaking Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray and his assistant Kevin Devine.
DA: Alright. Clearly, our goaltending hasn’t been strong enough over the first three quarters of the season. Let’s trade for Ryan Miller, a goaltender that has a worse goals against average than both of our goalies have.
KM: Great idea! He’ll help us win those three extra games that we need.
ring ring ring ring
TM: Hello! You’re our 100th caller! You are now entitled to a free Steve Ott!
DA: (over to his assistant GM) Ugh. Should we take him?
KM: I suppose he couldn’t hurt…
TM: What can I do for you, Dougie?
DA: We here at the St. Louis Blues desire Ryan Miller to carry us into the playoffs. We’re willing to give you Halak straight across for him, in addition to a guaranteed first-round pick as well as a conditional one, because we know how much you guys love first-round picks.
TM: Sounds enticing.. What’s the conditional pick?
DA: How about we have to make the conference finals, and you guys are required to gather at least two more first-round picks before draft day?
TM: I like that. How about you throw in Chris Stewart too? He has a terrible contract, and you need to make room for the shiny new Steve Ott you’re about to receive!
DA: Yeah, okay. We can do that. We’ve been trying to get rid of him and that contract for a year and a half anyways. But only if you promise not to trade Chris to Ottawa.
TM: Uhh, yeah.. see we can’t promise that. Especially if they decide to give us a first-round pick for him.
DA: Okay, how about this. We send William Carrier to you as well, but you have to promise not to send Chris Stewart away to your uncle.
TM: Hmmm, we think pretty highly of Willy. It’s a deal!
TM: Hahaha, idiots. I had my fingers and toes crossed! I’m totally flipping him to Uncle B! I owe him a lot, anyways, after teaching me what it truly takes to be a GM.
KD: Nice work, Tim! But aren’t you worried..
TM: Yeah, Pat’s not going to be too happy about this one.
Stay tuned these next few days for more lost transcripts!