Tag Archives: Vancouver

Vancouver Olympics Coming to an End. Will This Be the Last Big Media Olympics in North America?

One big hockey game to go. And, yes, despite Pavol Demitra being only a crossbar away from a potential Canadian collapse and a Slovakia-USA gold medal game, I still believe Canada will bounce back, beat the Americans and get a chance to party like they’re female hockey players.

Someone asked me on Saturday if enjoyed the Olympics. Well, that’s a tough question. I loved the hockey. Period. I enjoyed some of the sports with the mute button on. Others? If the Olympic gold medal was on the line in a judged sport (figure skating, aerials, moguls, short-track — which shouldn’t be a judged sport but from what we saw in Vancouver, it is — etc.) and they decided to hold it in my backyard, I wouldn’t open the drapes to watch it. Judging at every possible level of sport is so frustratingly phoney, it’s just impossible to watch without laughing out loud.

Other than that, I did enjoy the Games. Especially ski cross, snowboard cross and long-track speedskating. I also enjoyed all of them with no sound on the TV. Frankly, if CTV and TSN had just one announcer  per sport — one of the professional play-by-play guys like Rod Black or Rod Smith (especially Rod Smith) — the Games would have been quite enjoyable. But when Catriona LeMay Doan or one of the other fawning, bullshit artists opened their mouths, I wanted to gag. Thank the lord for the mute button.

As my pal Mike Richards said on the Fan 960 in Calgary last week, “Here was a typical comment by one of the CTV analysts: ‘Yes, Rod, what a wonderful athlete who has worked so hard all her life for this special moment because you know Rod, winning is better than losing. That’s right Rod, winning is good. Losing isn’t good. We like winning, Rod. All Canadians like winning. She likes winning. Winning is better than losing.'”


After all that phoney pre-Olympic hype, the I-Believe-Own-the-Podium hogwash, the Games were a nice diversion. But will this be it for big, popular Winter Games?

These Vancouver Games were huge. It was in North America, in a great city, and the North American media was all over it. But with newspapers struggling mightily, with TV networks (in Canada, at least) cutting to the bone and losing big money and with all those shoestring internet operations trying to save every penny to pay for content, the people who travelled to Vancouver aren’t going to go to Sochi, Russia in four years. Especially for a Games that will be held with a nine-hour time difference (to CST).

Meanwhile, only three cities in the world have shown any interest at all in 2018.

It was fun to celebrate Canada’s performance in Vancouver. After all, it was an Olympics held in prime time. But do you remember what happened in Turin? Did you watch much of that at all hours of the night? Will you stay up to 3 a.m., 4 a.m. to watch in Sochi? And if the NHL chooses not to participate, will you even bother with hockey?

A lot can happen by 2014, but right now, I’d say this Vancouver Winter Olympics was the last great North American party for a long, long time.

Uh, Oh. The Hype is Catching Up

Vancouver, we have a problem.

Earlier this week, CTV’s/TSH’s James Duthie hinted that “We shouldn’t blame the athletes for failing to win medals at these Games. It’s not all about medals.”

Oh, really?

Thursday night, David Pelletier and Elizabeth Manley nearly wept when Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan fell on his behind. The excuses for Chan’s missed opportunity were vomit-inducing.

We talked about this before the Olympics began. The Canadian government started it all with the silly “Own the Podium” program. Then CTV and TSN created that absolutely ridiculous I Believe campaign, suggesting Canada could win the Medal Count (all we had to do was believe) and choosing a group of Canadian athletes that were “destined” to be medal winners.

Many weren’t. Others were.

Regardless, Canada has done very well at the Games. Granted, Canada’s athletes have not owned the podium, but fourth place for a country of 30 million is pretty decent. However, what the national media promised Canadians has not come to pass. Now, the national media is starting to rev up the excuse machine.

No wonder I’ve been watching most of these Games with the mute button on.

Let’s Hope the Hype Doesn’t Bite Our Athletes in the Bottom

As I sat watching the Opening Ceremony at the 21st Olympic Winter Games, all I could think about was this: I sure the media hype doesn’t come back to bite these kids in the ass.

The “Austin Powers” Opening Ceremony was nice (White Go-Go Boots? Interesting choice) last night and Canada’s “I Believe” corps was out in full force. And that’s all good. We want to believe in our athletes.

I just hope that all this pre-Olympic hype doesn’t come back to bite these athletes in the behinds if it turns out that they don’t dominate the podium like we’ve all been promised.

Canada should do well, but there are no guarantees. Let’s cheer for our athletes, but let’s not condemn them for the national media’s insane pre-Olympic hyperbole if things don’t turn out to our liking.

If we don’t win the Games or don’t win all the medals the national media has promised, let’s not be taking it out on the athletes. Make sure we take it out on the people who created the hype machine, not the kids getting all sweaty in our honor.

I will make this vow. Here www.rivercitysportsblog.com and every day on 92-CITI-FM, I will not EVER criticize a Canadian athlete or coach. We all know the athletes will do the best they can and yet m aybe, just maybe, their best isn’t as good as the “I Believe” hype machine guaranteed it would be.

In the meantime, I’ll cheer for the maple leaf and not be too depressed if the Canadian kids don’t win every single medal.

Canada’s Olympic Hockey Team in Flux. Carter Off to Vancouver.

Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman wants Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeff Carter to fly to Vancouver.

That doesn’t mean there is a guarantee that Carter will suit up for Team Canada in next week’s 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, but it’s beginning to appear as if Ryan Getzlaff’s injured ankle might not allow the big Ducks forward to be 100 per cent for the Games.

Gertzlaf will likely play for the Ducks on Sunday night, the last night of the NHL’s regular schedule until the end of the Olympics. If Getzlaf looks shaky or misses a few shifts because of the injury, it’s likely Team Canada will opt to go with a replacement. In Torino in 2006, the Canadians used Wade Redden and Chris Pronger, even though they were both injured and neither one of them played up to the level necessary to win a medal in an Olympic hockey competition. According to Canadian assistant coach Ken Hitchcock, that situation will not occur in Vancouver.

“Earlier today, I contacted Jeff Carter of the Philadelphia Flyers and advised him that in the event that Ryan Getzlaf is unable to take part in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games due to injury, he will take his spot on the roster,” Yzerman said in a written statement. “I asked him to be ready and be prepared to play in case he has to join us in Vancouver later this week.

“In the meantime, we will give ourselves, Ryan and the Anaheim Ducks as much time this week as necessary to determine if he will be able to play for Canada in Vancouver.”

If Getzlaff doesn’t look good on Sunday night, expect Carter to play.

Remember every Team Canada game at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics will be broadcast live on 92-CITI-FM in Winnipeg. The first game is Tuesday night at 6 p.m. as Canada faces Norway.

It’s Week 10 in the CFL and it doesn’t get a whole lot more fun that the Labour Day Classics.

It’s Week 10 and it’s Labour Day Classic Weekend and that in itself is more fun than a human being should be allowed to have.


However, it’s also a very big week for two veteran members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


First, Milt Stegall, a 14-year Bomber star, is just 112 yards shy of the all-time receiving yardage record currently held by Allen Pitts (14,892). Pitts set the mark in 176 career games. Stegall, meanwhile, has played only 172 games in his brilliant career.


Then there is the great Charles Roberts. He is currently only 63 yards short of a place in the exclusive 10,000-yard rushing club. Only four players – Mike Pringle, George Reed, Damon Allen, and Johnny Bright – have gained more yards on the ground than the Bombers’ outstanding tailback.


Individually, Roberts and Stegall might be looking at milestones and records this week, but to be fair, it’s Anthony Calvillo and Henry Burris who are more likely to put up some gaudy numbers. 


Here’s a look at the games coming up in Week 10…


B.C. Lions (4-4) at Montreal Alouettes (5-3)


Friday, 6:30 p.m. CT, TSN


Back in Week 6, Montreal was 2-3 and looking shaky. Here we are, after a bye week and the Als are coming off three straight wins. This is a team that will probably win the East and this week, they’ll very likely improve to 6-3. The Lions have already lost four times this year, after losing only three times last year, but if you go back to the 2007 playoffs, you’ll see that the Lions are a mediocre 4-5 in their last nine and neither Buck Pierce nor Jarious Jackson has shown he can lead a football team for an entire game, let alone an entire season. Back on July 25, B.C. beat Montreal 36-34 in Vancouver, but B.C. is only 1-2 on the road this season. Anthony Calvillo will have a field day.

Pick: Montreal

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-6) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-2)

Sunday, 2 p.m. CT, TSN

It’s been a strange week on the prairies. In Winnipeg, life has been serene. The team is a last-place 2-6, but it’s coming off a big 37-24 win over Hamilton, a win in which quarterback Kevin Glenn called his own plays, got Charles Roberts the football and clearly was the best player on the field. Roberts was pretty good, too, so the Bombers have been strutting around like a 6-2 team. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, has acted like a 2-6 team in the midst of a crisis. Granted, the Riders have 14 players on the DL, have lost two in a row and just traded for a new quarterback (Michael Bishop) and released their old quarterback (Marcus Crandell), but they have no reason to panic. It’s just that you just get the sense that even though Saskatchewan has played better football for most of the season, the Bombers are better prepared for this weekend. 

Pick: Winnipeg

Edmonton Eskimos (5-3) at Calgary Stampeders (5-3)

Monday, 3 p.m. CT, TSN

If ol’ Brain Fart Burris plays a perfect game — something he does seldomly — the Stampeders will put up 60. A couple of interceptions and some bad play calling shouldn’t hurt him, however. He’s the best quarterback in the West and he has so many weapons, it’s almost impossible to beat him. The Stamps can go to 6-3 with a home win this week and they just might find themselves in a tie for first the West. That’s where they should be. The Stamps are coming off a big win IN Vancouver and despite what happened in Edmonton in Week 2 (the Eskimos won 34-31), Calgary is the better football team.

Pick: Calgary

Toronto Argonauts (3-5) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-6)

Monday, 6:30 p.m. CT, TSN

Toronto is a mess and this could be the end of Rich Stubler. When  these two teams played in Toronto in Week 2, the Tiger-Cats eviscerated the Argos 32-13. When they played in Hamilton in Week 7, the Ticats won 45-21. This week, it’s going to be more of the same. Hamilton looked dreadful in Winnipeg two weeks ago, but Toronto has looked worse. The Argos have lost three-of-four and we found out this week that Kerry Joseph is uncomfortable calling his own plays, so that job has been handed to Steve Buratto who has already proven he’s not very good at it. The Tiger-Cats aren’t very good, either, but they’ve sure been good against the Argo-nots. Especially at Ivor Wynne. Stubler will be gone before the re-match, if he doesn’t win this week. 

Pick: Hamilton

Last Week: 2-0

Season: 18-6

What we learned from Week 9: Nothing that we didn’t already know.

I don’t boast when going 2-0. I have been at this gambling thing long enough to know that if you go 2-0 one week, it’s likely you’ll go 0-2 the next. So unlike those gambling tip sites out there, the ones that go through an NFL season at around .500 and scream about how brilliant they are, we won’t brag here just because we had a good week.


Besides, the two outcomes in the CFL West in Week 9 were semi-obvious.


Edmonton, a healthy club with a great quarterback and a decent defence, had an easy time with a Saskatchewan team that still had 16 starters on injured reserve. The Eskimos were at home, too, and in a game that had a chance to be close (even though, in the end, it wasn’t), homefield is still important.


Yeah, yeah, I know, I said throw out all the theories this week, but in games in which the teams (even with one badly injured team) are solidly matched, home cooking will have an affect on the outcome.


We picked Edmonton to win easily on Thursday and the Eskies won 27-10. No surprise. Nothing new.


Meanwhile, on Friday night, in a game in which we thought Calgary would win by two touchdowns, the Stamps won their second straight road game, this time 36-29 in B.C.


B.C. played better than I expected (especially the defence) while Calgary wasn’t as good as I thought. Still the Stamps won a road game by seven points and that’s significant.      


Granted, it was the first time the Stamps have won in Vancouver since Aug. 1, 2002 and they did have to put together their winning drive with just six minutes left, but all in all, Calgary has a team that will contend for the Grey Cup — and they won on Friday in front of 34,000 hostile fans.


Stamps quarterback Henry (Brain Fart) Burris hit Brett Ralph with a five-yard TD throw with less than three minutes in reg. and then, to their credit, the Stamps defence didn’t choke again — like they did in Winnipeg last month. In fact, former Bomber Wes Lysack picked off a Buck Pierce pass with less than a minute to play to save the game for Brain Fart and the rest of the Calgary cowboys.


The Stamps are now tied with Edmonton at 5-3 (just two points back of first place Saskatchewan) and the two teams will play back-to-back games starting on Labour Day at McMahon Stadium. 


I like the Stamps to win two straight and by the seventh of September they’ll be tied with the Roughriders, a team that will be lucky to split with Winnipeg. The Bombers have new life since Kevin Glenn was returned to the starting QB’s position and then allowed to call his own plays by his screaming, out-of-control, apoplectic coach. In fact, with Glenn running the offence, it gives Doug Berry more time to yell at his kicker.


Yeah, that should make the Bombers a threat in the East. Swear some more, Doug.


In the meantime, if Brain Fart Burris ever plays an entire 60 minutes up to his physical and mental capabilities, there is no telling how many points he’ll put up. Burris has the most talent among quarterbacks in the CFL. It’s just that he always does something stupid (or a series of stupid things) to keep opponents in games. 


One of these days, he’s going to be flawless — and that day will be scary.

We called another one: TSN’s collective brain WAS bigger than a walnut.

Some things you just know are going to happen. Between France’s 0-0 snoozer with Romania and the Netherlands’ 3-0 blistering of the undermanned Italians in the European Soccer Championship came the news that you will now hear the Hockey Night in Canada theme, Canada’s second national anthem, on all NHL games and Olympic hockey games televised on TSN from now on.

From TSN’s standpoint that’s not a surprise. Even if you had just a little, tiny, squirrel brain, you could have said to yourself, “If those morons at CBC actually do dump the theme, we’ll pay what we need to pay in order to get the rights.”

In fact, in our Friday blog entitled, “CBC to drop Canada’s “second national anthem” along with Bob Cole. Sad,” we wrote the following: “At first, I lamented CBC’s decision to dump the theme and then I thought, “Well if TSN has a collective brain bigger than a walnut, those folks will start sending cheques to the composer, Dolores Claman, and start using the theme themselves.” TSN’s broadcast crew is already better than CBC’s, they might just as well take the theme music — the best there is and, without argument, Canada’s second national anthem. 

Yesterday, the news story arrived…

TORONTO (CP) — CTV has acquired the rights to the song that’s been CBC’s “Hockey Night in Canada” theme for the past 40 years.

CTV and Copyright Music and Visuals, the company that controls use of the classic song composed by Dolores Claman, announced Monday afternoon that CTV acquired all rights to the song in perpetuity.

The network says it will use the song on NHL broadcasts on TSN, RDS and during the broadcaster’s coverage of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

CTV says it made an agreement in principle Friday with Copyright Music and Visuals after CBC announced a contest to find a new theme song.

The contest announcement followed months of negotiations that failed to result in a new licensing agreement between CBC and the agent. 

CBC lost the rights to the tune because it made a giant error in judgment that will now haunt it forever. 

The press release read as follows:

“The song has a long and storied history in Canadian sports and has become ingrained in the hearts and minds of hockey fans across the country. It is an iconic tune, embraced by Canadians everywhere, and we felt it was imperative to save it. We know we will be in hockey forever, so there’s no doubt this acquisition will create value for us,” said Rick Brace, President, Revenue, Business Planning and Sports, CTV Inc. “It’s an honour and a privilege to own such a cherished piece of Canadiana.


“I am very moved by how so many Canadians have taken the hockey theme to heart. We are so pleased the song has found a new home,” said Claman. “Throughout our negotiations, CTV displayed a tremendous amount of respect for my family and the song. ‘The Hockey Theme’ means so much to Canadians, and we know it’s in good hands with CTV.”


Poor old CBC. They actually hired sports lawyer Gord Kirke on Monday morning to negotiate a new deal. By 3 p.m. on Monday, they’d lost the song forever.


Obviously, the people who run the CBC do not have brains as big as walnuts. Or squirrels. 


However, we must ask: “…and that’s the kind of leadership that our $975 million a year worth of tax money is buying?” 


Sorry. Now, I really have to wonder who has the tiny, little brain.