It was a benchmark season for the Edmonton Rush this year in the National Lacrosse League - their first playoff game, their first playoff win and now some individual accolades for members of the organization.
First up, Derek Keenan took home his second GM of the Year Award and his second Les Bartley Award as coach of the year (sharing it with Washington Stealth coach Chris Hall). On the field, Brodie Merrill is the NLL's Transition Player of the Year after putting up 17 goals (tying a career high) and 36 assists (a career high), while picking up 190 loose balls. Merrill was also the only Edmonton Rush player named to the league's All-Pro team, earning First Team honours.
It looks like the Rush are definitely heading in the right direction after a pretty darn good year - they were just a game away from playing for the NLL's Champion's Cup this season and I'm sure they're looking forward to next year.
Good work fellas!
Not Doing Enough?
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Willie Mitchell is sounding off on NHL Vice President Colin Campbell over what he calls the inconsistent way the league handles head shots.
Speaking for the first time since he was sidelined in January by an Evgeni Malkin hit from behind, Mitchell said he was disappointed in the league and in Campbell, who didn't fine or suspend the Penguins forward for the hit. Mitchell missed the rest of the season and the playoffs with a concussion.
"As we've seen (he's) been very inconsistent with how he's handled himself in those situations," Mitchell said, referring to a long list of suspensions and non-suspensions that have us all scratching our heads trying to figure out what is and isn't allowed. Here's the dagger though:
"I think the league needs to, along with our players' union, take a look at how they run the discipline in the league. Colin Campbell had a lot of relationships with general managers and ownership and stuff like that. It's very tough to hand down decisions on matters like this when you are friends with people."
Mitchell's solution? Bring in a third party to make the discipline decisions.
You know what, I think that's a pretty good idea. It's clear the league has lost a handle on how to keep players in line and I'd say they've probably lost the confidence of their fans. Head shots will be a part of the game until the league makes it too uncomfortable for players like Matt Cooke to bare.
Until then though, we'll just keep spinning the Wheel of Justice.
Cheering for the Enemy
The Toronto Star's Cathal Kelly penned (or typed, I guess) a piece on Wednesday ahead of Montreal's series clinching win over the Penguins that gave me a good little laugh.
It was called "7 reasons Torontonians can't root for the Habs tonight," proliferating and reasserting Toronto's hatred for it's fellow Original Six team (the better, more successful one). It starts by saying if aliens show up to take over the planet, he'll stand and fight - but if they announce that the Habs are the first to go, he's willing to talk.
Now, I like this not only because it's funny - but also, I don't like the whole "Canada's team" argument. Just because a Canadian team is left that isn't yours doesn't mean you should drop any hatred you have for them just so a Canadian team wins!
Some other gems from this article include Kelly pointing out that either way, people in Montreal will riot and break stuff, and the possibility that a popular French Canadian singer might feel a "sudden infusion of creative vigour" should the Habs win.
King of the Cavs-stle?
Pardon the lame title - but this is a serious issue for Ohio sports fans.
Despite a 27 point, 19 rebound, 10 assist performance by LeBron James on Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers bowed out of the NBA playoffs with a 94-85 loss to the Boston Celtics, losing the series four games to two.
With the Cavs out of the playoffs, the King James era in Ohio could be over. LBJ is a free agent this summer, along with big names like Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, and if he leaves that'll deal a huge blow to the Cavs obviously...but it wouldn't be the first time the city has suffered.
Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg wrote this week that "good sports things never happen in Cleveland" as he discusses the prospect of a LeBron-less Cavaliers team. He's right - the last Cleveland team to win a championship was the 1964 Browns - that's 46 years ago!
The article is definitely worth a read, but this pretty much sums up what it's like to be a Cleveland sports fan: "long periods of suffering broken up by brief periods of feeling hopeful, followed immediately by worse suffering."
If LeBron James leaves the Cavaliers, it'll be just another thing to add to the list.
It has come to my attention that former MLB superstar and noted steroid user Mark McGwire has been stripped of one of his highest accolades.
Unfortunately for purists of the game, it wasn't any of McGwire's baseball-related accolades - it was his highway.
USA Today reports that Missouri lawmakers gave final approval on Thursday night to rename the "Mark McGwire Highway," a stretch of the I-70, in St. Louis. It was renamed in 1998 after McGwire hit 70 home runs in what was a historic season until Barry Bonds broke his record in 2001. They're replacing the slugger-turned-batting-coach with Missouri author Mark Twain, who the highway was originally named after.
I wonder if there's anything named after Bonds?