Friday, May 20, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts: Winnipeg Thrashers, Dented Trophies, Making Punch

Is it True (North)?

One of the country’s top sports writers caused quite a stir in the hockey world on Thursday night!

While most of us were watching the first period of the Boston/Tampa game, the Globe and Mail's Stephen Brunt was busy putting the finishing touches on an article that would set off a huge chain reaction of denials from everyone involved. According to that report, NHL hockey is heading back to Manitoba, thanks to True North Sports & Entertainment’s acquisition of the Atlanta Thrashers!

The city of Winnipeg was whipped into a frenzy, with a crowd gathering at Portage and Main to celebrate upon reading the news, and Brunt says an official announcement will come as early as Tuesday.

Almost right away, True North issued a statement denying that a deal was in place and the NHL said it hadn’t heard anything about it. It was at about this time that TSN flashed to Gary Bettman in the stands at the St. Pete Times Forum, where he was looking down at his cell phone and shaking his head – was that his reaction to the report? Who knows!

What’s my reaction to the report?

I believe it and I don’t think there’s any reason not to at this point. If the deal wasn’t completely finalized when the article came out, my guess is that it’s probably quite close. How complex could this transaction possibly be? If anything, they’re probably all just upset that someone let the cat out of the bag five days before they wanted to announce it themselves!

Another interesting tidbit from the article suggests that True North wanted to buy the Thrashers all along and the NHL board of governors has already approved the sale and transfer of the team.

From a business standpoint, going after Atlanta actually makes a lot more sense than trying to buy back the Phoenix Coyotes – the Thrashers are valued at about $60-million cheaper than the asking price for the former Jets. Keep in mind too that the group has to pay a relocation fee on top of what they shell out for the team!

Either way, it’s all quite exciting. If the sale goes through, it brings about another list of questions too: What will the team be called? What happens to the Manitoba Moose? Can True North get the MTS Centre ready in time?

It should be a fun summer!

Nice Finnish!

For Pasi Nurminen, being on the coaching staff of his country’s national team has become nothing more than a massive headache…

Finland finished off Sweden in the final of the IIHF World Hockey Championship last weekend, the country’s first gold medal since its first gold medal back in 1995. While most Finnish hockey fans are still celebrating the big win, Nurminen is probably still paying the price for his celebration!

Ouch! If you watch closely, you’ll notice that he actually goes head first into the trophy!

How to make Punch

It was a punchy sort of week in the world of sports, but here are two of the best – one from the world of boxing, where punching is the point, and another from Premiership Rugby in England where it’s frowned upon!

Let’s start out with comedian Daniel Tosh, who enlisted the services of boxing’s pound-for-pound champion, Manny Pacquiao, for a recent segment on his Comedy Central show, Tosh.0.

Rhinestones on his gloves? Classic!

This next video comes to us from one half of the semifinals in English Premiership Rugby where the Leicester Tigers won a bit of a controversial game against the Northampton Saints last week.

Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi will miss the big game after receiving a five-week ban for throwing three punches – including one absolute haymaker – at Northampton winger Chris Ashton on Saturday:

Isn’t the slow motion replay of that punch just incredible? I’m surprised it hasn’t broken YouTube!

Other stuff…

Dutch soccer club Ajax becomes the latest team to drop a trophy from the top of a bus!

The NHL is apparently hoping that hockey catches on in the Middle East and Africa…

Another NFL team says no to HBO’s Hard Knocks

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