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North Sports is excited to welcome Mark and LaToya to the team! Mark is a proud country hick with the literary savvy of a true jaded urbanite. LaToya is a sharp witted Alberta gal with an insatiable love for her hometown Flames. As a Leaf fan, this makes me sick.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dear All Sports Fans: There Isn’t a Conspiracy Against Your Team

It’s inevitable. You’re going to hear it from every sports fan.

“Why does the league hate my team?”

While I’m mainly a hockey follower, I don’t doubt that this is a common statement from every fanbase of a professional sports league.

“Well maybe if the NBA wasn’t busy humping the Lakers every 2 seconds…”

“Nothing is going to be done about it, the league hates the Canucks”(side note: it’s not the league; it’s self-respecting hockey fans).

“Crosby is only raking in the points because the league wants him to be their poster boy and therefore ensures that he is given the best opportunities to score, especially against Philly.”

“Penalties always get called on the Flames, and we never get any opportunities.” Maybe we’re just selectively trying to forget how awful their power play is.

Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard people say these things before. Well, I may have altered them a bit into proper English. We all know many of these people aren’t intelligent enough to properly use “therefore” or “ensures.”

Fact: every sports league is inconsistent in their rulings, reffing, etc. Yes, it’s true that Gary Bettman seems relentlessly determined to prevent another hockey team from coming to Canada, but is he behind the delayed return of the Stanley Cup to here? I sincerely doubt it. And don’t get me wrong; I’m no Bettman fan.

This was most recently heard in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs while the Canucks were playing the Blackhawks. You see, their loss had nothing to do with the fact that Roberto Luongo nearly shit his pants anytime Dustin Byfuglien was within 20 feet of his crease. It did, however, have everything to do with the fact that Bettman didn’t want them to have the Cup. I guess that’s one way to excuse 40 years of mediocrity. Or you could just retire another number and again dedicate it to “the fans.”

Even more hilarious are the “rumours” surrounding Sidney Crosby’s relationship with the league. You see, he’s the poster boy. He’s the money-maker. He’s the man. The fact that he has been practicing hockey practically since he was in the womb is irrelevant; he’s clearly favoured. In every single game. Nothing to do with talent at all.

That’s why the league threw the book at David Steckel, right? Oh wait….

Lastly, and perhaps, most hilarious, involves the recent debacle surrounding Tom Kostopoulos and Brad Stuart. After watching the jaw-shattering hit on Stuart, there wasn’t doubt in anyone’s mind (anyone with a brain) that Kostopoulos was going to be suspended. After all, injury? Wham. On a Detroit player? Double whammy.

But because the league took longer than two minutes to determine Kostopoulos’ fate, the league was secretly sabotaging the Detroit Red Wings for being too good. Yes, the WINGS.

Actual quote from Wings fan: “I don't expect the league to look at this. If I am not mistaken, the player that got hit is wearing a Wings jersey.”


I mean, of all teams, the Wings are at the centre of a conspiracy? You mean the team that’s offered multiple power plays a game? The team that, for reasons unknown to others, is seemingly allowed to have every single player on the roster bark at the ref?

Yes, I am trying to drift away from the conspiracy theory crap, but the Wings most certainly get a lot of favourable calls. Not only this, but really Wings fans, what the hell do you have to complain about? It’s not enough that this team has practically dominated since drafting Steve Yzerman? Detroit has been a damn good team for so long that it’s unfair, and suddenly because the league doesn’t suspend every player that touches a Red Wing for 40 games, there’s a conspiracy against Detroit?


I hope they all felt like morons when the league announced a six-game suspension of Kostopoulos five seconds later.

So, all sports conspiracy theorists, listen here. Every team has been subjected to lopsided reffing and ruling. Some more than others, but that’s just the way it goes. In the NHL, you spin the wheel of justice and get what you get.

Instead of whining, just accept that your team sucks. Or that you suck. Or both.

Our hockey media: nauseating

TSN's Darren Dreger, a guy I normally like, er... don't hate... set off a firestorm last week when he reported the Pittsburgh Penguins let Sidney Crosby play with a concussion.

The Penguins claim Crosby suffered the injury on a hit by Victor Hedman in a game against the Lightning. Dr. Dreger and some guy from Sportsnet nobody has ever heard of say it happened one game earlier, on the David Steckel cheapshot (my words, not theirs) in the Winter Classic.

Some idiot who writes for Sun media chimed in with his own two cents about how the Penguins organization has to live with its decision.

The fact that these insiders/Neurosurgeons went as far as to even suggest the Pens let their FRANCHISE play with a concussion against Tampa is just a little bit on the ridiculous side. Do you really think the Penguins and their medical staff would put Crosby and their entire season at risk by doing something so foolish? The answer is no, you don't think that.

This is just the latest example of TSN trying to make something out of nothing, basically trying to create news where there is none, or at least none of severe stature.

I understand they have a job to do, but over the last couple of seasons the network has become sort of a hockey news whore. The sad thing is, TSN is still the best of the bunch when it comes to covering the game in Canada. Really though, look at their competition:

You have Sportsnet trying WAY too hard with their "business-casual" looking anchors. Actually I don't even know if their still doing that, I haven't watched Sportsnet since the FIRST time I saw Bill Watters in a blazer and blue jeans. By now, Sportsnet could have its on-air people wearing the black framed-Taylor Swift-nerdy-look at this f*&$ing hipster-glasses and skinny jeans.

Then you have The Score, who, when it comes to hockey, isn't even trying anymore. They are a basketball and MMA channel now, and that is about it. Besides classic wrestling, there is no reason to watch that network.

CBC has become almost unwatchable. Don Cherry continues his descent into senility to the point now where is quite evidently a bigot and racist (PK Subban isn't allowed to show confidence). The Satellite Hotstove used to be my favourite part of HNIC, but now its a weekly cock measuring contest between Mike Milbury, Pierre LeBrun and Glenn Healy. Jeff Marek is a dweeb and the biggest jock sniffer on television. PJ Stock and Kelly Hrudey are the only reasons I even consider not flipping channels during the intermissions.

So unless you have the NHL Network, which is just a TSN subsidiary anyway, you're left with uber geek James Duthie hosting another tired, played out panel discussing head shots for the 674th consecutive broadcast.

Too much of something good, even when that something is hockey, isn't always a good thing. Actually, it is terrible.

God: Creator of Worlds, Decider of Super Bowls

No wonder this planet is going to Hell, God is way too busy fixing the Grammy's and deciding who wins the Super Bowl to bother fighting the forces of Evil.

I'm looking at you David Caruso. If God was paying attention then clearly your inexplicable acting career would have ended after the release of Kiss of Death and before Jade.

Now we're left with this.

Satan 1—God 0

But I digress.

What happened to you God? You used to be cool.

Over 13 billion years ago (or 4000, but lets not split hairs), God created the Universe.

This vast entity comprises everything perceived to exist physically, the entirety of space and time, and all forms of matter and energy.

God did that. Even Bono would bow down to that guy.

But eventually being awesome just gets old.

Apparently bored with Dinosaurs, God made Man in His image, and soon thereafter he proceeded to get all up in our business.

When He wasn't destroying cities because of their penchant for kinky sex (Gen 16:24), he was killing dudes for pulling out (Gen 38:10).

My personal favorite: After being led around the desert for 40 years, a few people had the audacity to issue a complaint. So instead of explaining why the Land of Milk and Honey was so bloody tough to find, He did what He does best: He killed all 100 of them (Num 11:1). Whining is the Devil's work.


After killing 30,000,000 of us I guess He realized that we're a stubborn bunch. So 2000 or so years ago he sent us Jesus to deliver a much kindlier, gentler message.

Your basic spiritual Good Cop, Bad Cop.

However, if there's one thing present day Americans and first century Canaanites have in common, its their mutual hatred for peace and love hippies.

So we killed Him. We like our God angry, it seems.

Then for 2000 years nothing happened.

OK fine, we made a few sculptures and invented physics. But that's basically it.

Then a strange thing happened. As it became increasingly apparent that Man would never aspire to the lofty standards God had set for us (it seems we just can't stop killing each other or banging our neighbor's wife), we did the only thing we could.

We brought God down to our level.

No longer content with praying for good health and bountiful crops, we turned Him into a partisan sports fan with a Hip Hop fetish.

Once upon a time, God was the creator of the universe. Now he's producing Whitney Houston albums and running numbers for the Gambino Crime Family.

So America, when the next calamity hits (hurricane, oil spill, a second season of Jersey Shore), get off your knees and stop wasting the Lord's time with prayers imploring Him to decide the outcome of the Super Bowl.

Besides, we all know that God is a Dolphins fan anyways.