Tyson could have and should have been an all-timer, but his inability to control his life in boxing and outside boxing, meant he was more name than sporting figure of historical significance.
THIS AND THAT
The weird part about this Stanley Cup final: It’s hard to picture either the Vancouver Canucks or the Boston Bruins as champions. Neither seems to fit the bill. The hard-to-like Canucks have come this far without huge contributions from their best players. The Bruins are this far without a legitimate star forward in their lineup. Somebody’s going to win — and it’s not going to feel right to me no matter which team it is ... The first dumb thing the new Winnipeg franchise has done is not keeping Rick Dudley as general manager. The next dumb thing will be the likely firing of coach Craig Ramsay ... Went on vacation and all that happened was
Atlanta moved to Winnipeg; Colin Campbell resigned his post; Christie Blatchford changed newspapers; Jay Triano got whacked but re-assigned; Shaquille O’Neil retired and my friend, Howard Berger, who’s done nothing but earn the trust of those he covered the past two decades, got fired by his radio station. Am I missing anything? ... If I’m Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk, I’m trading Brad Richards before July 1st. Better to get something for him than nothing come free agent time ... Should the Bruins come back and win the Cup, it will make the sixth Boston championship — two Patriots, two Red Sox, one Celtics, one Bruins — since the Leafs were last in the playoffs.
HEAR AND THERE
A little perspective, please, on Jose Bautista. Last I checked, which was minutes ago, he was leading or tied in he American League in batting average, runs scored and home runs. If he has a slow week or so, so be it ... The most intriguing upcoming free agent: Kevin Bieksa: Some nights he looks all-world and some nights he looks like he’s from another planet ... This morsel comes courtesy of CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, one of my favourite online read: Bet you didn’t know that Zdeno Chara’s mother was 1991 Czechoslovakian Hair Stylist of the Year ... Somebody should say this: Alan Ashby, whom I never cared for as a Blue Jay player, is the best thing to happen to Jays’ broadcasting in years ... Never understand why teams do this but ex-Raptor Mark Jackson, who has never coached before, has been hired as coach of the Golden State Warriors. Only thing in Jackson’s favour: He played for Larry Brown, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Lenny Wilkens, and Lou Carnesecca, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame ... One more Jackson fact: He wouldn’t have taken the job without having Mike Malone as his assistant coach. Malone is the son of Day 1 Raptors coach, Brendan Malone, and Leo Rautins’ assistant with Team Canada.
SCENE AND HEARD
Right now, Tim Thomas has to be favoured to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, no matter who wins the Cup. The last player from a losing team to win the Conn Smythe was the soon-to-be-free agent, J-S Giguere ... So now, the Phoenix Coyotes don’t have an owner, ticket buyers or a goalie ... Ok, so I majored in cynicism in university but I wonder, when John Farrell and Don Wakamatsu signed on to manage and coach the Jays, did they include a clause in the contracts that indicated that their sons had to be selected in the June baseball draft? ... No matter how this Jays season unfolded, it was going to centre on how Adam Lind and Aaron Hill rebounded off terrible seasons. Lind is back in form but of all that is worrisome about Hill, none more than this: While hitting in the middle of the lineup, Hill is ninth on the team in runs scored. So he’s not hitting for power, average or scoring ... Lawrence Frank is a decent candidate to coach the Raptors. After all, he outcoached Sam Mitchell in his one playoff series against Toronto ... Sunday advice: If you’ve never been on a cruise before, go ... Belated congratulations to my friend, colleague, mentor and travelling companion, Terry Jones, who is this year’s winner of the Elmer Ferguson Award, which only makes official what we already knew: The man they call Large is pure Hall of Famer on so many different levels.
AND ANOTHER THING
Every kid who ever got kicked around minor hockey should appreciate what Chris Tanev is doing with the Canucks. If you believe, never give up on yourself ... HBO Canada will be airing the John McEnroe-Bjorn Borg documentary: Fire and Ice. Strange fact: McEnroe and Borg met only 14 times in their careers, a far cry from the 80 times Chris Evert played Martina Navratillova ... Just finished reading The Extra 2%, Jonah Keri’s superb and intricate book on the rise of the Tampa Bay. This should be mandatory reading for any Blue Jay fan interested in the detailed process of building major league teams and the goal of trying to compete to with the Red Sox and the Yankees... A travel note: My guide in Naples, who claimed to be a big sports fan, had never heard of Andrea Bargnani but our guide in Barcelona smiled at the mention of Jose Calderon ... Have the Red Sox stopped scoring yet? ... Happy birthday to Flyin’ Fred Curry (68), Marv Albert (68), Desai Williams (52), Steve Bauer (52), Jim Nabors (81) and Nigel Wilson (41) ... And hey, whatever became of Jyrki Lumme?
FINDING A NO. 1 CENTRE
Brian Burke’s search for a first-line centre will not be accomplished without great difficulty.
Of the top 10 scoring centres in the NHL, only Brad Richards is available come July and he’s likely looking elsewhere. Of the rest of the Top 30 scoring centres, Jeff Carter is available, but rumours have him going to Columbus and there is the possibility that Jason Spezza or Vinny Lecavalier could be had, because of bad contracts, but after that, what?
That’s the difficulty for Burke as he tries to move forward with the Maple Leafs. You can live without a first line centre if you have the kind of depth the Bruins have at forward. But the Leafs need a go-to-guy to move the puck and create offence. They know that. Finding him is the real challenge.
SNIDER’S POWER OUTAGE
The one thing Travis Snider could always do is hit home runs.
Sometimes the rest of his game didn’t work, but the power seemed to be the largest part of his arsenal.
Until this year.
Snider hit just one homer with the Jays before being sent to Las Vegas, where he has hit only two in the home run happy Pacific Coast League. That’s three home runs in 248 at bats. This coming after hitting 67 home runs between Toronto and his minor league stops the past three seasons.
This is Snider’s sixth pro season after being a first round pick in 2006. The time has come to start wondering and worrying if he’s ever going to live up to his billing.
Among those picked before him in the draft: Tim Lincecum and Evan Longoria, to name two. The player chosen directly after him, Max Scherzer, has won seven games with Detroit this year.
As for Snider, the wait continues and the most recent evidence has to be troubling for the Jays.