Eh Game
  • A bad day at the office, and an early exit from Indian Wells for Canadian Vasek Pospisil. (Stephanie Myles/

    INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – That player out on Stadium 6 playing against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan Sunday certainly looked like Vasek Pospisil.

    He wore Vasek Pospisil’s Asics clothes, played with his Wilson racquet.

    But that’s where the resemblance ended.

    This imposter was like Zombie Vasek, a pale imitation of what the 23-year-old from Vancouver looks like when he’s in full flight on a tennis court.

    The 6-0, 6-2 score was a little misleading; a reasonable facsimile of the real Vasek Pospisil only ambled onto court when the score was already 6-0, 4-1 for his opponent.

    The first thought from his followers was that the disc issue in his back that prevented him from participating in the first-round Davis Cup tie against Japan was acting up.

    Read More »from What’s next for Canadian tennis up-and-comer Vasek Pospisil?
  • The last free-agent pitcher standing, Ervin Santana, signed with the Braves.Call it another swing and a miss for Alex Anthopoulos and the Toronto Blue Jays.

    On Wednesday, free-agent pitcher Ervin Santana signed a one-year, $14.1 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Santana was one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason and had been targeted by the Blue Jays. Reports as recently as Saturday said Santana was on the cusp of signing with the team.

    Instead the right-hander is heading to Atlanta to help out a playoff contender that has had its starting rotation torn apart by recent injuries. The signing has to sting a bit for Anthopoulos, the Toronto general manager.

    Anthopoulos has said all the right things this offseason about the team and his decision to make very few changes to a team that won just 74 games last season. He is confident the team can rebound simply by staying healthy and having more depth. But there’s an obvious need for starting pitching on this team. Last year the Blue Jays had one of the worst pitching staffs in the league. They ranked 25th in ERA, 28th in quality starts, 25th in WHIP, 22nd in opponent batting average, and surrendered the second most home runs.

    Santana wasn’t going to fix those problems single handedly. He went 9-10 with the Kansas City Royals last year with a 3.24 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 211 innings. He’s an above average, durable pitcher but hardly a perennial All Star. But he certainly would have helped the Blue Jays, especially on a one-year deal, and would have been a tangible upgrade over whoever is destined for the back end of the rotation. The Blue Jays are built to be competitive now but have fallen way behind in the American League East.

    Read More »from Blue Jays miss out on another pitcher, Ervin Santana signs with Braves
  • Canadian Paralympian Brian McKeever overcame a fall to win gold Wednesday.One fall usually ends your hopes of a medal, but not if you're Brian McKeever. The Canadian cross-country skier crashed 200 metres into the one-kilometre final of the men's visually impaired sprint Wednesday when a Russian competitor stepped on his pole, but managed to get back up again, caught up to the pack over the remaining four-fifths of the race with the help of guide Graham Nishikawa, and wound up finishing first, earning his second gold in Sochi and his 12th Paralympic medal overall. Here's video of his incredible race:

    That's just amazing to watch, especially in such a short race where many likely would have been knocked out of contention completely by a fall. McKeever told The Canadian Press that he never considered giving up after the fall, though:

    "It wouldn't be right for me to tell you what I said in my head, but once the cuss words were out, the only thing you can do is get back up and race," said McKeever. "I thought we were clear, but that is normal and it happens in sprinting when you are all fighting and tight. Everyone is going flat out. It is intense and everyone is at their limit. We are just fortunate it happened in the first 200 metres and not at the end so we had time to catch up."

    Read More »from Brian McKeever overcomes fall to win his second gold of these Paralympics in 1km sprint
  • Manitoba's Mike McEwen at last December's Olympic Trials. (CP)

    A little bit of a wrinkle is being thrown in to this week's Grand Slam of Curling event, in Fort McMurray.

    The free guard zone rule grows by a rock per end and it may just be something that catches on, although it'd be unneccesary if the world of curling weren't so blessed with great ice, lively rocks and increasingly expert play. As well, while it should force more rocks into play much of the time, it does nothing to rid the game of its greatest annoyance; the blanked first end.

    The National, with a field of eighteen teams from all over the world, including the reigning Olympic champions (Team Brad Jacobs) as well as the newly crowned Brier champs (Team Kevin Koe), will employ the much talked about five-rock rule and see how it goes.

    It's not the first time the rule has been trotted out, as it was used at The Canadian Open in 2011, much to the consternation of one Mike McEwen, the Manitoba skip who leads his team into this week's event at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre. McEwen,

    Read More »from Grand Slam of Curling: Five-rock rule comes to The National. Does the game need it or something more?
  • INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The conditions at the BNP Paribas Open Tuesday weren’t exactly what you would hope for as a player when you get to face the world No. 2 and reigning Australian Open champion in a big night match at a big tournament.

    The desert night air cast a chill over a stadium court was empty even with an announced night-session crowd of over 14,000.

    China’s Li Na was visibly uncomfortable with the conditions. But Montreal’s Aleksandra Wozniak couldn’t take advantage.

    On her 11th match point, the top seed in the women’s tournament finally converted a 6-1, 6-4 victory that put her into the quarterfinals.

    “The funny thing is beginning of the game I was feeling tight, nervous, and then I was feeling like. what's going on? Why can't I finish the match?” Li said. “But, how do you say, she never give up so she try to defend every point. Yeah. It's a little bit tedious in the last game.”

    Wozniak, who came in with a WTA Tour ranking of No. 241, leaves with $52,000 in prize money, 120 WTA Tour points and has made up about 60 spots in the rankings.

    Read More »from Aleksandra Wozniak loses to Li Na at Indian Wells, but gets wild card into the Sony Open in Miami
  • (Getty)For Kevin Pangos and his Gonzaga teammates, the West Coast Conference championship at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas was about extending a couple of lengthy streaks.

    Tuesday night's game against Brigham Young was the 17th straight WCC championship game appearance for the Bulldogs. That was just the start notch a win over BYU and they would secure entry into the NCAA tournament for a 16th consecutive year.

    Gonzaga jumped out to a 44-27 halftime lead and while BYU managed to cut the deficit to eight late in the second half, the Zags held on for a 75-64 win and earned their ticket to the Madness.

    Pangos, a native of Holland Landing, Ont., was quiet in the final. He finished with 11 points, all of them coming from the free throw line, as the Bulldogs put the ball in his hands when BYU was forced to foul late in the game to stop the clock.

    A favourite of many Canadian basketball fans thanks to the presence of Pangos and past players like Kamloops' Kelly Olynyk and North Vancouver's Robert Sacre, Gonzaga has become a fixture of March Madness. Their 16 straight NCAA tournament appearances puts the Zags in the same conversation as powerhouse programs, Kansas (24 straight NCAA tournament appearances), Duke (18), and Michigan State (16), and Wisconsin (15).

    Read More »from Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga extend NCAA tournament streak to 16 years after WCC championship game win
  • Canadian Genie Bouchard ran the gamut of emotions during her 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 loss to Simona Halep of Romania. (Stephanie Myles/

    INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The fourth-round match between Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep at the BNP Paribas Open Monday morning was rife with contrasts and potential storylines, which did not go unnoticed by either of the lead actresses in the drama.

    “Yeah, I just hear about her title wins all the time. She's definitely improved a lot. I think she's a really good, solid player,” Bouchard said in previewing the first-ever encounter between the two.

    After Halep pulled out a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory to move into the quarterfinals, the 22-year-old Romanian said that this particular win was very important to her.

    “She's very aggressive. She hits very strong and her serve, it's really, really good serve. She's moving well. So I think she has a complete game,” Halep said. “She will be a tough player in the future. And also she will be a great player, because is very difficult to play against her. … I am happy that I could win.”

    The sub-text for Bouchard’s comment about the tournament titles goes to the essence of the WTA’s overzealous efforts to oversell Bouchard as the fresh, new, attractive blonde face of the WTA.

    Read More »from Eugenie Bouchard’s Indian Wells run ends with close loss to world No. 7 Simona Halep
  • Brian McKeever, right, with guide Graham Nishikawa. (CPC)Simply put, Brian McKeever has been able to continually improve and stay on top of his field because he is a master of adaptation. McKeever increased his career Paralympic gold-medal count to eight on Monday after winning Canada’s first gold medal of the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games in the 20km classic ski race.

    McKeever is a without a doubt one of the greatest winter Paralympians in history. I chatted with him after his race and learned a few of the secrets in his ability to come out on top of the podium, time after time.

    McKeever says he has the brain of an engineer and loves the science behind high performance. McKeever and his coach (also his brother and former guide, Robin McKeever) are completely aware of every aspect that could possibly affect his performance. By working with the top physiologists in the country, they design a specific training program to generate the greatest result. His physiologist will let him know how each workout should make him feel, and what

    Read More »from Brian McKeever wins gold by continuously adapting and thinking outside of the box
  • Jerome Williams is in his first year as head coach for the Findlay Prep Pilots. (RM Imaging)TORONTO – When Jerome Williams was asked in front of a small host of reporters recently if this was where he expected to be nearly a decade after retiring from the NBA, the man better known as ‘The Junkyard Dog’ just smiled and shook his head.

    Coaching high school basketball was never a part of his post-NBA career plan, but nevertheless that’s where the 40-year-old Williams finds himself now – leading the Findlay Prep Pilots from the sidelines.

    “I definitely have a lot of fun here because it involves a lot of things that come naturally [including] community service [and] giving back,” Williams said after Findlay Prep, based out of Henderson, Nev., defeated Bill Crothers Secondary in the first JYD Classic earlier this month at the Air Canada Centre. “Obviously this isn’t a triple-figure job, this is just for the love of the game and that’s why I’m here.”

    Justin Jackson, a sophomore small forward for the Pilots who hails from Scarborough, Ont., says he’s enjoying having someone like

    Read More »from Former Raptor Jerome Williams leads Findlay Prep basketball program on and off the court
  • Aleks Wozniak's winning streak continued at the BNP Paribas Open Monday (Stephanie Myles/

    INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Week by week, match by match – even point by point, Montreal’s Aleksandra Wozniak is slowly getting back to the player she used to be.

    The latest step in that journey back from a shoulder injury that has kept her out most of the last year and a half was a 6-1, 6-7, 6-0 victory over top-20 player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia at the BNP Paribas Open Monday.

    It’s the second seeded player the 26-year-old has knocked out of the tournament, after her third-set tiebreak upset of No. 15 seed Sabine Lisicki in the second round.

    Here's what it looked like:

    “I’m really happy. Nathalie (coach Nathalie Tauziat) tells me I’m progressing, finding my game step by step, that offensive way that I used to play,” said Wozniak, who will meet Australian Open champion Li Na in the fourth round, the top seed in the event because of the absence of Serena Williams.

    “Slowly and slowly, every week, every match I’ve had the past couple of tournaments, they give me confidence, and help me apply that (aggressive) game again, like before.”

    Wozniak was all over Pavlyuchenkova, as talented as anyone out there but prone to mixing poor matches with the great ones, in the first set.

    Read More »from Aleksandra Wozniak joins Eugenie Bouchard in the Indian Wells fourth round


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