Eh Game
  • CBC cuts could spell bad news for amateur sports

    THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

    There's plenty of pain going around CBC headquarters today after management slashed $130 million from its budget and hacksawed 657 jobs from the payroll.

    But pain will be felt elsewhere in the country as a result, and nowhere more so than in the world of amateur sports.

    After losing NHL hockey to Rogers and suffering a shortfall in ratings and advertising for its other properties, the corporation announced deep cuts on Thursday afternoon. Decisions on which jobs will be lost won't be made for a few months, but sports is expected to take a huge hit.

    The main reason is CBC's announcement that it is out of the pro sports business and will carry only those amateur sports that can either produce a profit or break even.

    "CBC and Radio-Canada will no longer compete with private broadcasters for professional sports rights," Hubert Lacroix, president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada said in a statement. "We will also cover fewer events and fewer sports. In addition, our involvement in amateur

    Read More »from CBC cuts could spell bad news for amateur sports
  • The Canadians will field the same squad that was victorious against Serbia in Montreal last February (opencourt.ca)

    Slovakia's top two players, Dominika Cibulkova and Daniela Hantuchova, will not be in uniform when the country travels to Quebec City to play Canada in a World Group I playoff tie April 19 and 20.

    Canada, on the other hand, will have its best– the same squad that easily defeated Serbia in Montreal in February.

    Nominated to the team once again are Eugenie Bouchard, Aleksandra Wozniak, Sharon Fichman and Gabriela Dabrowski.

    The Slovak defections are a familiar story; in February, Serbia was without Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, severely undermanned against Bouchard and a strong Canadian squad. But there’s a big difference this time: the Slovaks have a lot more depth.

    Read More »from Canada’s Fed Cup squad will field its top team against the Slovak Republic
  • Mike Weir and Graham DeLaet walk to the second green during a practice round at Augusta. (Reuters)
    It's a bit much to even suggest that Graham DeLaet can become the second Canadian to leave Augusta wearing a green jacket on Sunday. After all, the country's best golfer hasn't won anything on the PGA Tour yet -- not even a John Deere Classic, Waste Management Open or a Valspar Championship.

    Recording your first victory at the Masters, golf's most prestigious event, might be asking a little more than is possible, especially for a guy playing in the tournament for the first time. Still, there are some pretty knowledgeable golf people who believe the 32-year-old Weyburn, Sask., native has a shot.

    [Thursday's Masters tee-off times]

    One of those certainly should know. Mike Weir, the only Canuck to win the Masters, believes the course sets up nicely for DeLaet.

    "I think Graham obviously has the type of game that can do very well there," Weir said after an all-Canadian practice pairing on Tuesday. "He hits it long, he hits it very high."

    Not only does DeLaet have the kind of game that should

    Read More »from Masters rookie DeLaet carries Canadian hopes at Augusta
  • Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera celebrate Cabrera's home run Sunday against the Yankees.

    While the Toronto Blue Jays are practically everyone's choice for the American League East basement this season, their loyal fans aren't ready to abandon them yet.

    The Jays drew huge numbers, both in the stands and on television, for their first home stand of the 2014 MLB season after a tepid start on the road. Their home opener on Friday pulled in an average of 896,000 viewers on Sportsnet with 3.8 million Canadians watching some or all of the game.

    That's down about half a million viewers from last year's home debut -- also the season opener -- but still an impressive audience considering the low expectations for the team and the fact that it was up against an all-Canadian NHL matchup. In fact, it outdrew that Montreal-Ottawa game on CBC by almost 300,000 viewers.

    When you can beat hockey in Canada, you've got something.

    Things didn't cool off for the Jays over the weekend, with both Yankees games pulling in an average of more than 660,000 viewers. The fact they were playing the

    Read More »from The Great Canadian Ratings Report: Blue Jays bounce back with big numbers
  • The Montreal Expos salute their fans at their final home game in 2004. (Phil Carpenter/Montreal Gazette)The Montreal Expos salute their fans at their final home game in 2004. (Phil Carpenter/Montreal Gazette)

    At Nationals Park in Washington D.C., you will see statues of Josh Gibson, the Hall of Fame Negro League star who played for the Washington-based Homestead Grays; of Walter Johnson, another Hall of Fame member, who pitched all 21 seasons of his baseball career for the Washington Senators in the early part of the 20th century; and of Frank Howard, a feared slugger, also for the Senators, in the late 1960s.

    Both versions of the Senators, the team that left Washington to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961 and the team that left Washington to become the Texas Rangers in 1972, are also saluted in a walkway on the opposite side of the ballpark to the statues.

    What you will not see at Nationals Park is any reference to the direct forebears of the Nationals: the Montreal Expos.

    That is what makes Jonah Keri’s book about the Expos, Up, Up, & Away (Random House Canada, $32), a welcome addition to a baseball fan’s shelf. Sure, the Expos had a dismal history — one playoff appearance in 35 years,

    Read More »from Nos Amours live on in new book about the Montreal Expos
  • Laval won its third Vanier in four seasons in November (The Canadian Press)

    Football is all about adjustments, and staging a Vanier Cup in a highly accessible major media market without giving the colossus Laval Rouge et Or an unfair home-field advantage seems like a good balancing act for Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

    The worst-kept secret in CIS appears to be out. Two weeks ago, word filtered out that the CFL's Montreal Alouettes will take the lead with organizing the 50th Vanier Cup this fall, which will be played on the same weekend as the Grey Cup in Vancouver. On Tuesday, the Alouettes announced they have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday about "an important announcement about Canadian university football" with Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, Als president and chief executive officer Mark Weightman and CIS CEO Pierre Lafontaine.

    Three guesses as to what that could be about. The first two don't count.

    Read More »from Montreal Vanier Cup to be announced Wednesday, tapping Quebec’s passion for CIS football
  • Top Canadian Milos Raonic will be expected to lead his nation when it meets Colombia in Canada Sept. 12-14 for the right to remain in the prestigious World Group. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    The news came shortly after 6 a.m. EDT., from the ITF's offices in London.

    To remain in the Davis Cup World Group for 2015, Canada must defeat Colombia.

    Even better, they get to do it at home.

    The tie will be played Sept. 12-14, right after the U.S. Open final in New York. And the Canadians could have found themselves traveling to India, or Ukraine, or even Uzbekhistan. So this is a very good outcome.

    Later Monday morning, Tennis Canada provided this quote from captain Martin Laurendeau:

    “Our team has demonstrated over the past three years that we are indeed a World Group nation,. We have the entire summer to prepare and get everyone playing their best tennis so that we can take on Colombia in September and keep our place where we believe we belong – among the elite tennis countries in the world. We have been on the road for two straight ties now and it will be nice to be back at home where we can choose the conditions and play in front of a supportive crowd.”

    Colombia is hardly a pushover.

    It boasts two credible singles players in Santiago Giraldo and Alejandro Falla, and a very solid doubles team in Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

    Read More »from Canada gets home-court advantage for crucial Davis Cup World Group playoff tie
  • The road to the top of men's tennis is a bumpy one for Vancouver's Filip Peliwo. (CP/Graham Hughes)

    MONTREAL – When you’re the International Tennis Federation’s junior champion, when you win two junior Grand Slam titles in a year and reach the final in the other two, it would be natural to assume the next steps up the professional ladder will follow, well, naturally.

    And so, the difference between expectations and the brutally competitive reality of the ATP Tour has hit 20-year-old Filip Peliwo fairly hard.

    But a ray of hope struck the Vancouver native, No. 265 in the ATP Tour’s latest singles rankings, in Casablanca on Monday when he qualified for the first Tour-level main draw of his young career.

    Peliwo played the Rogers Cup last year in Montreal on a wild card. This one, he earned all on his own.

    “It was a good match, I did what I had to do to win. Obviously the serving (42 per cent first serves) wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be, but always room to improve tomorrow,” Peliwo told Eh Game via telephone from Casablanca after his 6-1, 6-4 victory over 31-year-old Romanian Victor Crivoi. “I think that this week might be the start of a bit of an upswing,” he added.

    Peliwo will play 32-year-old Filippo Volandri of Italy, another hardened veteran, Monday.

    Read More »from For Vancouver’s Filip Peliwo, the road to the top of men’s tennis is bumpier than expected
  • Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Peter Power)

    There’s only one way Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey can really start to peel away the pain from the 2013 season – pitch like he did against the Yankees Saturday afternoon.

     “He had it working today. The other day in Tampa he wasn’t on, today he was on,” said manager John Gibbons after Toronto’s 4-0 win. “This was a big game for us, he stepped up.”

    It was a bounceback performance for Dickey after he struggled mightily in the season opening loss to the Rays. In that game he gave up six earned runs and walked six batters; on Saturday Dickey faced 25 batters over six and two-third innings and his command was sharp. With the exception of a sidearm knuckleball that got away and hit Fransisco Cervelli and a four-pitch walk to Derek Jeter, he was better able to locate the pitch that can be uncooperative by nature, which resulted in six strikeouts.

    “Part of it’s the pitch. You have to live and die with the pitch. It’s part of what makes it very difficult to do at the big-league level,

    Read More »from R.A. Dickey displays dominant side in Blue Jays' win over Yankees
  • Team Koe leaves The World Championship without a medal. (CP)

    There will be better days ahead for Kevin Koe. Just not with the team he took to Beijing.

    Moments after Canada's deflating, 7-5, World Championship bronze medal game loss to the Swiss on Sunday, the skip confirmed, during a post-game interview on TSN, that he would be moving on without mates Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft and Pat Simmons.

    “I think it’s fairly obvious, this is our last hurrah," Koe said.

    Obvious, yes, because the rumours of his team's break up had been swirling through the winter breezes most of the curling season, tempered slightly with a Brier win, but then all but confirmed when two other skips outed Koe's plans for next season.

    "We really wanted t go out with a win," continued Koe. "We’re great friends. I love playing with the guys, and, you know, I love ‘em all. To go out the way we did is disappointing but we’ve had a great run over the years."

    Ultimately, Koe, Simmons, Rycroft and Thiessen will have one more chance to go out with a bang as they are scheduled to

    Read More »from Canada bows out at the World Men’s Curling Championship. Kevin Koe confirms the end has come for his team

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