Eh Game
  • Feb 2, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Former player Doug Gilmour (93) and Don Cherry (middle) and Ron MacLean (on left) stand for the playing of the anthems after ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of Hockey Night In Canada before the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre. The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs 1-0. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

    The clock is ticking for the CBC on its hopes of retaining Hockey Night In Canada, the property from which all life flows for the national broadcaster.

    But don't count out the mother corporation yet.

    For the second straight time, the CBC is facing a serious threat from from rival Bell Media, namely CTV and TSN, which has set its sights on the country's biggest sports property for almost a decade. And while the private telecommunications powerhouse certainly has the wherewithal to outbid the CBC -- witness the MLSE deal -- there is one factor at play that gives CBC the edge.

    Bell Media wants Hockey Night In Canada. The CBC must have it.

    That factor alone should be enough to enable the corporation to strike a deal before its exclusive negotiation window with the National Hockey League expires at the end of August. That's what happened the last time around, in 2007, when the industry talk had CBC losing the property it has treasured for 60 years.

    But in the end, CBC came up with an extra $40

    Read More »from Don’t expect Hockey Night In Canada to be moving from CBC
  • MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 19: Carol Zhao of Canada plays a forehand in her first round match against Brooke Rischbieth of Australia during the 2013 Australian Open Junior Championships at Melbourne Park on January 19, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

    While tennis royalty along with a fellow Canadian took over centre court at the north end of Rexall Centre on Monday night, little-known Carol Zhao was busy at the opposite side of the complex taking on 31st ranked Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in first round action at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

    Just 24 hours prior, the No. 536th-ranked Zhao recorded an upset victory over Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu to qualify for her first main draw.

    Although the 18-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont. was defeated by the Russian in straight sets (6-1, 6-3), she took it in stride and gave credit to her more experienced opponent. "I think (Monday) my opponent was definitely a better player than me... (I have) lots to learn," Zhao said.

    Zhao showed flashes of her potential early in the second set before being eliminated."In the second set, I found a bit of momentum...I wasn't able to keep it," Zhao said. "Next step is trying to prolong that stretch of momentum."

    It was an extra special long weekend for

    Read More »from Carol Zhao gains valuable experience despite opening-round defeat at Rogers Cup
  • Eugenie Bouchard of Canada returns a shot during her doubles match against Oksana Kalashnikova and Alicja Rosolska during their first round match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto, August 5, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

    Eugenie Bouchard insists she just wants to go out and enjoy herself as she prepares for her first singles match at the 2013 Rogers Cup in Toronto.

    How much fun she actually has will depend a lot on how she deals with more and more attention from fans and the media. As Eh Game writer Chris Zelkovich pointed out in his tournament preview:

    "...there is hope in 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard, who looked as composed as a 30-year-old at Wimbledon. Bouchard is part of a new wave in Canadian tennis, with some impressive juniors and rookie pros giving tennis fans here more hope than they've had in decades."

    Her image looms large outside of the Rexall Centre on the campus of York University, where a massive banner with her name and likeness stretches across the concrete on the east facing facade. Other such promotional posters that line the exterior of the complex include legend Monica Seles, Bouchard's partner in Monday's annual opening night exhibition match, as well the superstar Williams

    Read More »from Eugenie Bouchard gets set for spotlight at Rogers Cup
  • A day after Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko stated that a controversial anti-gay law would be enforced at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Patrick Burke, co-founder of You Can Play, an advocacy group for gay athletes, once again took to the media to condemn the legislation and spoke against an athlete boycott of the Games.

    "Every gay athlete that I have spoken too has said universally that they want to go. There is not one gay athlete that I have spoken too who is competing in these games who is in favour of a boycott or in favour of staying home, gay athletes want to show up, they want to compete they want to show what they can do," Burke said in a television interview with the CBC Friday. "The Russian Laws are based on the ideas that gay people are somehow weaker or wrong, or lesser. If you a win an Olympic gold medal and you are gay doesn't that show exactly the opposite of that."

    Burke helped found the group just over a year ago, after the death of his brother, Brendan, who

    Read More »from Patrick Burke weighs in on Russian anti-gay law ahead of Sochi 2014
  • Murder weapon: The ball that killed a seagull in Toronto 30 years ago. (TSN)

    Ah, yes. As the putrid winds of steroid scandal swirl all about the world of baseball, let's revisit a more innocent time.

    A time before testosterone boosting. A time before weapons of mass construction.

    A time of... murder!

    August 4th, 1983. Exhibition Stadium, Toronto. New York Yankees' outfielder Dave Winfield fires a ball towards the infield as the fifth inning warm up ends. It is a laser toward an innocent bystander.

    That innocent bystander was a seagull. It was killed instantly.

    What happened next set off an international firestorm. Well, as "firestormy" as things could get back before the internet.

    Winfield was arrested. Charged with cruelty to an animal.

    It was the right thing to do. It was entirely the wrong thing to do.

    Thirty years after the incident, TSN presents a look back on that day and the principals involved. Personally, I'd have thought a feature on this would be the answer to a question nobody asked but, in seeing the preview, I'm hooked. For one thing, I always

    Read More »from Murder at the ballpark: TSN revisits Dave Winfield’s killing of a Toronto seagull
  • Looks like Alouettes' kicker Sean Whyte would have a pretty good kick coming out of the hack. (CP)

    Okay, we're now only two players short of forming a pro football players' curling team.

    In the past, we've documented the genuine love that San Francisco 49ers' star Vernon Davis has for the game - including a second stint as honourary captain of U.S. Curling for the Sochi Olympics. We know he's up for it.

    Now we find that Montreal Alouettes' kicker Sean Whyte has an abiding love and respect for the game of curling. Why not? Attempting a field goal is like having the hammer. Scoring a single is just no good. Any curler or placekicker worth their salt will tell you that a three-spot is a beautiful thing.

    Apparently, Whyte's even ready for some work at the 2014 Scotties Tournament Of Hearts, which it just so happens, will be played in Montreal.

    Whyte, who was just named the CFL's Special Teams Player Of The Week based on a 6 field goals performance against the Edmonton Eskimos, tells the Canadian Curling Association's Allen Cameron that his devotion to curling is very real:

    “I respect

    Read More »from Montreal Alouettes’ kicker Sean Whyte loves him some curling. Time for Ricky Ray, Kory Sheets and Alex Hall to step up
  • Le Canadien Milos Raonic (no 4) s'est incliné devant l'Australien Marinko Matosevic 7-5, 7-6 (9/7) au troisième tour du tournoi de Washington, jeudi

    You don't hear much about Robert Bedard and Faye Urban, but they really should be as big a part of Canadian sports history as Pat Fletcher.

    Fletcher, of course, is the guy whose name is disinterred every summer as the last Canadian to win the Canadian Open golf tournament. The winless streak is now at 59 years with no end in sight.

    Urban is the last Canadian to win a singles title at the Canadian Open tennis tournament, now known as the Rogers Cup. She did that in 1969, 11 years after Bedard was the last Canadian man to win.

    But unlike the game with the little white ball, the Rogers Cup does offer some hope for Canadians. In this case, it's Milos Raonic who has a shot at erasing that decades-long drought.

    Raonic is ranked 13th in the world, a high-water mark for Canadian men. And the Rogers Cup could be the kind of tournament he needs to rise even higher.

    Last week, Raonic talked about how important it was to have some time off the competitive circuit leading up to the Montreal

    Read More »from Canadian tennis hopes growing at Rogers Cup — but don’t bet the farm
  • Mimico, the Toronto suburb that Dave Bolland hails from, has always been close to his heart. So much so that minutes after scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks, the gritty 27-year-old forward, still registering the emotions of a late comeback victory - gave a post-game interview shout-out to the Blue Goose Tavern, the local watering hole where friends and family had gathered to cheer on the hometown kid.

    On Thursday, for the second time in his career, the Leafs' new winger brought hockey's ultimate prize to the working class community in southwestern Toronto where it all began. "It's a blue-collar neighbourhood, it's people that work for their money, they work hard for what they do and they like to have fun too," Bolland said. "They like to experience the hockey. They may not be around for Stanley Cups or anything, but when they're at the Blue Goose cheering me on, it's always fun."

    Thousands of boisterous fans of all ages, many of whom were clad in

    Read More »from Dave Bolland brings Stanley Cup to blue-collar Mimico
  • Protests at the Russian consulate in New York. (Canadian Press)Protests at the Russian consulate in New York. (Canadian Press)

    So apparently holding the next winter Olympics in a place known more for its palm trees than its snow cover isn't the only hurdle that needs to be cleared next February in Sochi, Russia.

    Adding to the alleged corruption (imagine corruption at the Olympics!) and gross cost overruns (say it isn't so!) there's the thorny matter of Russia's new anti-gay laws.

    As if the very passing of such discriminatory legislation wasn't enough, Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko assured all on Thursday that Olympic athletes and tourists won't be exempt from them.

    "An athlete of nontraditional sexual orientation isn't banned from coming to Sochi," Mutko told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti in a clumsy attempt to mollify the situation. "But if he goes out into the streets and starts to propagandize, then of course he will be held accountable."

    [Fresh doubts about Russia’s anti-gay law still won’t lead to Sochi Olympic boycott]

    Just what "propagandize" means isn't clear, but under president Vladimir

    Read More »from Russia’s anti-gay laws and Sochi 2014 latest example of Olympics ignoring human rights
  • The Blue Jays were reportedly trying to deal Darren Oliver. (The Canadian Press)The last-place Toronto Blue Jays had obvious needs heading into Wednesday’s trade deadline, but elected to do nothing and use the off-season to try to improve.

    The 4 p.m. deadline came and went without general manager Alex Anthopoulos making any moves. Not that he didn’t try.

    “I don't even know if I want to say that we came close. I would say we had some traction,” Anthopoulos said. “Ultimately it wasn't going to make sense.”

    Anthopoulos is on record as saying trade-deadline day is like last-minute Christmas shopping. Given last year’s shopping spree, he clearly prefers to use the offseason to make his moves.

    With the Blue Jays stuck in last place in the American League East, it looks like he will have more retooling to do come this winter.

    Read More »from Blue Jays stand pat as MLB trade deadline comes and goes

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