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Non-Hockey Chatter / "Happy Canada Day!" 2018
« on: July 01, 2018, 12:29:52 AM »
Happy Birthday, Canada, our lovely nation!

..and to all at TMLfans, a happy Canada Day weekend!

Before the start of the Russia 2018 World Cup of soccer, FIFA, the sport's governing body, announced the winning bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

The "United 2026" bid, which won out over Morocco, consists of three host nations -- Canada, Mexico, and the United States.  Never before have three countries together hosted a World Cup event.

The 2026 World Cup will be comprised of 48 qualifying countries -- 7 more countries will be added as qualifiers -- up from the traditional 41 nations and more than any other World Cup in history.

The United States will host the bulwark of the games, 60 games out if the total of 80 (which includes the Quarterfinals and onward).
Canada and Mexico will each host 10 games (for a total of 20).

For the ten games to be played in Canada, three Canadian cities will share the duties -- Edmonton, Montréal and Toronto.  Only Toronto and Montréal will need upgrades (Olympic Stadium is due for upgrades that will cost in the millions, and Toronto's BMO Field, the home of the Toronto FC of the MLS will need some seating expansion).  Edmonton's Commomwealth Stadium is all but ready.

Three cities in Mexico will also host the 10 games.

An exciting time indeed for the many soccer fans in Canada in particular, since our country has never hosted or co-hosted a Men's World Cup event with the exception of the Women's World Cup which was held in 2015.

It is unclear if Canada, as one of the host nations, will have automatic entry.

General NHL News & Views / 2018 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship
« on: April 28, 2018, 06:26:54 PM »
This year's Men's Worlds will be played in Denmark -- in the cities of Copenhagen & Herning -- from May 4th to May 20th, 2018.

Here are the Canadian roster selections: (more to come)


Connor McDavid                (Edmonton)
Ryan Nugent Hopkins        (Edmonton)
Book Horvat                      (Vancouve)
Jean-Gabriel Pageau          (Ottawa)
Jordan Eberle                    (NY Islanders)
Anthony Beauvilliers          (NY Islanders)
Matthew Barzal                 (NY Islanders)
Ryan O'Reilly                     (Buffalo)
Jaden Schwartz                 (St. Louis)
Brayden Schenn                (St. Louis)


Aaron Ekblad                     (Florida)
Colton Parayko                  (St.Louis)
Joel Edmundson.               (St. Louis)
Vince Dunn                       (St. Louis)
Ryan Pulock                      (NY Islanders)
Thomas Chabot                 (Ottawa)


Darcy Kuemper                  (Arizona)


Bill Peters                          (Carolina)


Mike Yeo                            (St. Louis)
Bob Boughner                     (Florida)


Sean Burke
Martin Brodeur

Non-Hockey Chatter / Easter 2018
« on: April 01, 2018, 02:14:36 AM »
To all at TMLfans..

Okay, here are the games for this round.  Deadline is Saturday 7pm.  All times EST.

Good luck everyone!   :)

Sat. March 31

Winnipeg @ Toronto             - 7pm
Montréal @ Pittsburgh          - 7pm
NY Rangers @ Carolina         - 8pm
Minnesota @ Dallas              - 8pm
Edmonton @ Calgary           - 10pm
San Jose @ Vegas                - 10:30pm

Ok Blue Jays Talk / 2018 Toronto Blue Jays General Season Thread
« on: March 29, 2018, 12:10:24 AM »
                                                         Okay everybody, it's time for....

The Toronto Blue Jays start their Opening Day 4 game series against the New York Yankees tomorrow at the Rogers Centre.  (Thursday March 29th -Sunday April 1st).

Many baseball pundits have pegged the Blue Jays for a third place finish in the A.L. East, behind the Yankees & the Boston Red Sox.  Some even say that the Jays could challenge for a Wildcard spot (perhaps the second WC spot).  Perhaps.  But first, the season...

As any Bkue Jay fan can relate, last season (2017) can be termed once again as the season from hell, the cursed season, etc., and rightly so.  With the Blue Jays having lost so many man games to injury, more than any other team in the Major Leagues, it sure can be described that way.  Sanchez's blistered finger, Devon Travis out, Tulo on & off, the list was endless.
Enough.  That is over.

New season, no new injuries, new hopes (kind of), clean slate.
Pitcher Aaron Sanchez has had a blister-free Spring, while fellow starter Marcus Stroman has battled a slight shoulder inflammation though nothing that would hamper his start.  The lone Blue Jay on the shelf is Troy Tulowitzki, no date for his return yet.  Teammate Devon Travis finally appears healthy though Manager Gibbons will play him wisely.

There are a few additions to the Jays roster.   Almedmys Diaz (St.Louis Cardinals) and Yangervis Solarte both infielders giving Gibbons options on subsituting Travis for Diaz at 2b for example.  Other signees were outfielders Curtis Granderson (former Mets & Dodgers); & Kevin Grichuk;  Starting Pitcher Jaime Garcia (who has played for a slew of geams); Korean Relief Pitcher Seung-hwan Oh (St.Louis Cardinals); Infielder Gift Ngoepe.

Adios to Jose Bautista, franchise icon who became a UFA at the end of last season and un re-signed by Toronto.  Teoscar Hernandez, who was one of the Minor Leaguer September callups last year, will remain a fixture with the team.  Hernandez, who plays LF certainly can help the Jays in that regard with his blazingly fast long bomb throws and his speed from that position.

Jays top prospects Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will return to Double A.  Guerrero Jr., the son of Montréal Expos legend Vladimir Guerrero, impressed in Spring Training this year batting over.500, and was given an ovation by the Montręal fans,  when the Blue Jays played St.Louis in this week's final exhibition games at the Big O in Montréal.  The future beckons...

So, tomorrow's the start of a new campaign for the Blue Jays and the Jays faithful not just here in Toronto, but all across the country and Canadian baseball followers the world over, will be cheering and chanting...

                                                             ...LET'S GO BLUE JAYS!

Former Leafs: Ex-Files / Carlo Colaiacovo: Where are you, Carlo?
« on: March 02, 2018, 03:16:34 AM »
The name Carlo Colaiacovo conjures up images to Leafs fans in one  Such as in the big fail of a young, promising prospect who was supposed to thrive in his career here in the Blue & White jersey. 

Colaiacovo, as Leafs fans remember, played briefly in his tenure here in Toronto (2005-6 season).  The Italo-Canadian hometown talent just could never seem to escape his many injuries sustained, injuries that included but limited to, a concussion.  Constant admissions to the DL is another reason for his short stint with the Leafs traded him to the St.Louis Blues (the first of what would be several teams he would play for).

(Colaiacovo and Alexander Steen were traded to the Blues for Lee Stempniak in 2008.  Among the worst of Leaf trades for that year as Steen's career took off with St.Louis and he's still a Blue today, while Stempniak fizzled out with the Leafs).

So, after playing out his career (with Detroit, St.Louis again, Philadelphia, Buffalo), Colaiacovo did what so many ex-NHLers have done -- move to Europe, more precisely Mannheim, Germany.  There, today at age 35, his career enjoying a resuscitation playing for Adler Mannheim, Colaiacovo would have it no other way.  He's found new life playing hockey again in Europe where the ice surface is larger, and skating is de riguer, quite a different game from the NHL one.

As mentioned earlier, many ex-NHLers play overseas.  With the emphasis on the youth movement, and veteran players feeling left out or simply not capable of catching up or fitting in with the game here anymore, players find new life playing Euro hockey.

As Colaiaicovo states in the article, where he lives in Germany, people seem less stressed and seem to embrace life differently.  His family moved with him this year and on the Adler Mannheim roster, there are Canadian and American-born players there which helps break down language barrier communication.

Happy for Carlo.  Wishing him all the best.

Here's the story:

Here are this round's games.  Deadline is Saturday 7PM.  All times Eastern.

Good luck, all!  :)

Saturday Feb.24

Boston @ Toronto                 - 7PM
Pittsburgh @ Florida              - 7PM
Tampa Bay @ Montréal          - 7PM
Chicago @ Columbus             - 7PM
Winnipeg @ Dallas                 - 7PM
Edmonton @ Los Angeles       -10PM

Non-Hockey Chatter / Valentine 2018
« on: February 14, 2018, 03:12:11 AM »

Happy Valentine's Day, TMLfans!

The Men's Ice Hockey event gets underway on Wednesday (Feb.14).

Team OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia) vs Team Slovakia; Team USA vs Team Slovenia: and Team Germany vs Team Finland.

For dates, time, & schedule, click here:

The Women's Ice Hockey event got underway on Saturday:

Team Sweden squeaked by Team Japan 2-1.

Meanwhile, Team Switzerland whitewashed Team (South) Korea (featuring several North Korean players) 8-0.  Team Korea made history in it's first-ever hockey opener.

The "unified' Team Korea,  (featuring twelve players from the North alongside their South Korean brethren),  was greeted with a thunderous reception by the crowd of specators in the Kwandong Hockey Centre.  In attendance were some North & South Korean officials as well as IOC President Thomas Bach, and Kim Yo Jong, sister of N.Korean strongman Kim Jong Un.

Source:   BBC Sports

Sunday's games will feature Team Canada vs Team OAR (Olympic Athletes from Russia); Team USA vs Team Finland.

Friday night, the town of PyeongChang, South Korea, a community of 40,000+ residents, welcomed the world to the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at newly-built PyeongChang Stadium.

It was a ceremony that could be termed 'simplistic' yet hi-tech, complete with pyrotechnics that stunned, fire-dancers that twirled,  etc,. lots of choreography interspersed with hi-tech effects that awed and stunned viewers and audiences alike.  It certainly was a testimonial to the small-budget type of ceremony that carried not a dull moment with it's trimmed and admirable presentation.

Of course, there was the usual Parade of Nations, a throng that would never seem to end.  Not that it should, since every country was present, with the flag bearers proudly displaying their respective nations' flags.  Canada, whose athletes came in towards the ending of the parada of nations, had Scott Moir & Tessa Virtue as the official flag-bearers, and they were none the prouder, as Canada became the first country in Olympic history to have both a female and a male as flag-bearers at once.

Who can forget the Tongo's shirtless (and well-oiled) flag bearer, Pitas Taufatofua.  Yes, him again.  Something to get tongues wagging all right.  Kudos to him for braving the cold!

But the moment the entire stadium was waiting for was the last country -- the host nation -- to march, and there they were, the two Koreas marching under the 'Unification Flag'.  The IOC and the (South) Korean Unification Ministry agreed to commission and invite several North Korean athletes to cross the demarcation line and participate in these Olympic Games as a symbol of openness and dialogue.

Whether this strikes a chord with communist North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un remains to be seen, though several North Korean government delegates along with Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong,  were in attendance.  Strongman Jong Un and his obsession with nuclear ballistic missile testing and his desire  to annihilate the West (namely the United States) with his threats of war, has left the world (and particularly neighbouring Japan & South Korea) on the precipice of tension and uncertainty.  By no means should this gesture of 'unity' be seen as making any inroads into a truce or peace initiative.  What happens after all of this Olympic fanfare is over remains to be seen.

That said, there were violent protests in the streets in South Korea prior to the opening of the games where anti-North Korea protesters clashed with police, in disagreement with the North Korean invite.  Many do not want the Communist state's values to encroach or tinker with the democratic and diversified South Korean nation.  Many do not believe any of what has taken place nor what is to come (at these Olympics) will modify or soften strongman Jong Un's motives.

North Korea's athletes will be participating in only five sporting events -- one of them being the Women's Ice Hockey portion of these Olympiads.  The North and the South will play as one team, one 'unified' country.  It has been reported that Kim Jong Un's grandfather was a fan of the sport.  Yes, you read it right.

For many cynics, the Olympics, whether Summer or Winter versions, represent cynicism, cronyism, and most of all, hypocrisy at the highest level.  At the last Winter Olympics in
Sochi (Russia) in 2014,  Team Russia became embroiled in a doping scandal of great proportions amid allegations of  government-sanctioned state-wide doping.

Eventually forty-three Russian athletes were banned from participating in future Winter Games (such as these).  They appealed to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sports) and of those, the bans were reduced to twenty-eight.  From those twenty-eight, eleven appealed.  To make a long story short, so to speak, the IOC upheld the ban of only thirteen  and allowed the rest to participate.  In fact, Team Russia was officially banned from engaging in these PyeongChang Games but, Russian athletes could still be present under the title of "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR), with no official Russian flag nor anthem, neither of  the two displayed or to be played.  In other words, Russia's 169 Olympic athletes are unofficially participating but officially not representing Russia per se.  Strange but weird piece of decision-making by the grand poobahs that is the IOC.

This flies in the face of upholding sanctions and rules/ethics, much to the frustration and consternation of ex WADA chief Canadian Dick Pound, and British IOC member Adam Pegully.  What message it was supposed to send is anyone's guess, except for the fact that in theory, actually, in practicality, Russia is a participant.

For many in general, the Olympics, regardless of it's flaws and flouting of ethics regulations, etc., still represent the showcasing of the world's best in the faster, higher, stronger motto, no matter whether the idea of a level playing field is present or not.

If the PyeongChang Olympics are about unity, involvement, peace, and diversity, then these Opening Ceremonies resonated with that theme throughout, particularly with the singing of the Korean anthem by the Rainbow Children's Choir, a South Korean ensemble that prides itself on "multicultural diversity". 

All in all, PyeongChang's world wide welcome hasn't disappointed.  As the song stated, "...we are all one...'.  Beautiful, imaginative, and...hopeful.

"Let the Games Begin!"   

Hats off to you, South Korea!

After the All-Star Game hiatus, we're back!

Here are the games for this round.  Deadline is Saturday 7PM.  All times Eastern.

Good luck everyone!

Saturday Feb. 3rd

Toronto @ Boston              7PM
Columbus @ NYIslanders   7PM
NYRangers @ Nashville      8PM
Minnesota @ Dallas           8PM
Tampa Bay @ Vancouver   10PM
Chicago @ Calgary           10PM

Non-Hockey Chatter / 'Happy 2018!"
« on: January 01, 2018, 12:57:09 AM »
To everyone at TMLfans...

....wishing you all a healthy & happy New Year!

Here are the games for both Saturday & Sunday (since the Leafs play on New Year's Eve, I thought I'd include some of those games as well).  Deadline is 7PM Saturday.  All times Eastern.

Good luck!

Sat. December 30th

Boston @ Ottawa                    7 PM
Minnesota @ Nashville             8 PM
Los Angeles @ Vancouver       10 PM

Sun. December 31st

Toronto @ Vegas                      3:30 PM
NYIslanders @ Colorado            8 PM
Chicago @ Calgary                    9 PM

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