The Sports Archives – Five Canadian Teams Have Returned To The NHL Playoffs, and That’s a Good Thing!

Canadian Flag

Years from now, when the wounds are somewhat healed and the sting is less potent, fans will speak of the time in Spring of 2016 when not one of the seven Canadian hockey teams made the playoffs. Arenas were empty, ice melted, and Canadians, including myself, made their scotch a double, with no ice, for there was no team representing Canada in the playoffs for the first time since the current Prime Minister’s father held office.

A year after Canada was shut out of the NHL playoffs for the first time in forty-six years, five Canadian teams have made their return in quest for the Stanley Cup. The Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames are skating beyond 82 games after a brief, one-year absence, the rookie-heavy Toronto Maple Leafs stunned the hockey world by making the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season, and the Edmonton Oilers have clawed their way back after a long, 11-year drought after losing to the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals. Avenging last year’s embarrassing playoff bagel is crucial for the game of hockey. Canada is the world’s hub for ice hockey, the great game was born in Canada and it is a national pastime much like baseball was, and football is, to America.

While five of the seven Canadian teams – sorry Vancouver and Winnipeg – are rejoicing, it is important to note the adversity and struggle that the teams have gone through to claw their way back to sports’ greatest playoffs. Ottawa, Montreal, and Calgary have gone through coaching changes both before the 2016-17 season and during. The adjustments made by players to a new coach’s system can be tedious and arduous, yet they all still managed to snag a playoff spot and Montreal was even able to win the Atlantic division. Since the last time the Edmonton Oilers were in the playoffs, they have had four first-overall picks, including three in a row. To put this in simpler terms, the Oilers have had the league’s worst record four times in the span of ten years. They have also gone through six head coaches, three general managers, and even one arena. Safe to say the Oilers have paid their dues and deserve to be back competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Henrik Lundqvist

By Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA – IMG_4517, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

At the start of the season, I am not sure anyone in Toronto thought that a team with nine rookies would stand a chance at making the playoffs. Fast forward seven months later and the Maple Leafs have stunned the hockey world and “the kids” are in the thick of the playoffs with the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Lundqvist. The Maple Leafs have given life back to Toronto, which can now boast about having all its major sports franchises competing for a championship. Toronto will be a force for years to come.

Canada and the National Hockey League can rejoice knowing that playoff hockey is back home. Hockey is the nation’s pastime, and when Canada does well, the NHL thrives and fandom soars through the roof as American teams can now once again compete with their rivals to the North.

Author: Peter Lambos

Advertisements
Posted in Hockey | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – Boxing Legends: Sugar Ray Leonard

sugar ray leonard

From 1977 to 1997, Sugar Ray Leonard competed in the boxing ring against some of the most fearsome and well-respected fighters in the world. And he managed to beat almost all of them. Sugar Ray Leonard is rightly regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, with a total career record of 40 fights, 36 wins, and 25 wins by knockout. He only lost three games in his entire career, while drawing one. Given that two of those losses came at the tail end of his career, it is evident that Leonard boxed to an almost impossibly high standard during his prime years.

Sugar Ray Leonard’s Boxing Legacy

Even though boxing is still popular in the United States, the mayhem and excitement we say in the 1970s and 1980s was on another level. And Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the reasons why the sport was so popular during those years. Not only was Leonard a great fighter, but he was an entertainer. He did not play with a defensive style, because he wanted his fans and everyone watching the fight to enjoy themselves. He knew he was the better boxer 99 percent of the time he went into a fight, and he would make it show in the ring.

During his career, Leonard managed to find himself grouped along with a few other great boxers of the generation. Along with Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns, Leonard was part of this group of four that became known as “The Fabulous Four.” They earned the name not only for their boxing prowess, but for the number of times they would fight each other in the ring. Sugar Ray Leonard only lost in one of the many fights he had against those men – to Roberto Duran in 1980. However, he came back and avenged the loss a few months later, taking his career win total to 28-1 at the time.

While his professional boxing career was a sight to behold, Sugar Ray Leonard was not half bad on the amateur circuit as well. His best moment as an amateur fighter came in 1976, when he won gold for the United States at the Montreal Olympic Games, becoming champion of the Light Welterweight division. And it did not take long for Leonard to translate this success onto the professional circuit, as he won his first WBC Welterweight Championship in 1979, in a fight against Wilfred Benitez at the Caesar’s Palace in glamorous Las Vegas.

Even during his losses, Sugar Ray Leonard showed the world what he was all about. The infamous “Brawl in Montreal” was the game when he lost to Roberto Duran – the first loss of his career. However, Leonard still boxed one of the best fights of his life in that game – it was simply a matter of being outclassed by a better boxer. Duran was in control of the fight from the first round, but Leonard never gave up and continued to show his best self. After the fight, Duran only had praise for the spirit and determination that Sugar Ray Leonard showed on that day.

Posted in Boxing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Sports Archives – By Any Other Name: Pete Rose

Pete Rose

One of the few men in baseball to enjoy success as both a player and a manager, Pete Rose is one of the most famous names in Cincinnati baseball history. Rose played for the Cincinnati Reds from 1963 to 1978, while he also served as player-manager for the team from 1984 to 1986. He played as a switch hitter in the Major Leagues, and Pete Rose still holds several MLB records. No player has completed more hits, games, at-bats, singles and outs compared to Pete Rose. During his illustrious career, he managed to win the World Series three times, while he also won three batting titles and the MVP award in 1973. He was the World Series MVP during his team’s win in 1975.

Pete Rose’s Career: Highs and Lows

As is the case with many athletes in the United States, Pete Rose had plenty of highs in his career, but a few lows as well. Given his athletic talent, it is no surprise that most of his on-field moments were filled with stupendous quality, determination and talent. However, his off-field behavior was not always up to the mark. Allegations of gambling on baseball games while being a MLB player continued to dog Rose, and they rendered him ineligible for the baseball Hall of Fame for many years.

Having denied the gambling allegations for many years, Rose eventually admitted that he did bet on his Cincinnati Reds several times. But he claimed to have never bet against a team that he was playing for at the time. An investigation also revealed that Rose continued to gamble on professional baseball games while he was a player manager from 1984 to 1986, again at the Cincinnati Reds. He continued to manage the team for another three years after retiring from playing – and it is unclear whether his gambling habits continued into those years.

Eventually, the controversy surrounding Pete Rose and his gambling habits died down. His admission and apology seemed to make a difference, and he was added to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2016. Given the sheer talent and achievements of the player, his gambling scandal was the only reason he did not receive the honor at an earlier date.

Born and bred in Cincinnati, Rose was always a huge fan of the Reds, and dreamed of playing for them from a young age. He was always a star on the baseball field, going back to middle school and high school. And it only took him three years after graduating high school to earn a spot on the Cincinnati Reds’ training roster. It did take a few injuries before Rose could make his first appearance, but he finished the season as the National League Rookie of the Year.

Throughout an illustrious baseball career spanning many decades, Pete Rose won all there was to win in the major leagues. The three best years of his career came in 1975, 1976 and 1980, when he won the World Series. Two of his wins came with his beloved Cincinnati Reds, while the third title came with the Philadelphia Phillies!

Posted in Baseball | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Sports Archives – Gymnastics Greats: Mary Lou Retton

mary lou retton

The first American to win the all-round gymnastics medal at the Olympics, along with being one of the greatest gymnasts the country has ever produced, Mary Lou Retton will always have a special place in sports history. The 1984 Summer Olympics were her shining moment – the moment when Mary Lou showed the world what she could do on the gymnastics floor. Aside from her all-round gold medal at those games, she also won a couple of silver and bronze medals for her country. Only four Americans have matched Retton’s feat since the 1984 Olympics, highlighting her raw talent and dedication to the sport.

Mary Lou Retton’s Gymnastics Journey

Born in West Virginia, Mary Lou Retton had a rather simple childhood. Her dad worked in the coal industry, but her parents were always quick to recognize their daughter’s talents. They knew she had the potential to become a gymnastics star from a very young age, which is why Retton began training since 1976. She was only eight at the time, but having watched the 1976 Summer Olympics on television, she was mesmerized by the sport, and she was determined to become a success at it. Her first major success came in 1983, when she won the American Cup and finished second at the United States Nationals. She was unable to contend in the World Championships that same year due to an injury, but she had already announced herself to the gymnastics world.

The start of 1984 proved very successful for Mary Lou Retton. Not only did she claim her place on the Olympic team, but she also won the American Cup and the U.S. Nationals. However, she suffered a knee injury while signing autographs during one of her training sessions at her local gym. What initially seemed like an innocuous injury turned into a serious matter, and Mary Lou Retton had to go through knee surgery less than five months before the start of the Summer Olympics in 1984!

Maybe experts had not given her a chance of returning to her previous form. They felt that even if she competed in those Olympics in Los Angeles, she would be a shadow of her former self. However, Retton was determined to make a good impression, and her coaches and trainers did everything possible to get her in the right condition for the games. And Retton managed to prove everyone wrong, winning the overall medal and becoming the first person who was not from Eastern Europe to win the overall gold at a gymnastics event!

Mary Lou Retton eventually retired from gymnastics in 1986, with injuries taking their toll on her performances and body. She bowed out after winning the American Cup for a third time in 1985, but she never managed to compete in another Olympic Games. Instead, she dedicated her life to philanthropy, and she even dabbled in a little bit of politics. Given how important her religion was to her life, it is no surprise Mary Lou Retton was a huge fan of the Republican Party – and of Ronald Reagan!

Posted in Olympics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – 5 Must Have Tools For Rock Climbing

mountaineering

On the off-chance that you’ve never rock climbed, in many cases the obstruction of the section has no clue where to end and start. In case you’re confident you need to get into rock climbing, and you will need a couple of rock climbing equipment. Getting a couple of essential bits of rigging will ensure that you’ll be prepared to climb. Following are the five must tool that you need for rock climbing:

1) Helmet

Not everybody wears a protective cap regularly while climbing and there will be a lot of times when you don’t want to wear it yet it’s an okay thought to have one, particularly when moving outside of the exercise center. It’ll ensure your head, however, doesn’t utilize ultra-light materials or have any extraordinary components, but it still protects you from any damage.

2) Chalk, Ropes And More

A chalk pack is super useful to have and a modest expansion. You’ll sweat while climbing and chalk will help shield your hands from getting elusive. You can discover them on the web or at retailers. It is one of the most famous rock climbing equipment. You’ll likewise need to snatch a couple of carabiners, in particular, no less than one locking carabiner to use with your belay gadget. Without a good quality rope, you are unable to climb the rock. This will also help you to balance yourself and protect you in inclement weather.

mountaineering

3) Quickdraws:

Quickdraws regularly come in two lengths; a short form and a long form. Shorter draws are lighter and less cumbersome on your tackle. They are useful for straightforward courses. Longer draws diminish rope drag and are extraordinary for wandering courses or projected cliffs. An arrangement of quick draws made up of a blend of the two lengths gives you a choice to utilize long or short draws relying upon the character of a course. For this rock climbing equipment, you require a draw for each dash on a route, two for the stays, and an extra a few on the off-chance that you need more in a doubtful circumstance. It is necessary for every beginner.

4) A Sport Harness

While all climbing outfits are principally intended to circulate weight and catch you when you fall, many saddles are mainly designed for one of patient needs of various sorts of climbers. Wear climbing does not require a climber to hang overwhelming apparatus from his or her outfit. Disposing of unneeded elements from a bridle makes it significantly lighter and permits sports climbers to push harder. This helps you if you are a beginner and an essential rock climbing equipment.

5) Belay Devices

So you have a rope and tackle, the following thing on your rundown ought to be a belay gadget. Belay devices cause contact on the rope, helping you to control the speed of your abseil to a reasonable level. It likewise permits somebody to belay you when you’re climbing. Again there is a wide assortment of belay gadgets on offer, extending from basic, one piece outlines to mechanical devices with self-securing systems fabricated. When purchasing your first belay gadget, it’s essential that you get a bit of unit that you see so as a rule, the easier, the better. Belay gadgets fell extensively into two classifications, manual gadgets and helped to break gadgets. A handbook gadget depends totally upon the control of the climber, while improved breaking device has mechanical components that help you to control your speed while climbing.

mountaineering

Author Bio:

Shawn Michaels is a blogger who loves to write about his outdoor experiences. He is also a passionate rock climber and loves travelling. He is currently studying and spends his free time reading reviews and gear shopping! He regularly blogs at http://thesmartlad.com/

 

Posted in Other | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – The Story Of Jackie Robinson

jackie robinson statue

It is common for modern baseball fans to ask why Jackie Robinson is such a famous name in the sport. Not everyone is aware of the history of bigotry and racism Robinson had to deal with throughout his entire baseball career – before, during and after he joined the major leagues. Robinson was the first African-American who played in the MLB, and he was also one of the best second basemen the sport has ever seen. His achievements, which included a batting average of .311, over 1,500 hits and 137 home runs, are impressive enough when you discount his upbringing and the struggles he faced. But when you factor those things into his career, it is clear why Jackie Robinson is a baseball legend.

Meager Beginnings

Robinson grew up in meager surroundings in Cairo, Georgia. His parents were sharecroppers, but they did not stay in Georgia very long. Robinson’s father left them a year after he was born, and the family moved to California to find a new beginning. Robinson’s introduction to baseball came at the John Muir High School, where he started playing sports with his school mates and his brothers. All his friends and family recognized that Jackie Robinson was a special athletic talent – he had something special that none of the other kids possessed when he got on the field. He won awards with his school baseball, basketball, football and track teams.

His Strength and Talent

His sports prowess won him a scholarship to UCLA, where he managed to obtain varsity letters for FOUR different sports: football, track, basketball and baseball. Robinson was an athlete star the likes of which UCLA had never seen before. Unfortunately, the color of his skin meant that racism and bigotry were never far away from Robinson, and he was one of the few black men on those teams at UCLA.

WWII

By 1942, Robinson had a commitment to his nation that he was obligated to see through: he was drafted to fight in the World War after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. His military career was not without scandal, due to some incidents of racist abuse from his superior officers. However, Robinson was acquitted of any charges that were brought against him, and he eventually received an honorable discharge from the military two years later.

The Birth of a Legend

When Robinson went back to school after the military, the calls began to come from professional baseball teams. And his first professional team was the Kansas City Monarchs, who played in the now defunct Negro Leagues. Through his perseverance and skill, Robinson eventually made his way through the Negro Leagues and Minor Leagues, until he got to the Major League.

He was the first black man to play in the Major League since the color line had been established in 1880, and he drew tens of thousands of black baseball fans to games for the LA Dodgers. Robinson often received racial abuse from opposing players and fans, but he was committed to practicing nonviolent resistance to such antics.

Baseball fans will remember Robinson for his wonderful athletic prowess, and Americans will remember him for his great character and his contributions to the civil rights moments of the time.

Posted in Baseball | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sports Archives – 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team: The Dream Team

1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team

The “Dream Team” of 1992 brought gold medal glory to the United States in the men’s basketball competition, and showed the world what kind of basketball talent resided in America. While the United States has always presented very good basketball teams, and some of their teams following the 1992 Olympics have been just as impressive, the 1992 team is special for one significant reason: they were the first team to feature active players from the NBA. Featuring the likes of Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson, the Dream Team showcased the best American talent from the NBA for the world to see.

How it Began

It was the first time American fans had gotten a chance to see their favorite NBA heroes playing with each other at the Olympic Games. Coached by the great Chuck Daley, the Dream Team did a lot more than win the Olympic Gold – they absolutely demolished all their opponents during the Olympic run. They won their first game by 68 points, which set the tone for the rest of the tournament. They went undefeated, smashing teams by 33, 43, 44, 41, 38 and 51 points on their way to the gold medal game. They won the gold medal game by 32 points against Croatia, capping off one of the most dominant team performances in Olympics basketball history.

Dominance

No team came close to the Dream Team during those Olympic Games, and their dominant performances did not shock any basketball fans. Even if the team had contained one or two of those NBA stars, they would probably have gone on to win the tournament. However, when your team consists of a combination of some of the best NBA players of all time, and they are all at or close to the peak of their careers, you end up with something truly special. Seeing the likes of Jordan, Pippen, Johnson and Larry Bird playing with each other is something you do not forget any time soon.

Overcoming Doubt

One of the most incredible facts about the Dream Team is something many modern fans do not know: the Americans were initially very reluctant about the prospect of NBA players competing in the Olympics. Most of the NBA teams were not enthused about the idea of their players having to play in another high-profile tournament during the summer, given the grueling schedule they already had to handle for the NBA.

The Dream

It was only when the team got together and started to play in scrimmages and tournaments that the enthusiasm ratcheted up to an entirely new level. Suddenly, everyone was on board with the idea of NBA players competing in the Olympics. The team warmed up for those games by winning the Tournament of the Americas in resounding fashion, going undefeated and beating Venezuela by 47 points in the gold medal game. It set the scene for what was to follow, and the world will probably never forget the 1992 “Dream Team” put forward by the United States in men’s basketball.

 

Posted in Basketball, Olympics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments