Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s Melnyk

Far too many odious owners haunt the world of professional sports, preying on ticket-buying fans

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s MelnykIt takes a lot of talent to screw up a National Hockey League franchise in a Canadian city. But Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is up to the challenge. The Melnyk misery tour has reduced Ottawa to the frozen equivalent of an Albanian shoe factory. The Sens are four points clear in the Titanic Cup, my…

Kawhi Leonard’s slow, painful march out of Toronto

It’s a good bet the transcendent NBA star will leave the Raptors after this season. In the meantime, he takes far too many nights off

Kawhi Leonard’s slow, painful march out of TorontoHas there been a more tender wooing than the Toronto Raptors’ pursuit of Kawhi Leonard, their presumptive star? Perhaps Prince Harry pitched a sweeter song to his intended Meghan Markle. But were the chocolates and flowers from the palace more passionate and pleading than the Raptors’ entreaties to their meal ticket to stay in Toronto?…

Pro sports have become a grinding bore

The tanking masses of the NHL, NBA and MLB have turned the regular season into a race to the bottom in search of top drafts

Pro sports have become a grinding boreO joy. The Feb. 25 National Hockey League trade deadline slides into view just as the National Basketball Association’s version of Trader Vic’s has expired. The fact that these two arbitrary dates are considered five-star attractions of the regular season tells you a lot about what a grinding bore the regular season has become in…

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinct

Analytical detail determines winners and losers. So why do coaches insist on winging it at crucial moments?

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinctI’m reading Ted Barris’s book The Dam Busters, about the epic 1943 raid by Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force flyers on the Möhne and Eder dams. The raid was famous for its risk – 53 men were killed, 18 of them Canadian – and for the new technologies used by the bombers…

Is gambling a big deal to the NFL? You can bet on it

With billions now being bet legally on sports, the simple outcome of the Super Bowl game will no longer be the only story

Is gambling a big deal to the NFL? You can bet on itIt’s late in Super Bowl LIII this Sunday. The driving New England Patriots, favoured by a field goal, have a three-point lead in the game. Hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide ride on whether the Los Angeles Rams can keep them out of the end zone or whether quarterback Tom Brady will push it in…

What happened to baseball’s free-agent frenzy?

If there is collusion this time, MLB has likely not left crumbs behind for the players association to dine upon

What happened to baseball’s free-agent frenzy?It was supposed to be the winter when money ran like water in baseball. With superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper dangling for anxious teams, it was predicted that the previous record for a Major League Baseball contract was going to be shattered. That would be the $325-million deal inked by Giancarlo Stanton with the…

Tied up in knots over ties in sports

Every sport has a different approach to dealing with games that end in a stalemate, including overtime and skills contests

Tied up in knots over ties in sportsThis year marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of the transcendent TV series The Sopranos. As its creator, David Chase understands better than most that a lousy ending can ruin a lot of the good work. Chase famously used a sudden blackout to conclude the final episode while Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ played in the…

Hockey carnivores versus the whipping boys

Why would anyone get their garters in a tangle over a hockey tournament held for a television network?

Hockey carnivores versus the whipping boysThere are about 5.5 million people in Finland. It’s the most sparsely populated nation in the European Union, with most of its inhabitants shivering away in the southern tier of the nation. The Finns also eat less red meat than the people of other developed nations. But you’d think they were carnivores of the first…

China syndrome: how long does HNIC stick with Huawei?

And are the Leafs negotiating with Auston Matthews? Are the Calgary Flames the real deal? Where does that leave the Oilers?

China syndrome: how long does HNIC stick with Huawei?Huawei did they go? That was the question on Saturday as Hockey Night In Canada hit the airwaves. The financial world has been roiling since Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested by Canadian officials in Vancouver on Dec. 1. She faces extradition to the United States, where she is accused of helping Huawei circumvent…

Stumbling Oilers now have a Hitch in their step

Tough love has long been Ken Hitchcock’s calling card in the NHL. But does it work on young men who are multimillionaires?

Stumbling Oilers now have a Hitch in their stepIf Ken Hitchcock is the answer for the Edmonton Oilers, what’s the question? Probably something like: How badly have we pissed people off? The National Hockey League team that dares to be known by first-overall picks alone finds itself spinning out of control yet again. The Oilers are dropping like a stone in the ultra-competitive…