Lots To Do
Terrific performance at the ACC Sunday night. Three hours of non-stop entertainment, lots of loud, physical play and a sold-out audience that loved every minute of it.
Alas, Rush doesn't play the ACC every weekend.
And there's the rub, right? On one night, a legendary Canadian band like that can partly help fill the sports entertainment void some (many?) are feeling in these parts with the NHL boys sitting silently across a table staring at each other. For one not a Rush officianado, the review would go something like this; hard not to appreciate the best efforts of the Willowdale three, surprised they played so little of their most popular songs but not really given their reputation for originality and stubbornly going their own way, blown away by the visual effects that almost turn the music into a soundtrack for what you're eyes are seeing, amazed by Neil Peart's spectacular drum kit and loud enough that my ears were still buzzing two hours after the fact.
For $150, less than the price of a hockey game in the same platinum seats, there was good value for money. Earlier in the day, there had been the Argos at the Rogers Centre (scheduled inconveniently at the same time the 7-year-old was taking her turn in goal), and around all of that I was able to fit some of the baseball playoffs and some NFL action. On Saturday, it was the Marlies late in the afternoon, a PVRed viewing of the Fighting Irish and their amazing goal-line stand against Stanford and, again, more post-season baseball.
So much to do and watch in terms of sport, both live and on the telly, and not much of it costly. So if one really wants to look outside the NHL box, is it really not possible to find other things to do? It raised the question in my mind; are people really that attracted to the product provided by the Leafs, or just hopelessly addicted to the notion that NHL hockey is the be all and end all despite the over-heated ticket prices, a tendency to fall into mind-numbing styles of play and overall inconsistency of the product which means you have about a 40 per cent chance at best of seeing something memorable when the puck drops between the Leafs and an opponent?
In other words, is the NHL really that good and attractive an entertainment product, or did we stop asking that question a long time ago and just accepted that it must be?
To be fair, I probably couldn't go see Rush twice more this week (although I'm sure Rush fanatics could). That's the lure of the NHL and pro sports. The unfolding story of a long schedule, the drama that builds over 82 games. That said, here's another question to ask; would anyone really mind if the NHL schedule began every year in mid-November?
See, maybe it's time to stop just accepting whatever slop they decide to serve up, and demanding what we want. Maybe we're happy with what we've been getting.
Or maybe we've just convinced ourselves that we are.
Other musings coming off the wild weekend that was:
So Lance Armstrong might take a lie detector to clear his name. Or, alternatively, he could answer the actual charges against him and not resort to gimmicks. . .What a crappy end ot the season for Derek Jeter. As much as people like to pick at Jeter for his lack of range or whatever, he's been a joy to watch for a long, long time. Hope he can come back from this injury. . .The Leafs have three young players that didn't make the Marlies but are now in limbo because the team no longer has a direct affiliation with an ECHL team. Strange set of circumstances to let happen, it would seem. Right now, they're looking for different teams to place them with, but the trickle-down impact of the NHL lockout means jobs may not be easily had. . .The Montreal Alouettes really are an amazing personnel machine. They lost running back Brandon Whitaker this season and were able to fill more than capably with Victor Anderson. When Anderson went down on Sunday after a nasty helmet-to-helmet blow, in came Chris Jennings to run for 86 yards on 10 carries. They just roll out another useful body. . .Tricky week for the Argos. Only get one full practice in before meeting Winnipeg. Is that enough to get Ricky Ray ready, alliteratively speaking?......Despite the noteworthy efforts of Andy Murray and the No. 1 status of Roger Federer, based on results Novak Djokovic is the player-of-the-year in men's tennis. Saved five match points to beat Murray on Sunday at the Shanghai Masters. Djokovic has accumulated more ranking points this year than any other player on tour, and in only 15 events, fewer than most players. . .Still waiting to hear where Canada will choose to hold its Davis Cup tie against heavily favoured Spain in February. Going right back indoors at UBC makes the most sense. . .The joys of sitting in a sports bar with multiple screens; on Sunday, almost simultaneously saw RGIII romp 76 yards for a score, an impossibly-open Sidney Rice collect the winning TD in Seattle and Arizona's attempt for a winning field goal bounce off the upright. Bang, bang, bang, just like that. Head on a swivel. . .Okay, I'm a little pissed Rush didn't play Closer to the Heart or Working Man. Just sayin'. . .Notre Dame relevant again at No. 5 in the polls. That's always good for college football down south, just like the NHL when the Habs and Rangers are relevant. . .Great stat from ESPN's Darren Rovell. The 3.9 overnight rating for Notre Dame-Stanford was the same as for the final round of the PGA championship. . .More people should be talking about Edmonton Oil Kings centre Curtis Lazar, likely a top 10 pick next summer. Smooth, right-handed shooting pivot with golden hands. . .Leaf draftee Morgan Rielly had a five-point game on the Moose Jaw blueline on the weekend. . .So did the Colts make the right choice with Andrew Luck?. . .So here's an interesting scenario. Edmonton finishes fourth in the west, takes the cross-over playoff berth from Hamilton, comes into Toronto for the eastern semi and we see which team can really claim victory from last winter's Ray deal. . .Toronto's Myck Kabongo, the starting point guard at the University of Texas, could be in hot water. Texas has confirmed the NCAA is investigating Kabongo's relationship with an agent, Rich Paul, who also reps Tristan Thompson. The investigaton revolves around a training trip to Cleveland and how it was paid for. . .Reaction to the plans for the new football stadium in Hamilton unveiled Friday night were, at best, mixed. In a Hamilton Spectator poll, just 11 per cent of those polled on line said "It's great and a success," while 44 per cent said "It's not great but will have to do" and another 44 per cent said "it's terrible and a failure." Only 22,000 seats, and only 180 parking spots. Odd they went quite so small, even if the idea is to create demand.