The end of the hockey lockout couldn't have come soon enough for our friend Norm Macdonald. Here's his take, along with a retooling of his thoughts on the 1972 Summit Series, which ran in a slightly different form as a collection of tweets on his Twitter feed back in September of 2012.
“Our long national nightmare is over, Norm.”
They were a bunch of yahoos from Calgary in Vegas for the weekend. They must have spotted a Montreal Canadiens cap that I had forgotten was on my head. I was sipping coffee and waiting for football to start, just sitting at the back of the book. I got slapped on the back by a few of them. They were reading from their phones and telling me how Bettman had backed down, the sonofabitch, how they’d been up all night mediating, how they’d be playing 50 games starting in a couple of weeks, but how it didn’t matter much for my Habs, though. We all had a good laugh about that one.
“C’mon, Norm, let’s get you a Labatt's and do a little celebrating.”
“Never touch it, thanks.”
“C’mon, a Canadian without a beer?" said the biggest of the bunch. "That’s like an American without a handgun." He downed his Brador like it was a shot. We all had a good laugh about that one too.
For the three returning players on the U.S. under-20 national hockey team this year, the memories of the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships were painful indeed. Forward J.T. Miller, defenseman Jacob Trouba, and goaltender John Gibson were part of an American squad that had come into the tournament last year with high hopes and optimistic projections. Instead, the team ended up seventh out of 10 teams, avoiding the embarrassment of relegation but not the sting of missed expectations.
Explain this one to me: The Olympics organizers probably gave away $300,000 of revenue per basketball session by not having courtside seats, and yet they scheduled Friday’s men’s basketball semifinals so that
A. Spain and Russia played at 5 p.m. London time as the "early" game.
B. Everyone in the stadium then had to leave.
C. They cleaned the stadium.
D. America and Argentina played the "night" game at 9 p.m. for a new crowd.
Sounds super greedy, right? And yet they surrounded all four sides of the court with empty space? Don’t worry, it was even dumber in person. Speaking of dumb, I should probably mention that Spain nearly blew the semifinal because Russia said, "Hey, we're going to swarm the Gasol brothers every time they get the ball, do you have a Plan B?" In the first half, the answer was "No!" And then everything changed, shots started falling, an inside-outside game materialized and Spain banged out an eight-point victory (and the silver medal at worst).
Heading into the Olympic basketball competition, there are several teams that are a threat to medal, and maybe even contend with Team USA. As the Games ramp up, we’ll be providing looks at the strengths, weaknesses, and medal chances of these possible contenders.
With a third-place finish in last year's EuroBasket competition, Russia’s path to the London Olympics had to go through the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. There they made quick work of the competition. Russia went undefeated in its four games, winning three by double digits. Looking at Russia's roster, there are a number of well-known names (including Andrei Kirilenko) and talented players, which has Russian fans believing in their team’s medal chances.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
Kevin Durant scored 36 points and grabbed eight boards as the Thunder topped the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, 105-94. After the game, LeBron James remained confident. "Just wait till we get to the fourth quarter," said James, who has been undergoing successful hypnosis therapy to erase bad fourth quarters from his memory. "That's when the stars come out."