Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the passing of iconic Lakers' owner Jerry Buss, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame voting results, the Alouettes' hiring of Dan Hawkins and the NHL Draft lottery rules.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to the late Jerry Buss, who died this week after 33 years of owning the Los Angeles Lakers. He bought the Lakers in 1979 and Magic Johnson was waiting on his doorstop. 33 years later: 31 playoff appearances, 10 titles, 16 NBA Finals. No one has done it better than Jerry Buss, who not only took the Lakers from a great franchise to an iconic franchise but did it in such a way that he made the place where they played a place for celebrities and pushed as much as he could to let ordinary people watch it on television. He had more fun than anybody else, he did it in an age where sports is becoming more and more corporate when it comes to ownership, more of a business. For Jerry Buss, it was a passion. And for all of that, in a lot of ways, he was the smartest guy in the room.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is down to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame voting committee, who only got it half right this year in the Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The easy choices were Earl Winfield of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Dan Ferrone of the Toronto Argonauts; those guys are slam dunk Hall of Fame guys. But what the Hall seems to do year after year is they vote for longevity. If you've been around a long time like Miles Gorrell, you get in, not because you were a great player, because he wasn't a great player but because you played forever and ever. I don't think that's right. I think the Hall of Fame is for greatness, not longevity.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to the Montreal Alouettes for the hiring of Dan Hawkins as their new head coach. Hawkins has never coached pros, he's never coached in the CFL and the Colorado (NCAA) program where he was coaching last was circling the drain and he did nothing to pull it out. To criticize (Alouettes GM) Jim Popp, I'm going out on a limb because Popp's the best GM in the CFL but I think he swung and missed here.
Dave Hodge, TSN: Here's a halfhearted thumbs up to the NHL for changing the Draft lottery rules and allowing any of the non-playoff teams to win the lottery and get the first pick. But with weighted odds, the best of those non-playoff teams will have a less-than-one per cent chance of winning, or, in other words, the fans of that team needn't book a banquet hall for a viewing party. The NHL missed a chance to make it really interesting by giving all 14 non-playoff teams an equal shot at number-one, and a more important result of that change would have been the removal of any and all incentive to finish last. Never again a discussion about tanking. But I hope for too much.