Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss NFL fandom, CFLers down south, the state of Canadian soccer and a rash of unbelievable fluke goals in the NHL.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to football fans, or some of them, anyway. When Arizona's Calais Campbell was down last week with a neck injury that caused temporary numbness, 49ers fans did the wave even as 49ers players tried to silence them. When Houston quarterback Matt Schaub went down clutching his knee, the home fans cheered, because after several good years, Schaub has had a lousy string of games. San Francisco offensive linemen Alex Boone committed an angry personal foul last week, and he apologized, saying, "they're asking us to be like animals out there and really try to grind and grind and grind. All of a sudden, somebody kicks you in the face. Am I supposed to be an animal now? Or am I supposed to be myself?" Here's a hint, fans: they're not animals.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to Brandon Browner of the Seattle Seahawks, one of the latest examples that there is occasionally gold to be mined in the Canadian Football League. There may not be a lot of it - Cameron Wake, Jerrel Freeman - when it comes to those who can play in the NFL and play well - but Browner, the former Stampeder, has been a big time corner on the excellent defence of the Seattle Seahawks, and he almost took an interception for a touchdown Thursday night in Arizona. Browners not alone carrying the Canadian flag down south - and every time he makes a big play, the CFL benefits from it.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to the Canadian men's soccer team, which has plummeted to an all-time low in the FIFA world rankings at 111. Since the 8-1 humiliation in Honduras last fall, a defeat that set the program back at least six years, Canada has gone 0-8-3 and been outscored 16-1. The Canadian men have gone 12 hours and 32 minutes without a goal, time that might have been more profitably spent watching Season 2 of “Homeland”. Canada trails Angola, Botswana and both Congos - among others. So why is my thumb up? Canada is still one spot ahead of 112th ranked Antigua and Barbuda, and there are two of them.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to the likelihood that goalies Jonathan Quick, Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Bernier have already allowed the worst goals that'll beat them all season, and maybe in the rest of their careers. Hockey used to have "fluke" goals… these weren't "flukes". These were goals that demand different descriptions, because you see "flukes" all the time. These were goals you never see, except we've seen three of them in less than three weeks. The goalies wish they had seen them. As Ken Dryden once told me: "You don't worry about those horrible goals, because they'll probably never happen again. You worry when you're a bit slow with the glove to stop the 20-footers to the top corner, because that can spell retirement."