Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss Toronto mayor Rob Ford, the new Hockey Hall of Fame class, the success of Manny Malhotra, and Adam Pardy's helmet in Chicago.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to Rob Ford, though not for all his various misdeeds, specifically. No, it is because he has ballooned into a globally famous Hindenburg of a mayor and he had dragged this city's sports along with him. When he threatened a Toronto Star reporter near his house he met the press in an Argonauts shirt. The first time he was photographed with accused extortionist and drug trafficker Sandro Lisi was at a Leafs game in a Leafs jersey. After the chief of police announced that yes, a crack tape did exist, Ford responded wearing his Raptors tie. And when he finally admitted to crack cocaine use, Ford - a longtime proponent of Toronto's chase for an NFL team - wore an old NFL tie. Let's be honest, the city's sports scene is used to indignity but it is not used to it being inflicted by someone else.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to the Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2013 but in particular to the long overdue induction of the late Freddie Shero in the builder's category. And build and leave an imprint is what Shero did. He last coached in the NHL 33 years ago but hardly a day goes by that we don't reference something he said or did. He was the first to use assistant coaches in hockey and the first to implement a variety of systems and breakouts, depending on game circumstances. He wrote on the board to his Philadelphia Flyers "Win today, and we walk together forever." From the championship teams in Philadelphia, he joins the owner, the general manager, the captain and the goaltender in the Hall of Fame, together forever.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to Manny Malhotra who had the breakaway winner for Carolina last Tuesday against the Flyers. This represented not just a triumph for the Hurricanes, but a victory of the human spirit. Malhotra, of course, suffered what would, and probably should, have been a career-ending eye injury in 2012. Certainly Vancouver, his former team, thought he should have retired for his own safety. The Canucks' pleas stemmed from the same genuine health concerns fans have when they see athletes like oft-concussed B.C. Lions quarterback Buck Pierce soldiering on. But it is never our call, is it? These men know the risk and Malhotra reaped the reward. We can only applaud.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is up to the hockey moment that managed to somehow fit right in with all of the news coming out of the mayor's office in Toronto. I needn't spell out the comparisons, but first, there needs to be a video that everyone wants to see. In this case it is Adam Pardy of the Jets going into the boards and through the glass whereupon he lost his helmet to a...how would you describe the guy? In this context, that would be dangerous, but I'm safe in saying that the beer poured over Pardy's head seems to fit. And the two fans were quickly removed from their seats and escorted out of Chicago's United Center, easier to do in some places than others.