Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the mistakes in the recently-filed concussion lawsuit, Jaroslav Halak's unwillingness to play his fomer team, Ryan Smyth and what he meant to Edmonton and Canada, and the new, civilized way managers and umpires argue with each other.
Bruce Arthur, National Post
My thumb is up to proofreading, especially when you happen to be filing a class-action lawsuit that pertains to concussions. The suit filed this week against the NHL on behalf of a group that included a small group of former players, including Michael Peluso and Dan Lacouture, was the second of its kind in hockey, and won't be the last. And it probably didn't help the cause by misspelling Sidney Crosby's name, citing movies like “Friday the 13th” and “Mystery, Alaska”, and declaring Gordie Howe dead. Look, we know what brain trauma does to people, now. In sports, what leagues knew and when they knew it is important, because if information was concealed, that could be monstrous. Now, I'm not a lawyer, but if you're looking for answers, maybe start by not killing Gordie Howe.
Steve Simmons, SUN Media
My thumb is down to Jaroslav Halak, for basically opting out of playing goal against his former team, the St. Louis Blues. This is a hard one to completely understand and there is more than one version of the story. But the way I understand it, the Washington Capitals picked up the goalie at the trade deadline for the express purpose of trying to help them get in the playoffs. Yet he told his coach, Adam Oates, that he wasn't comfortable playing against the Blues, the team that just traded him away. Not comfortable? Isn't the athlete's favourite game the one against his former team with all his friends? Isn't that what a goalie signs up for? The odd part in all this, without Halak the Capitals beat the Blues Tuesday night and still managed to miss the playoffs.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated
My thumb is up to Ryan Smyth, who announced his retirement Friday. He was not the greatest Oiler, obviously, but he was as much of an Edmonton-standard bearer in his era as Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier were in theirs. Smyth was not conspicuously skilled, but he stood for old-time hockey values - and he stood in front of the net, the source of most of his 386 goals. He was steadfast in commitment to country, playing in eight World Championships and two Olympics. Captain Canada, indeed. But Smyth spent 15 of 19 NHL seasons in copper and blue. He belongs to Edmonton. The rest of the country was lucky it could borrow him.
Dave Hodge, TSN
My thumb is down to baseball fans who say they miss the loud-cursing, dirt-kicking, arm-waving, near-spitting, face to face arguments between managers and umpires. Those have been replaced this season by civilized conversations that the managers deem necessary while they wait for dugout advice on replay challenges. We have enough fits of temper and rage in this world that they don't have to come in the form of phony sports entertainment. The managers look better when they act older than five, the umpires are deserving of respect and this way, bad calls can actually be corrected. It's all quite civilized, which, Abner Doubleday intended, I believe. If, indeed, Doubleday was baseball's inventor. There are other claims, but let's not fight about that, either.