Pittsburgh Penguins, Jeff Garcia, Jim Balsillie, Frank D’Angelo
Friday, December 22, 2006
Condolences go out to former NHL great and current Montreal Canadians VP Bob Gainey and his family, who were struck again with personal tragedy with the sudden passing of his 25-year-old daughter Laura last weekend. Laura was tragically swept off a tall ship by a rogue wave off the coast of Virginia. Gainey, who lost his beloved wife Cathy in 1995 from brain cancer, is a true survivor and a man of indescribable courage. Touted in the late 1970s by the infamous Russian national team king Anatoli Tarasov as the finest two-way hockey player in the world, Gainey is one of the humblest men to ever be involved in the sport of hockey. All of our thoughts and prayers go out to this remarkable man and his family.
It looks like colorful local entrepreneur Frank D’Angelo is at it again with the report that he and his partners are in the process of putting in a bid to buy the NHLs Pittsburgh Penguins. He and his partners are about to enter the fray to buy the troubled franchise after the 175 million dollar bid by fellow Canadian and billionaire Jim Balsillie, CEO of media giant Research in Motion was withdrawn earlier this week. Scuttlebutt has it that he withdrew the offer because of the NHL's insistence that the team remain in Pittsburgh. High profile Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks is reportedly also in the running to purchase the longtime money-losing franchise. You have to give the ambitious D’Angelo credit for all his hard work and inroads he has made into the world of sports and media.
It sure looks like the “Next Great One” is quickly living up to all the hype thrown at him the past two seasons. Sydney Crosby is starting to distance himself from all the other young stars, as last season’s Calder winner Alexander Ovechkin in being hailed as the best player in the game today. Along with leading the NHL in scoring, the 19-year-old Crosby is the main reason that the Pens have stayed competitive this season. Time will tell if the kid can keep up the grueling pace of NHL hockey on a long term basis. He really does have potential to be hockey’s premier marquis player for many years to come.
We’ll it looks like the great Marty York has put his foot is his mouth again after writing in his quaint little column the interesting but premature little tidbit that the Toronto Sun’s Steve Buffery was about to leave his 20-year position at the paper. Well my sources tell me that the talented Buffery was mulling a major offer from another media outlet but when the dust settled Steve, who is considered by the paper as one of their most popular writers, is staying on with the Sun with an added expanded column that will start running shortly.
My Canadian Athlete of the Week is a real thoroughbred of the four legged variety. It’s none other than the great three-year-old filly Arravale, who had a breakout year winning both the EP Taylor stakes and the prestigious Del Mar Oaks Stakes in California. It was only natural that this talented Kentucky born, Canadian raised little lady would win this year’s Sovereign Award as Canada’s Horse of the Year.
You have to be in awe of Toronto-born and raised hoops star Sam Ashaolu, who was in town the other day spending time with his family and attending a charity basketball game in his honor. The courageous 23-year-old hoopster who plays for Duquesne University in Pittsburgh was shot in the head twice almost exactly three months ago in a frightfully random act of violence not far from his school gym. This courageous young man has the will and heart of a lion and when he tells you he’ll be back on the courts next season, you just can’t help believe this extraordinary young athlete.
Speaking of comebacks, it’s great to see former CFL star Jeff Garcia playing so well at the helm of the Philadelphia Eagles since taking over the QB duties from the injured Donovan McNabb a month ago. In fact the Eagles, who defeated the slumping New York Giants yesterday 36-22 with the ex-Clerk at the helm actually have a shot at winning their division, needing a tough to get win on the road against the reinvigorated Dallas Cowboys and then the season finale against the very ordinary Atlanta Falcons. Great little bit of Garcia trivia- did you know that he is in third place all-time for total yardage thrown by QBs that played in both the CFL and NFL behind the legendary duo of Warren Moon and Doug Flutie?
Until next time.
Copyright@ Edward Zawadzki All rights reserved
Reprinted with permission
Along with being Canada Free Press sports editor, Edward Zawadzki is also a best selling author and sports broadcaster in the Toronto area. He can be reached at email@example.com