If I could have one gift this holiday season, it would have to be a true Top-10 list from our hockey-mad friends over at TSN.
© Compass file photo
Compass reporter/photographer Nicholas Mercer.
On Dec. 13, Canada’s sports leader trotted out its list of top sports stories for 2013.
Now, it seems every year I use this forum to display my utter contempt for the way TSN selects its stories, and this time will be no different.
In case you did not know, here is the list:
• MLB stars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are implicated in PED use;
• The Toronto Maple Leafs' epic Game 7 collapse against the Boston Bruins;
• The Saskatchewan Roughriders host and win the 101st Grey Cup;
• South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend;
• The rise of Canadian basketball phenoms Anthony Bennett, the first Canadian to go No. 1 in the NBA Draft, and Andrew Wiggins - the projected top pick in next year's draft;
• The Vancouver Canucks' goaltender controversy surrounding Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider;
• The Boston Marathon bombing, followed by an outpouring of Boston Strong support and the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series at home;
• A power outage affects Super Bowl XLVII, which featured Ray Lewis' last game and the Harbaugh brothers coaching against each other;
• The Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in a lockout-shortened season;
• LeBron James leads the Miami Heat to a second consecutive NBA Championship.
Peruse that list for a moment, then think about which one of those does not belong.
If you guessed the goaltender issue in Vancouver, you get the top prize.
I can’t imagine very much common sense being in the room when that was selected.
I understand TSN is a Canadian network and have built its reputation on the steady, yet sometimes overboard, coverage of the sport of hockey. I get that they want to cater to their audience of hockey-crazed Canucks.
But, is some goaltender controversy even worthy of mention outside of Vancouver?
No, it’s not.
Just like the collapse of the Toronto Maple Leafs should not be on a list outside of Toronto, yet it’s on TSN’s list also.
Don’t get me wrong, hockey should be included. However, there are more important stories to include than these two.
For one, who says you can’t have the Chicago Blackhawks there twice?
Once for winning the Stanley Cup, and a second time for starting the lockout shortened season without a loss in regulation or overtime for the first 24 games.
Maybe I’m being too harsh, but then again, I don’t think I am. Both of these might make the top 10 in an all-Canadian Top-10 list. Even then, they are probably lumped in with Daniel Alfredsson leaving Ottawa instead of being separate stories.
In that case, these stories would beat them out:
• Milos Roanic and the rebirth of Canadian tennis;
• Calgary Stampeder’s running back John Cornish being named the CFL’s most outstanding player and first Canadian in 35 years to win the award;
• The end of the NHL lockout;
• The NHL concussion lawsuit; or
• UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, of Quebec, takes leave of absence.
If we are going with a list from the entire world of sports, these would rank higher:
• The retirement of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera;
• Lance Armstrong’s admission to using performance-enhancing drugs;
• New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is arrested on charges of first-degree murder;
• the NFL concussion settlement; and
• Andy Murray’s victory in the British Open.
All of these stories are viable options for any pundit’s end-of-year lists, but they were not on TSN’s list.
I like hockey just as much as the next guy, but the sport does not need to dominate these lists because we live in Canada.
There are bigger things than our national pastime.
— Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with The Compass. He lives in Bay Roberts and be reached at email@example.com