Marlies edge Phantoms – 16.03.18

On Friday, the Toronto Marlies took on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL farm team of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Despite being first in the league, the Marlies had been playing poorly lately and needed a win, which they managed by coming back from a 2-0 deficit late in the third period to win the game 3-2 in overtime. (Game highlights here.)


Toronto Marlies v WBS Penguins

A handful of the better shots from Friday’s game between the #1 (Toronto Marlies) and #2 (WBS Penguins) teams in the American Hockey League standings.

Toronto came back from a 2-0 deficit after two periods to defeat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-2. (Video highlights)

An-anthem-a: A sporting nation sings

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics

Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

This past weekend, Toronto played host to the NBA All-Star Game and among the dozens of events, Canadian recording artist Nelly Furtado was asked to sing O’ Canada. In keeping with her musical stylings (I believe), Ms Furtado decided to sing an interpretation of the song that was slower in tempo and a bit more soul-searching than its typical performance, which annoyed a few people.

Now, I am a sing-it-straight person. I believe national anthems should be performed as intended (let’s not get into changing the lyrics). Thus, when someone opens up with a bit of musical show-boating, I get annoyed. (Call back to Roseanne Barr singing The Star Spangled Banner.)

But you know, that’s my problem.

The controversy, however, opened up another question for me:

Why do we play the national anthem(s) at sporting events?

I could understand an argument for truly international events like the Olympics (played when the winner is chosen) or World Cup (do they play anthems here?), where nationalistic fervor is part of the equation.

But what, for example, about a hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks is particularly nationalistic?

This question is especially germane when you consider the many of the players that perform for these teams are from countries other than the United States and Canada (including Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland, etc.), and play in mixed squads.

We don’t play the anthem(s) before live theatre. We don’t play the anthem(s) before sitting down to a meal.

We don’t play the anthem(s) before our hair or dental appointments. We don’t play the anthem(s) before a meeting of the UN Security Council.

So why do we play them before regional/local sporting events?


(Photo by Jana Chytilova/NHLI via Getty Images)

I love my country. I like my national anthem. I really don’t care if we play it at sporting events.

Nudes and Nature

Debbie Boostrom

If ever there was a campaign for “Milk, it does the body good”

A thousand years ago, when I was a much younger man, I found myself in possession of an issue of Playboy, where I discovered a lovely young woman named Debbie Boostrom.

I was smitten (let’s agree to leave it at that).

I remember sharing my discovery of Ms. Boostrom with some school friends at a hockey rink (where all good Canadian things happen). And at some point, as we admired her physique, I found myself saying aloud:

“Man, can you imagine what she looks like in a bathing suit!”

That my friends chose to remain my friends is a testament to their patience…or possibly to their respective inabilities to make friends.

In any event, I too joined them in shock at the idea that it would be good to alter such loveliness…and especially cover it.

Well, a thousand years later, I find myself in similar shock, but less with nudes than with nature.

Recently, on the way to a hockey game (see what I mean), I took an amazing photograph of a sparrow in a thorn bush.


Given my fascination with nature, my initial inclination is to focus in on the bird, but in this case, I decided to keep the image relatively wide, the bird blending in beautifully with its surroundings.

I was smitten (let’s agree to leave it at that).

As I was discussing the photo with a friend earlier today, I commented that the photo would make a great painting. If I put a wash over it, it might look like something wildlife artist Robert Bateman would paint.


Just assumed Bateman was born on a foggy day


Yet again, I want to take something I smit (that’s a word, right?) for its natural beauty and alter it…even cover it. Such delicate detail and I want to blur the lines.

Maybe this is some deep-seated desire to mar the things I love to spare myself the pain of inevitable rejection…although Ms. Boostrom has reportedly passed on and there must be 439 other sparrows in that ruddy bush.

Perhaps I am a closeted Puritan who believes there is evil in anything that brings pleasure. Nah, my love of hockey and bacon, and my Jabba the Hutt-like lair (and body structure) suggest otherwise.

Or maybe I’ve stumbled onto a hybrid art form.

Yes, you too can Batemanize your family portraits!

I don’t know…maybe I’m just weird. I should go to the rink and think about this some more.

To wash or not to wash?

Toronto Marlies crunch Syracuse

As the New Year arrived, my beloved Toronto Marlies played host to their cross-border rivals Syracuse Crunch.

The New York team is well named, with a history of pounding their opponents physically if not always on the scoreboard…and the local boys were ready to give as good as they got.

Saturday, January 2: Toronto 3 – Syracuse 2 (YouTube highlights)

Sunday, January 3: Toronto 3 – Syracuse 2 (OT) (YouTube highlights)

The hard-hitting series sets up an interesting three-quel when Syracuse visits Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum yet again on Wednesday, January 20.

Marlies vs Moose

In a tight game on Saturday, the Toronto Marlies hosted and eventually overcame the Manitoba Moose 3-1. Very different game when the two teams met again on Sunday, the Marlies coming up with a 9-0 thrashing to take first overall in the American Hockey League.

Here are some photos from Saturday’s game.