naslund.is.king Posted July 29, 2013 Share Posted July 29, 2013 http://www.theprovince.com/touch/story.html?id=8718964 The Blue Jays won a series, the Roughriders remain undefeated and Hunter and Kandi Mahan are the proud parents of a baby girl. Now here’s some more wicked good news, the Monday morning musings and meditations on the world of sports. In this, an eventful and disquieting offseason for the faithful, the key figure in the Vancouver Canucks’ various dramas has not been general manager Mike Gillis, new head coach John Tortorella or even Roberto Luongo. It’s been owner Francesco Aquilini. Stepping outside the traditional purview of ownership, Aquilini played an instrumental role in the decision to hire Tortorella, the decision to keep Luongo and, by extension, the decision to deal Cory Schneider. Each move, of course, will be the subject of intense scrutiny and the Canucks’ fate, both in the long and the short term, will be determined by Aquilini’s judgment in these matters. It’s interesting, in fact, to note the change at the top of the organization. For the first four years of his administration, Gillis was basically given a blank cheque to run things as he saw fit. Whether you agreed or disagreed, there was no question over who was calling the shots, and in 2011, when they had the best team in the NHL, there was every reason to think the Gillis-Aquilini partnership would lead the team to its greatest success. Now, it’s fair to say the honeymoon is over. Gillis wanted to hire John Stevens to coach the Canucks. Aquilini wanted Tortorella. Gillis wanted Schneider as his goalie. Aquilini didn’t want to buy out Luongo. In these matters, ownership will always have the final say, but it’s not often ownership makes their involvement this public. Don’t know if that’s the best thing for the franchise. But, no matter how things turn out, we do know who’s responsible. On a related note, given the way this offseason has unfolded, it’s now imperative that Tortorella installs some sense of structure and purpose to this team and that he does it immediately. The Canucks still have a decent lineup. They should be a playoff team. If they get off to a decent start under the new coach, the drama with Luongo will disappear. But imagine a Canucks’ team that struggles out of the gate with a distracted Luongo playing at a substandard level. Now imagine the ensuing circus. As mentioned, Aquilini has a lot invested in Tortorella, both literally and figuratively. One final thing. One of Tortorella’s champions within the Canucks was assistant general manager Laurence Gilman, who worked with the new coach in Phoenix. “I supported John from the start,” Gilman says. “I know him. I know he’s not defined by his relationship with the New York media.” The two best movies I’ve seen in the last year — Looking For Sugarman and 20 Feet From Stardom — are both documentaries about characters on the fringe of the music industry: Saw 20 Feet From Stardom on the weekend. It’s freaking magic. It appears baseball is headed towards its second major PED-scandal in a decade, and while it’s sad to see the fall of some of the game’s greats, you just can’t have a game where some players derive a competitive advantage from performance-enhancing drugs. Well, you can. You just can’t expect fans and sponsors to take it seriously. The issue now, as it was in the middle of BALCO, remains the baseball’s integrity — and if you want to look at the impact of PEDs on performance, look at a juiced-up Melky Cabrera’s numbers with San Francisco last year compared to his numbers with the Blue Jays this season. Don’t know if you can draw a direct line between the PEDs and Cabrera’s play but, you have to admit, it’s thought-provoking. Finally, it’s long past the point when the Canadian Open was considered golf’s unofficial fifth major, but this year’s event at Glen Abbey delivered a world-class champion in Brent Snedeker, a fantastic storyline with Hunter Mahan and a memorable moment for Mike Weir. Mahan, of course, withdrew before the start of the third round when he was leading the tournament to be with his wife Kandi for the delivery of the couple’s first child. Don’t want to pound this into the ground, but it was admirable to see a public figure put his family before his own needs. As for Weir, his competitive days are clearly behind him, but he remains the greatest golfer this country has ever produced and his second-round 67 awakened a lot of sentiment in the crowd at Glen Abbey. Weir, at his best, was one of the top 10 players in the world and he remains a remarkable 20th on the all-time money list. He was a transformative figure in this country. It was nice to see that acknowledged this weekend. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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