Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss an intriguing CFL listen-in, an incredible goal in the U17 World Cup, the return of Jaromir Jagr to the NHL and a goofy situation during the NBA draft.
Dave Naylor, TSN: My thumb is up to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts for their willingness to make Wednesday night's pre-season game something a little different by agreeing to have their quarterbacks and head coaches mic'd up, The Bombers and Argos gave us a listen-in to all that we never hear in a football game. Some of it was simply football jargon that was as meaningless to most fans as computer code. But we also got a unique sense of the emotional ride that occurs on both the sidelines and the field – as well as a rare glimpse into the human side of players and coaches. The Bombers and Argos even gave us a thrilling finish in a 30-23 Toronto win. Which we can only hope is a preview of what's to come when the regular season begins this week.
Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun: My thumb is up - and this is a first for me - for a soccer goal, and not just any soccer goal. It was a Canadian soccer goal in the under-17 FIFA World Cup. Now understand this: last time Canada played in the big boys World Cup, we didn't even score a goal. So when the goal in this case comes from a keeper of all people, a goalie named Quillan Roberts, from behind the centre line in the final minutes, and it gives Canada its first ever point in the younger World Cup … well, it's something worth celebrating and seeing at least once more. I didn't believe it when I saw it. I'm not sure I'm believing it now.
Eric Duhatschek, Globe and Mail: My thumb is up to Jaromir Jagr, whose imminent return to the NHL for a victory lap is good news on multiple fronts. It'll permit one of the most dynamic players in history to make the rounds one more time, so a generation of fans that didn't see him in his prime can get one last look at a future Hall of Famer. Yes, Jagr was that good - and based on how well he played for the Czech Republic at the 2010 Olympics and 2011 World Championships, he still has something to give, especially on the power play, where both of his primary suitors - the Penguins and the Red Wings - could really use the help. Jagr has matured. When you talk to him now, there's a gravitas about him that was missing in his early, carefree days with Mario & co. Welcome back Jaromir. We missed you.
Dave Hodge, TSN: This could be considered lazy, because it's a thumbs down that I do every year, but here goes again, and don't call me lazy. Thumbs down to the NBA for the dumbest draft presentation imaginable.Teams draft for other teams. Players get drafted by teams they won't play for and wear the hats of those teams while being asked how happy they are to be joining other teams.For example, number-7 pick Bismack Biyombo wore the hat of the Sacramento Kings while he was asked how he felt about being drafted by Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats. Apparently, Biyombo wasn't confused - maybe because he speaks six languages. I speak just one - I was confused. But the english language tells me this - if the dating game was like the NBA draft, the guy would pick the girl and tell her what to wear on a date he had arranged for her with his next-door neighbour.