Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the streak-breaking Canucks, the free-market Packers, Ichiro's demotion and the insanity of Linsanity.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is up to the Vancouver Canucks, who snapped Detroit's league-record 23-game win streak at Joe Louis Arena this week thanks to a tying goal with 16 seconds left, and a win in the shootout. Now, the streak deserved an asterisk for the advantages conferred by the modern three-point game, and the Wings were missing Pavel Datsyuk. Sure, Detroit turned around and lost to Colorado at home a couple nights later, meaning the possibility of a different sort of streak is now mathematically possible. But last season the Canucks learned how a great regular season, and a deep playoff run, could feel empty at the end. When you're climbing the mountain the second time around, it's nice to prove to everybody - and to yourself - that you're able to reach the highest available altitude on the way back up.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to the Green Bay Packers for finally allowing us poor dumb Canadians to purchase shares in the National Football League team. Before this week, only Americans were foolish enough to buy worthless shares in the NFL team. But clearly, the Packers had sold as much nothing as they could in the U.S. to raise money for their stadium renovations at Lambeau Field when they realized they hadn't taken advantage of us rubes from the real frozen tundra. Here's what you get for your $250 share - a stock certificate telling you own a piece of the Packers. It has no worth. You can't sell it or trade it and it has no investment value whatsoever. And here's the sad thing: people I know are buying.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to the Seattle Mariners for changing Ichiro Suzuki's spot in the batting order. Manager Eric Wedge was right to announce he would drop Ichiro from his customary leadoff spot. After all, Ichiro's on-base percentage last season was a cringe-worthy .310. No, the lunacy is Wedge's plan to bat Ichiro third. Now the right fielder will be expected to get on base and drive in runs, which appears beyond him at age 38. Even when he was getting his 225 hits, Ichiro never showed middle-of-the-order pop. His combined on-base and slugging percentage last year was .645, about three furlongs behind Prince Fielder. Considering his stellar career in Japan and the all-around skills he has demonstrated in Seattle, Ichiro should be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. In Ichiro's dotage, however, Wedge should realize he is an eighth-place hitter.
Dave Hodge, TSN: I'm saying thumbs down to our preoccupation with pun-fun. Just when Linsanity may be finding its proper level, now, with the start of baseball's spring training, we're being subjected to daily reports of Yu-sanity. We can remain interested in Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks without being "Linfatuated", and the Darvish highlights don't have to be credited to "Yu-tube." See? It's tough to make this point without breaking the rule that I'm trying to pass. It's tough to talk about Manny Ramirez signing with the Oakland A's without referencing "Mannyball." But I think we have to try… in order to retain our "sanity".