Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss the CFL inviting Canadian university quarterbacks to camp, Nicklas Lidstrom, French Open umpire Eva Asderaki and Usain Bolt.
Dave Naylor, TSN: My thumb is up to the CFL for its initiative to invite Canadian university quarterbacks to training camps across the country this spring. Let me be clear - I continue to be staunchly opposed to any kind of incentive or mandate for Canadian quarterbacks on CFL rosters just because they're Canadian. But the league should be doing all it can to help young Canadian quarterbacks be ready to compete for jobs. Bringing them into CFL camps while they're still in university gives them a great learning experience and an up-close look at the bar they've got to hit.
Cathal Kelly, Toronto Star: My thumb is up to Nicklas Lidstrom, who retired before he had to this week after 20 years of dominance. We won't go back over the superlatives that put him amongst the three or four greatest defencemen to ever play hockey. There are too many. From the remove of a few days, we salute the manner of his exit. In keeping with his entire tenure, it was quiet and dignified. Others use their farewell as a way in which to reassure themselves that they are still admired. Lidstrom was that rare superstar who was neither motivated by money nor the need to be loved. Like all great artists, he did it for the sake of the work. "Retiring today allows me to walk away with pride rather than have the game walk away from me," he said. During two decades of close observation, Lidstrom never made a headline that didn't involve something smart he'd done on the ice. That pride - not only in his hockey, but in himself - is what set Lidstrom apart.
Dave Feschuk, Toronto Sun: My thumb is up to Eva Asderaki. She's the French Open umpire who took a stand against a very worthy enemy: grunting in women's tennis. She docked France's Vir-Ginny Razzano two points for excessive noisemaking this week. And good on her. It's a problem that's out of control. Non-grunting players complain about it. Martina Navratilova has equated it with cheating. The good news is tennis academies have recognized the issue - they're telling kids they can make it to the WTA without sounding like an x-rated film. For now, the No. 1 player in the world is nicknamed Vika the Shrieka. So let's make some noise for an umpire fighting for our right to quiet.
James Cybulski, TSN: My thumb is up to the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt. The Jamaican lightning bolt ripped up the track in Rome three days ago, clocking a time of 9.76 seconds in the 100 metre dash, which was not only the fastest time posted this year but also silenced critics suggesting his best days might be long gone after he ran the slowest 100 metres of his career a week prior. The heavyweight title in boxing used to represent the toughest man in the world, but with the sport's decline, and rise of MMA, we're not sure who that moniker belongs to now. But when it comes to the fastest, 100 metres still sets the standard for speed on planet earth. The London Games are less than two months away and now we wonder if Bolt breaks his own mark of 9.58.