Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz, a tribute to the late Emanuel Steward, the New York Islanders' decision to move to Brooklyn and the lack of effort by the B.C. Lions.
Bruce Arthur, National Post: My thumb is down to Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz. But before you say what else is new, hear me out. We all know Katz tried to blackmail Edmonton for more and more public money for a new arena, and we all know he clumsily attempted to threaten relocation, and we all know he refused to meet with city council after the arena deal collapsed. But this week we found out that Katz funneled a reported $430,000 to the provincial Conservatives during the last election, which was not only 28 per cent of their total fundraising, but may be illegal. The arena deal, coincidentally, required $100 million in provincial money. On the plus side, I finally have an idea about where the NHL is getting its advice on public relations.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to a time gone by, when the names Hearns, Hagler, Leonard and Duran weren't just the biggest names in boxing, but the largest in all of sport. I got to thinking about that upon the news Thursday of the passing of legendary trainer, manager, TV personality Emanuel Steward. Tommy Hearns was his kid. He taught him everything he knew, brought him to the world title, put him in some of the greatest fights we've ever seen. Steward was with Hearns. Leonard fought Duran, Hearns fought Hagler. Hagler fought Leonard. Everyone fought everyone. And at a time when we can't get Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather anywhere near the same ring, an appreciation to Manny Steward for his time and his place in boxing history.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is up to the New York Islanders for abandoning the Nassau Mausoleum, um, Coliseum, when the lease expires in 2015. But my enthusiasm could vanish in a New York minute because of new challenges the franchise will face 30 miles away in Brooklyn. Like the Coyotes move from Phoenix to Glendale, the Islanders will blow up a percentage of their fan base and must cultivate a following in New York City - solid Rangers territory. Another issue: the Barclays Center seats only 14,500 for hockey, which demands hefty ticket prices. Owner Charles Wang had to flee the Island short-term. Long-term, the move could stink like week-old fish sticks.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to the Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions for one quarter of football that would have embarrassed a last-place team, and the Lions are a first-place team that is supposed to win the Grey Cup again. In Friday's 15 minutes of incompetence against Calgary, the Lions stumbled their way to a 24-0 deficit, which, at its worst not far into the second quarter, became 34-0. I know the Lions didn't use Travis Lulay, and the game didn't mean anything to them in the standings, but neither did it have meaning for Calgary, and the Stampeders approached the game properly as a playoff prep. The Lions couldn't say that, unless they want us to believe they were intending to focus on their kickoff returns.