Damien Cox, The Toronto Star: My thumb is up this week to Steven Stamkos, who is making an outstanding case for himself to be included on Canada's Olympic hockey team. He wasn't even invited to camp in August, for reasonable reasons I suppose, but now look what he is doing: 10 goals in 11 games. That's more goals than 373 other NHL players born in Canada. Only Patrick Marleau has as many goals as Stamkos among Canadians and only Alex Ovechkin has more goals among all NHL players. Stamkos is making it harder every day for Steve Yzerman.
Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun: My thumb is down to Tony LaRussa for the hiring of Mark McGwire as batting coach with the St. Louis Cardinals. Now if I believed for a second that LaRussa is bringing McGwire back to baseball because he truly wants him to coach, I'd accept that. But LaRussa, who managed McGwire both in Oakland and St. Louis, has been a career McGwire excuse maker. All LaRussa is trying to do here is rehabilitate McGwire's image as a steroid user - and he's using the platform of his baseball club to do so. Only McGwire was conveniently absent when the announcement was made on his return to baseball. All that, by the way, is in the past.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated: My thumb is down to Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League who stonewalled Congress in the United States on the issue of head injuries and where they lead. There are lots of 'Booms' there are lots of 'Whams', there are lots of 'He got JACKED UP!' But it's not fun for the men who have to live with the after effects for years and years. What can Goodell do? Not a lot because if you admit to it, you invite lawsuits if you admit the obvious. Just like the NHL has been flummoxed with what to do with head shots, Roger Goodell and the NFL isn't quite sure what to do with its sport.
Dave Hodge, TSN: My thumb is down to the story that wears you out....the ongoing saga of the power struggles at National Hockey League Players' Association. You know the expression: " The last one to leave--turn out the lights?" Well, at the NHLPA, it's "the last one to leave, what took you so long?" Or "last one to leave, turn around, because you're in charge........if you want to be." I know it is supposed to matter, for the good of hockey, that the Players' Union is a capable group, but constant examples to the contrary make you stop caring whose knife is in whose back. The Players' Association insisted on Friday it had not suspended operations--it probably didn't know how.